Monday, April 6, 2015

Cheating at Easter

Excuse my Catholic crabbiness.

Easter is more than making it from Friday to Sunday.  Easter is more than an empty tomb.  Easter is more than "He is risen" and "Alleluia".  Easter is more than "rebirth" or "fear not".

Easter is the Cross.  It's not just the empty cross.  It's Christ on the cross, it's the Son of Man on the cross, it's man on the cross.  It's the wounds that the Resurrection does not heal, that remain in Christ's side and hands and feet as a sign and as a witness to the fact that Easter is not cheap.

But we want our Easter cheap.

The spirit of antichrist is the spirit that denies the cross.  The cross is discipline, structure, the backbone of life, suffering, form, sacrifice - all the things the modern world hates.  Deny the cross and you deny the Shape of God, and God becomes a slippery amoeba that you can play around with and keep in your back pocket.

The spirit of antichrist is the spirit that denies the cross.  In denying the cross, it necessarily denies the incarnation.  In denying both the incarnation and the crucifixion, it empties Easter of all its meaning, drains it of its blood, drains it of of its Body and Blood, makes the source of all our joy a vapid and empty parody of itself.

The spirit of antichrist blinds us to the deeper reality of Easter.

For Easter is more than an event.  It is a sign of the Consummation, the final payment, the conclusion.  Easter is the fruit of the fact that at some moment of every life, every single isolated human being can say, in dreadful terror, in his or her own way and for his or her own desperate reason, "God is dead."

Without that horrible moment, the moment (or the month, or the year) when the bottom drops out, without the horror of Golgotha, there is no Easter.  Unless God is dead, He cannot rise again.  Unless we take up our cross daily, we cannot follow Him.  And unless we follow Him - on a very narrow path - there is no reality to Easter.  We know that but, by God, do we resist it.

We are cheating at Easter.  We want our Easter cheap.


4 comments:

Sebonde said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin O'Brien said...

Agreed. But at most suburban parishes I visit, we fly from the cross from Easter Sunday to Ash Wednesday.

Sebonde said...

Oops! I meant to write this:

Just because most people need a mortgage to own a house does not mean that home ownership is the mortgage.

True, the Cross led to Easter, but it's an obvious fallacy to say that, therefore, Easter is the Cross.

Anonymous said...

I believe that in your frustration with really bad Liturgies at suburban Parishes, you have inaccurately articulated the relation of the cross and Easter. Easter is NOT the cross, but the answer to it.

It seems to me that the cross is both the work of Man's sin and Jesus' freely laying down his life for our salvation. While Easter, the Resurrection, is wholly the work of God in response to the cross. It is the event that gives meaning to the cross both Christ's and our own.

If Easter is the cross, that is, no different from the cross, then the cross is all there is, and the cross has no meaning. It would also mean that Easter is at least partly Man's work. This cannot be. Easter is not at all our work but God's work of re-creation in response to carrying our cross with Christ.

I believe what you want to say is that Easter is not cheap but costly, although worth everything Christ and we pay to get there. However, the Chuch asks us to celebrate Easter for 50 days until Pentacost, after we have lived through Lent for 6 weeks. If during the Easter Season a Parish does not focus on the Cross, I see no problem. Perhaps we should revisit this problem on the Monday after Pentacost and LIVE now the Easter mystery.
Joe Griesemer