Musings on Easter Season: Reawakening Our Faith and Keeping the Spirit Alive
After a period of silence and reflection during the Lenten season, it is now time to celebrate the great joy of Christ’s Resurrection during the season of Easter. Let us rejoice and be glad, Alleluia! Christ is Risen!
Some of us may not be aware that Easter is not just about Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday, hence the caption “Easter Season” instead of “Easter Sunday”. When I was teaching young boys and girls abroad, I have always been keen on the liturgical calendar particularly the season of Easter because they thought all along that Easter pertains to the fun facts of Easter Sunday – you know the egg-hunting and related stuff! Actually, it is not only the kids, even grownups (the kids’ parents) had the same notion too. However, Easter goes beyond the bunnies, baskets, chocolates and egg hunting. Based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, there are more meaningful rewards that Easter provides to our spiritual lives, the most important of which is the sacrifice offered by our Risen Lord for our sake.
Easter season is not celebrated for just one day but for 50 joyful days, which ends on Pentecost Sunday. It is considered as the most important celebration in the Church calendar, in fact even grander than Christmas and the other seasons. This is what our Church authorities and experts taught us, that Easter (Lord’s resurrection) is the most important of all the feasts and solemnities celebrated by the Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (489) states that: The Resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our faith in Christ, a faith believed and lived as the central truth by the first Christian community; handed on as fundamental by Tradition; by the documents of the New Testament; and preached as an essential part of the Paschal mystery along with the cross.
The Lenten season paved us the way to reconcile and turn back to God. Going to the Sacrament of Confession, undergoing the process of atonement and seeking forgiveness for our sins are ways to cleanse our souls and to have peace of mind, among others.
In our modern world, many of us are caught up in a frenzied race to succeed, leaving little time for quiet contemplation and spiritual reflection. Despite our vulnerabilities and weaknesses, it is important that we face them head-on, rather than succumbing to discouragement or despair. However, this can be difficult in an environment that is increasingly characterized by violence, fake news, greed, and self-serving bias. Such negative influences threaten to undermine our ability to maintain a positive outlook and stay true to our values. Nevertheless, it is important that we persevere and work to overcome these challenges, remaining steadfast in our commitment to personal growth and spiritual fulfillment.
And so this Easter season, we may want to raise this concern: What do we want from God to become the best version of ourselves? Perhaps, it would be far better to ask this: What does God want from us? Pope Francis, in one of his previous Easter Vigil homilies, suggested that even if problems will continue to confront each and everyone of us, we should not “allow darkness and fear to distract us and control our hearts”. He stated that Easter is the celebration of hope because the Risen Christ also “awakens and resurrects hope in our hearts burdened by sadness”. The Easter fire and the flame from the Paschal Candle burned our desire to change for the better, inspire us and give us hope to continue as good Christians on earth.
Normally, we lift up everything to God: problems, worries, and the desires of our hearts. But more important than this, we seek for the fire of God’s love for us – that’s what we need these days. We have to ask from God for that fire which is the love of the Risen Christ. The world nowadays longs for that flame of love and hope, the culture of love. This is the kind of love which we’ve been searching for. But as they say, it is not easy to acquire that fire in God’s love because it needs to be fed. As such, we have to strive more to achieve it perfectly. If we have that flame of God’s love, our faith in Him becomes meaningful and fruitful. And when we are able to change lives, that flame of God’s love gives us that Easterly feeling of joy and happiness.
What else do we want from God during this Easter season? What more can we ask for from Him? For those who have strayed from the path and found themselves mired in suffering and despair, God often offers a chance to turn their lives around. Countless people throughout history have been granted a “second chance” to make things right. It is up to us to seize these opportunities, to embrace new beginnings and the promise of grace and joy that Easter represents. In a world where pain and suffering are all too common, we must not lose sight of the hope and motivation that Easter provides. When we are given another chance to fulfill our purpose in life, carpe diem! We must seize the day in a positive and meaningful way, and not let God’s blessings go to waste.
During the Easter season, we are also given the chance to deepen our faith and inspire us more to be better Christians after being forgiven of our past transgressions. And these deepening of faith and inspiration would require some concrete actions from us, both in words and deeds, as we serve as instruments of God to be the source of joy and the bundle of hope for others, our family, neighbors, friends, co-workers and churchmates particularly those in dire need of help. The said fire of God’s love will enable us to rekindle our faith in Him and keep the Spirit alive.
What God wants from us during Easter time? Clearly, God wants us to go back to him, to cling on Him, but with hearts not steeped in pride. Most of the time, we act like the Pharisees in very subtle ways, we have the propensity towards pride and self-righteous judgment. To rectify these negative attitudes, the only thing we have to do is to hang on to Jesus. We will definitely not fall into sin again if we only hold on to him as His grip is strong. With Christ’s Resurrection, we are freed from sin and we are given the freedom to turn back to and establish a new friendship with God. Yes, it takes a lot of effort to be good, but if we strive to do it and become successful in whatever we do good, that will be a great accomplishment on our part. The “Exsultet”, the great Easter song, rejoices Jesus triumph over sin and death clearly states that the grace of this most wonderful event “dispels all evil, washes guilt away, brings us peace, and humbles earthly pride…when heaven is wedded to earth and man is reconciled with God!”
Indeed, Christ Resurrection is the heart of our Christian faith. The Risen Savior gives us the genuine hope that we’re hoping for, the gift of eternal life. No matter what we go through, whatever challenges we may face, the Risen Christ is always there for us. He is our Hope and Savior, He continually listens and lifts us up if we call on Him. The remaining days of Easter is opportune and timely for us to reflect on God’s presence. This is an opportunity for us to make His presence known to everyone not only on Easter time but everyday of our lives. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. We have to go out of our comfort zones and reawaken our faith. Let’s tell others about this truth, that Jesus has Risen and is indeed Alive! Let’s keep that Spirit Alive!
May God grant us the eyes to see, and the ears to hear, but most especially a heart that is open to reach out to all. Happy Easter! Wish you and your loved ones all the blessings of the Risen Lord.