After dying in a car crash, three friends find themselves at an orientation to enter heaven. Each one was asked, "When you are in your casket, what would you like to hear your friends and family saying about you?" Sean says, "I would like to hear them say I was a great doctor and a great family man." Karl says, "I would like to hear them say I was a wonderful husband and an excellent teacher who made a difference in children's lives." Juan says, "I would like to hear them say, 'Look! He's moving!'"
Early on the morning of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene, Mary the Mother of James, and Salome brought spices to anoint the body of Jesus. Can you imagine? You walk into a tomb, fully expecting to see a dead body, and you see instead someone alive and well—someone different than the man who was buried there! Today we celebrate Easter. He is Risen!
Easter is a profoundly spiritual day. It is a day of joy, beauty, and hope. When we come to Church on Easter, we are struck by the flowers and beauty. The flowers remind us of the three gardens of the Lord we find in Scripture.
The first garden is the Garden of Paradise. In this garden, God provided Adam and Eve everything, and they were supposed to recognize his and her dependence on God. They thought that they could be like God, and the garden of Paradise became a place of sin, suffering and shame.
The second garden is the garden of Gethsemane. This garden is the garden of challenge and the garden of choice. It was challenging, but Jesus chose to do the sacrifice for us.
The third garden is the garden of the Resurrection. I recall my visit to Holy Land. One of the most powerful moments was visiting the Church of Holy Sepulcher. In this Church, we can see the place where Jesus was crucified, “Golgoltha” and next to it, a small church within the church which is Tomb of Christ. It was not just the Church of the Tomb, but was also the Church of the Resurrection. We read in the Bible that the tomb was in a garden. A beautiful morning, a joy filled morning, there were a couple of different groups of people around that tomb, some of them surprised, some others confused, still others running to tell others “He is risen.”
We are walking with Jesus one garden to the other. The Garden of Gethsemane leads us to the garden of Easter. Every Good Friday leads us to an Easter Sunday. Jesus, through his passion, death, and resurrection, through his power of his love, gave us new life.
At the Easter Vigil, a large candle is brought into the darkened church. Easter light transforms our lives. St. Agustine says, Jesus departed from our sight, that we might return to our hearts and there find Him. He is Risen!! He is alive in our hearts. Let the Paschal candle brighten our hearts and minds. May the Risen Christ dwell in our hearts and bless you and me with His love, forgiveness, and healing this Easter and always. Wish you all a Happy Easter!!