The Resurrection of the Lord cascades throughout all of human history without exception. It does not skip inconvenient seasons. It does not shrink from calamities of any kind.
The streets are quiet. Schools and most offices are closed. There are no public Masses at our churches, and that will remain the case for the next few weeks -- including Holy Week. This year, there will be no palm processions, no Chrism Mass, no washing of the feet or visits to altars of repose. This year our veneration of the Cross of Christ will take an entirely different, and intensely personal, form. We will not gather around the new fire or wait for the paschal candle to process down the aisle of the darkened nave. Nor will we stand in the glow of candles as the ancient tones of the Exultet float over us. Not this year.
In years to come, 2020 may well be remembered as the "year without Easter," but that will not have been the case. The Resurrection may be more hidden and less visible, but Easter is coming. It is coming this year as it does every other. In the midst of rising death tallies, quickly built field hospitals, and drive-through testing sites, Easter is coming. Despite masks and gloves and social distancing, Easter is coming. For nursing home residents and laid-off restaurant workers, for doctors and police officers, for grocery store cashiers and teachers, Easter is coming still.
Easter is coming and nothing can stop it. In fact, Easter comes all the more powerfully where fear and grief and loneliness look strongest. On the third day, Jesus broke through death itself, rolling away the stone and opening the gates of heaven. How fitting it is that the destiny of humankind was forever changed in a borrowed tomb.
Easter reveals the love God has for his people, and that love is "stronger than death." The Risen Jesus is proof that the God who made us will not leave us for dead. Instead, he suffers with us, freely offering himself in our place, accepting the torture of death on a cross. And then, Easter came. It came to fearful apostles and grieving women, to disillusioned followers and Roman procurators, to Jewish leaders and Caesar's soldiers. Easter came, and we are told that when the stone was rolled away, many other tombs were opened, too.
We have nothing to fear; God is with us. And more, God is for us. The Good Shepherd did not lay down his life for nothing. He did it to save his sheep. And as Jesus taught us, he has the power not only to lay his life down, but to take it up again. For us. In Easter, we celebrate his doing exactly that.
It may not feel much like Easter on April 12, 2020, but it will be Easter nonetheless. The power of Christ's rising from the dead does not wane; nor can it be held back. The Resurrection of the Lord cascades throughout all of human history without exception. It does not skip inconvenient seasons. It does not shrink from calamities of any kind. That is because nothing, and I mean nothing, can separate us from Christ. Hardship, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril and the sword are no match for his love. In Jesus, crucified and risen, we are more than conquerors. Death, life, angels, rulers, height and depth and powers, things present and things to come are all subject to him. (See Rom 8)
Everything in creation -- and that includes viruses -- lies within the rule and reign of the kingdom of God. Our faith teaches us that God will never abandon us and that all things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose (cf Rom. 8:28). That is what our God does; he creates the universe from nothing and brings good out of every situation, even the most terrible. Yes, Easter is coming. And it will continue to come until every tear is wiped away. Easter is coming; indeed, it is already here.
- Jaymie Stuart Wolfe is a Catholic convert, wife, and mother of eight. Inspired by the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales, she is an author, speaker, and musician, and serves as a senior editor at Ave Maria Press. Find Jaymie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @YouFeedThem.