Easter Sunday: How Can We Celebrate?

BY SR. NORMA PIMENTEL | April 12, 2020
Easter Sunday
Today’s Readings
Reflexión en Español

I remember as a child every Easter Sunday my mother made me a beautiful new dress and paired it with white shoes and a nice hat. Our parish church, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Brownsville, filled with everybody from the neighborhood. We gathered to celebrate a very special day. I did not understand much at the time, other than we were happy going to church and we all looked beautiful.

As I grew, I came to understand the joy of the Resurrection. My Lenten journey to Easter makes me mindful of the Via Dolorosa we must endure in our own lives on our way to salvation, and the joy the Lord wants for each of us.

Easter Sunday, celebrate, Sr. Norma Pimentel

Easter Sunday this year will be unlike any I have ever experienced. For the first time in my lifetime, the church will be empty.  My sisters, niece, and Goddaughter will not sit next to each other in celebration.

This year, somehow we must find a new way to celebrate Easter Sunday, and to understand how we can celebrate in the midst of all that is happening.

When Mary of Magdala found the tomb empty, she must have felt immense grief that the Lord had been taken from the tomb. Like Mary of Magdala, we might find ourselves feeling sad this Easter Sunday as we find our churches empty on this special feast day. And like the disciples who found the tomb empty and did not understand the scriptures that our Lord had to rise from the dead, we too might be at a loss for understanding. We might ask ourselves, “How can we possibly celebrate when we cannot enter our churches?”

Let us remember that what we celebrate on this special day is that our Lord is Risen!

In the midst of what appears to be darkness all around us during this pandemic which has led to much isolation and suffering, we know and understand that our Lord is risen and is at our side.

Pope Francis invites us to embrace Our Lord’s cross by embracing the hardships of the present time and making room in our heart for the creativity that only the Spirit is capable of inspiring.  By embracing the Lord, we embrace hope that is the strength of faith which frees us from fear and gives us hope.

There is much to celebrate and rejoice. Our faith in Jesus Christ can fill us with joy in our own confined spaces at home. Together with our families and united in prayer and celebration, we rejoice with the whole world on this special day. While our churches may be empty this Easter Sunday, we can look beautiful and happy because our Lord is Risen!

6 replies
  1. Dr.Cajetan Coelho
    Dr.Cajetan Coelho says:

    “Have you not heard his silent steps? He comes, comes, ever comes.
    Every moment and every age, every day and every night, he comes, comes, ever comes.
    In the fragrant days of sunny April through the forest path, he comes, comes, ever comes.
    In sorrow after sorrow, it is his steps that press upon my heart, and it is the golden touch of his feet
    that makes my joy to shine” – (Rabindranath Tagore 1861-1941)

  2. Christine Wheeler
    Christine Wheeler says:

    Sr. Norma Pimentel, our Churches are not empty! Our spirits, the spirits of those who have passed fill the Churches with their presence. I hope that when the Pope, Bishops, priests celebrate this great act of mercy, they feel this presence. They are not preaching to empty pews. People are listening as never before. The world is listening, even those who have been separated from Christ and his church have no choice but to feel God’s presence in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ through waves of glorious sounds emanating from our televisions, and social media. Jesus Christ is Risen today. Alleluia.

  3. Patricia Layden
    Patricia Layden says:

    Easter is not about being in church. Easter is within and everywhere! Christ is risen; He is risen indeed. Alleluia!!

  4. Cathe Shoulberg, RSM
    Cathe Shoulberg, RSM says:

    A beautiful reflection! Thank you, Sister Norma!
    Apprehensive of what Easter might look like during social distancing, I was delighted with surprise. I experienced the goodness of two, different, amazing families. One family, dropped off a cherry crumb pie with beautiful home made cards that now adorn my refrigerator. Another family brought dinner they purchased from a local restaurant highly impacted by the Coronavirus.
    The proof of the Resurrection? People going out of their way for a person living singly to experience the Community of Believers. Much like how the apostles had to feel when Mary announced the unexpected Good News, “Jesus had risen!” There is joy, there is light, their is HOPE in our future!

  5. Lonni Trykowski
    Lonni Trykowski says:

    This “social distancing” and isolation experience makes me feel sad for prisoners who are placed in solitary confinement for any period of time, whether they are political prisoners or those convicted of crimes. We are in most cases not alone, or if we are, we have access to our Masses and services and communication with friends and loved ones. We have people who love us, and good food and water. But I cannot imagine the terror and despair of not seeing another human being or having any contact with the outside world, except possibly for interrogation, and to not know if anyone outside knows or cares whether you are alive or dead. I am so grateful for my many blessings, and for my faith that God is with me, and with all of us. This experience reminds me to pray for everyone who doesn’t have a home, or who is locked away feeling hopeless and alone, and who might not know God and His mercy.
    I am especially grateful to all the priests and lay people who are recording and broadcasting these many beautiful church services for Lent, Easter, and beyond. It’s a lot of work, and I have the great benefit of it from the comfort of my home. I am not “stuck” at home, but blessed to have a home in which to shelter in place during this pandemic. So much for which to be thankful. So many people needing prayer.


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