Religious Education Blog – the Amazement of EasterApril 1, 2021
The Amazement of Easter
On Palm Sunday, Pope Francis asked that people begin Holy Week with a sense of amazement, by gazing upon Jesus on the cross, and saying to him, “Lord, how much you love me! How precious I am to you!”. This is a truth that we need to live by and live to the fullest. It is the truth that gives us the courage to journey in faith and be Christ present to others.
“With the grace of amazement, we come to realise that in welcoming the dismissed and discarded, in drawing close to those ill-treated by life, we are loving Jesus. For that is where he is, in the least of our brothers and sisters, in the rejected and discarded,” the pope said.
With his love, sacrifice and salvation, “now we know that we are not alone – God is at our side in every affliction, in every fear; no evil, no sin will ever have the final word,” he said.
This sense of amazement can be seen as deep listening, or Dadirri, which I have reflected on in my last few newsletter articles. Amazement need not be fleeting. It should be transformative. Easter affords us the opportunity to sit with and deeply listen to the call of our Creator God, calling each of us to live life to the full, to enable our own transformation. Through renewing our Baptismal vows we say ‘Amen’ to the fact that God, the all-powerful Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has given us a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit. Through water we are sustained, physically. Through the Holy Spirit we are empowered to journey in our relationship with God in truth and courage. The Holy Spirit speaks to us in the deep listening and calls us to be transformed.
Baptism is a mark of God’s covenant with us – our union with God’s people in Christ. The Spirit is the one who brings the new covenant blessings, and this includes the creation of a new regenerated community. “For in one Spirit we were all baptised into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit” (1Cor 12:13). St Paul envisioned an ideal Christian community where all could live in the love of Christ, and share their goods with each other so there would be no hunger, thirst or poverty. Jesus himself tells us that he came so that we should live life to the full, aware of our own dignity, and living in a relationship with our Creator.
Easter should amaze us. We should sing ‘Amen’ and ‘Alleluia’ and give thanks to love that God has bestowed upon us through the sacrifice of his son, Jesus. But we should focus on the joy that the Resurrection brings. As an Easter people we are called to live in the joy and hope of the resurrection, with the firm belief that as Easter people we can create a future filled with hope and optimism.
Easter should challenge us to reflect on our engagement with the community of God’s people. In his recent book, Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future, Pope Francis calls us to live out our baptismal vows more fully and place human dignity at the very centre of our efforts, with a particular focus on providing all people with “the three Ls of land, lodging and labour, as well as education and healthcare”.
Pope Francis shows how ordinary people acting together, despite their differences, can discover unforeseen possibilities by being Christ present to others and by following the example of Jesus who gathered people around him with a message about a different way of living – a way of love, rather than of power; a way of healing rather than hurting; a way of collaboration rather than of competition. Truly, this is an amazing view of the way the world could be.
The Resurrection is a cause for joy and sharing Good News. The tomb is empty, Jesus is risen. The Holy Spirit will empower us to journey in truth and courage to share the love of God for all. Surely, a cause for amazement!