Easter Blessings to you and your dear ones!
Father Basil Pennington, a Catholic monk, has written about an encounter he once had with a teacher of Zen. Pennington was at a retreat. As part of the retreat, each person met privately with this Zen teacher. Pennington says that at his meeting the Zen teacher sat there before him smiling from ear to ear and rocking gleefully back and forth. Finally, the teacher said: “I like Christianity. But I would not like Christianity without the Resurrection. I want to see your resurrection!” Pennington notes that, “With his directness, the teacher was saying what everyone else implicitly says to Christians: You are a Christian. You are risen with Christ. Show me (what this means for you in your life) and I will believe.”
We observed the penitential season of Holy Lent; we participated faithfully in all the liturgical services of Holy Week. Today as we cap it all with the celebration of Easter, we ask ourselves this question: Does Easter impact how we live? Are we truly excited about our faith in the resurrection of Jesus who has the capacity to transform our lives with his grace?
The early Christians celebrated Easter with a tremendous sense of excitement. Throughout the entire Easter Season, the Angelus prayer is replaced by the joyous Regina Coeli, which begins, “Queen of Heaven rejoice, alleluia: For He whom you merited to bear, alleluia, Has risen as He said, alleluia.” Unfortunately, for many Christians today, it is no longer obvious why Easter should be welcomed with such joy. Despite egg hunts and spring-themed decorations, Easter is treated as a second-class holiday, lacking the cheery traditions of Christmas and Thanksgiving (as well as their commercial importance).
Yes, the words of St. Augustine uttered 1500 years ago, repeated by St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis, must be made our own: “We are truly an Easter People, and Halleluiah is our song!”
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal