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March 23, 2013

The true meaning of the story of Easter

The weather for Easter 2013 promises to cooperate in helping us to ponder the real mystery of Easter more deeply.

Easter is not about fuzzy bunnies, bonnets, colored eggs or budding azalea bushes. Easter is not a way to mark the return of warmth and light after a long winter.

Easter is the foundation rock of all that is Christian — the Gospel, the Church, the Sacraments, the Scriptures.

If there had not been Easter, the Church would never have been born. For if all we have is a dead Jesus and not a living Christ, what worth is any of this? Thus Paul cries to the Corinthians: “If Christ has not been raised up, then we are the most pitiful of all.”

In Christian sanctuaries this morning, many will see a new tall Paschal candle with the number 2013. The tall Candle is a symbol of the Risen One, who stands at the center of our common life, shining with light and power into all we do. The Christian community was, and is, the community of those who remember Jesus and who tell and re-tell His story, which is also our story.

Kenneth Phifer has written: “In essence, this is what Christianity is. If we whittle away long enough, it is a story that we come to at last. And if we take the fanciest and metaphysical kind of theologian or preacher and keep on asking him long enough — why is this so? Alright, but why is this so ? Yes, but how do we know that it is so? Even he is forced finally to take off his spectacles and push his books off to one side and say ‘once upon a time there was ...” And then everybody leans forward a little and starts to listen. That listening takes place again this Easter Sunday.

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