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Marist Bulletin - Number 188


The Good News of Easter Sunday - Seán Sammon, FMS

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For more than a few people each year, Easter Sunday morning fails to bring Lenten penance to a close. Many of the world’s poor, for example, will tell you and me that those 40 days before the Paschal season begins are just another six weeks in a year long desert experience. Their Lenten fast extends to 52 weeks a year.
Destitute children especially must find our Lenten customs maddening. All our rules and regulations about fast and abstinence are a luxury they can ill afford. Forgoing two meals a day is not a choice for them; it is a grim but familiar day-to-day reality
What, then, does Easter mean to those for whom Lent continues well beyond the shedding of priestly purple vestments; more to the point, what does this age old and sacred feast mean for the rest of us?

This much is undisputed: Jesus came among us to set things right. In so doing, he upset the status quo, enraged some, and transformed our world. So what is the problem? If truth be told, it’s the fact that more than a few of us continue to live and act as though he was never here.
Matthew Chapter 25 is a fine example of our pretense. Its message could not be clearer: God will judge you and me by the way in which we have treated men, women, and children who are poor. That’s right, not by the rules and regulations of our creation but by those of God’s own making: food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothing for the naked, a place to live for the homeless, kindness to the stranger. Simple and sensible actions, not unlike those that Marcellin took when faced with situations of need. We call them the works of mercy but how often do we go out of our way to see that they are done?

When Jesus walked among us, he never ceased to surprise. For example, he spent much of his time with those commonly called sinners: tax collectors, prostitutes, those caught in the act of adultery, publicans. And, he spoke about coming for the sick and not the healthy. Not exactly the behavior or comments expected of someone who called himself the Son of God.
But then again why not? For if Jesus’ life has taught us anything, it has brought home this lesson time and time again: God has a passion for you and me, rich or poor, sinner or saint, in love with him or not.

This year let’s change our tune about Lent and Easter Sunday morning. Yes, let us put aside that sense of pride that we can have about Lenten resolutions well kept, and instead start acting like the resurrection people we are meant to be. That means first of all that we finally stop trying to make God over into our own image and likeness and, for a change, allow him simply to be himself. It also means living the spirit and letter of the Beatitudes, for in so doing we will come to discover that they are Matthew 25 written in other words.
Jesus did in fact rise from the dead. And that, we must confess, has made all the difference. There could be no better Easter Sunday Good News.

A happy and blessed Easter day and season to all.

Seán Sammon, FMS

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