From Clare DeWitt, our Coordinator of Youth Faith Formation…

Dear St. John families,

Happy Easter season! I don’t know about you, but there is a tendency that I have during this time to ride the joy of this season out for the first week and then…forget and let myself return to “normal.” During Lent, I am almost painfully aware of each of the 40 days. Yet once we usher in the new Easter season, I’m happy to eat my jelly beans and smile and sing “Jesus has Risen”, but to do so for 50 days? I last the first 8 before setting my sights on the next distracting thing. 

This year, however, I wanted it to be different. There has been a popular quote from Pope St. John Paul II that has been capturing my heart lately, that I have been reflecting on to help challenge my own Resurrection forgetfulness. 

“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song.”~ St. Pope John Paul II

Easter people. Those particular words have captivated me as of late, especially in the midst of the current pandemic we’re going through. It has made me think about what kind of person I want to be during this time—both as we endure a global crisis and live through the glory of the 50 days of Easter.

Whenever I’m leading a Bible study with my teens, or am working on a retreat or an activity for my Religious Ed. students, I try to make things practical and apply them to everyday life. As I was reflecting on JPII’s words, I knew I needed to make them personal if they were going to stick.

Go back to that moment at the tomb on Easter morning… what were the women told? “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is risen!” (Luke 24:5-6) I’m starting to realize that being an Easter people seems to lie in the things that we seek out, and ultimately, in the things we choose. If I reflect back on my day, oftentimes my choices reveal to me what I most believed in that day.

Pope Francis, in his Easter Vigil homily, said that by resurrecting from the dead Jesus gives us a right to hope. “It is a new and living hope that comes from God. It is not mere optimism; it is not a pat on the back or an empty word of encouragement, with a passing smile. No. It is a gift from heaven, which we could not have earned on our own.”

In the times that we are living right now, when much can feel uncertain and we don’t know when the end will come, I’m using this hope as fuel. The hope that doesn’t burn out or fade, but rests on the reality that Jesus goes before us both in life and death and ultimately He has the victory, so there is no reason to fear.

In my life, what it looks like to be an Easter people, is to really believe that there is more joy coming. To know that the Resurrection is a reality that is not dependent on my own emotions (which come in waves of grief, courage, joy, and disappointment) or the opinions of others. How I choose to be an “Easter people” is to not stop loving, to not let myself turn apathetic to the needs of others or to turn down the call to go deeper in

With our stay at home order, I’ve been taking more time to think on what I want to be about. My invitation is to join me in this…how do you choose to live out the call to be “an Easter people”? We serve a Lord so loving, so good that He would rather die than spend an eternity without us. We have so much to hope for, even in the midst of brokenness, suffering, disappointment, or fear. This is what makes us an Easter people.

Please know of my prayers for you and your families!

To hoping together,

Clare DeWitt
Youth Faith Formation