BY FATHER TOM FLANAGAN - ST. JOSEPH Catholic Church
We just celebrated Easter a few weeks ago! Now, with May approaching, most of us are moving out of the Easter season.
But, Easter is an ongoing event, as a short story that a friend of mine from Africa sent to me recently. He wrote: “A man who was tired of life decided to commit suicide under a mango tree. The son quickly ran to him and said, ‘Dad, I just won $100 million! I promise you that your funeral will be a big celebration.’ The dad said to him, ‘Foolish boy, untie me quickly and let’s go and celebrate my resurrection!’”
While we celebrate Easter at a particular time of year, it really is more than just an annual Church celebration; it is a way of life. Christians are Easter people. In Jesus’ resurrection, the gates of life are thrown open to us. God, who has stooped down low to become one of us, now raises us up to be like God. It is not only a new day, but a new beginning for all of creation!
Some years ago, when I was working as a missionary in Africa, I was there around Eastertime. While the celebrations were very impressive there was something lost for me in the symbolism of creation around us. There, because it was a much warmer climate, flowers were blooming and trees and plants were green, as they were throughout most of the year.
Here in Iowa, where we have plants that lie dormant in winter, Easter in the springtime marks the beginning of their new life too. The green shoots coming out of the ground and trees sending out their leaf buds speak loudly about the new life that surrounds us, both in the created world and in the spiritual world.
Creation will be resplendent with life as we enter into the month of May. Our farmers and gardeners will be planting their crops and tending the new growth as it emerges. Flowers will abound, their beauty bringing joy to all. This is the kind of life that needs to emerge in our spirits as well, as we continue to celebrate Easter in our lives.
As Easter people we are called to be joyful, optimistic, and supportive of one another and others. We encourage and empower people to make full use of their talents and abilities. With the help of God’s grace we offer the witness of our lives to help others come to know the presence of Christ in this world.
Jesus sent his disciples out into the world to continue his mission. We are among those who are sent. Now it is up to us to be the sign that reveals the presence of the Risen Christ in our world. Because of the Resurrection of Jesus we are all changed. We are all challenged to live as Jesus lived and to be the visible sign of God's presence in our world through our service to others.