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  • Fr. John Jennings

Our Sacred Stories ~ Easter: What’s It All About?

Every year brings its own challenges and setbacks, both personal and global. We may have lost a friend or loved one or perhaps we have had to face health issues or job losses or changes. Globally, this has been a rough year for our world. We face many challenges. Two of the greatest include, the continuing threat posed to many by the covid-19 virus and the war that is taking place in Ukraine. In Canada, we can add the wounded relationship of our church and our indigenous peoples.

The weight of these challenges brings disappointment, discouragement and even despair – a loss of hope. In our faith tradition, these might be referred to as the crosses we carry. Such crosses are the negatives of our lives. How do we move beyond them? Do they define us? Is that what life is really all about? If not, then how do we respond to these crosses?

Easter offers hope. It presents a path for moving beyond. In the Gospels we are presented with the disciples of Jesus as they faced the crucifixion and death of their beloved Jesus. They were confused, discouraged and filled with despairing fear. Then, Easter. In the midst of their despair they discovered the resurrection. In Luke’s story (Lk.24:1-12), several of the women disciples go to the tomb and it is empty. The terrified women find themselves in a question: “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.” Easter offers a door to hope. But it also presents us with another challenge.

Carlo Carretto (1910-1988) was born in Italy. At the age of 44 he joined the Little Brothers of Jesus, a monastic community in Algeria. Living with this community in the Sahara desert, he became a contemplative spiritual writer. It was a life of prayer, but also one of service to the people in the area around the community. At the core of his spirituality was the realization that holiness rests in the ordinary, everyday existence of every one of us. God touches us in the person of Jesus and journeys with us as the risen one.

Commenting on the meaning of Jesus’s resurrection, theological writer and speaker Megan McKenna turned to Carretto’s words:

When the world seems a defeat for God and you are sick with the disorder, the violence, the terror, the war on the streets; when the earth seems to be chaos, say to yourself, “Jesus died and rose again on purpose to save and his salvation is already with us….”

Every peace treaty is an act of faith in the resurrection.

Every agreed commitment is an act of faith in the resurrection.

When you forgive your enemy

When you feed the hungry

When you defend the weak

you believe in the resurrection.

When you have the courage to marry

When you welcome the newly-born child

When you build your home

you believe in the resurrection. (Carol Carretto. “Blessed Are You Who Believed)

The resurrection takes on full meaning, when we are able to take it out into our world, Just as Jesus did.Easter’s meaning rests in the healing, reconciling, caring and liberating of the world in which we find ourselves.Easter brings life and light.Easter is about hope and how we bring it to one another.

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