by Ken Rolheiser
Easter echoes, heart light and empty tombs

Imagine this to be your last Easter. Not a wild surmise at my age. For some it will be the last Easter. After the Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday Resurrection celebrations we can gather our hopes and inspirations to continue our life’s journey.

Did all the liturgical celebrations finally strike home in our hearts? What would it take to touch our hearts. Suppose we look at a crucifixion reminder a little closer to our time and even our continent.

In 1981, in an obscure location of El Salvador named La Cruz (the Cross), a young girl was brutally raped and murdered by the military. In his book The Massacre at El Mozote Mark Danner describes how this event haunted the lives of the soldiers involved.

A young evangelical Christian had been raped and tortured many times in a single afternoon.. Through it all, she clung to her belief in Christ and sang hymns. The soldiers eventually executed her, but she kept on singing, even after they had shot her in the chest. She lay there on La Cruz with the blood flowing from her chest, and kept on singing. 

In their fear the soldiers shot her again, and still she sang. Finally they hacked her with their machetes and the singing stopped. They looked upon her whom they had pierced! The feminine pronoun here strikes us more immediately. The faith in her heart and on her lips makes her the crucified Christ. The manner of her death will haunt all who hear about it.

This is the voice that haunts us whenever we silence, violate, or kill innocence. The fact that sympathetic witnesses were absent, both at La Cruz and Calvary, does not keep their story from going on and on. The echo can never be stopped. That is part of the Resurrection voice of innocence, graciousness, and gentleness that silences the voice of self-interest, injustice and violence.. (Inspiration borrowed from “Straining to Hear the voice of Good Friday” by Father Ron Rolheiser).

This Easter we can choose goodness, innocence, and hope. We can follow the chorus of Neil Daimond’s song:
“Turn on your heartlight
Let it shine wherever you go
Let it make a happy glow
For all the world to see”

These lines encourage us to embrace our own inner light and let it radiate positivity and joy to the world. It is a reminder that we all have a unique spark within us, and by sharing it with others, we can make a profound impact.

Tennessee author Margaret Renkl relates how early one spring she discovered a cottontail rabbit nest buried underneath a Rosemary bush. As she uncovered it, she discovered baby rabbits, completely vulnerable, no bigger than her thumb.

She left it alone and came back a few weeks later to discover that there was no sight of the nest. As she lifted one of the branches, up came this little empty nest. There she found a tiny hollow with the shape of the baby rabbits. She could feel the heat from the rabbits that recently vacated the nest all lined with the mother rabbit’s fur. 

This rabbit nest, like the empty tomb of the Resurrection with the risen Christ among us, can reassure us of God’s presence, maybe not in a fur-lined hollow, but in a world lined in magnificence and beauty; a world shrouded in love and kept warm for all of us to share.

(580 words)