Fasting and Feasting
The forty days are over; the fast is broken. Let’s get back to normal life, right? Not so fast! What is “normal life” anyway? Perhaps after this Lenten season, our definition of “normal” needs to be reshaped.
I’ve always thought it to be somewhat odd (and humorous) that after forty days of self-denial that the celebration of Easter seems to be to indulge into that which we just gave up. For example, if I gave up cursing for Lent it seems foolish to indulge in it on Easter Sunday! It seems our ability to enter into the beauty of the Resurrection can be somewhat hindered by our entering into Jesus’ Passion. If our Lent was truly a time of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving then surely our lives must have changed in some way. It is in this spirit that the Church calls us to celebrate, to feast, and be joyful. Easter (like Christmas) is not a moment though. It is a season. It begins on Sunday, but it doesn’t end there. As a church, we have 50 days to proclaim Happy Easter to one another. Imagine if we lived the next 50 days celebrating Jesus’ victory over death and our redemption from sin!
This joy can only come from Jesus himself.
While I encourage all of us to feast (on food) this Easter Sunday let’s not forget to celebrate how we got here. If Lent allowed you to make wholehearted changes in your life, don’t go back!
St. Paul says in Galatians 5:1, “For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.” Jesus came to set us free from our sinfulness. Let’s not give up that fight just when we are beginning to have some success. If your prayer life got better, don’t stop praying. If you spent more time with your family, don’t stop. Lent allows us to grow and gain traction in our spiritual lives. What’s the best way to celebrate that? By not stopping! Almsgiving is a great practice year-round. If it touched your heart, keep doing it. What’s the difference between Lent and Easter? We as a community move from fasting to feasting, from a cross to an empty tomb, and from death to new life. We have prayed hard this Lent. Can we celebrate with the same amount of effort? Happy Easter wasn’t just last Sunday. It’s every Sunday.
Whatever helped you encounter Jesus, keep going. If something helped your spiritual life grow, keep growing. The beauty of our faith is that it is real and present in all seasons. So let us feast on the hope of the Resurrection. The food and drink we consume will eventually leave us to hunger and thirst again. It is in Easter that we can drink from the well that doesn’t run dry. “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting (1st Corinthians 15:55)?”