By FATHER JIM
Unlike the Christmas celebration, the Easter season continues and echoes its message “Christ is Risen” for many days and several weeks.
The church’s faithful with glad hearts celebrate the Lord of Easter and our personal hope for resurrection all the way to Pentecost.
How do we experience in a real way something of that Risen Life? Especially, how do we touch the lives of loved ones, passed beyond our sight but present to us in blessed and beautiful ways?
Really, it was explained at the resurrection of Jesus.
On that morning, Mary of Magdala went to the tomb to anoint the body. She encountered at the empty tomb an angel-like figure who said, “Why do you seek the living one among the dead.”
The angel is telling us that cemeteries are not the place to find those who have passed away, but they now are alive in a new way. Good though it is to visit and honor the places where mortal bodies are laid to rest, angels are there to send us back into life.
Part of the Risen Life means we will meet the ones we no longer can touch when we put ourselves in situations where their souls, their lives once flourished. Our loved ones live where they always have lived and it is there that we find them.
Simply put, we find our beloved dead by entering into life as fully as we are able. We encounter them and connect with them in the areas of life they excelled at that they enjoyed, they loved.
This communion of saints, the belief that the living who struggle, the dead alive in God’s presence and those helped by our prayers, being purged and prepared for glory, this is an ancient and venerable belief of the church. So if a loving woman, mother of a family and friend to others, was selfless and generous to a fault during her life, when those who cherished her also are selfless and generous, then they touch her life again, she’s present and “risen” to them after her passing.
The Eastertime message is that we can meet those loved ones again at our tables, in our places of play and work, in decisions that are great or small in so many daily ways.