Season of Easter: Moving Forward or Back?
Evening came and morning followed: Easter Sunday. Now that Easter Monday has dawned upon us, how do we approach the remaining days of this liturgical season? Unlike other important times in the Church Calendar, Easter is marked by a full season — not just a feast or solemnity or even octave — it gets weeks worth of emphasis! And with good reason. Here we celebrate the new life Christ has brought to us, the Salvation — the reuniting of all creation back to God — that comes in the Resurrection and made possible by God’s loving decision to enter the world as one like us.
But it seems to me that far too often the approach that some take to the Easter season is that of a “return to the way things were.”
What I mean by this is that Lent brings about significant changes for the daily life of the Christian community in noticeable ways. No saying or singing Alleluia, no praying the Gloria, no eating meat on Fridays, perhaps the giving up of something or taking on of some disciple as a penance throughout Lent — all of this amounts to a palpable experience of change and difference.
Yet, it is Easter that brings the real change and difference to the world. If there should be a moment marked by significant changes in the faith life of the faithful, shouldn’t it be beginning with the Easter Vigil and carried on through the days and weeks that follow, representing the changes Christ brought into Salvation History? What can be more life-changing than the extraordinary good news that death no longer has power over us? That death does not have the last word? That God so loved the world that, despite our best intentions to “do it our way” out of the hubris of original sin, we are brought back into the loving embrace of Trinity in baptism and life.
So as we continue to celebrate what began at Easter, how will you live? Will you “move back” to the way things were before Lent, thereby making Lent the main focus of your faith life? Or will you “move forward” into the new life God has given you in Baptism and continues to bestow on all of us in the Spirit?