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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Redemption

Something in Catherine Deveney's rant in The Age about Easter struck me as a little funny. No, I don't mean that this comedienne who refers to herself as Catholic actually delivered a good joke. She prophetically said something that turns out to be rather funny. Early on, she claims that "Easter's never really taken off. Two thousand years and it's still the B team of religious celebrations."

That certainly was a gaff for a Catholic to make, but I'm glad that I encountered it, since it elicited some rather good insights. I pray that other readers made the same connections.

Mass is a big thing among Catholics. It is an ever-present requirement for Catholics to celebrate the Eucharist each Sunday, and a handful of major feasts during the year. Mass is also the singular vehicle of Catholic prayer, including weddings, funerals, ordinations, thanksgiving, and petitions. And yet each and every Mass revolves around the Eucharist: the consecration of bread and wine which are transubstantiated into the very body and blood of our Lord. At the very heart of this mystery is, no surprise here, the paschal sacrifice: Christ on the cross, once for all made, which elicits a major annual celebration during, no surprise again, the Easter Triduum. What of baptism, the first of sacraments? It is indeed an Easter sacrament, for in the waters of baptism, as Christ dies, we die, and as Christ rises from the dead, so do we. And let's not forget the very aspirations of Catholics, in taking up our daily crosses and dying to ourselves and to sin, for hope in Christ's promises of, no surprise again, our resurrection.

So although we Christians are wont to lose sight of the big picture, Easter is an opportunity to reaffirm, in faith, hope and love, what we believe, although it should not occur only on this occasion, but in every single day. But in a special way, Easter connects us to what the Lord has destined us for, and it connects our every celebration of the Eucharist. It is thus with confidence that we can assure Catholics who see nothing spectacular about Easter: it is most spectacular, in fact. Just take a closer, more prayerful look.

The Lord has truly risen: Alleluiah!

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