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Every year at Easter, I tell people “It’s still Easter!” for at least the Octave of Easter. Sometimes I go so far as to do this for the whole liturgical season. I want to revel in the joy of Christ’s resurrection, even while others throw out lilies on Easter Sunday night, and stores put chocolate bunnies on sale the next day.
This year, though, Easter is a whole different experience. On Sunday, there was no getting to Mass early so we could have a seat in the jam-packed church; there were plenty of seats for the livestream from our living room. Our big family Easter dinner was over a video conference. My son hunted for eggs by himself instead of with his cousins. Nonetheless, it’s still Easter.
Yes, I know most of us don’t feel joyful right now. So many happy events -- vacations, first Communions, Confirmations, proms, graduations, weddings -- have been postponed or cancelled. A record number of people are unemployed, unsure how they will make ends meet and put food on their tables. When tens of thousands of people around the world have died in a pandemic, it is strangely discordant to hear in Scripture, “Oh Death, where is thy sting?” Perhaps even people we know and love have passed away. Yet, in spite of all this, it’s still Easter.
Paul puts it so beautifully in 2 Corinthians 4:
We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed ... we are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day ... as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.
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Christ does not promise an earthly life free of trouble or sorrow. He often may provide us times of peace and joy in this life, but He doesn’t offer us a life of ease. He offers us Eternal Life with Him who is Love Himself and the source of all Good. He gives a gift that even the best of us could never deserve by our own merits, and makes it available to anyone open to loving and serving God. The God of the Universe loved each of us so much, He humbled Himself to be mocked and tortured by His own creation so that each of us, despite our sins, could have the chance to spend all eternity with Him.
So, yes, we may not feel like celebrating right now, but it is still Easter. As Psalm 30 says, “weeping comes for the night; but at dawn there is rejoicing.” All of our reasons to sink into despair -- the uncertainty, the fear, the isolation, the hardship, the pandemic -- these too shall pass.
Christ won the final victory over sin and death. Now, more than ever, let us rejoice and be glad in that!
Copyright 2020 Monica Portogallo
About the Author
Monica Portogallo is a wife, mother, and registered dietitian nutritionist who does her best not to miss the lessons God sends to her through the joys and struggles of daily life. She lives in California.