It is easy for me to live into the season of Lent. I can give things up, fast, and make sacrifices. For all of Lent we focus on the suffering and the crucifixion. And then Easter comes. We celebrate Christ’s resurrection and then move on. At least that is how it has always been for me. I have always focused on Lent and then Easter lasts a day. The problem with this is that I have been missing out on a lot of celebration time because in our Church the Easter season actually lasts seven weeks. This year as I have really been trying to live into the liturgical seasons of the Church, I have actually paid attention to the fact that we are still in Easter. I’ve paid attention to the differences in the mass and when we pray Liturgy of the Hours. Alex has been really excited about the resurrection, and he has been sharing his joy of the Easter season with our community practically every day since Easter. So for me, this Easter has been full of an awareness of the season, but I must admit I haven’t allowed myself to enter into it more deeply than that. I have acknowledged it, but that is about it. Every time I hear Alex go on another excited tangent about the resurrection, I think that it is great he is so excited, but I am just not there. I listen to what he has to say about Easter, and I just think that it doesn’t apply to my life right now. I don’t know why.
So it has been about a month since Easter Sunday now, and I have yet to fully enter into the fullness of the joy of Easter. This past weekend we were in Flagstaff leading a retreat. For our last session, Alex gave a talk about living into the resurrection. As he has been talking about it for a month now, I didn’t really hear anything new. But as I sat there listening to him yesterday, I wondered why I have allowed myself to let a month pass by thinking that Alex’s Easter joy doesn’t apply to me. I feel that as I have tried to live into being obedient to my mission year, I have recently found myself in a place of complacency. And I realized yesterday that it is time to change that. Luckily we still have a couple weeks left of Easter for me to fully live into. What does that look like? I am not really sure. At the beginning of the year, I heard in a homily: “Rejoice is a choice.” That quote has stuck with me throughout the year. So for the rest of Easter, I know I need to choose joy. I don’t know why that is so difficult for me. I have no reason to not be joyful. God has blessed me abundantly, and I need to reflect that in my rejoicing.
I am going to steal a part of Alex’s talk, as I think there is a lot of truth in it. As Christians, the biggest thing that is often talked about is the crucifixion. We focus on the Passion of Christ, on the suffering. We think about Christ dying on a cross for us. If I were asked about the focal point of my faith, I think the first thing I would think of is Christ dying on a cross for my sins. Yes, the crucifixion had to happen in order for the resurrection to occur, but if we just focus on the crucifixion, then we miss the point. Because the main point is that He rose; He was resurrected. In Jesus’ time, crucifixion was the main form of capital punishment. A lot of people were crucified. It wasn’t out of the ordinary that Christ died on the cross. What was out of the ordinary was the fact that He ROSE. The big deal wasn’t the dying part; it was the rising. That’s what we need to celebrate. How beautiful that our Church gives us the Easter season, a season which is actually longer than the season of Lent, to celebrate the joy of the resurrection!