As children we loved the Feast of Easter. The journey to the church for Holy Week and Easter took us across the countryside. A local bus driver went around the small villages to take us to Mass in Levitstwon or Castledermot as very few villagers, if any, had cars in the early 60’s. It was an adventure on the bus. We didn’t always understand the significance of the ceremonies but we had some sense that they were central to our lives as God’s family. We caught the mystery and the awe of the moments. Our parents fulfilled their baptismal promises to “pass” on the faith to us. What a gift to receive with all the key moments of Christian life being celebrated with great excitement and simplicity but which hold their own preciousness in our memories! We got our Easter eggs – small perhaps – but appreciated. We got a special dinner with home grown vegetables, home baked desserts and a glass of lemonade or orange. On Easter Sunday evening we would eat an assortment of sweets, given to us by the local shopkeeper as her loyal customers. We lived our childhood surrounded by forests, woodland, large farms, a river at the end of the village. The setting was idyllic for us as children. Now I look back on those days with a sense of sadness – they have passed – but also with gratitude because the landscape always called you to see beauty in the simplest of things. The resplendent beauty of nature urged reflection. In contrast to today’s world we miss “beauty” in the simple. Our technological world has connected us more to one another, yet we often feel adrift, alone and isolated. The pandemic of the covid-19 has added a deeper sense of fragility to our lives. When I feel overwhelmed I often look at the beautiful willow tree overhanging my back garden and delight in its beauty and elegance. It is tall. It provides a shelter for many birds who wait patiently for the crumbs to be throw out the window. Then they swoop down in a delightful movement of grace and dance. The small fragment is enough for them. If we open our eyes we will see much to enrich and inspire us. The flourishing of life and colour around us invite us to hopefulness. After the dreariness of dark evenings, brightness, life and growth happens, sometimes unnoticed. It is a parable for our lives.
Jim Carrey said, “Flowers don’t worry about how they’re going to bloom. They just open up and turn towards the light and that makes them beautiful.” Isn’t the miracle of new things always powerful!! The Easter Season calls us to turn to the Risen Christ who is our light. In the Resurrection of Christ we have new life, a deep hope and an assurance that in our darkness, brokenness, struggle and trials, God-in-Christ will never abandon us. This Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday and may we open our hearts to the gift of God’s redeeming, merciful and compassionate love. Let us trust in God always. Fr. Tony.
“Everything is grace and begins again. The trees that lose their leaves still raise their limbs. We know this because each day speaks of redemption. Each small death to self brings life and each gift of surrender to God is an offering. The sleep that restores us in a small way reflects the resurrection. Every Friday is followed by a Sunday. Everything in nature, love and life reveals the resurrection. Yes, everything good that happens we can thank Him. For we know our story lives in His story – without an ending.” (Ana Lisa de Yong)