Easter is More than a Day
On many a calendar this year, March 6th was the day when Christians and others received ashes on their foreheads with the injunction to “Repent and believe in the Gospel,” that is the Good News of Jesus Christ. For forty days we listened more acutely to the Scriptures and prayed that we might know then more deeply in order to live them more truly.
“Forty days and forty nights” and here we are at the Proclamation of the Three High Holy Days: Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Vigil of Easter. Easter is here, and what we have before us is fifty days in which to celebrate.
Setting aside the numerical counting, what is it we celebrate? How about this: a fresh creation, a new world, a planet of people reaching out to one another, not because we are alike but because we are so wonderfully different. We celebrate the imagination of our creator, savior, lover God who has creativity beyond our wildest dreams. This is the Easter good news, grand enough to celebrate for a lifetime. Yes, Christ is alive in each and all of us, and we are embraced by our Creator and sent about by the Holy Spirit. This is Good News.
Your Clare Sisters of Rochester, MN
The season of Lent in the northern hemisphere comes at an impressive time of the year. Winter is still holding on but is beginning to lose her grip. By this fourth week she tantalizes us with bright sunshine only to bite us with bitter cold soul splitting wind.
Well, awake from your winter slumber because the scriptures for this fourth Sunday will thaw any heart. The commentary this week in National Catholic Reporter is by Dominican Sister, Carol Dempsey, picking up on a story, she writes, has gone viral. Our Gospel for the fourth Sunday is, of course, Jesus’ tale of the Prodigal Son. The version Sister Carol offers us is out of Zambia, from the Bemba people. Now I have just sent off the article to my Sisters of St. Clare in Zambia who have in Community Sisters who are Bemba by tribe.
The Bemba story goes like this. If someone from the tribe acts dishonorably, instead of ostracizing the person, or worse, the people circle the prodigal. One by one they name all the good things this person has done in his or her life. They then break the circle and all join in for a great celebration. You can read the full account on the Web: NCR.org/blogs/scripture-for-life.
IN THE NORTH
In the north one feels a dread of the slide
into silent, somber days,
cold shadows bruising the land.
It will be a long time until the winds of March
force the final blizzard, sunshine returns and the frozen ground
lets its rigor go.
Lakes will open like the sky and people learn what the earth knows:
under the weather’s weight,
life recreates its way toward light.
MORNING AFTER SNOWFALL
1. Open fields white, pinewoods green,
dull dark green stark against snow;
over all, the grim cold as clean as ice.
Where sun shines the gleam is steely
and the blue air would crack if you bent it
which no one will be able to do until the thaw.
2. Fly away, trees, fly away,
night has provided you with wings,
with feathers light as air.
You are buoyant, cool and delicate,
waiting only for the right music.
The light of winter is blue where it rests on snow,
silver where it catches the edge of ice. Under the moon it is magic, soft as smoke,
mysterious and cold.
Winter light seems barren where it stretches over empty fields,
the green of pine in winter is not a fertile green,
as the white of distant stars is not the white of daisies.
The white glacier is an impermeable light.
Winter light is at its best in fire, where the warmth of flame meets wood or wax. Radiance flares like a hand held up
To keep the darkness back.
Kate Martin 2010