Christ is Risen – Easter Sunday 2020
Christ is Risen, He has Risen Indeed! Happy Easter! All of us at igNation offer our greetings for a blessed Easter season, one that is filled with new and abundant life.
We are in need of Easter and the graces of spiritual joy and happiness. Our planet and its inhabitants are in need of those graces. Those in our cities need Easter, as do the women and men caught in their personal experience of Christ’s passion: the sick and suffering, those in war-torn areas, refugees and migrants, the people in our streets, parents struggling to raise their children, and so on. I don’t know of one person not in need of spiritual joy and happiness.
Our world gives us plenty of reasons to live in fear and to be filled with sadness, anger, and hopelessness. We all have our own reasons. What are yours?
Among my own recent sources of desolation are the sad revelations about Jean Vanier and how it made me sick, the pandemic spread of COVID-19 and the impact it has had on almost every area of common life, and the personal discovery that I was not immune to the fear it caused.
That came home to me on the subway in Toronto and how I felt almost paranoid. How often I have washed my hands, used hand sanitizer, avoided crowds and avoided touching my face. I live in a world of fear. I suspect that you do as well.
St. Ignatius of Loyola suggests that those praying with the Resurrection of the Lord consider the divinity, which seemed to hide itself during the passion, now appearing and manifesting itself so miraculously in the most holy Resurrection in its true and most sacred effects.
Among the strongest effects is a release from fear. We are told over and over in scripture to not fear, to not worry, and to be at peace. What a gift it could be if we could remember that each day, regardless of what shocks come to us or what causes fear or what happens in the world in which we dwell.
This is Easter Sunday. That reminder about not fearing certainly comes to us from the Risen Lord. There was a message from an angel in Matthew’s Gospel at last evening’s Vigil. He was speaking to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary: Do not be afraid. They left the tomb with an odd combination of fear and great joy. Jesus met them and said, Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee.
Most of us would love to live our lives in the spirit of the Resurrection. That’s not possible. Too much in our lives and the world conspires against that. That’s probably okay. If we were living in bliss, we would no longer have need for God.
Easter grace is elusive and hard to pin down. I think of it whenever I pray with the Canticle of Zechariah, from Luke’s Gospel: In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
It’s important to let the Resurrection’s grace do what it did for the disciples heading to Emmaus: Let it set our hearts on fire! Even if just for this day, let’s name some signs of hope in our world and in our hearts.