Now that Easter Sunday has passed and we’re in the midst of the Easter Octave, we Christians cannot go back to our daily life as if nothing remarkable has happened. The Resurrection of Our Lord can change us—it must change us! We are an Easter people and alleluia is our song!
“God has many graces and he wants to let them unfold” within us, says Fr. Matthew Widder, priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and regular contributor to The Inner Life® on Relevant Radio®. Sometimes, when Easter arrives, the only change we make is we say, “Now I can eat all the chocolate I want, and all the ice cream or whatever we gave up; sometimes we make that our Easter glory.” But what we’re called to is so much deeper than that.
Easter challenges us to put aside our old way of life. “It’s that reality that Christ lives within us and to conform our lives completely to Jesus Christ. That it’s no longer I that live, but Christ that lives within me, as St. Paul says. And what does that mean? That we’ve got to put to death everything within our hearts that is not of Jesus Christ to embrace that new life,” Fr. Widder.
This mirrors the décor of the church during the Sacred Triduum. “We look at Good Friday … the church is kind of stripped bare—nothing. There’s no altar cloth, even; it’s stripped bare and there’s that sense of barrenness, everything has been put to death in a way,” explains Fr. Widder. “And then as we walk into church for the Easter Vigil or Easter Sunday Mass, there’s the smell of freshness. There are the Easter lilies out and everything is decked out and there’s the sense of new life. And as many people have said, there can be no Easter Sunday without Good Friday.”
“What Jesus Christ wants to do on Easter is he wants to move into the wounds within our own heart, within our souls, and he wants to heal them. He wants to put to death the wounds of fear, shame, resentment, rejection, abandonment, all those ways we’ve been hurt in our life. He wants to put them to an end. He wants to bury them with him so that that new life can break forth. But we’ve got to surrender and we’ve got to let Jesus unpack those graces.”
In order to truly embrace the new life of Easter, we must ask Jesus, “What’s got to die within me in order to let that new life spring forth?”