This is a very special day of the year.  It is Easter Sunday.  It is a day that has come to mean many things to many people.  In some parts of the country, it is the unofficial beginning of Spring.  There may still be some chill in the air, but the vernal equinox is past.  The days grow longer and the nights shorter.  The thermometer shows an erratic yet steady climb, and once more winter has lost its seasonal struggle with the sun.  Then again, many people think of Easter as a sort of style show.  It’s a day when people appear in their new spring finery. 

Others use Easter in a way that comes closer to the spiritual significance of the day.  They go to Church.  They attend mass.  Churches are more crowded on this day than any other Sunday in the year.  I, for one, find that tradition more encouraging than discouraging.  It seems to me an acknowledgement of the insufficiency of our secular living.  Throughout the year many people try to live on nothing but work and play, but at least on Easter they recognize the need for God in their lives.  That is, in itself, a profound acknowledgement in the midst of a secular society. 

So Easter means different things to different people, but today we ask what does Easter mean to you? 

We should ask ourselves these questions: What kind of a world is this? Is it one in which physical bodies are retained and recycled forever, while integrity, courage and love simply vanish like smoke in the wind? Probably you have felt the impact of this question in a very personal way.  You may never have verbalized it, but you have felt it as you stood beside the body of a loved one who has died.  The physical form with all of its familiar features was still there, but it was only an empty shell.  What of the smiles and laughter, the warmth and tenderness, the awareness and love?  Had these been carelessly cast aside, while an empty, lifeless, and decaying body had been so carefully retained?

This, then, is at stake on Easter Sunday: is this a world that keeps its lowest and lets its highest go?  Some people think we Christians are concerned about immortality solely because we are selfishly interested in the continuance of our own individual lives.  That is absurd.  The thing in which we are profoundly interested in is the kind of world of which we are part.  What an irrational world it would be that held vigorously to bits of dust and threw the beautiful things of the spirit all away. 

Easter’s answer is clear and unequivocal.  When Peter and John arrived at the tomb that Sunday morning, Jesus was no longer there.  He had risen!  Later, Peter would declare, “It was impossible for death to hold Him.”  Everything that Christ was and is within Himself, everything that He is within us is here to stay.  The physical and material things of this world pass away, but the spiritual endures forever. 

On behalf of all of us at Annunciation – Our Lady of Fatima, we wish you and your loved one a most blessed Easter Sunday!