The Easter Season –by Vickie Shepherd
“Easter must leave a mark!
It must be continuously felt in our lives!”
Pope John Paul II-Rising in Christ, Meditations on Living the Resurrection
Easter is the beginning of a new life in Christ for everyone, not only those who have been reborn in baptism; but by those of us who renew our baptismal covenant with God at the Easter Liturgy and throughout the Easter Season.
We are called to a renewal and a chance to do what our baptismal promises urge us to do from that time forward. What are we as baptized Christians and Catholics to do? Many Catholics think that if we are present and in our usual pew each Sunday that would suffice, but does it really? This past Lent as our pastor was talking he put an emphasis on service and the homily on Holy Thursday was the ultimate service for everyone involved because the priest invites the people in their pews to come forward and let him wash their feet.
Were you there? Did you experience this wonderful service our priest and parish ministers did for us? I was always wary about going up to have my feet washed, but I did one time because no one else was going forward to participate; letting our pastor serve him or her in yet another way and yes, teach him or her how to become more perfect as a Christian. Learning to be served as well as being taught how to serve is the point Jesus tried to initiate at the Last Supper as He was leading the Apostles into a new and different way of thinking. The custom as one entered a house as a guest, was to have the servant wash the feet of the guests; the people of that day traveled by foot and wore sandals, therefore their feet would be dusty from the journey. This was one way of making the guest comfortable, and Jesus wanted his Apostles to know that serving others was a way of helping others to feel comfort. Jesus also wanted His followers to know that serving others was not beneath anyone, we are all to serve others as our baptismal promises to God. We who are seated in the pews and being sprinkled with the waters of baptism after making our profession of faith-renewing our baptismal promises are the ones who need to become more active in service to the people of our community and world. We the people in the pews are called to actively participate in the Mass; including any kind of participation that may be called for such as during Rites for the Catechumenate, washing of the feet on Holy Thursday or writing our name down to help at parish functions. There are so many ways that the people in the pews can serve other than sitting there in their usual pew week after week. There is a growing need for help in ministry throughout the parish and out in the community, I know our diocese is short on priests and our parish priest and his associate serve three parishes now. This means that the parishes that do not have a priest present day after day need help from the parish members-the people in the pews.
Is it right to sit there thinking that our Sunday obligation is finished and that is all we need to do until next Sunday? I don’t think so, we need to become an active member of our communities and do what is needed, it may not seem important to us when the call comes out for someone to help set up for a funeral dinner or for the parish dinner; but it is important and it matters to the family to whom we are ministering that day of the funeral or to the success of the parish dinner or whatever the call may be for.
When Pope John Paul II said, “Easter must leave a mark! It must continuously be felt in our lives!” That is what he is talking about and so much more! Easter can be a very spiritually enriching experience if you hear what the scripture is saying to you. Jesus, a man, actually rose from the dead after 3 days! He suffered many, many injuries for the sake of humanity; being human he knew what pain was, he knew what humiliation was and he knew what death was. Even though he was divine, he was human also and he would suffer pain that none of us could endure in a 12-hour period. But ultimately he overcame death by rising from the dead, He-Jesus Christ became the first born of the dead in order that the blood of His wounds would be the perfect and everlasting sacrifice to forgive our sinfulness.
The picture of Jesus ascending into heaven has so much meaning and His look of joy is overwhelming when you think of His victory over death! This is where Easter should leave its mark on you! Rejoicing in the fact that you can do what you are invited to achieve as one who has promised their life to Jesus, been blessed with the waters of renewal and will go forth to love and serve the Lord as we are called to do as a Eucharistic people of God.
©copyright 2004 Vickie Shepherd. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be used without the express written permission from the author. Used with kind permission from the author
©copyright 2004 e-Catholic2000The Easter Season –by Vickie Shepherd