Lent, Holy Week and Easter have passed on,   like our loved ones, who have died, “passed on” as we euphemistically say. How will they be remembered? No doubt we all did many different things, spent time in Church, stayed home or went out, spent time alone, with friends or family.  How much time did we spend with Jesus.  One of my prize moments was the Easter Vigil Mass from the Vatican. Pope Francis, in amazing form during a tiring week preached.  

“Dear brothers and sisters, let us follow Jesus to Galilee, encounter him, and worship him there, where he is waiting for each of us,” the Pope preached in his homily. “Let us revive the beauty of that moment when we realized that he is alive and we made him the Lord of our lives.” “Let us return to Galilee, to the Galilee of first love. Let each of us return to his or her own Galilee, to the place where we first encountered him. Let us rise to new life!”  

That was something to mull over during that Easter night.   The attached story is not new, but for me as pertinent as before.  “Christ is Risen. Alleluia.” “Thanks be to God. Alleluia.”   TR  Family Weekly e-newsletter 12 April 2023

Image. Church Mater Dolorosa, Kensington S Johannesburg

An Easter Story.

Nikolaos, the Greek owner at the Spar greeted his customers who came in to buy Easter eggs by saying, “The Lord is risen, Alleluia.” Instead of saying, “Thanks be to God, Alleluia,” which is the right reply, most of them looked at him funnily and went on to get their eggs and boxes of those marshmallow ones for the treasure hunt or to give away if they were alone at home. He had discussed with Eleni, his wife, that as usual, even if most people didn’t know what Easter is all about, they would continue their tradition of greeting the customers as their family had done for years.

Jesus in heaven, with the Father, the Holy Spirit and the many, many, many people who had died even in the last year with the many disasters and accidents, looked down to earth. “What can you see happening over there,” Jesus asked.

An old man spirit said, “Mostly the same as always but, maybe things are a bit different. There are some serious wars, especially in Ukraine, but also in the Middle East and Africa. There are people still recovering from flooding and the terrible earthquake that also destroyed my old town Antioch. But fewer people are going on holiday, because I heard that life has become too expensive. Many are at home with their families and at least that is good.   

A woman spirit added, “I’m glad that churches have opened again after the frightening years of the coronavirus. I know that did affect people’s faith, and not everyone has started coming back but Easter is different.  Lots of them come to pray for help on Good Friday and hopefully on Easter Sunday they will come too. They certainly do need hope as well as true  Easter joy.”

Jesus replied, “You’re right, but in some way people can learn from experience.  My friend Pope Francis made a really insightful comment a while ago. He wrote, “God wishes to work with us and counts on our cooperation. He can also bring good out of the evil we have done.  The Holy Spirit can be said to have an infinite creativity which knows how to loosen even the most complex knots of human affairs.” (Laudato Si’) They certainly need to be creative at this time.”    

A little girl spirit said, “Look over there, aren’t there children running around their gardens, looking under bushes and even climbing trees. I remember we used to do that before I got sick. We were looking for Easter eggs and it was so exciting.”

Jesus smiled, but in a kind of a sad way and said,. “I wonder whether they’re thinking of us, my Father and I, how we could see what was happening in this world we had created and kept trying to warn them. They had become sinners and did many bad things. Even children fought and stole things and bullied each other. So we decided the time had come for a new kind of life.  I went to earth, as a baby, grew up and started teaching them to care for each other, especially the poor. Eventually their leaders didn’t like what I was saying, so they arrested me and killed me.  OK, in a way giving my life was part of the plan, but it was terribly painful. The best part was that the Father raised me up again to a new life.  Easter eggs and bunnies and chickens are about new life, sure, but is it my kind of new life?  Greater kindness, more love, less fighting and wars and much greater care for our whole creation is what we plan for.  Do those chocolate goodies really help to remind people of that? And when they’ve eaten so much chocolate that they’re feeling sick have they thought about children who don’t even get to eat a piece of bread?  I think we still have a long way to go to get people to hear that message. It’s also not so much about the things they do for and give each other but the gift that I gave them.  You see it is all about love and joy. I think I’ll have to get the Spirit to be really creative and go and remind them that with their cooperation heir troubles will come to an end.

And we will give a special blessing to that Greek man and his wife at the Spar for doing their bit. That’s what everyone should be doing.  Tell the people, “The Lord is risen, Alleluia. Trust in him. Be filled with joy and happiness and share it with everyone and all God’s creatures.”  Then they can all reply.  ‘Thanks be to God, Alleluia. We will share His joy and peace in our world, our world of families.”  

And Jesus said to himself and to the Spirit, “Let them enjoy their Easter, and their Easter eggs, but remind them not to eat too much chocolate. It’s really not good for them and they might end up here in heaven sooner than they think.” TR