It is Holy Week and, in my house, we are very anxiously awaiting our celebration of Jesus’ resurrection when Easter finally arrives! I have been thinking about all the people, who like my family, are excited about celebrating Easter this weekend but who, unlike my family, are not actually aware of what Easter is all about. People who have not been waiting and preparing for 40 days, who have not been sacrificing, praying, and giving alms but have been going about their daily lives as usual for the long 6 weeks of Lent. People who will not attend any Holy Week services or remember the events of Christ’s life, or even think of Christ at all. People who plan to celebrate Easter without ever acknowledging Good Friday. This bothers me….. A LOT. Now, I know many complain about the same thing at Christmas time, about the commercialization of the holiday and the traditions and celebrations that have nothing to do with Our Lord’s birth and that is a problem. But somehow, it bothers me less at Christmas than at Easter. Christmas is the celebration of a new baby’s birth. I myself, having heard about friends of my friends having babies, have been excited for them and have, in a way, celebrated the births of babies I do not know. I have been truly happy for mothers I have never met, upon hearing about the birth of their healthy babies. Christmas is a joyful time of year because, even for those who do not and will not ever know the Blessed Virgin Mary or Jesus, the birth of a baby is always a reason to celebrate. But, Easter… Easter is an event like no other. It is the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, His rising from the dead. How can one rejoice and celebrate His resurrection without acknowledging and mourning His brutal death on the cross? One cannot rise without first falling. One cannot come back to life without first dying. There can be no Easter without Good Friday. And in acknowledging Jesus’ sacrifice, we must acknowledge our part in it all. Our sinfulness that led him to His death, our redemption that inspired it, our salvation that it won. We triumph on Easter because Christ has triumphed-- over sin, over evil, over death. There is no Easter without Christ! Yet so many people will wake up, in houses decorated with bunnies and chicks, and be filled with happiness, but not because Christ has risen, not because He died for their sins, offering a perfect sacrifice in atonement for their failings (and mine), not because He opened the gates of Heaven, and then rose gloriously from the dead to new life, giving us all the chance for new life as well. But, rather, happy about egg hunts, jelly beans, chocolate bunnies in baskets and a nice ham dinner. How much they are missing, how meaningless their celebration will be.
It makes me sad. But what can I do? Not much… but, I will be praying for those people this week. I will, these last few days of Lent, offer my tiny, imperfect sacrifices in the hopes that Sunday will bring new life for ALL. A new and glorious life of love and hope in Christ.