He is truly risen!
He is truly risen! Hopefully that doesn’t have an empty ring to it, particularly in these most difficult of times regarding widespread efforts to accept immoral actions, behaviors, and lifestyles… as good. Christ suffered excruciatingly, died for all our sins (including those sins taking place today) and He rose again, just as He promised, proving to us beyond all rational doubt…that He is truly risen!
That… He is truly risen! …should not be drowned out by the secular commercial celebration of colored eggs, chocolate rabbits, baskets full of candy, and the celebratory Easter meals. These are obviously, all good, in and of themselves. However…innocent as these are…as part of traditions that have developed over the centuries, it is up to you and I… to first and foremost… make it known to our families, especially our young ones, exactly what it is we are celebrating.
If your family is not already doing this, why not institute your own counter-cultural tradition, of having the “patriarch”, or eldest member of the family that is gathered, be the “Story Teller”. And that role would include…to always, on Easter day, tell in a reasonably condensed version, a story, an accounting, of the significance of Our Savior’s rising from the dead. Consider for a moment how the Catholic Church spread from a small band of predominantly Jewish “followers of Jesus”…who were most vigorously persecuted for centuries…to become the largest religion, represented world-wide. This is an amazing accomplishment over the last two millennia. And it was accomplished by the evangelizing work of those disciples of Jesus… coupled with the inbred Jewish family tradition of being committed to persistently relating and passing on to their children…to their families … their stories, substantiating their faith in God and His teachings.
A quick check online provides, with relative accuracy, the magnitude of the Catholic Faith to which the Faith has grown today, worldwide. While numbers vary by different sources, the relative positioning helps make the point. Christianity, which includes denominations divergent from the Church Christ founded is the largest, numbering 2.42 billion. The Catholic Church numbers 1.3 billion. That is amazing growth in just 2 millennia. However, Islam, and its several variants, also numbers 1.2 billion. Also, Islam is the only religion growing faster than the world’s population, and researchers predict it will be the largest in the world by 2070.
US-based Pew Research Centre analyzed demographic change among the world’s major religions and found that the world’s population of Muslims will grow by 73 per cent between 2010 and 2050, compared to 35 per cent for Christians, the next fastest-growing faith. The world’s population will grow by 37 per cent over the same period. If those rates of growth continue past 2050, Muslims will outnumber Christians by 2070, the report found.
I am not aiming to alarm our readers, but I want to return to the obligation we, as committed Catholics, have…to pass on the Faith (the Faith of our Fathers) to our children, our families. Sadly, for the most part… this is no longer being done. So why not make it a point this Easter Day, to re-institute, or begin a family tradition …to have a brief story telling that incorporates the Miracle…the happenings of that first Resurrection day… and the words and promises of Jesus in the days before His Resurrection.
I receive lament after lament from parents who have children and siblings who have relegated their faith to irrelevancy…to being of no real belief or interest. There is a reading for “Night Prayer” from our Liturgy of the Hours, from Deuteronomy 6:4-7 that echoes in my head for all of us to re-embrace:
Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone! Therefore you shall love the Lord your God, with all your Heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today. Drill them into your children, Speak to them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest,
Let us all make a special commitment to take a moment today and make it abundantly clear what we celebrate on the most Glorious of days. Yes indeed… “He is truly risen!”
Yours in the Risen Savior,