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On Easter, let Christ’s message never grow old

Easter should be a time of great joy, fulfillment and celebration, consumed by the knowledge and appreciation of Christ’s victory over death.

Unfortunately, this year, Easter seems destined to be somewhat less than that, when there is reflection and contemplation regarding this planet’s big picture.

As in other years, on Easter morning, it is true that most faithful will flock to services inside churches in the spirit of love and hope, while others will attend Easter sunrise worship services outdoors amid the same spirit, if weather permits.

Regardless of where a congregation’s service is held, a central point will be that something special and unexpected happened on that first Easter morning many years ago – events that warrant mankind’s utmost respect, admiration and unending appreciation.

Those events never must grow old for anyone who values Easter’s message now and in the future.

Still, there is a major downside this weekend that should not and will not be ignored – a downside seemingly more consistent with what happened on Good Friday than the more positive feelings that should be inundating people’s lives today.

Good Friday centers on sadness and loss, and it is sadness and loss that are eating at the lives of many of the world’s peoples as a result of wars, starvation, torture, abuse and man-made and natural disasters. How can a world with so many good possibilities be accommodating so many bad realities is a question that is being asked aplenty.

It can only be hoped that, someday, what Easter is all about will begin a positive transformation of those who currently are attempting to make a mockery of it.

Pope Francis probably would have expressed a similar viewpoint if his increasingly frail health had not caused him to skip his traditional homily during Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square. According to one report, Francis did offer a long appeal for peace at the end of the Mass, during which he said he was praying for the families of those killed in what he called an “inhuman” attack at a suburban Moscow concert hall and also asked for prayers for “the martyred Ukraine” and the people of Gaza.

Francis doesn’t usually deliver a homily at Easter, but he traditionally provides reflections on Palm Sunday. Whether he revives some of the Palm Sunday homily not delivered and makes those opinions known as part of his Easter Masses might be looked upon by observers as a further indication of his health.

Meanwhile, at some sunrise worship services, these words of the prophet Isaiah likely will be remembered as being what Easter actually is about:

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined.”

While Easter provides so much upon which adults can and should reflect, keeping the childhood aspect of the holiday intact remains important as well. Many families use the holiday as a “teaching ground” for their children – that beyond the Easter basket and Easter Bunny, love for Jesus also is important.

“Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more,” Scriptures say. “Death no longer has power over him.”

Christ’s victory over death should provide hope for all, on this weekend and going forward.

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