He has Risen, He has Risen indeed. Praise the Lord, Glory and Alleluia.
I do not think I have ever been so starved to speak those words! There were many surprises that greeted me this beautiful Easter Sunday morning – none of which I anticipated or expected. It all started at the stroke of midnight, ushering in the dawn of Easter Sunday.
I gave up eating meat for Lent. Honestly, for most of the Lenten season, I really did not feel it was much of a sacrifice; I was perfectly content with fish and meat substitutes, but suddenly as we entered Holy Week, I was overcome with an immense desire for meat.
It became so bad that by the time Good Friday arrived, I felt I could not survive without it. I was so weak, and nothing could dispel the need for meat. To make matters worse, I was consumed with guilt. Was I such a weak person that I could not sacrifice indulging in meat for only 48 more hours?
Midnight finally came, and it was officially Easter. I could finally have meat; I had made it through Lent. The feeling of failure still remained because I was following the concept that what we sacrifice in Lent is meant to bring us closer to God; by eliminating the distractions of this life, we could achieve true reliance on the Lord.
Yet here I was on Easter Sunday, and all I wanted was meat, completely distracted from Jesus Christ and His triumph over death. When I prepared my meal complete with meat and took my first bite, my mind, heart and soul were cleared, and the weight of Lent was lifted.
I was filled with the Holy Spirit, who revealed to me why my insatiable need for meat was not a sign of weakness at all, it was just the opposite. This desire for meat I had felt was not simply human hunger, it was spiritual hunger. The hunger I had for meat was truly the hunger for Jesus Christ.
Throughout all of Lent, I have been underestimating the effects I was experiencing by not receiving the Eucharist every Sunday. Lent had become a time of blind faith and trust and easy thanksgiving. I thanked God every day for simple things, but I wasn’t praising Him, and I missed Him in the Eucharist.
It was not until Sunday morning that I was finally aware of how much I needed Him. The hunger I had for meat is the hunger I need to have every time I approach Jesus and receive Him through the Holy Eucharist. I praised and thanked God for the gift of the meal He had provided, showing me that He is my Savior and without Him there is no hope.
I know meat is no substitute for the Eucharist, but nevertheless I felt satisfied for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic took away our ability to receive the Lord at Mass. Most importantly, I felt filled with hope.
The season of Lent was focused on faith and trust, but not on hope. I concentrated on the suffering of the season and the meaning of that suffering, but I forgot about the joy our faith should give us.
Easter morning, the sun rose and so did our Lord. This world is working tirelessly to find the solution to this pandemic, but I had forgotten that this battle has already been won on the cross. This day has come with a promise that our situation will get better; Jesus Christ has conquered death. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!