With the recent rains across parts of NSW and the potential of good follow up rain, farmers are getting onto their ground and preparing it for the sowing of winter crops. All going well, these crops will be harvested in spring or summer and provide cereals and oilseeds for us. It’s hard work for the farmers with long days and nights on the tractor.
As we celebrate Easter again, even in this unusual time, the farming process is another reminder of what Easter is all about – the dying, waiting and rising to new life. Easter is all around us all the time in nature, in life, in the universe. Death is always followed by waiting, when nothing seems to be happening, and then new life emerges. And it’s always a new life, not a return to an old life. The seed never becomes a seed again – it takes on new life as canola or wheat or barley or a flower or a tree. Exploding stars or supernovae become solar systems, not lumps of gas.
The Easter mystery is always around us and within us reminding us of what Easter is all about – Jesus died, then nothing seemed to be happening until he rose from the dead. The Resurrection is the foundational building block of our faith. It’s the guarantee of God – new life will emerge from death. Love overcomes death. Jesus’ death was the ultimate expression of love – he loved us so much he was prepared to die for us. Then God raised him from the dead to show us categorically that love is stronger than death.
This is a message we need to keep focused on it this time of the Covid pandemic. It’s a dreadful virus with dreadful consequences. It’s death – physical death for some, death of jobs and livelihoods for others, death of physical connectivity for most of us. And we don’t know when it’s going to end, when a vaccine might be found, when we can get back to ‘normal’. We are in the dying and waiting phase.
The Resurrection is the guarantee that we won’t go back to the old ‘normal’. After the waiting a New Life will emerge. It will be a new life, not the old life. And we can already see the glimmer of what it will be like – all around the world people are going to extraordinary lengths to look out for each other, care for the vulnerable, connect in deeper and more profound ways. And the guiding force is Love – expressed as compassion, kindness, increased awareness of other’s needs, a decrease of selfishness as people focus their minds on working out how to reach out and help their neighbours.
Easter reminds us – Love defeats death, no matter how strong death may look or how long the waiting might be – New Life will emerge and it will be something truly New.
Fr Paul Devitt