Christ is Risen, Alleluia! Truly He is Risen, Alleluia!
So goes the classic Easter acclamation and response. As we gather together to celebrate Easter, we stand bathed in the light of Christ’s glory, and the joy that His resurrection brings to the world. The long weeks of Lenten discipline are behind us, spring is in the air (even if it’s coming has been marked by fits and starts) and all around us we are beginning to see the signs of new life. Flowers are beginning to poke up from the soil, some of the trees are just beginning to show signs of buds preparing to open, and birds can be heard singing in the morning sunlight. And for those of us who are gardeners, it will soon be time for us to turn over the soil, grab our seeds, and plant whatever flowers or veggies we intend to grow during the upcoming season.
Every seed holds enormous potential. Even in the act of planting the seed, the gardener is already looking ahead to the end result and anticipating the full fruitfulness to come: the color explosion of a blooming patch of tulips, the delicious sweetness of homegrown tomatoes, and so forth. At the same time, the gardener knows that the journey from seed to full fruitfulness is a one that requires much work along the way. Watering, fertilizing, weeding, and sometimes even pruning are required to help that seed grow into the fullness of what it is intended to be. This is a wonderful analogy to our own spiritual lives. The grace of “newness of life” that is ours in the Easter mystery is a beautiful gift given to each of us. But that gift comes in the form of a “seed.” The grace of Christ’s Resurrection in our lives is just waiting to unfold waiting to grow and blossom and transform us in ways we can scarcely imagine right now. The Lord wants us to grow and become so much more than we are today.
To go back to the gardening analogy, if we can imagine a seed with consciousness (yes, this is a stretch… and sounds like something out of a bad sci-fi movie), it would not be crazy to think that the seed might be pretty happy with its own seedness. “I’m a pretty good seed” it might say to itself. Or perhaps even, “I am a great and a beautiful seed!” But the Master Gardener, looking down at that seed, sees that even being the best and most beautiful seed in the world pales in comparison to the beauty of a full grown tulip or a tomato plant laden with big, delicious tomatoes.
Today is Easter. Christ has passed through death to rise to a new and unending life. He has done so for us, not only so that our sins might be washed away, but also so that we might “have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10). There are ways in each of us in which having “life to the full” is not yet a reality in our lives. This Easter each of us has received from the Lord a certain grace that, at this moment, still exists within us only a seed. What might that seed be in your life? Even more importantly, what are the ways the Lord is calling you to “water,” “weed” and otherwise care for that seed so that it will grow and blossom in your own life?
Easter is not over, it is only just beginning. The seed of Easter grace lies within each one of us as a promise. Let us strive together to till the soil of our souls so that we might experience the full fruitfulness of what the Lord desires for us.
Easter blessings to one and all,
Fr. John Paul