Bystanders No More
(Easter: Acts 10:34-43; Colossians 3:1-4 OR 1 Corinthians 5:6-8; John 20:1-9)
Holy Week can be experienced as a journey or, better still, a pilgrimage, to the empty tomb. The Commemoration of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, and of his Passion on Good Friday, and especially the Easter Vigil are meant to renew, strengthen and intensify our faith.
Today, then, we are ready to cry out with the psalmist: “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad,” and “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.”
Here, as in the first reading, we find the notion of witnessing. In our La Salette context, we always speak of Mélanie and Maximin as witnesses of the Apparition, as indeed they were. But has it never struck you that the Beautiful Lady herself came as a witness?
“I am here to tell you great news,” she said, but her news was no mere matter of information. Knowing what she knew, and seeing what she saw among her people, she felt not only obliged to plead constantly on their behalf, but also to speak. She bore witness to her crucified Son, bearing his image on her breast. But the dazzling light of her crucifix reflected the glory of the resurrection as well.
The Church gives us a choice for today’s second reading. 1 Corinthians highlights a word we will hear constantly over the coming weeks: “paschal.” We may think that it means: having to do with Easter. But its original meaning is: having to do with Passover.
It is not a coincidence that Christ’s passion and death happened around the feast of Passover. He became our Paschal Lamb, that his blood might be put on the lintels of our hearts and souls, so that death may pass over us without harm, and we may receive the gift of eternal life in Christ.
If Lent has brought about a conversion in us, what then might this Easter accomplish? Does the Holy Spirit move within us as we enter the empty tomb? What shall we say and do as we return from there to our everyday world? (Imagine those gentiles, in the first reading, after they heard Peter’s preaching.)
As Christians, perhaps we have been bystanders or observers. Has the time come for us to be more, to find a way to share our Easter joy?
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.