Easter banner by Jocko d'Ursel

A Time to Encounter Christ

by Catherine Doherty

Easter is too rich to be celebrated for just one day. So the Church has given us the Easter Season, which stretches for seven weeks.

The liturgies of the Easter Season celebrate the wondrous intimacy of God with man. Eastertime liturgies invite each one of us, here and now, to an intimate meeting with God in the depths of our soul.

Eastertime is truly a novitiate of our forthcoming heavenly life. It constantly invites us to be silent, to listen, to adore, to contemplate, to develop the interior attitude that will bring about this meeting of man and God here and now.

The weeks from Easter to Pentecost are weeks of tremendous Christian joy: the joy of knowing that the Lord is risen to everlasting life and that we share this joy through our baptism.

Consider the immense joy of possessing the Eucharist, food from heaven; the joy of living the supernatural life; and the joy of being witnesses in this world to the risen Christ.

This is the glad news that we have to impart to the world: God loved us so much that he became a child, a human being, a man like other men; he walked and talked and lived among us.

The earth can witness to this; it still bears his holy footprints. He himself taught us; he suffered and died for us, resurrected and ascended. Alleluia!

Throughout these seven weeks or fifty days of Eastertime, the Church—bride that she is—never grows tired of making the world ring with her shouts of joy.

Nary a penitential note or sound is heard from her lips; no more fasting or penance for a while! No more tears, for Christ has won his victory. Alleluia!

For fifty days we are going to rejoice with the Apostles in the company of the risen Christ.

If we really enter into the spirit of the Eastertime liturgies, who can doubt that we will meet Christ as the apostles met him—in some upper room of ours or on some road that leads to our Emmaus or on the side of the lake? Yes, we could meet him anywhere.

Let us seek the living Christ where he waits for us. That may be anywhere if only we are silent, at peace inside, prayerful, with a flaming desire to meet him, constantly searching in faith, constantly ready for his appearing, as appear he did to the Apostles.

Because Christ rose from the dead, we have become a new creation! We are free. We live the life of God! Christ has led us into the Promised Land, the Church, the gathering of those who have been saved.

So the daily pattern of our life flows and follows from the Paschal mystery. With Christ we have died and risen. We must live as those brought to newness of life!

Nourished on the Flesh of Christ our Paschal Lamb, united by his love, we ask God to keep us all one in heart so that we might be leaven of that unity, and love and peace to our brethren in the market place.

Incredible as this seems, we have the power to lead people to Christ, and no one can prevail against us, for Christ has overcome the world.

But at the same time, we must remember that Jesus Christ, who is the cause of our joy, was crucified. We must not run away from the cross or we will not share Christ’s joy. Nor will our hearts be ready for the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

So, dearly beloved, while living in the joy of Easter, let us also remember to cling closely to the cross. Alleluia! Alleluia!

Excerpted and adapted from Season of Mercy, (1996), pp.123-125, available in the 2011 edition from MH Publications