Happy & Blessed Easter to you! For many people, this day brings a wide variety of feelings, some are happy because Spring is here, our children are perhaps most excited about candy, some people are sad because of a recent death of a loved one or a divorce, and still others are stuck in depression or illness. Yet through all of this, our Lord calls us to a new feeling and that feeling is joy.
It may happen that your feelings don’t pop into joy just because the calendar has turned to April 9th. It may happen that just because everyone else is celebrating, you don’t automatically switch into joy mode. It may happen that you are like the apostles who did not “get it” right away because they were still caught up with the difficult state of the world around them.
On this day we celebrate our holiest of days, the most important day of our year, the day the greatest event in all of human history has occurred, the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus the Christ. The day that God gives us the last gift of creation, not just life but eternal life.
In the very word “joy” we learn how to come to joy if we follow a simple initialism, where “joy” stands for “Jesus”, Others,” and “You.” IF we can put our lives in that order, we will find the joy we seek this day and it all begins with Jesus. When we put Jesus first, we will understand what this day is about.
Today is not about Easter bunnies and chocolate eggs as much as it is about bloodied crosses and empty tombs. It is less about Easter clothes and dinners as much as it is about the encounters of Jesus in the Last Supper (Eucharist) and the Risen Christ. When we put Jesus first, we step away from all the death of our world into the new life of today. Today Jesus gives EVERYBODY gets a fresh start, not just in the next life but in this one as well, as He gave the apostles a new start at His Resurrection.
The second step in moving toward joy is then focusing on others, as Mary Magdalen did. What did Mary Magdalen do after her encounter with Jesus? She went to share her joy with others, she went to share the good news with others, and we are called to do no less. We are called to share the joy of Jesus with others and yes we can do that with Easter egg hunts and Easter dinners, but Jesus must still be the center of these events.
Finally, lastly, and rightly “you” comes last. A reminder we are called to humility before this awesome event. Our joy does not start with us, but it does end with us where it will dwell. May the Easter joy of our new life be with you today and always!
With a heart for Mission,