We are not yet away from the spell of Easter. Christian life revolves around the Divine Sun of Easter. Without the message of Easter there is no Christianity. The 50 days before Easter prepare us to go nearer to Jesus. The 50 days after Easter train us to taste the resurrected life of Jesus and live a Christian life, immersed in the Spirit he gives.
Fifty days before Easter
Fifty days before Easter is normally called Lent. It is a period granted to us by the mercy of God to think of our life, repent for going away from God’s love and to come nearer to the Paschal Light of Easter. Although many Christian denominations observe 40 days as Lent, what the Eastern churches observe for 50 days seems to be more meaningful. Seven weeks of observation makes 50 days.
Lent observations prepare Christians physically and spiritually to go nearer to God. It is the broken period of love which the “Prodigal son” realized just before he returned to his father. It is a period of reconciliation. It is a period to upgrade our lives. It is a kind of “shut down and restart” that we do in our computers. It is what Jesus did before he started his Gospel ministry.
Fifty days before Easter not only restart our spiritual life, but also it is a season to restart our physical and social life. Our self examination and self denial should enable us to leave habits that harm our health. They should enable us to have a healthy body. God does not want us to cause illnesses because of our personal weaknesses.
Fifty days of Lent are meant to mend our social lives. Reconciliation should build up a healthy society. Love and sharing should be learnt and trained during this period. It is period to realize, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) It is period to build stronger relationship in the family.
Fifty days after Easter
The fifty days after Easter lead us to the experience of Pentecost. Living the resurrection experience of love with Jesus, we move nearer to the Divine Spirit along with Jesus. If the lent is the sacrament of Reconciliation and Baptism, the fifty days after Easter is a period of Confirmation. This is the period to taste the real love of God through life. It is a life already experiencing the taste of the Kingdom of God. It is the gift of God that we taste this heavenly life even on this earth. Unfolding our love to others makes us matured in the life of faith. It is the “Agape experience” of the early Christians. “Those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them” (Acts 4:32-34).
Easter signifies a continued life
Fifty days before and after Easter makes one third of the year. It is a continued effort of day-to-day life. These hundred days of life in practice assure the Kingdom of Heaven on this earth itself.
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