The Hope of Easter
The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.” (Luke 24:5)
I am often moved to tears during Holy Week as I read the accounts of Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection in the gospels. The enormity of the gift we have been given through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ can be overwhelming. The greatest act of selfless love known to humans. Easter is a time to celebrate that love and the mercy and hope gifted to us through it. As I have been reflecting on the hope of Easter amid the horrific suffering of the innocent seen in the stories of the war in Ukraine, I was reminded of the reflection Easter Blessings by the late Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donohue. In it, O’Donohue reminds us of the light and hope gifted to us in the resurrection. A light and hope that can never be overcome by darkness. I share it with you as you celebrate the hope of Easter in the risen Christ. As you reflect on your own dying and rising with Christ, may Christ crucified and risen draw you to himself, to find in him a sure ground of faith, a firm support for hope, the assurance of sins forgiven, and the inextinguishable light of his love.
Yours in Christ,
Chaplain Mary Marks
Easter Blessings by John O’Donohue (at Dawn Mass Reflections at Corcomroe Abbey, County Clare, Ireland) *
The Easter season is a time of hope. There still is fear, there still is a painful awareness of sinfulness, but there also is light breaking through. Something new is happening, something that goes beyond the changing moods of our life. We can be joyful or sad, optimistic or pessimistic, tranquil or angry, but the solid stream of God’s presence moves deeper than the small waves of our minds and hearts. Easter brings the awareness that God is present even when his presence is not directly noticed. Easter brings the good news that, although things seem to get worse in the world, the Evil One has already been overcome. Easter allows us to affirm that although God seems very distant and although we remain preoccupied with many little things, our Lord walks with us on the road and keeps explaining the Scriptures to us. Thus there are many rays of hope casting their light on our way through life.
On this Easter morning, let us look again at the lives we have been so generously given and let us let fall away the useless baggage that we carry – old pains, old habits, old ways of seeing and feeling – and let us have the courage to begin again. Life is very short, and we are no sooner here than it is time to depart again, and we should use to the full the time that we still have.
We don’t realize all the good we can do. A kind, encouraging word or helping hand can bring many a person through dark valleys in their lives. We weren’t put here to make money or to acquire status or reputation. We were sent here to search for the light of Easter in our hearts, and when we find it we are meant to give it away generously.
May the spirit and light of this Easter morning and the special spirit and light of this abbey at Corcomroe bless us all, watch over us and protect us on our journey, open us from the darkness into the light of peace and hope and transfiguration.
*Excerpts from WALKING ON THE PASTURES OF WONDER