by Richard J. Massaro
If Easter was only something that happened 2,000 years ago, it might be hard to relate to, hard to get excited about. But Easter isn’t a one-off, over-and-done event. He IS Risen.
Easter is a spectacular eternal event. It embraces all that began when God made us in God’s image and breathed life into us. Easter displays what God means by saying, “You will be my people and I your God. I will make my home among you.”
God wants nothing less than intimacy with us, actual and total. Easter proclaims God’s intention to be one with each of us, just as the Father, Son and Spirit are one. Father makes us to be. Son calls and shows us how to be. Spirit fills and enables us to be.
See as We do. Care as We do. Act out of Our Love. Be one with Us and one with each other, both now and forever. Forever and NOW!
Easter is eternal. Not just always was and will be, but always is, transforming every moment. We live in the presence of the Risen and Living Lord. We receive His Body in Eucharist. We are to become his Body, and we are to embody His love and ministry. Christ in us continues to proclaim the Good News, continues to heal, console, and liberate, continues to lift up the lowly and to bring peace.
Easter demonstrates that God intends to be united with humans, not just after death but especially during this lifetime. Easter says, “Being one with God, filled with and transformed by God’s love, is real!”
We are Easter People. One with and filled by God, we are sacred. That may sound crazy, but it’s that crazy thinking that gives us “God-eyes” that see every person as sacred, worth caring about and caring for.
Vatican II declares: “The joy and hope, the grief and anguish of people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted in any way, are the joy and hope, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well.”
We are Easter People. This is what moves and enables us members of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps to serve sisters and brothers in need. We serve because we love. We love because our lives and faith have made love the most natural thing for us to do. Seeing the sacred, the good, the potential in others stirs our own goodness and moves us to respond.
Easter People minister to immediate needs. Just as naturally, we also work to understand and address the reasons that people are systematically marginalized, excluded, deprived, vulnerable, abandoned. That’s not how to treat people God made to be sacred.
Easter changes everything. The Risen Christ redeems and re-values us, moving us to re-deem, re-value everyone and everything around us. We take seriously the call, the offer, to be one with and in the Risen Christ, with Christ alive in and through us.
There’s a line in the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: “All will be perfect in the end. If all is not perfect, then it is not yet the end.” We know that all is not perfect in our world, our time. We serve because we know that those who suffer are sacred and don’t deserve to. They aren’t meant to endure misery while waiting for “the end.”
We accept the crazy notion that Christ embraces us, lives with us, changes how we think and feel and act. We rejoice and we serve because He Is Risen, now and forever. He IS Risen, forever and NOW!
Richard J. Massaro is regional director of IVC Philadelphia.