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The Easter Egg

April 21, 2019   Click on the left end of the black bar to play/pause

April 21, 2019
John 20:19-31
Fr. George Smiga

One of the most common symbols of Easter is the Easter egg. Eggs have been associated with Easter from the earliest days of Christianity. But what is the meaning that the egg is meant to convey? Usually when we ask this question, the answer is something like “new life” or “Jesus coming out of the tomb.” These answers are appropriate. But I suggest to you that if we reflect on the egg a bit deeper, we can discover a more complex meaning that is useful for our lives.

The egg contains within it the bird-to-be. But if that bird is to live it must peck over and over again on the inside of the egg until, after a number of days, it breaks through the shell and steps out. None of this can happen without the egg falling into pieces. You see the egg is not simply about life, it is also about destruction. If the bird is to mature, the egg must be broken. New life demands the shattering of the old. This is what makes the egg such a suitable symbol for Easter. Easter is not simply about new life or the beginning of springtime. By modeling Jesus’ death and resurrection, the egg tells us that we must break what is old if we are to find what is new. We must shatter what confines us if we wish to be free.

When we lose someone that we love, when a friend walks away, when a spouse sues for divorce, when a parent dies, Easter tells us that we will not find life by holding on to what used to be. It is only by breaking the old, the old world as we knew it, that we can find a way to live again. Some of us carry some naïve notions about our country or our church. We say to ourselves, “Certainly the people we elect to office will be honest. Certainly our Bishops will protect our children from sexual abuse.” Then we find ourselves betrayed. Easter says that life is not to be found in anger and disgust. We must shatter simple ideas of how our country and church operate and insist that our leaders act in truth and transparency. It is only then that our democratic freedoms will be secure and our church will be healed. Perhaps we have been confined for some time by hurt or jealousy, brooding over something that someone once said to us, measuring ourselves against the success of others. Easter says to us that we must not remain in the pain of that confinement but push through the shell holds us with forgiveness and love.

It is not easy to break through the way things used to be. It is a challenge to shatter the crust that confines us. But the good news of Easter is this: Christ is risen. He who is our pattern for new life is alive. He is ready to help us. If we ask for his help, he will not ignore us. Easter then is a day of hope, a hope of new life. Because of Jesus’ love for us, we believe that new life is possible. But if we intend to enter that life—much like making an omelet—we must be ready to break some eggs.

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