Although the world is on hold, at a standstill and stagnant, and we seem to be living in a cruel dream, Easter Sunday still will arrive April 12. We Catholics may be celebrating this significant holy day much quieter and differently this year, but it will not be cancelled or deferred like every other facet of life has been for two months.
There may be no church to enter donned in our pretty spring hats, nor dyed eggs hidden around our backyards for the little ones to search as colorful baskets hang from their little arms.
We’ll not be purchasing big chocolate bunnies or bags of multi-colored jellybeans wasting inside of stores with apparent neon notices taped to their doors, nor can we freely browse the local garden store or florist to select a pretty potted lily to take to Mom’s house. Around our quiet dinner table there might be two instead of 20 and the feast most likely will be more spare. Easter brunch reservations are no more and family video chatting will replace face-to-face visits.
Government officials can cancel events and close public places, yet they cannot revoke our faith. We will wake up on Easter Sunday and honor Jesus on the day of his miraculous resurrection – feeling it in our hearts, rejoicing it in our prayers, and motioning it from the couch as we watch online Masses with our dogs on our laps.
So much is being taken from us by this invisible force with no known end, and yet, so many delightful blessings have evolved: community togetherness while apart, acts of kindness increasing ten-fold, and cheering up others with song from our balconies.
We will dearly miss our Easter traditions: special recipes set on the table, precious time with our relatives, and joyful participation in our parishes, such as St. Leo’s Church lovely outdoor Stations of the Cross on Good Friday and its Easter Sunday procession throughout the neighborhood streets of historic Little Italy.
“This long-standing tradition is not only an open expression of faith,” said Pallottine Father Bernard Carman, St. Leo’s pastor, “but a sign of unity in the neighborhood. It is a symbol of the shared nature of our faith. In this time of trial and test it would have been very helpful and encouraging; we will have to find other ways to stand with each other in prayer and trust.”
This Easter season, more than ever, the concept of “death and resurrection” has profounder significance as we beseech and hope that the celebration of Jesus returning to life will be a symbol of our reality – the revival of normal routine in our towns, states, country, and world.
Like Jesus, we will resurrect from this outrageous chaos. His rising from the dead is our optimism. Easter will not be cancelled, nor shall our hope that everything will be okay.