Easter: A reason to believe, to hope, and to love

Published 6:26 am Sunday, March 31, 2024

Christ is risen! The whole Christian faith hinges on two essential beliefs: both the Incarnation and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Without either one of these mysteries, you might as well stay home on Sunday and don’t bother going to church. Both the Incarnation AND the Resurrection, that is both Christmas AND Easter, give us reasons to believe, to hope, and to love both God and neighbor.

Having been a long-time reader of the American Press since I first learned how to read, I remember the classified section being one of the largest sections of the daily paper. I still consider the local newspaper to be the place for local news communication, for dealing in the town marketplace, for weather-predicting, and (even today) for civil and opinionated discourse.

Of course, the newspaper is just the printed version of the townsquare; the same activities would have been found in any common area throughout history. We have evidence of the Roman Forum, the Greek Agora, and the Marché Français in NOLA. This space is one of the three necessary pillars of any civil community. Even in our own Lake Charles, we see the three pillars on Ryan Street: courthouse, church, and (farmers’) marketplace all within a short walk of each other. This is what makes community: walkable areas, cars that yield to pedestrians, and reasons for going outside.

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Some say that the newspaper is dying because of new technology and new forums, dying much like the landline and phonebooks. However, a recent cell-phone service outage reminded us at the church office that landlines are still a great way to communicate essential information, much like snail mail. Dependable and functional are always preferable to novel and fun.

So, what does any of this have to do with Easter? By now we know what Easter is; we listen to our pastor, don’t we? Our churches have been the heart of our communities since anybody could remember. But we have been hit hard these past few years. The Covid pandemic separated communities by distance and fear. The hurricanes separated families with stress and hardship. On top of that, worry and distress come from the national and world news. These issues have hit our local churches hard, and we are still struggling with attendence, repair, and bills. This Easter, support your local communities by worshipping at your church, shopping local, and taking part in community events.

This Easter, I invite everyone to remember the hope that they received. In Baptism, we accepted the faith of the Godman and were immersed in the mysteries of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection. Christmas shows us that God enters into our situation, whether we identify with the Samaritan Woman, Mary Magdalen, the Prodigal Son, or the Rich Young Man. And Easter shows us that He offers us a real hope, that our way of the cross leads to the
resurrection of the body. When we accept Christ, we are changed, made new by the blood of the cross. When we live by Christ’s teachings, we start loving like He did. We become examples of Christ to everyone we meet, working with anxious concern to build up the Kingdom of Heaven in our communities. And as we live in this world, as wayfarers and strangers in a strange land, we wait with Mary at the tomb, carrying the cross and following Jesus until we ourselves undergo death and await the resurrection of the body, when we will see God face to face and hope to be brought with his disciples to that fulfillment of all desire, the Kingdom of Heaven of eternal happiness. Until then, we run the race to the finish, forgiving and encouraging each other all the while, saying, “Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!”

Rev. Joshua Page is Parochial Vicar at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church. Email him at josh.page@lcdiocese.org.