Thursday, 20 April 2017

How to live like Easter People

By Paddie Denton

So I know I am supposed to write for all of you, but I'm writing this one for someone in particular first and I hope it happens to be useful to more than just him.  I don't know where any of you are at right now, I don't know how your Lent was, and I don't know if you feel alive in faith or flatter than a shrove Tuesday pancake. The person I am writing this for is deffo a pancake, and I can say this as the person is me, so excuse my occasional bluntness but sometimes, it's needed, sometimes I need to hear truth.

Yeah He just died for YOUR sins, try and be grateful

Marks Gospel originally barely went into the resurrection, just an angel stating He is risen, it’s not that the resurrection is unimportant and the encounter with the risen Christ is unimportant, but its how important the crucifixion is. “It is fullfilled”. All sin of humanity across time is washed away through the precious blood. Christ sacrificed himself as the lamb to make a covenant with us, one that was entirely for us to know mercy forgiveness and being one with God. And to do this he died in the most inhuman way possible, most barbaric, we need to be grateful. This knowledge should fuel our praise and worship of God, even when the thought off it causes agony.

HE is RESURRECTED, tell ya face that

Maybe this one doesn't apply to people with resting face, but other than that why aren't we smiling? Yeah, life is difficult, my last 12 months would keep a therapist entertained for 12 more. But Jesus didn't die to make our lives easy, an eternal field of spring flowers and Easter rabbits skipping and singing (which, just to be clear is in no way my idea of happiness but could be yours). His resurrection is more reason to praise, and be joyful because despite what it is you may be going through we now have hope, Christ conquered death so there is no darkness to fear.

'“It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the endbecause how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, its only a passing thingthis shadow. Even darkness must pass.”'
Samwise Gamgee (The Lord of the Rings)

Be more like Thomas and not like the rest of those scaredy apostles

Okay so Thomas wasn’t there when Jesus appeared to all his fellow apostles who were too scared to leave the room, but that must mean... he wasn't too scared leave the room! He at least wasn't scared to go out into the world and risk still being known as a follower of Jesus, even when he had become the man who was just crucified for treason. In the same way, we should not be scared to be associated with Jesus, who has died for us.

Be more like those Apostles and less like that doubty Thomas

Okay so Thomas, our hero then may of messed it up, just a little. I mean its fair enough the idea of resurrection is unbelievable, but Thomas had seen what Jesus had done (*cough* Lazarus) and Jesus had told him he was coming back, why was he surprised? Now doubts aren't bad, but we should allow our doubts to be overcome by faith. In fact without doubt we can't have faith, and Thomas demonstrated this perfectly.

Eat all the Chocolate -  let's celebrate

Rumour has it Easter is a celebration (we even get to eat meat tomorrow guys). So enjoy it, we have 50 days of the season - that's 10 more than Lent! Now tell me what the Church priorities more: guilt and living potentially or partying, cause there just ain't no party like a Catholic party.

'The Resurrection is more than a party – it’s the source of eternal life'

Pope Francis

Well, maybe not all the chocolate... did Lent teach you anything?

Just to be clear I meant the previous point, but, if we don't learn from Lent then what was the point of it? So if you gave up chocolate what did you learn if you go and pig out on chocolate? This may seem like nothing but what if you giving up some habitual sin, anger, porn, gossip, swearing, gluttony etc. stay free of it. Now that it's Easter, do we start back again? Do we get to take a holiday on the commitments to prayer we made? And do we give less now? I think we should give more. I mean we are celebrating being saved now, let's do something to show it.

Time to delight in Mercy

There is so much mercy over the Easter season (its Divine Mercy Sunday this week) and confession reminds me so much of Easter. As in Lent we enter the sacrament remorseful caring the weight of our life before we encounter Christ's full love and his death on the cross. Then we are absolved and can skip out of the confessional, just as we now get to dance for joy coming out of Lent into Easter. Let's remember to take joy every time we receive this mercy.

Exult in our happy faults

The Exsultlet is a beautiful prayer sung at the start of the vigil mass, in it there is the line

'O happy fault that earned so great so glorious a redeemer'

the happy fault being the original fall that meant Christ had to come to save us. It teaches us what it means to be an Easter people and it's what I have been trying to remind myself: rejoice, you may have messed up, you may feel like giving up, you may not feel like God is in your life, but rejoice for in this brokenness, Christ can step in and bring hope, healing, mercy and redemption. You may be broken and rejected but so was Christ on the cross, and that was glorious.

'The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;' 

Psalm 118:23

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