Alleluia! The Lord is risen, he is risen indeed, Alleluia! The symbols of resurrection are many. Why are eggs associated with Easter? Why are they such a powerful symbol of resurrection? Remember, resurrection is complete transformation, not just resuscitation, like Lazarus or the daughter of Jairus. An egg is totally changed. What is yellow and white liquid becomes alive with feathers and a chirp. A liquid goo becomes a chicken – a sea gull, sparrow or eagle. Another Easter symbol is the seed, or acorn. You can look at a seed and never imagine what color it may turn out to have. Similarly with a caterpillar and butterfly. These are resurrection symbols because they become something else, totally unforeseen and beautiful. And yet there is continuity: the egg becomes a chicken; an acorn becomes an oak tree; a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.
The resurrection is an invitation to look around to see transformation, to see what is evil being changed, what is immature becoming adult; what appears inert like an egg or seed sprouting life. Even in the wake of our current pandemic, we can see good from what is not so good. Quarantine at home opens the possibility of families growing closer together, or individuals reaching out to others through our home media to those we rarely call or interact with.
But for the Christian, the resurrection has a still richer meaning. St. Paul, clearly repeating a catechetical formula that he had learned, says to the Corinthians:
“I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures” (1Corinthians 15:3-4).
In the accounts of the resurrection, we see many subtle happenings. The first thing we can see is that Jesus “was raised on the third day.” Who raised him? The Father by the power of the Holy Spirit (see Romans 1:3-4; 8:11). And when we look at the resurrection appearances we notice that Jesus is not at first recognized by those who loved him and who were his close associates or disciples. The Risen Jesus is the same but different. Indeed, Jesus is not resuscitated, but is resurrected.
Christ is risen, and has promised to take us with Him. This life is not the end; we too will be transformed in endless life and beauty. Human life is good, but it will end. The resurrection gives hope and meaning to our existence here. In our weakness we will after death be raised in glory. Again there is continuity: it is I (not just my body) that I hope will be raised. As Paul writes:
“So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body”
May your Easter be filled with the new life of Christ. Stay safe, and as always, I am praying for you and your families.
God bless – Fr. Jim