I do hope you had a blessed Lent and a happy Easter. It is such a wonderful time of year, full of hope, freshness and promise in both nature and the human spirit.
Perhaps by now, just a few days after Easter Sunday, you’ve likely put away the empty baskets of Easter until next year, eaten a good amount of chocolate rabbits or parceled them out to the children, and had your fill of colored eggs and Easter sweet breads.
But I do hope you will not put the meaning of Easter away from your heart for another year!
For while Easter is indeed the highest holy day of the church year, it also can and should be an attitude, a way of life, a daily habit, if you will.
Let’s call it "having an Easter state of mind."
The late Pope John Paul II said it best on a visit to the U.S. in 1979: "We are an Easter people and hallelujah is our song."
I think what John Paul meant is that Easter — the celebration of Christ’s resurrection and his promise of eternal life for all of us — ought to be the defining characteristic of Christians, a mind-set, a way of looking at life with courage, optimism and confidence and a song in our hearts. St. Paul, similarly, writes, "if God is for us, who can be against us?"
Easter means knowing that Christ conquered death not only for himself but for all of us. Easter means that our gracious God forgives our sins. Easter means God’s love for his children is faithful and enduring.
How blessed are we to have such a loving God! How blessed are we to have a savior in the Risen Lord, whose loving spirit strengthens and guides us as we meet the tougher challenges.
On the first Easter, Jesus proclaimed to those who witnessed his resurrected glory, "Be not afraid." It was both a comfort and a promise then and now.
Having an Easter state of mind means that every day is Easter. It means we can wake up every morning and face the day with a sense of confidence, optimism and hope. God is with us.
It means we can face the troubles that life brings, even illness and death, with brave hearts strengthened by the knowledge that the Lord carries and comforts us; that Easter gives us the glory of eternity and, as Scripture tells us, " neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Winter is waning. The church’s Easter season moves in the coming weeks to Pentecost. As summer comes, we will long for warmth and sunshine. But let us strive not to leave Easter behind like the fading memory of snow and cold.
Let us try to have an Easter state of mind and let the world know what it means to be the "Easter people." And let us sing "hallelujah!"
Peace to all!