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Easter reflection

By Sister Mary Jo Welter

Spring is officially here and where I live, there are still piles of snow waiting to melt. Temperatures range in the 20s and 30s. Robins have been sighted, buds on the trees are swelling. A neighbor has tomato seedlings on her windowsill. An eagle flies over almost every day. And we all await Easter. But wait! Could these be signs of resurrection, of new life!?

Purple crocuses image from Frauke Riether from Pixabay

As I join those who wait for Easter and for signs of new life, I’m thinking of some of the people who were significant in the days before, during and after the days of Holy Week. People who were part of the Paschal journey. People who, I believe, experienced moments of insight and/or transformation.

Judas, in a kiss, knew and felt the greatest remorse. This was a devastating moment of grief. “I am a traitor! I just betrayed the one person who believed enough in me to call me forth, to offer me an opportunity for fulfillment! If only I could undo this traitorous act!” (Matthew 27:3-10)

One of Jesus’ favorite people was Peter. Time after time, in the weeks after the cock crowed, until Pentecost, Peter faced himself and “grew in stature and grace.” First, in cowardice and fear, he recoiled at his denial. Then, in astonishment, he stood at the tomb and knew, without a doubt, that Jesus was true to His word. As if that wasn’t enough, breakfast on the shore with Jesus Christ risen, was food for his soul. In response to his expression of love, Peter heard, “Feed my lambs, feed my sheep!” (John 21:15-17) Peter’s life would never be the same again!

Mary Magdalene found an empty tomb. But soon, she recognized Jesus Christ present in a new way. Her call came in one spoken word, “Mary!” And her commitment in the greeting, “Rabboni!” (John 20:11-18) Mary was present in the living, in the pain of death and now in the joy of resurrection. She rejoiced when she knew the One she loved had truly risen. Instinctively she knew Jesus’ love was not for her alone. Always a special friend of Jesus, she now dedicated herself to proclaiming Jesus Christ risen and present among us.

Was it just a casual stroll to Emmaus or was it meant to be a life altering journey? What does it feel like to have “hearts burning within us?” To recognize Jesus “in the breaking of the bread?” This sudden awareness meant only one thing for the disciples of Emmaus – “This is Jesus risen; spread the good news!” (Luke 24:29-35)

Since I began this reflection, the temperatures have risen to the 30s and 40s. More sounds of spring are heard. The tomato seedlings are a couple of inches tall. And yes, more robins have arrived. Snow is still here, but some melts each day. Nature is modeling for us change and transformation just as the Paschal journey persons have done.

Peter, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of Jesus; John the beloved; Thomas and the disciples in the upper room and so many others, reveal what it means to be Easter people. Who will reveal the risen Christ to me? To us? Who are the Easter people in my life? What is my moment of transformation? Of new life? Will it be the children delighting in their Easter baskets, or will it be the lady across the street looking for crocuses in her yard?

And each of us? We, too, are Easter People, invited into deep relationship with our God, and called to announce the good news. Alleluia! We have seen the Lord!


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