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Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
April 8, 2007
Is Easter the Right Word for this Day?

    Last Sunday the children in grades 2 and 3 were learning about Holy Week with an emphasis on the Passion since the Passion was the Gospel of the day.  It goes without saying that the celebration of Easter could not be avoided.  Although the discussion on Easter proper was cut short, one child asked a very interesting question which impressed me tremendously.  We were talking about New Life and the relationship between traditions such as the Easter Bunny and candy etc.  Then the child asked, “Why Easter?  What does the word Easter have to do with this day?”  I can usually come up with at least some sort of answer for these young children but I was not able to answer this one.  I really didn’t know where the word Easter came from.  I did commend her for the question and promised to look into it.  And so I did. 

    The word Easter is German and Old English in its origins.  The word Easter has a wide range of meaning but it essentially means having to do with a phenomenon or a period of time.  It also relates to the notion of coming from the East.  Perhaps the word was adopted with the idea that there was a great phenomenon that happened in the East, the celebration of which lasted for a period of time, namely 50 days until Pentecost.  This is definitely too difficult for young children but I thought it might be interesting for adults.

    The word Easter is actually not a very appropriate word for the event that we are all celebrating this week.  A better word is derived from the word Pasche.  The romance languages use this origin for their term for Easter.  We are all familiar with the word Paschal mystery. The word Pascha or Pasque is the older term for Easter and it renders the meaning more effectively. The Word Paschal means a passing from captivity to freedom, from death to life, from illusion
to what matters most.

    And so, we celebrate New Life on Easter.  We have journeyed the long days of Lent attempting to spend a little more time in prayer, performing small or even big sacrifices, and being a little more generous with our almsgiving perhaps with a Food Pantry or the Rice Bowl.  Now we have come to the point of experiencing freedom from our old ways, our attachments to our money, our “toys”, our eating habits.  In making these sacrifices by giving up our favorite snack or TV program or Computer game, we were forced to admit that we do not need these things as much as we thought we did.  We are a little freer this Easter than we were on Ash Wednesday.

    Perhaps we felt down and discouraged about life in general.  Everything seemed very dark and dismal for us.  We prayed a little more and our relationship with God was strengthened.   Now we are experiencing a new found love of life, with more energy and more passion for living.  This great phenomenon that happened two thousand years ago in Jerusalem, where Christ rose from the dead and gave us hope to go on is indeed a great reason to celebrate today.  We no longer have to live in illusion but rather, we can live our life with Joy because now we  know what really matters.       Have a Very Happy Easter Everyone!       

                                     Lorette P. Nault