We decry that, a long time ago, many in our society took Christ out of Christmas. As believers, at Easter, our disappointment should be double!
A first disappointment: Easter bunnies have absolutely nothing to do with the risen Lord, while eggs and newly hatched chicks could be symbols of new life and, thus, be somewhat connected to Christ’s victory over death. There should be a second disappointment troubling true believers: so many fail to live viscerally and wholeheartedly in the supernatural reality brought about by the Resurrection.
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” (Colossians 3:1)
Notice the past tense. It is a fact. We were raised up with Christ 2000 ago! This should be self-evident as we are one with Christ through Baptism and Holy Communion. In the eyes of the Father, we were buried, raised up, glorified, seated at his right hand with his Son Jesus Christ. (cf. Romans 8:30) If we do not live with the mindset of being “risen and glorified people,” i.e., with the certainty that the result of any of our struggles on earth is complete victory, it would mean that we do not live yet fully in the Resurrection. Hence, even minor crosses can crush us.
To seek the things above as St. Paul suggests, implies that we are equipped to face all the challenges of life, all the pain, all the setbacks thanks to divine grace.
Commonly speaking, those who live outside of reality are considered insane. In a spiritual sense, we might live, at least partially, outside of the reality of the Resurrection. Thus, we might be partially insane.
Being impatient with slow and/or annoying people; getting easily upset when things go awry; expecting to be readily acknowledged for the good we do; being easily frustrated would be all indications that we are trying to avoid carrying our cross looking forward to our resurrection. Bearing our cross in the footsteps of Jesus requires patience, perseverance, humble acceptance, understanding, making do with less than perfect means, hard work, joyous service.
Another form of “partial spiritual insanity” would be living paralyzed by guilt. If we do not believe that Jesus’ victory is also over our human limitations, our arrogance will attempt to reject having erred; to minimize our errant ways in the eyes of God and/or to deny them before the eyes of people. We would then tend to brood over our past, and doubt God’s forgiveness.
“Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not.” (Isaiah 43:18) And the one who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Then he said, “Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:5)
Satan, who is fully aware of the Resurrection, loves to have us brood over our past mistakes so that we remain paralyzed by guilt and fail to bear the fruit of the Spirit. In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, and faithfulness. (Galatians 5:22)
Nowadays, our call to live in the reality of the Resurrection is tested most severely. There are times when we cannot believe what we see and hear in the news. We think that our western world has gone completely mad. We are thoroughly scared about not only our future, especially the next generations, our children, and grandchildren, but about what is already happening to us and to our freedoms. Never more than now, I think, we should be living fully in the reality of the Resurrection. We must be deeply, thoroughly concerned about the present situation but never, never frightened by it.
You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them, for the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)
Then, we have those who spend most of their time and energies trying to change others, starting of course, with their spouse, children, coworkers, neighbors, and many others. These people, too, suffer from partial spiritual insanity, because it is impossible to change anybody, we have a very hard time just trying to change ourselves. And, besides, they overlook the fact that the Risen Christ is already working in all those who are open to his grace.
There are also those who are beyond self-confidence as they claim to have all the answers and insist on telling everybody else how they intend to fix the world’s problems. Perhaps they foolishly think that they do not need the restauration brough about by the Resurrection.
Yet, there is still another group living an even more serious type of spiritual insanity: they are blinded by resentment, consumed by vengeance, constantly justifying their stance, finding flaws with everyone, in the habit of judging and condemning others with ease.
All these different categories of people living partially or totally outside of the reality of the Resurrection need to seek what is found fully only above and is everlasting; and that is love.
My wish of a truly Happy Easter is meant as an invitation to us all to request in earnest from the Risen Lord a generous outpouring of his Holy Spirit so that our share in his victory may be realized even now as our hearts are still quite heavy.