It was an ancient rabbi who asked his students how they could tell when the night was over and the day was on its way back. They responded:
“Could it be when you see a building in the distance and can tell whether it is a home or a barn?”
“No”, said the rabbi.
“Could it be when you see an animal in the distance and can tell whether it is a sheep or a dog?”
“No”, said the rabbi.
“Could it be when you see a tree in the distance and can tell whether it is a fig tree or a peach tree?”
“No”, answered the rabbi.
“Well then, when is it?” demanded the students.
The rabbi said: “It is when you look on the face of any man or woman and see that he or she is your brother or sister. Because if you cannot do this, then no matter what time it is, it is still night.”
A beautiful story from one rabbi, but also the story of another rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth. Easter is the celebration of the resurrection, the day that Jesus rose from the dead and thus conquered death. If Jesus had not risen, there would be no gospel, there would be no Church, and there would be no Christianity. But Jesus did rise, and that was the ultimate proof
of his divinity.
In the resurrection, Jesus overcame the darkness of sin and death. Thus Easter is a feast of light, celebrating Jesus the light of the world. During the Easter Vigil we light the Easter candle and the priest proclaims: “Christ Our light.” It is by this light that Christians can see.
But what do they see? In the light of Christ do we see houses or barns, sheep or dogs, fig trees or peach trees; or do we see one another as brothers and sisters.
The light of the Easter candle might not seem like much light to some, but to the person of faith it is all the light we need. It is the light of Christ. It is the light of resurrection. It is the light that guides our way on earth. It is the light that destroys the night.
“It is when you look on the face of any man or woman and see that he or she is your brother or sister. Because if you cannot do this, then no matter what time it is, it is still night”.
Indeed the night is over and the day is about to break, because Jesus is risen, and so will we.
Fr. Terry Hazel