For Sunday, March 31, 2013
Easter Sunday: The Resurrection of the Lord
Baruch 3:9-15, 32—4:4
Ezekiel 36:16-17a, 18-28
Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Colossians 3:1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8
John 20:1-9 or Luke 24:1-12
Winter just doesn't seem to want to let go. On March 26, 46.6% of the continental United States was covered by snow. Compare that with the same day in 2012, when only 7.4% of the country was in the grips of "Ole Man Winter." The storm through the midsection of the country in recent days dumped more snow in some areas that had already been gearing up for spring. In Wisconsin, where persistent below normal temperatures have been the norm all March, one local nursery moved their annual Easter Egg Hunt indoors.
Despite the awful weather, home gardeners have been dreaming for weeks about what they can produce in their gardens. Gardening catalogues have been perused, seeds have been ordered, and the only thing folks are waiting for is the snow to melt and the ground to thaw. But unlike last year, when the warm weather came exceptionally early, in most of the country gardeners are resigned to looking at pictures and dreaming of what can be.
One fascinating option, highlighted in an article in the New York Times, is planting a vegetable garden in bales of straw. Joel Karsten of Roseville, Minnesota, has been an evangelist of this old-time method of gardening for years. Straw bales, soaked with some fertilizer and allowed to mellow for a week or so, become an excellent medium for weed-free planting. And, over time, the straw itself decomposes and turns into fertile compost. A look at the planted bales shows immediately how decay turns into fruitful life! What is the refuse of the field, supports the growth of healthy food to feed a family.
Every gardener is in some ways a specialist in decay. They know that really good soil is the product of decomposition, and that the best plants are grown in ground that includes nutrients that come from the breaking down of organic matter. A garden is the ultimate in recycling, taking things from the ground, the water, and the air and turning the elements into fruit, and vegetables, and beautiful flowers. It is a kind of resurrection.
It is what God does to us. For the Lord plants us on this earth. In our time here we see that not everything about us is perfect. There are parts of us that are filled with the decay of sin. But God does not rip us out and throw us away. Instead, through the power of salvation, the Lord raises us up. Of course, every year we have some decay to prune away. Some years are better than others. But the Lord is always there.
Christ's resurrection was once and for all. It is a beacon of hope for whom we will one day be. But for now, we are all a bit like that annual garden, and so we have a resurrection—kind of. We come out of Lent renewed. The power of Christ is refreshed in our lives, even though we may not always hold true to him each day.
As the cycle of the year proceeds, we may find ourselves sliding back, failing a little bit. But Christ is there for us. Always ready to lead us forward with the promise of new life in him. Like the home gardeners who dream of what can be in their little plot, we too, who live in Christ, dream of what we can be. And we believe that through his power and with his Spirit, what we dream will come to pass, when our life will be caught up in his forever!
Great and loving God,
your Son rose from the dead
to bring life to a world caught up in darkness.
May his light shine upon all humankind
and bring joy to all who were in the grip of death.
May the power of the Resurrection give us new life
so that we may always rejoice in your love.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
HOLY WEEK SERVICES FROM THE VATICAN
Vatican Television will broadcast Holy Week services live as well as have video available for viewing afterward. Publicize this resource in your church bulletin or newsletter so that shut-ins or others unable to make it to church can view the services. They will be available at: www.vatican.va/video/index.html.
2013 VIA CRUCIS
The text for the Via Crucis at the Colosseum on Good Friday has just been released by the Vatican. This year's meditations are written by young people from Lebanon. You may want to consider using the same text for your parish celebration this year, or at least making it available to parish members. You will find it at: www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/documents/index_via-crucis_en.html.
CATHOLIC HOME MISSIONS APPEAL
Many dioceses will take up the annual Catholic Home Missions Appeal Collection the weekend of April 27–28. You'll find parish resources available on the USSCB website at: http://usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/catholic-home-missions-appeal/collection/index.cfm.