By Ken Rolheiser
Easter is for Lazarus and us
Hy Goldfarb was to be knighted for his many generous works. Not knowing any Latin, he decided to say something in Hebrew when knighted. He would repeat the question the son asks the father on the first night of Passover.
As he knelt before the Queen, she placed her sword on one shoulder and then the other, and motioned for Hy to speak.
Out came, “Ma nishtana ha leila hazeh.”
The queen turned to her husband Prince Philip and said, “Why is this knight different from all the other knights?”
Truly, the night of Christ’s Resurrection is different from all other nights. We were in sin, dead, and now we have life. Christ faced the dark night of pain and suffering and death, and then he parted the veil that separates us from the reality of Heaven and a Father’s love.
Through Gethsemane, the arrest, the scourging, the crowning with thorns, the carrying of the cross, and the indignity of crucifixion; Jesus bore it all out of love, to show us how much the Father loves us.
Now Christ has passed over the barrier that separates us from God. Because of Easter we will not perish in death. “The dawn from on high” has broken upon us (Luke 1). The Energy that is Christ now transcends our world is beyond physical existence. And yet the Energy that is Christ is present in the Church, in the Sacraments and in us as we do the work of Jesus on earth.
“‘Lazarus, Come out!’” The voice of Christ rings out through the ages, echoing in the chambers of the human heart: a heart shrouded in doubt and denial, bound by despair and fear. ‘Come out from the tomb of your fear, your unbelief, your powerlessness and your isolation’” (Roger Keeler, Edmonton AB)
Jesus is calling us today. From the physical reality of our existence we are called to Faith, to something much more. We are infused with the Love of Christ as we give ourselves in service to others.
The last act Jesus did for His disciples was to wash their feet. That is the new command – love one another. And He promised to be with us, and so He left us the Church and the sacraments.
As Easter passes we focus anew on Pentecost and the living Spirit of Christ in us. The story of love and service in the early Church we read about in Acts is our story. We are called to be sacrament, a living sign.
The Holy Spirit impels us to share the Good News and makes us a new creation. In this new existence in Christ, our cynicism, our bitterness, our meanness, our hatred and violence turn into Gratitude.
Our Easter Joy must spread to those around us. Can anything bottle up the sun’s brightness? Can anything stop the rays of one candle penetrating the dark? Nothing can come between us and the love of the Lord.