Christ The Light
Dear POP Folks,
Usually by this point in the year, we've celebrated Easter and are now munching on left-over Easter eggs discovered in kitchen cabinets, children's bedroom drawers, and the reduced-price shelves at the local pharmacy.
In 2014, however, Easter is really late. This greatest of feasts always falls between March 22 and April 25. It is always on a Sunday, which was the day Jesus rose from the dead and the day the early Christians celebrated as the first and eighth day of the week (the beginning and the eternal completion). The Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325) set the date of Easter as the Sunday following the paschal full moon, which is the full moon that falls on or after the vernal (spring) equinox. For those who like to play with astronomy, algorithms and calendars, throw "calculating the date of Easter" into your search engine and go knock yourself out.
Easter is the most important day of the year for Christians. Christmas may be more fun; Ash Wednesday more challenging (or, as some of the youth might say, totally weird and Goth, but, hey); and Palm Sunday more rewarding (everybody gets something to take home).
Easter, however, is the day we come together to remember and to remind one another that Jesus encountered death and drop-kicked it through the goal posts of life (that's from a country western song). Or, to put it much more seriously, if Jesus didn't rise and overcome death, St. Paul says we are all pitiful fools, we've lied about God, and the dead are deader than dead (I Corinthians 15). Harsh, but true. Without the Resurrection, we are all paddling in a dry riverbed and the world is laughing at us.
During this month of April, as we rise every morning to see if it's Easter yet, I invite you to remember that when the sun bursts over the horizon, it's a reminder that Jesus is Phos Hilaron, the Joyful Light, who overcomes all darkness (see John 1). At the same time, our own final encounter with The Dark is coming. Each new day is an opportunity to discover the marvel that is Jesus Christ. Each day is a chance to immerse ourselves in The Light. It's as simple as saying: "I'm here, Lord. Come on in." And then it can start to get pretty wonderful.
George Carlin said once: Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
This month reminds us that the Darkness is here and struggling with The Light. And those who are in The Light will joyfully have their breath taken away.