By Sharon Wilson
On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark … (John 20:1)
Easter morning starts in the dark. It seems most appropriate that after 40 days of fasting and then witnessing the passion and death of Christ on the Cross we are left searching for Jesus in the dark. I think about Mary Magdalene and how she must have felt as she approached the tomb, her fear when she saw it empty, and her joy in encountering Christ.
For many years, I assisted with the Easter Vigil liturgy at my parish. My family was at home tucked in bed, as I assisted with this beautiful liturgy. We attended Easter morning Mass together but the vigil I attended alone. I would come home well after midnight to set out the Easter baskets and sit for a few minutes in the dark.
This was my opportunity to reflect on how well I kept Lent and to plan on how I would keep the Easter season in my heart.
I have heard that we, as Catholics, spend a lot of time thinking about and working on “keeping” Lent well, but the harder task might be “keeping” Easter well. Lent, after all, is 40 days, but the Easter season is 50!
We seem to know how to deal with Lent. We add extra prayer, give things up, attend stations of the cross, and make it to Confession at least once. But what does it mean to keep Easter?
Can we truly celebrate for 50 days? I am not suggesting chocolate bunnies and Easter eggs for the whole time! But what would it be like to remember that Christ has risen … that He is in our hearts … that He is with us always? If we can practice the discipline of Lent—remembering Christ’s passion and that He died for us to help us live a life of humility and remembering our debt—what would 50 days of spreading the joy of finding He has risen look like?
St. John Paul II said, “We are an Easter people, and Halleluiah is our song!”
How will we live out Easter? How will we share the joy of the Resurrection? How will we sing Alleluia each day? How will we “keep” Easter for the next 50 days?