by Ken Rolheiser
The Promise of this New Easter 

The story is told of a feared Communist leader, who traveled to Kiev in 1930 to address a crowd on atheism. After hurling insults for an hour he thundered, “Are there any questions?”
One man approached the lectern and scanned the crowd to left and right. Then he shouted the Russian Orthodox greeting: “Christ is risen!” The crowd rose and thundered, “He is risen indeed!”

Easter 2022 is an incredible time to be a Christian. We have survived a Lent of two years of covid which saw smiles masked and church worship suspended. Fear still haunts many from open social interaction.

There is a promise breaking through with the hallelujahs that echo in the soul and gladden the heart. Saint Teresa of India said the smile is the beginning of love. As masks disappear smiles reappear in your local grocery store. Fear is replaced by joy.

As people of faith we dare to hope again. A virgin is not supposed to give birth, and a dead person is not supposed to leave his tomb. God makes it happen. This gives us cause to believe that Jesus Christ can give us his body and blood to enliven us.

Spring brings hope. In spite of the snow piles of April in Canora a crocus bloomed on the sunny side of my house. If we seek the warmth of grace, perhaps flowers of hope can blossom in us.

It is time to practice Resurrection. The Covid Lent has been long. Easter joy promises fifty days when Christmas liturgy lasted scarcely two weeks. The grouchy martyr practices of Lent give way to exploding hallelujahs.

Hallelujah singing is breaking out with or without masks. Joy cannot be contained! Spring cannot be contained. The snowbanks disappear and buds open. We need only choose what kind of fruit we will produce.

A good tree will bear good fruit. (Matthew 7:17). We need to keep the growth environment free of toxins. A toxic environment in the home or workplace will have a bad effect on the life of the spirit. Bad thoughts, phrases or ways of thinking will impact the fruit of our lives, says Father Brendan McGuire in his homily “Good Fruit”.

The algorithms of the computers on social media are brilliant, McGuire continues. They feed you what you like whether it is good for you or not. This week I searched clothes dryers on-line and dryers started popping up on my iphone, laptop and desktop. Facebook ads followed.

The soil is our responsibility when it comes to spiritual growth. Prayer time is essential, as are practices of good spiritual nourishment. Social Psychology tells us it takes eighteen to two hundred fifty-four days for a person to form a new habit. On average, a new habit can become automatic in sixty-six days.

A long-range plan might be best for our spiritual lives. A really long plan! Consider the almost miraculous growth of the Chinese bamboo plant. Once the seed is planted, it shows no apparent growth for five years. It grows deep down into the soil.

Then after five years, it grows ninety feet in ninety days. The roots have gone down for five years, and they are full of nutrients and ready to go. Then this explosion of growth takes place.

We have fifty days to enjoy Easter and all the promises of new life the risen Christ symbolizes. Let us choose Christ and go deep with him.

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