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April 16, 2017

An Easter search

(En español)

Bishop Timothy Doherty

“They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.”
— Mary of Magdala speaks, Gospel of John, Chapter 20

Joyous news, brothers and sisters! May Easter graces gladden you and those you love. The celebration of Christ’s being raised from the dead is the high point of the Catholic Christian calendar.

While Lent has ended, the Easter season starts a search. “We don’t know where they put him.”

The English poet John Donne (†1631) offers a startling meditation on Mary Magdalene’s anguish. It is easy enough to assume that some malicious person has taken the body of Jesus. Donne speaks to us, his readers, and turns the accusation of the prophets against us. Have we ourselves cast away Christ after he offered us his grace and his sacraments?

With many of us celebrating the joy of new life, there are people who have cast Christ far from them — and now do not know where to find him. Many of us have experienced this loss at one time or another.

It is tragic enough, Donne says, when others hide Christ from us. But there is something desperate when we ourselves cast him away.

Four hundred years after Donne, we have refined methods for hiding Christ from ourselves and others. We block him with too-full

calendars, or simply stop looking for him in the faces of people we might otherwise console. And we forget to search for Christ where he is readily found: in patient reading of the New Testament, and encountering the Lord in the sacraments.

On a light note, I encourage the custom of a children’s Easter egg hunt. But remember that it symbolizes a yearly Easter search by us, their elders.

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