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As we share with the Christian world their Easter celebration, let us also share in the sense of hope which is one of the most important message of Easter – the others being peace, atonement and renewal of life.
The word Easter is believed to come from the word “Eastre”, an annual pagan celebration to worship Eostre, the goddess of offspring and springtime. She was associated with fertility and rebirth. This festival in her honor was held at springtime, the period when the Earth renews its life.
Today, Easter is both a celebration of the gift of Spiritual Rebirth and at the same time a reminder of the constant renewal of life here on Earth.
It doesn’t matter whether we are Christians or not or whether we are believers or not. This message of hope should be meaningful in our desire towards living the fullness of our lives.
I’d like to quote the Easter message of Archbishop Colin Johnson of the Diocese of Toronto of the Anglican Church of Canada.
“So many things can make us afraid. The loss of a loved one, work, a broken friendship and the experience of not being valued by others are among the many experiences that can leave us despondent, not knowing what to expect, even afraid. Those who met the risen Christ — the two Marys, the guards, the disciples — all experienced a profound change in their lives. Christ was alive and offered peace and hope to them. They were offered new beginnings. His presence brought not vengeance but reconciliation. Our Lord’s resurrection overcame sin and death. His resurrection is true redemption, an invitation to new life, where every human flaw can be corrected and we can be freed from whatever binds and constricts or destroys true freedom, and welcomed into his kingdom.
We live in a wonderful but deeply wounded and wounding world that is at times uncaring, unforgiving, cruel, and devoid of second chances. Easter offers the assurance that the many difficulties and challenges that threaten to overwhelm us will be overcome.
Despite the desertion of his disciples, the cruelty of the soldiers and the despair of the women, Jesus offered them, as he offers us, new life, forgiveness and hope for the future. We can find healing and hope in Him who came that we might have life in all its fullness. The risen Christ, in His profound love, makes possible for all of us to have second chances, new beginnings, new life.
Jesus says to frightened disciples, “Do not be afraid.” To us he says, “Do not be afraid.” Whatever it is that causes you to fear, Jesus the risen Christ will be with you and will go ahead of you and continue to be with you. He offers you joy and peace, forgiveness and hope. Most of all he offers you himself. You need not fear. He has overcome the world!
Happy Easter to all of us!