He is Risen! Alleluia!


Happy Easter! The Lord is risen! Alleluia!

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Today is the day that we celebrate God’s victory of reconciliation over sin and division, of hope over despair, of life over death. We rejoice because we know that Jesus triumphs over our every human weakness, even suffering into death. He is risen!

There is another kind of “rising” in today’s Easter Sunday readings at Mass: the rising of yeast in bread. A reading from Paul’s letter from Corinthians says:

“Brothers and sisters:
Do you not know that a little yeast leavens all the dough?
Clear out the old yeast,
so that you may become a fresh batch of dough,
inasmuch as you are unleavened.
For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed.
Therefore, let us celebrate the feast,
not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness,
but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

I love this reading because it points to both our total dependence on Christ and the interconnection of Christ in all things. On the one hand, we can do nothing without God. Without God, we are like unleavened bread, a reference back to the Jewish people who under Pharoah’s brutal reign had to flee into the desert, becoming refugees but refugees received into the arms and tutelage of a loving God. Christ alone can leaven us.

On the other hand, Christ lives and acts through us. The Resurrection is not just about Jesus being raised to new life, although of course it is that. The Resurrection is about God’s new life in us, because the Resurrection story continues into reconciliation with the disciples, the Ascension, and Pentecost, where every person is invited to participate in the mission of God. We are being given the new yeast of sincerity and truth.

These two virtues of sincerity and truth are central to Christ’s life in us. We need to be sincere: open and authentic with one another—the “bread” of the kingdom rises and multiplies when we are open with our hearts and hands. We need to be truthful. To me, being truthful means each of us being the kind of person we are, whether we are as passionate and sometimes impulsive as Peter (with whom I identify!), as serene and patient as Mary, an intellectual like Augustine, or as independently minded and sometimes ornery as Dorothy Day.  God asks us to be fully ourselves, and not like anyone else. When we are freed to be who we are in sincerity and truthfulness about our gifts (and corresponding weaknesses) then we can love and serve God and one another with open hearts.

He is Risen. Alleluia! May the Lord bless us abundantly.