The Word — A gift from the risen Christ
Published 12:25 pm Friday, April 22, 2022
A sunny, warm spring day…. Yellow tulips and daffodils…. Easter egg hunts… A basket of jelly beans.
As with Christmas, we all have certain memories and traditions for Easter. As we enjoy them, we are, perhaps, reminded not to forget the “true meaning” of this great feast. We need the reminder. At Easter, we go to church and take the time to remember (while trying to figure out what time to put the ham in the oven,) that Easter is about the Resurrection, about Christ’s rising from the dead and conquering sin. But what does this feast mean for us, and how does it change our lives, even after Easter Sunday has come and gone? How should our hearts be touched?
There are many different ways that Jesus’ central work and greatest miracle should affect our lives. Expanding on some thoughts from the book The Risen Christ by Caryll Houselander, we can look at one of these effects. “He gives us His life of joy,” after, of course, having suffered until He could suffer no more. He gives us “His own power of consummated love to use for one another…. The ultimate miracle of Divine Love is this, that the life of the Risen Lord is given to us to give to one another.”
After all, He told us to love one another as He has loved us. This seems insurmountable, unless we have for our own the love of the risen Christ. It is specifically His hidden love in the Resurrection that we need, a love that manifests itself in hidden deeds.
His 40 days on earth after the Resurrection were, in many ways, hidden. He did not manifest Himself in a blaze of visible, triumphant glory to all the peoples of the earth. He did not perform magnificent miracles to show His enemies Who had really triumphed. Rather, He showed Himself quietly to a heartbroken Mary in the garden; He revealed Himself to two doubting men on the road to Emmaus. This love He gives us at Easter – the Love that triumphs at Easter, the love which is Himself, and not something we can manufacture for ourselves – is a quiet love. It is a love that reaches out for others in hidden ways, not through great works of philanthropy, but in small acts that we choose to do in order to show charity to others. “It is to be lived through our natural human relationships, through the people we know, the neighbors we see. It is given to us, if we will take it, literally into our own hands to give.”
Easter “identifies us with the deepest source of life in God, which is love.” To bring that love to others is one of the great graces of Easter. As Christ told His apostles after His Resurrection, “You shall be witnesses unto me in Jersualem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth.”
Br. Maximilian Watner is on the the staff at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Buckingham County. He can be reached at email@example.com.