Category Archives: Easter

What Happens When the Easter Bunny Forgets His Job

I knew our family had changed when I awoke early on Easter morning and realized that the Easter bunny had not come. Our family was so focused on the real meaning of Easter on Holy Saturday that even the Easter bunny forgot to do his job. As I crept past my youngest who had found her way onto the couch, trying not to wake her, I realized what an amazing change this was for all of us. On the counter was my youngest daughter’s favorite plastic bunny with a note hanging around its neck that read: “Dear Easter bunny, Wishing you the blessings and joy of Easter!”

As I frantically put together baskets as quietly and quickly  as I could, praying all the while to my youngest’ guardian angel to keep her sleeping while I did my duty, I realized that while Easter bunnies are signs of Hope, my family understands that Jesus Christ is the real Hope. By the time the family dog heard my scrambling and woke my daughter, the Easter bunny had safely delivered his baskets once again.

Fast forward to today. I think my son had it right. I told him this morning that he has soccer practice tonight. His response was, “On Easter Monday?” Because we celebrate the Season of Easter in our family, we take Easter week off. Yes, you read that correctly. Easter is not just Easter Sunday. It actually is a season that lasts 50 days. My son asked, “Why would they schedule practice during Easter Week? That doesn’t seem right.” Let me be clear, he loves to play soccer and never grumbles about practice. My response, “No one knows or they don’t care. But we do, so we have to both celebrate and offer up these crosses for them.”

Many Christians I know don’t even realize Easter is a season. They ask me, “Why 50 days?” Well, there’s this really important thing that we celebrate on day 50. It’s called Pentecost. That’s 9 days after the Ascension which is another celebration during the Easter Season. Of course, the Blessed Mother and the Apostles prayed for 9 days to prepare for Pentecost. That would be the first Novena! And the Pentecost is the founding of the Church. So, we have Easter Sunday, the day of our Lord’s Resurrection, followed by Divine Mercy Sunday, then the Ascension and it all culminates in Pentecost when the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was so immense that a group of fearful, tentative followers began to share the Good News so profoundly that it changed our world forever!

If you have never celebrated the Easter Season, I suggest you find some resources about these next few weeks and learn more about how to glorify our good God and to prepare for the Holy Spirit coming into your life on Pentecost. It may fundamentally change the way you and your family will celebrate Easter.

 

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Making All Things New this Easter

I awoke this morning with this thought:  “See, I make all things new.” I knew this was a Bible verse, but I just didn’t know quite what it meant for me. Since God knows I can be a hard-head, these words just kept popping up in my mind all day long–during Easter Mass, at brunch with Grandma, on the porch with the children, and praying tonight as a family. So, I finally pulled out my Bible to see in what context these words were said and found the passage:

The one who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Then he said, “Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true.”He said to me, “They are accomplished. I [am] the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give a gift from the spring of life-giving water. (Revelations 21: 5-6)

I immediately recognized so many of these words, but not from Revelations. Do you remember what Jesus said from the Cross? I turned to John 19:

28After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I thirst.” 29There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth.30 When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit. (John 19:28-30)

32So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus.33But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs,34 but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. (John 19:32-34)

How amazing and appropriate that St. John would be God’s choice for writing the Book of Revelations. John was the only Apostle who stood at the foot of the Cross with the Blessed Mother and heard first hand Christ’s final words and was an eye-witness to all that transpired during these most holy moments of all history.

But what’s even more awe-inspiring is the message of Hope this passage of Revelations gives us all. Only God can make all things new again. New means God can take suffering and defeat and anger and sadness and loneliness (also known as the Cross) and transform it into life and hope and love and laughter and joy and peace (also known as the Resurrection)! And the life-giving water mentioned above comes from the side of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. He spoke of this with the woman at the well:

13Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; 14but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4: 13-14)

This Baptism of Water and Blood converted many of the everyday people who were employed at that time to carry out the Crucifixion. Just simply being touched by that precious water and blood from the side of Jesus changed them forever. Today at Mass, we repeated our Baptismal vows and through the “sprinkling rite” received that precious water as a reminder of the Promise of our Baptism.

Tonight, my family prayed the Divine Mercy novena. This is a special devotion started by St. Faustina, who was told to create an image of Jesus which shows the blood and water flowing from him. He “thirsts” to give His mercy and graces to souls, if only they would allow Him. Oh my, such great Hope along with such great Love!

I cannot find the words to express what the Resurrection of our Lord on Easter Sunday means to our souls. It is a love without limits. It is hope beyond hope. It is an ocean of mercy. Hmmmm, perhaps the Word says it best: “Behold, I make all things new.”