Easter Eucharist


Seasons affect our moods. There is something about the lengthening days, the warming air, the flowers and fragrance of spring that affect the heart. The beginnings of spring encourage gatherings, little kindnesses, and even greater patience (something easily observed in traffic). Smiles tend to come more easily. New friendships are made and old ones repaired. Spring awakens our better selves, infusing hope in the winter weary. It is the perfect season for the Resurrection.

The early Church was charged with wonder. Easter awe scintillated in every eye. There was energy, enthusiasm, believers bustling about. Paschal gladness issued from lips singing psalms and hymns, extolling the Risen One and praising the Father. The Resurrection was spring breaking upon the world. After a very long winter (all that followed from the Fall), the empty tomb announced a fresh season of grace. New life had come. A new creation was blossoming. As flowers bud and burst forth, stemming from sun-soaked soil, so new virtue and insight erupted among the faithful nourished by the rising Son. Humility, kindness and charity flowered with original fragrance, enchanting a world long accustomed to the cold. It was a new day, they were a new people, and there was every reason to be glad.

The New Testament brims with Easter triumph. Not only has the Lord risen, but he remains with us. This Sunday’s gospel speaks of his enduring presence in the Holy Mass. Jesus meets two disciples on the road to Emmaus and, “beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures.” After this homily, he shares a meal with them where “he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.” Then “they recognized him.” As the risen Christ was veiled but present with the two disciples, so he is veiled but present at every Mass. We hear him speak through the scriptures, we see him risen in the Eucharist, we encounter him personally in communion. The Holy Mass brims with Easter triumph.

The Resurrection overawed the nascent Church. That awe is still ours. The same Jesus who appeared risen in the flesh is elevated daily above our altars and lies waiting in our tabernacles. Whatever the season of the year, whatever the season of life, one always finds Easter morning in his presence. We can explain the Eucharist philosophically, aiding reason. There have been many Eucharistic miracles to aid our faith. But for so many, the truth of the real presence is known simply from experience: “were not our hearts burning within us.” That encounter renews our spirit. It will always be the source of springtime in the Church.