Growing up in Chicago and being a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan, I always see the beginning of the baseball season as a time of hope and new chances, even if my beloved Cubs damp those hopes very early in the season.
But on Opening Day, the possibilities and hope are still there. Despite the long, long century of baseball futility, hope springs eternal that this year may be different.
And in the same way, springtime in the Church is an opportunity for new hope and new beginnings. As we go through the winter-like season of Lent, purifying and deepening our faith, we look forward to the joy and celebration of Easter. This is the greatest celebration in the Church, in which we celebrate our salvation and new life that is open to us through the death and resurrection of Christ. Our Scriptures remind us that we can share in this new life with Christ; in fact, we already are united with him through our baptism. We celebrate this new chance, this new beginning.
We are invited in this Easter season to begin again, to live out our faith. It is through our words, our actions, our caring for others that we live our faith and follow Christ. We are invited to clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus and imitate him in our love and concern for others. We are invited to recognize the importance of a relationship with God in our lives, and to put into practice our faith.
Recently, a parishioner alerted me to a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, who wrote of Jesus, “Let him easter in us, be a dayspring to the dimness of us.” Easter is no longer just an event — it is an action. Let us easter. Let us spring to new life in Christ. When we easter, we no longer hide in the shadows of fear and sadness, but we live in hope and newness of life.
Let us easter. Let us celebrate the victory of Christ over all that separates us from God. Let us allow that faith and love that Christ gives us to grow in us, to make us bright beacons of love and hope to all those around us.
The Rev. Jeremy Dixon is associate pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Sermon Notes is a column by local religious leaders.