It is Easter Sunday! It has been an honor and a blessing to journey with you all this past Lenten Season. I hope you have been inspired by these blog posts, as I was inspired writing them for you. Now is the time to celebrate the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and lives forever. My mind is racing with so many thoughts in preparation for our family celebration later today.
Fifty Shades of Celebration – Easter
Easter Season spans from today, Easter Sunday, all the way to the Pentecost. This is fifty days! I asked the question to my family this morning, “We just fasted for over forty days during Lent, how will we celebrate for the next fifty?” I recommended having a special desert every day after dinner, which my wife quickly shot down due to the presence of diabetes in the family. I asked the experts, my children, on how we should celebrate for the next fifty days, here were their answers:
Gabriella (3 years old): Let’s eat chocolate every day.
Elijah (5 years old): Go to the park.
Such wisdom comes from the mouth of babes.
This is the challenge I posed to the entire family and it’s a challenge indeed. No one could really give an answer. If you have any input on how a family can celebrate Easter for the next fifty days, I’m all ears.
Bring Back the Paschal Greeting
In the Catholic and Orthodox Church the traditional greeting during Easter is the following:
Person 1: Christ is Risen!
Person 2: He has risen, indeed!
We do this to acknowledge the momentous event of Jesus’ salvific action. Jesus is alive and there is no better greeting on this day than this one. So instead of saying “Hi” or “Hello”, try the Paschal Greeting… to random strangers even. Sure it will be awkward, but it’s a sure conversation starter.
Spend Time with the Family
We are actually bringing together a bunch of families today at 5:00 PM and will last until we decide to wrap it up and go home. We invited around a dozen families, and since many of our families in Austria have immigrated from other countries, this collection of families has become our community – our tribe. It is sure to be a chaotic event, but it will hopefully be filled with laughter, joy, food, drink and most of all recognition of Jesus’ resurrection. We’re calling it a “Resurrection Party”. I hope it becomes a tradition that will be repeated for many years to come. Remember that Jesus died not for individuals, but for a family – His Church; and we are saved not solely as individuals but as a community. Here is a shot of everyone getting ready for the festivities while I slave away on this blog post…
Look the Part, Be the Part
If there is any day to be truly happy, it is today. My wife hesitated when I said this, probably calling to mind our wedding day. But really, despite whatever it is you are going through choose happiness today. Today marks the day that all of eternity was opened up for you – for all of us. What greater gift can there be than eternal happiness? It is beyond comprehension and it cannot be earned by solely our own merit. Despite all of our sacrifices and commitments made during Lent, and in our life in general; we cannot completely earn this gift. It was given to us freely today. If you can’t find something to smile about today, smile about that. So shower up, put on your good clothes and walk tall knowing that He is alive and the gates are open. 🙂
Make Time Today to Give Thanks
When we gather today at our family’s Resurrection Party, I’m going to have everyone in the room go around and give thanks for something. Considering it will be over seventy people, with 3 minutes per person, this should take approximately three hours.
I’m just kidding.
But we will emphasize that today we should be grateful for all that we have, and that most of all, we should give thanks in prayer for the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus gave for us.
Our faith is a faith that believes in God that died and rose from the dead. We are not people that dwell in darkness and death. Contrary to popular belief, the Christian faith is not a religion whose sole end lies in suffering, sacrifice and penance. These things are simply a means to a glorious end. Jesus showed us what suffering and sacrifice leads to… it leads to glory and everlasting life. We worship and adore a God that is alive. Jesus is alive and real and He loves us more than we can imagine. Moreover, He wants us to be with Him for all eternity. There can be no greater cause for joy.
I recall the homily that an amazing priest, Father Dave Pivonka, gave once. He said the following:
“This past year I went to the Holy Land and visited the tomb that Jesus was laid in. Do you know what I saw in the tomb?”
“I saw nothing! I saw nothing!”
“He is not in that tomb! He is alive! And we are called out of our tombs as well! Today we rise!”
Have a blessed Easter everyone…
Christ is risen!
Now on the first day of the week Mary Mag’dalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first; and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.