March 21, 2008

Cornucopia / Cynthia Dewes

Easter is our only hope—Alleluia! Alleluia!

Cynthia DewesSometimes we become jaded about events like Easter. We know it’s the greatest feast of the Church year, but over time we may forget its real meaning and its astonishing importance for us.

Just imagine a world that is a place where children are routinely abused by adults with more authority, power or physical strength than they have.

Imagine a world where men and women couple promiscuously, sometimes carelessly producing many of the children who are abused later on.

People use each other sexually, materially and emotionally. If they express feelings of disappointment or anger at these situations, they’re ignored or sent to expensive therapy or left to continue the cycle of despair in which they operate. Many become sentimental “victims” of their own bad choices.

Victimhood, in fact, becomes a popular cause for anyone disaffected by anything. Spurious “experts” offer advice, workshops, pills or whatever other lucrative methods they can dream up to solve such imaginary problems. Real problems tend to be handled by real parents, teachers and doctors.

Young men are sent to war by old men who think they’ve earned the right to omniscience. Politicians cynically create tensions and foster divisions, sometimes between countries, just to keep their lucrative offices. Bosses lie and workers cheat on time and performance, trying to increase their financial profits or just “stick it” to someone they resent.

Immigrants, legal or illegal, work harder and longer for less pay than most Americans. Some are trying to become part of the American Dream, but others merely want to profit from quick financial gain without bothering to follow our laws. Either way, they’re often preyed upon by unprincipled employers and politicians who choose to forget that we were all immigrants once, and that immigrants are entitled to respect and criminals are not.

Entertainments, such as television, movies and popular music, present false, tawdry examples of current life, which the young and gullible believe are true, acceptable and even necessary to being a modern person. If such people don’t follow the media examples, they’re considered to be either ignorant or pathetically out of sync with their peers. Immature teenagers especially feel a need to be in sync with others.

Old folks think the world is going to hell in a hand-basket, as old folks always do. And as always, they are correct in some of their judgments and way off base in others. The world lurches on, back and forth, up and down in its crazy human fashion, dragging all our imperfect selves along with it. Grief, pain, meanness and sin in general continue as they inevitably will, with goodness appearing periodically, seemingly to point up the irony of our existence.

To be truthful, the foregoing paragraphs seem to describe our world fairly correctly. We do indeed suffer from all these problems, faults and sins. That’s why God, who loves us beyond measure, sent Christ to save us from ourselves. Easter is thus a celebration of love, not just a festival of Spring’s natural renewal illustrated with baby chicks and flowers.

Easter is the greatest feast because it declares that hope in a better life and a better world is not only possible, but imminent. We just need to believe in that promise to live in hope. Hope is the one essential we must carry on through an imperfect life in an imperfect world on our way to the perfect God. And it’s hope that will bring us joy.

(Cynthia Dewes, a member of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Greencastle, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.) †

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