June 26, 2015
The Easter season is behind us, as well as several of the great feasts of our faith. Now we're back into ordinary time with all the obligations of daily life. Sometimes we need a reminder that we are indeed an Easter People, and we have reason for joy.
Here is the culmination of our faith: for God so loved the world that He gave His only son. Isn’t it glorious? His son Jesus embraced the cross to atone for our sins, and in so doing, broke the chains of death so that we might enjoy eternal life in the heavenly kingdom.
When I think about the significance of that gift, it is so very tempting to respond as the women did when they come upon their Lord after the resurrection. Some translations have it that they ‘embraced His feet’. When I put myself in their place - so easy to do as their response seems to be the natural feminine impulse – I can imagine their relief and joy and reverence. All of Jerusalem had praised Jesus when He entered the city, then as ardently denounced Him not a week later. The women had witnessed His indescribable sufferings, which included betrayal and abandonment. And then, horribly, came His death. Where was the kingdom He spoke about? How was it possible that their beloved teacher who claimed to be the Son of the Living God had been put to death like a common criminal? Still, their hearts were filled with love for Him, and they wanted to serve Him even then, so they went to visit His tomb only to find He was no longer there.
And then. Oh, and then! He is there, with them, speaking to them. They fall to their knees in homage and ‘embrace His feet’. How their hearts must have been overflowing with love and gratitude! He must have felt tenderness for them, aware of the strength of their devotion. And yet He doesn’t allow the moment to linger. He admonishes them gently by telling them to not cling to Him, but go (some translations say ‘go quickly’) and tell the others.
On hearing those words this year at Easter, I was struck by the fact His words are also a message for me today: “Do not stay here, holding on to me, but rather go, and share this joyful news with others.” In other words, I shouldn’t keep Jesus to myself. The awe, the reverence, the joy, and the peace I experienced through the Triduum and the weeks of Easter, are meant to be alive in me even now as I gear up for busy summer days. But even more, they are gifts to share with everyone … seeds to plant in every area of my life and then be generous with the harvest.
Let’s not cling to Him, but go, quickly, and share the joy.