Easter is such a grand and overwhelming mystery! It takes time, meditation and prayer to begin to grasp the mystery of Easter. Even an entire lifetime cannot grasp all of the mystery. Easter is the mystery of Life. Easter needs to be seen from God’s perspective, a Father’s perspective.
Let me use an example of perspective from our own lives. A baby is born. We love and adore the baby. We watch the baby grow. We know that child at 1 year, 5 years and at 10 years. We struggle with the child as it becomes a teenager and young adult. We could never know the teenager if we only knew the baby. When we know the teenager and young adult we also have all of the memories and perspective of the baby, the 1 year old, the 5 year old and the 10 year old. Perspective. Parents always have more perspective than their children. Our Father in Heaven has always had more perspective and knowledge of our entire lives than we could possibly have. Our Father has always known that by our Baptism we have more Life than without our Baptism. Our Father knows us eternally.
Perspective allows us to see and know a particular time or situation and also to see beyond in time or space. It’s like looking down a road and seeing what is immediately in front of us, as well as what is farther away. What is in the distance gives more meaning to what we may see right in front of us.
It has been said that, “Easter is Christmas, grown up”. We know the mother and the child. Easter helps us understand Christmas. From Christmas we cannot know the Son of God as well as we can from His Passion, and his Easter Resurrection.
Sometimes we get stuck and fail to mature spiritually. We probably all know people who can’t get past Christmas, or the Crucifixion. Why did Jesus have to suffer and die?
Easter begins with a man, Jesus of Nazareth who is crucified. Already by now, we know he is the Son of God and the son of Mary. But we see the man suffer and die a cruel death. Then he is resurrected. Death is defeated and he can never die again. Death lost all power. He has promised this eternal life to us, as well. We listen to the accounts of his activities with his disciples after his Resurrection, but before his Ascension into Heaven. After His death and resurrection, Jesus ate and drank with them, and taught them. He defeated death for them and for us. This is the Easter mystery.
With His Ascension we become aware again that Jesus Christ is God, and he returns to God because he came from God. He was God even before his conception in the womb of Mary.
It is only with the perspective of faith, nourished throughout the Easter season that we come to perceive the Holy Trinity, moving from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, to the Ascension and to Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit.
This is a massive, overwhelming, miraculous act of the love of God for his people. He has chosen to live in us, to dwell in us by our Baptism and Confirmation; in His Word, in the Eucharist. We become tabernacles of God and the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit dwell within us who live by His Sacraments and do his Will.
From Calvary it is difficult to see Pentecost. However, with our faith, we can begin to understand Calvary from the perspective of the Resurrection, Ascension and Pentecost. Calvary without the Resurrection would be a sad, horrible event; like the world without the sun. Resurrection without Ascension and Pentecost would be meaningless.
Next Sunday is the Feast of the Ascension. Fifty days after the Resurrection, Jesus Christ sends the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit to us, His Church, on the Feast of Pentecost. We celebrate Pentecost in two weeks. He sends His own Spirit to reside in us. And we come to see God as Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And we come to see that His coming was an invitation for us to follow Him, for he promised,
“I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
In a little while the world will no longer see me,
but you will see me, because I live and you will live.
On that day you will realize that I am in my Father
and you are in me and I in you.
Whoever has my commandments and observes them
is the one who loves me.”
He lives in us, and we become tabernacles of God. This may not make us perfect, but it does make us “Saved”.
Thanks be to God.