Sun­day is Easter — What does that mean to you?

The Compass - - OPINION - Bill West­cott

On that first Easter Christ rose from the dead To show us how to live, How to put oth­ers first, How to love and How to give

When I was an al­tar boy back so many years ago when mass was said in Latin, Easter was a mix of things to me.

It joy­fully pro­claimed - “those dreary and some­what de­pres­sive 40 days of Lent are fi­nally over.” (I re­al­ize the sig­nif­i­cance of Lent with its lead-up to the cru­ci­fix­ion of Christ - that dread­ful act that is ad­dressed on Good Fri­day and Easter Satur­day-so please don’t write me say­ing I’ve lost my faith).

I am aware that without win­ter there can be no spring. But one must ad­mit — it is some­what de­press­ing.

Vis­it­ing our parish church way back then it was so up­lift­ing to see the mar­ble stat­ues of Christ and other saints po­si­tioned through­out the sanc­tu­ary — un­wrapped. I no­ticed those mor­bid pur­ple cov­er­ings (some parishes used black I un­der­stand) taken off and put away for an­other year.

The taber­na­cle would be draped with white silk and gold em­broi­dery. The priest’s gar­ments now a bril­liant white (also with gold-laced em­broi­dery and tas­sels). The cross — cen­tral to the Chris­tian church and to the Easter story, was also un­cov­ered and drape-free. It was in­vig­o­rat­ing to the soul and to the mind.

The choir is singing God’s praises and the pipe or­gan seems to res­onate through­out the small church and sanc­tu­ary with up­beat “hal­lelu­jah” hymns of praise.

Easter meant hol­i­days from school and Easter pageants here and there. It meant search­ing our homes for Easter eggs and chew­ing large chocolate Easter bun­nies.

Easter also sig­ni­fied the real beginning of spring. It’s the time of na­ture’s awak­en­ing af­ter a de­pres­sive win­ter (I know most of you love snow and all it of­fers to chil­dren es­pe­cially and hoards of out­doors­men. How­ever, I hated win­ter then and I still hate it now).

Chirp chirp

In spring around Easter song­birds grad­u­ally be­gin their re­turn from the sunny south car­ry­ing with them those wel­come chirp­ing sounds.

Love and an­tic­i­pa­tion fills the air (es­pe­cially if your gar­den is adorned with trees like ours). The snow slowly melts and the green grass sends its frozen blades up­ward seek­ing new light, warmth and new beginning.

Ici­cles melt and drop from eaves of houses and elec­tric wires along the street. Win­ter clothes is put away for an­other year. Chains are taken off car, truck and bus wheels as those noisy and al­ways-wel­come street san­ders are fi­nally put away ‘ till next win­ter. A mir­a­cle is hap­pen­ing again be­fore our eyes. A light is felt in the dark cav­ern of our mind — a light burn­ing like a can­dle for those who seek the res­ur­rected Christ.

Spring­time usu­ally brings new ba­bies to fill our nurs­eries. Some say more in­fants ar­rive in the month of May than at any other time of the year. ( Guess it’s all that cud­dling and snug­gling for body warmth dur­ing those long cold nights that be­gin mid-Septem­ber in New­found­land and Labrador).

Easter is

Easter is both so­cial and spir­i­tual. On the church litur­gi­cal cal­en­dar it is de­fined as the great­est cel­e­bra­tions of the year. The en­tire Chris­tian prom­ise is de­pen­dent on and so­lid­i­fied by Easter’s cel­e­bra­tion of the res­ur­rec­tion of Christ from the tomb.

Easter is that same res­ur­rected Christ in us, around us and spir­i­tu­ally alive within us. It speaks to the per­son on the street cor­ner wear­ing filthy clothes, beg­ging for food, and re­ceiv­ing a gift from a loving hand; the hus­band and wife hav­ing trou­bles in their mar­riage and find­ing com­fort in the voice of a car­ing priest, coun­sel­lor and sup­port­ive neigh­bours; the teen who just can’t re­late to his/ her par­ents and who finds a Chris- tian to lis­ten to their pain of lonely days spent; the voices of pris­on­ers, those ad­dicted to drugs, al­co­hol, gam­bling, pornog­ra­phy, sex, abu­sive and lewd be­hav­iour, the list goes on. Easter is their an­swer — their in­ner voice if he/she is will­ing to sur­ren­der.

Easter is a recharg­ing of one’s Chris­tian be­liefs and a risen Christ beck­on­ing to the lost and lonely to come.

The more for­tu­nate

It’s for those who have more than enough to eat and spend and so share gen­er­ously with the needy; those whose mar­riages are filled with the love of the res­ur­rected Christ and who give wit­ness to those young ea­ger cou­ples pre­par­ing to marry. Easter is youth whose lives are filled with the joy of solid fam­i­lies and friends, who reach out to needy ado­les­cents who are lonely and hurt­ing; those who are ded­i­cated to liv­ing life to its fullest, shar­ing their hap­pi­ness and ra­di­at­ing the love of the res­ur­rected Je­sus to those around them.

He is risen

Easter is for some­one do­ing great in school or some­one strug- gling with grades; for any­body and all with high or low self­es­teem; those who are al­ways happy or the one suf­fer­ing de­pres­sion. This is their an­swer — a new voice — God amongst them no mat­ter what the cir­cum­stance. It’s an­other re­minder that we Chris­tians are mirac­u­lously one body in Christ and that no one is ex­cluded (sin­ner or saint).

Easter is for those who are be­yond their youth, who are young at heart and who are filled with sea­soned wis­dom.

Easter is a prom­ise from the Christ who died and the Christ who was res­ur­rected on that first Easter Sun­day — for those who seek him and those Chris­tians who were al­ready there. His prom­ise is that of a new and per­sonal jour­ney (in him) with fresh new eyes and wise per­spec­tives to guide us through this trou­bled world.

Have a blessed and mean­ing­ful Easter.

Bill West­cott writes from Florida. He ac­knowl­edges the use of quotes from the Catholic hym­nal, Voices As One, in part of this col­umn.

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