From Easter Sunday until the Solemnity of the Ascension, the Church celebrates Easter. We immerse ourselves in the great mystery that Jesus’ violent death at the hands of those who were filled with hatred, jealously and love of power, was not the final word. But that God rose Jesus Christ from the dead as a sign that love triumphs over sin.
Today, I have the privilege of wishing you and each member of the Fordham Prep community a Happy Easter.
This wish evokes many images: the glorious arrival of spring; brightly colored and painted eggs; Easter parades with bonnets; bunnies and the like.
In light of God’s action in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, wishing someone “Happy Easter” means much more than these pleasant images.
After Jesus’ execution, his disciples were locked in an upper room, trembling in shame and fear. Their shame and fear had multiple causes: they had betrayed the One who they believed was the Anointed, the Christ. They were targets of the same violent forces that killed Jesus. They were isolated from their community. Their hopes were crushed.
In appearing to the disciples, the Risen Christ crosses into a locked and dark space. His words? “Peace be with you!” The resurrection—indeed Easter—reverses the cycle of violence and hatred in human relationships.
In an Easter sermon, Adam Erickson preaches that “faith in the resurrection is dangerous because the resurrection is God’s alternative to the myths of violence. When you believe the resurrection of Jesus, you can no longer fight violence with violence in the name of God. Rather, you ‘fight’ violence with forgiveness. You don’t engage evil with more evil, but with love. Resurrection is dangerous because our enemies may respond to our offer of peace with violence. That’s the risk of faith in the resurrection of Jesus. But that risk is our greatest hope for a more peaceful world.”
So when we wish each other Happy Easter this year, may we express the fullness of our resurrection faith. May we wish each other healing and forgiveness. May wish each other the power of love over hatred. For then our Easter will truly be happy.