Are you living as an Easter people of God or still in Golgotha?
As married couples, there are a lot of practical lessons that we can learn about relationship from the death and resurrection of Christ as shared by Fr. Mark Demanuele, MSSP during the Easter Recollection organized by the The Feast Bay Area Couple’s Ministry.
As a missionary, Fr. Mark shared his journey of challenges as an Easter person.
He pointed everyone to the powerful exhortation of St. John Paul II back in 1986:
“We do not pretend that life is all beauty. We are aware of darkness and sin, of poverty and pain. But we know Jesus has conquered sin and passed through his own pain to the glory of the Resurrection. And we live in the light of his Paschal Mystery – the mystery of his Death and Resurrection. “We are an Easter People and Alleluia is our song!”. We are not looking for a shallow joy but rather a joy that comes from faith, that grows through unselfish love, that respects the “fundamental duty of love of neighbour, without which it would be unbecoming to speak of Joy”. We realize that joy is demanding; it demands unselfishness; it demands a readiness to say with Mary: “Be it done unto me according to thy word”.
In particular if Lent is a time to give things up, Easter ought to be a time to take things up.
If Calvary means putting to death things in your life that need killing off if you are to flourish as a Christian and as a truly human being, then Easter should mean planting, watering, and training up things in your life (personal and corporate) that ought to be blossoming, filling the garden with color and perfume and in due course bearing fruit.
Jesus resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven.
Characteristics of Easter people as shared by Fr. Mark:
- Easter people rejoice in Jesus’ death AND resurrection. (Romans 5:10)
- Easter people preach the resurrection more than one day a year. (Acts 4:2)
- Easter people long for their resurrection brought by Jesus as much as or if not more so than a temporary bodiless existence in heaven. (1 Corinthians 15; Philippians 3:7-11; Revelation 21)
- Easter people long to see Jesus restore creation from the curse of decay. (Romans 8 )
- Easter people speak up at great cost against the ‘principalities and powers’ of this world because Jesus is our risen King and he is king over them all. (Colossians 1:15-20; Hebrews 2:7-9)
- Easter people are willing to deny themselves and lose all things for the sake of Christ now because Christ, by the power of his resurrection, has promised to restore all things and reward his disciples in the ‘life after the next life’. (Matthew 19:27-28; Mark 10:28-31; Revelation 21:5)
As an “Easter People,” our response to the gift of forgiveness and eternal life compels us to try to live lives that reflect our new status. We are a people forgiven, healed and renewed by Jesus’ Body and Blood, and we are called to share that Good News with the whole world.
Our response can and should be rooted in love. As Jesus himself has told us, love for God and love for our neighbor is the foundation of Christian living. Because God first loved us, loved us so much that we were given God’s only son for our salvation, our response to this love is not only to love God as deeply and fully as we are able, but also to love everyone else as deeply and fully as we love ourselves.
As couples, our relationship with God matters most.
We need to nurture the loving relationship of husbands and wives like how Christ offered His life in the cross.
In this time of violence, strife, argument and disagreement, God continues to call us to love not to hate. God continues to call us to look beyond the immediate to the eternal.
What in a moment of anger or outrage might satisfy our pride is most probably not consistent with the loving future God wants for us.
It is not God who has created the turmoil that surrounds us; it is turmoil of our own making born from our love of self above our love of others.
This Easter, amidst the joy and celebration of our new lives in Christ, let us also celebrate the joy of new life with others.
Let us begin to set aside our pride and petty difference that not only separate us from each other, but also separate us from God.
Let us strive to become an “Easter People” who know and reflect God’s love through our love for one another as equals—equally beloved children of God.