An Easter Message by Bishop Mark Bartchak
I recently saw a video which captured unscripted interviews of children who were around five or six years old. They were asked simple, direct questions about what happened on the very first Easter. This was filmed in New York City about three or four years ago by one of the major TV networks. It was obvious that some children had no idea about the Lord Jesus or about his death and resurrection. But others did. Here are the questions and their responses:
What happened right before the first Easter Sunday? A boy answered, “The bad guys killed him.” What happened next? A girl answered, “He was put in a cave with a giant rock.” Then what happened? A boy replied with a smile, “He rose from the dead!” How did Jesus rise from the dead? A girl with a more serious face replied, “It took three days and two angels came and moved the boulder and Jesus was alive!” What made Jesus rise from the dead? Another child said, “Well, he made a promise that he would come back on Easter.”
It is so refreshing to listen to children who grasp such an important message. And it’s even better that they are able to articulate the message in a direct and plain manner. So many people today do not have a basic understanding of the meaning of life and the sacredness of human life. It appears beyond their comprehension that the Lord Jesus was born into the world as a human person just like us in every way but sin. Some would ask, “How is it possible for someone to be so innocent?” When they pose that question to me, I often invite them to talk to a young child like those interviewed. They were so open to the awesome mystery of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth as a real person; both human and Divine!
Perhaps what is missing for those who find it difficult to grasp what these young children understood about the life and death and resurrection of Jesus, is the ultimate, personal question: What does this story mean to me? During the sidewalk TV interview, the last question was this: What did people say to Jesus after he came back on Easter? A girl responded, “Jesus, please take care of us!”
And that’s what Jesus has been doing ever since he came back on Easter. His parting words as he ascended to heaven were: “Know that I am with you always, even until the end of time.” And to make good on that promise, the Risen Lord is available to us through the Church, through prayer, the sacraments, and the Sacred Scriptures.
The joy of the Resurrection continues to live in the hearts of those who trust his promise to be with us and to take care of us. It continues through the good works and care we show to others who are in need; and that involves just about everyone in the whole world. Our response to the joy of the Resurrection is to share it so that others will know that the Lord Jesus continues to take care of us. Christ is risen! Christ is truly risen! Alleluia! Blessed and Happy Easter! Share this Good News with everyone!