A very Happy Easter to you all! These words might stick in our throats a bit as we mark this Feast in the midst of such trying times. But practice saying the words and they might come a little easier. And why wouldn’t it be a Happy Easter? It was for just an experience such as this that Christ entered into our lives, shared our suffering and even our death. It was for just a moment such as this that Christ Rose victorious.
When we come face to face with our human frailty; when we realize that no amount of money or power or scientific knowhow can prevent this house of cards that we call human existence from being shaken to its core and even falling, that is the moment we begin to understand our utter need for God. We need One who is not contingent, not passing like ourselves, to reach out to us with His merciful love and to save us.
And the salvation we need is not simply a ‘genie in the bottle’ kind of short-term fix. We need something that truly gives us a hope that reaches beyond the passing nature of life in this world. We long for something only God can give, the grace of forgiveness that inoculates us with freedom from our sins and raises us to a share in God’s very life. It is only this gift that will liberate us from the tethers of this broken world so marked by suffering, pain and death.
This is what Easter is about. It is not about cute little Easter bunnies, colored eggs and showy hats. These are fine in themselves but if we forget the reason for our joy then these springtime displays become empty and superficial—as fragile as the hardboiled eggs we hide.
No, what we celebrate today is the greatest event of human history, but it is not simply a day in history. What we celebrate today is an event that turned history upside down and wrote a different ending to the long human story, doomed when left of its own accord to always end in violence and evil, suffering and death. God has written a new ending to the human drama that turns suffering into victory and death into life.
This Feast we celebrate today as we sit confined in our homes and fearful of tomorrow is exactly the Good News we need to hear! It is not another story of the impending inexorable advance of this deadly virus. It is the news that even as we do what is in our ability to avoid unnecessary suffering we need not live in fear. We are not alone. The One who has loved us so that he entered into our lives and took upon Himself our suffering is with us now. He has overcome even death itself! Christ is Risen!
A very Happy Easter, indeed!
Bp. Mark Seitz
Most Rev. Mark J. Seitz