Part of my penance I received at confession last week was, “You MUST rejoice this Easter”. Rejoice is a feeling of great joy. But the emphasis was on “must”. Often because of our familiarity with Easter, her riches may remain uncultivated if we allow Easter to be a passing theme. “Must” emphasizes the need to dwell into Easter to especially unpack the reasons for this great rejoice in our life.
We know Easter well in our belief for without occurring there would not be Christianity. We know it as a cornerstone of faith, of death being conquered, of suffering eventually giving way to eternal joy. We know Easter as a produce and consequence of the Love of God. We are familiar with the scripture passages of today. But what does Easter mean to ‘me’ in my personal life? What impact does Easter have over ‘my personal space’? You MUST rejoice – to uncover.
We are NOT mere units making up humanity. Each of us, individually, a created being, unique in identity, with a name and a distinctive personality, passing through different circumstances, never the same with any other person. They had been billions and will be billions more. Yet, Christ is focus only on ‘me alone’, his full attention on one, ‘me’. Not possible from us, only possible with Christ. You MUST rejoice – to encounter the Risen Christ.
To ‘encounter’ is to have this lived experience with the Risen Christ. We can only truly rejoice when we uncover Easter in our personal life. “That he must rise from the dead” (Today’s Gospel) cannot only be a teaching but a living experience. “You MUST rejoice” emphasizes the need to journey deep into our inner self and remove the stone covering our personal tomb.
It is in our tomb where we store our personal history, a library of past events, perhaps catalogued by emotions of happiness, anger, gratification, hurt, sweetness, and bitterness. It is here where our personal life rhythms the Paschal Mystery of life, death, and the resurrection. It is here too where we find the footprints of the Risen Christ accompanying us. For us to see, we first fill ourselves with gratitude (Rejoice!) then retrace the path of our history that brought us here. Look for the unexpected twists and turns, in the smaller details, to unhide the Risen Christ walking with us.
This is a good discipline for Easter, not just today but for the entire Easter season. Our personal history wants to reveal so much more. We can think of a past event each day in this season. Where did that lead me to? We will be quite surprised when we join the dots. It is entirely possible to encounter the Risen Christ in a past event in the here and now of today. Journeying deeper, we can also find healing for past hurts and pain – events left alone in the darkness of our tomb. Practice this discipline, rejoice, and the Risen Christ will become a living experience personal and unique to ‘me’.
Christ is focused only on ‘me’. How wonderful! This Easter season is the time to fan the new fire in us. Rejoice, be engulfed for new life awaits. Happy Easter!
Easter Sunday 2022