Jesus’ Easter and Universal Easter

Easter arrived again. It is the Easterof Jesus, the crucified prophet, the singular image for Christians of the universal hope for all crucified people. It is the Easter of the first full moon of spring that so many cultures have celebrated thousands of years before our Christian Era: Chinese, Indians, Sumerians, Babilonians and Jews, and the Maya peoples of central America who, millenia before we called their land so, in the reflection of the moon at night they already saw the irresistible power of life.

It is the Easter of the Earth. The Easter of wheat and all cereals: the grain dies, germinates and sprouts in the fields, to be converted into brotherly and sisterly bread, eucharistic bread, or bread for the family table, the same sacred bread for those who know how to look and enjoy, to split and share it. It is the Easter of the farmers and shepherds of the Neolithic, who lived to the rhythm of new and full moons, solstices and equinoxes, to the rhythm of Mother Earth and of the unmeasurable Cosmos.

Life revives. In every bud of the vine, in every cherry blossom, the energy of the whole universe is present, the fire of Being is manifested, the force of Life, the mystery that we call God and that receives many other names and that no name can express. The sparrow is already carrying a blade of grass in its beak to the hollow under the roof to make its nest and breed. Even the water turtle in our balcony is awakening from its winter torpor. One of the two Greek words that the Christian biblical texts known as “New Testament” use to express that Jesus resurrected literally means that: “awake”. The other one means “to rise”. Life awakes and rises again after the night in all its forms. It is what we Christians confess, and thus we await for in spite of everything; in our poor hands we carry that blade of hope, just like earth does with the grain.

But more than one Christian, after reading the preceding paragraphs, will have wondered: and where is, among so many Easters, the Christian Easter, the Easter of Jesus? I do understand your perplexity, my brother, my sister, but let me tell you with all the conviction and humility that I can: do not oppose the Christian Easter to the Easter of the Earth and of the rest of religions and cultures. Do not think that the Easter of Jesus is the only one, not even the supreme one, the perfect realization of all Easters. Jesus never thought so. He lived until the end, and died to rise again, like the grain, like the martyred prophet, like all martyrs and prophets without labels. Death is Easter. Easter in Hebrew is pesaj which means “passage”.

I’ve said “do not think that…”, but I correct myself: about all these questions that are called matters of faith, but where faith is not at stake, think or “believe” freely whatever you consider most convincing and reasonable, but do not rush to denounce what I am saying as a dissolution of the gospel of Jesus. The universal without form is only realized in particular forms. Jesus did it so. So, do it you, too. Full Easter is still not fully completed. Let’s make Easter. Let’s rekindle the flame of life within us in the many shadows that inhabit us, in the many forms that death wounds us.

Jesus did it so, and thus he rose again. His resurrection, like ours, does not have anything to do –I emphasize: nothing- with his tomb being empty, with this dead body suddenly and “miraculously” disappearing and then “miraculously” appearing again before his disciples. His resurrection does not have anything to do with any “miraculous” event outside the miracle of life: goodness stronger than death. Jesus resurrected in his life as a good, rebellious and healer, free and liberating prophet. He resurrected in his compassion, his commensality, his solidarity with the last ones. And that is why he died and, therefore, in his death he rose again because “life is what is left of the failure of our plans”, as the hard and beautiful film The shape of the water proclaims.

That is the true Easter of Jesus, but it will only be true also in us as long as we live like he did, until we die of pure living, like all people who spend their lives doing good, simply, like the seed and the flower, without thinking of the fruit.

(Text published on April 1st, 2018. Translated by Mertxe de Renobales Scheifler)