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Editorial: Heart of Easter

  • April 14, 2022

We live in a world when the sin of pride has disfigured the virtues of courage, integrity and perseverance into the ideology of winning even if that requires denying the humanity of others.

It is a perversity that percolates through sports, business, media, politics and, as we are witnessing in the horrors of Russian atrocities against Ukrainian civilians, in the unspeakable brutality of so much of contemporary international relations.

As Pope Francis has warned pointedly from the beginning of his pontificate, the Church herself has hardly been immunized against this malevolent malaise. Too often, the Holy Father preaches, our very institutional structures have reinforced the elevation of careerist or turf protective or even personal gratification impulses over the human dignity, the God createdness, of others.

What else lies beneath the despicable scandal of priestly sexual abuse of children? What else explains the foot-dragging failure to acknowledge the full humanity of our Indigenous peoples for so many decades?

Yet what the Church possesses, which the world is invited to share but increasingly chooses to spurn, is the event of Easter. For at the heart of Easter is renewal from the disfiguring sin of pride. Easter is the utterly crucial offering of time to discern, as many times as we find it necessary, the difference between victory and triumphalism.

Christ gave — gives — us victory. In His real presence in the Easter-born gift of the Eucharist, we experience that victory perpetually. The experience is not mere re-enactment. Nor does it rest on nostalgia for a particular moment long ago in the protracted history of Jerusalem. It is real life lived through the Resurrection by which our enduring salvation was won.

Here is a key to our experience of that victory: we bear it in a spirit of humility. The  triumph we celebrate at Easter shares no part of the ideology of boasting and bragging. How could it?

It was achieved in the agony of the Garden. It was the fruit of the torment of the scourging. It meant the humiliation of the crown of thorns, the shedding of precious blood, and the Saviour of the World falling while carrying the Cross on which He would hang and die in the darkness of noon.

How would we, as Christians, as Catholics, dare strike a triumphalist pose of superiority to others when we, too, were at the foot of the Cross helping the Roman soldiers drive in the nails? How would we presume to deny the full humanity of others without bursting out laughing at our own ludicrous effrontery when it was our failings, our sins, that required His ultimate sacrificial act to gain our forgiveness?

All, St. Paul reminds us, have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Then comes Easter to lift us up not above the world, not over the world, not to the exclusion of the world, but to the unceasing experience of the Saviour of the World.

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