Photo illustration by Phil Younk
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Based on the Gospel of John Chapter 20:1–9
Remember the story of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle? The caterpillar popped out of the egg, began looking for food, and ate and ate until it became a full-size caterpillar. Then it built a protective shell, or chrysalis, around itself and huddled inside for more than two weeks. Next the chrysalis broke open and it pushed its way out. Behold – it was no longer a caterpillar but a beautiful butterfly – new life.
The caterpillar stage lasting two to four weeks is the second or larval stage in the life of a butterfly. A caterpillar spends most of its time eating and growing. Once it reaches its full size, it forms the chrysalis, which usually hangs on a tree, settles into it, and goes to sleep. The chrysalis is the third stage in the butterfly life cycle. While it’s asleep, an amazing change happens. The worm-like caterpillar becomes a delicate butterfly. The chrysalis breaks open and the butterfly emerges.
From a slow-moving, crawling caterpillar, it becomes a quick-darting, fluttering butterfly. The butterfly can now do things it couldn’t do as a caterpillar – new life.
The Easter miracle is like that. Jesus was buried in the tomb. The frightened apostles are hiding for fear the leaders who crucified Jesus will seize them, too.
In this Sunday’s Gospel, Mary Magdalene discovers the empty tomb on that first Easter morning and runs to tell Peter and John. They both run back to the tomb. John gets there first but waits for Peter. The tomb is empty except for the burial cloths.
John, the beloved apostle, was the fastest to get there and the first to believe in Jesus’ Resurrection. John was the only apostle who stood at the cross when Jesus was crucified. It was to John Jesus entrusted the care of his mother, Mary.
Somewhat like the caterpillar, Jesus died and spent time in the dark tomb before rising to new life.
In church on Easter Sunday, notice all the fresh flowers. Look for the special candle called the “Paschal Candle” lit near the altar during the Easter season. It symbolizes Jesus as the Light of the World who rose in glory and conquered the darkness of sin and death for our salvation.
Easter is joyous because Jesus triumphed over death. Jesus is alive and with us always. Alleluia! “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad!”
A Blessed Easter!