Let’s celebrate life’s victory over death
Father Sean Connolly reflects on the positives of the Easter season.
Recently I did a question and answer session with a group of 12-year-olds who were surprised to discover that, although a Catholic priest, I can still smoke (I don’t) and drink (I do) and go to the cinema and stay out past ten o’clock at night (I do quite a lot).
Their whole concept of any organised religion was to define it from a negative viewpoint: religion is about what we can’t do or at least about what we shouldn’t do.
I can accept that Christian ethics are often portrayed in a “Thou Shalt Not” framework. The Ten Commandments are an obvious example.
But the “No” of Christian ethics is always and only ever the reverse side of a much bigger “Yes”. It is the “No” said to the persistent moth about the electric light bulb: No, because without it the moth will kill itself by its frantic hitting against the burning bulb; Yes, because instead there is on offer a bright and sunny day to be explored and enjoyed.
This season of Easter for Christians is a reminder of the radical “Yes” that is at the heart of our religion. Having fasted for the 40 days of Lent and celebrated the gruelling and terrible events of Calvary, Christians at Easter bathe in the reflected glory of the Resurrection.
Easter is overwhelmingly positive: it is about life’s victory over death, about the forgiveness of our sins, about a new beginning for each of us, and about our welcome into a vibrant and loving community which awaits the outpouring of God’s own Spirit at Pentecost.
Christianity, especially in this Easter season, should be a religion of enjoyment and laughter and life. It should be fun. We should have fun. Often at this time I tell people who come to me in confession to go out and do something they really enjoy: celebrate life!
As Christians we are to be life-giving people, affirming those around us, building up where others tear down, making everyone we meet feel loved precisely because we know that they are loved: loved utterly by a God who was prepared to die for them.
Father Sean Connolly is parish priest at St George’s Catholic Church on Sprowston Road in Norwich.
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