How Does the Easter Bunny Stay Healthy?
Jokes like these are often heard around Easter. By the time Easter Sunday is over, most people are exhausted from how busy things get. We go to Church (perhaps multiple times), we cook, see friends and family, and may even organize and egg hunt for the children. In the midst of all the busyness, we can forget about the contemplative side of the holiday. Even when we go to Church, we may be focused on the new sights and smells: incense, lilies and the joyful music. All of these things are great, but they are not present for their own sake or to only make the Church look pretty. They are there to draw us deeper into the mystery of what Easter is all about.
Thankfully Easter does not end when Easter Sunday is over: it goes on for 50 days! Many of the aspects of the Easter celebration are still present in the Church long after the day is over. I think that having the holiday extend for 50 days is quite clever. Like the Apostles, we sometimes do not fully understand what the resurrection means until things settle down a bit. We may have to go on our own trip to Emmaus where Jesus can open the scriptures and break the bread with us. We may even have to witness the Ascension and Pentecost in order to for it to make sense.
The Apostles recognized that Easter was not simply about Jesus being raised from the dead, for them it pointed to a new direction in life by encountering the resurrected Lord. They left their own metaphorical tombs, just as Jesus left his actual tomb, to live a life of renewal. This is exactly what we should be doing. Bible stories are not just old stories to hear in Church and forget about 5 minutes after they are read aloud. Rather, it is a formula for how to live a good life, how to avoid common obstacles in that journey and how to help others along the way.
This Easter season, take some time to meditate on the resurrection of Jesus. I find the rosary to be particularly helpful for this sort of "eggercising." You do not even have to pray the whole rosary. One decade a day is enough for God to work with. Imagine yourself at the scene of the resurrection, how do you feel? What kind of memories or unresolved conflicts in your life are brought up? I would encourage you "to paint the picture," filling in details that may not be explicitly talked about in the Bible. What do you see? What kind of surface did the rock cut tomb have? What kind of smell was in the air? Then take notice how you feel once Pentecost comes. Who knows, maybe you will be on fire with the Spirit just like the Apostles were. By "eggercising" our souls, we become spiritually healthy and can get to know ourselves better. Perhaps this kind of transformation in knowing ourselves and God is really what the mystery of Easter is all about.
Matt Green - Parish Support Specialist