© ginosphotos – Getty Images

DEAR friend, I would like to share with you this story drawn from the wisdom of Jewish tradition because I believe it is particularly appropriate for Easter.

Early one morning, while it was still dark, an old rabbi woke up his seven students. “Pay close attention,” he told them, “because I am about to ask you a very important question.” He led them in front of a large window and then asked them, “What is the moment you can say the night is over and the day is beginning?”

“Is it when the morning star appears?” Asked one. “No,” answered the rabbi.

A second student said, “It could be when you see an animal through the window and you can distinguish whether it is a sheep or a dog.” “No,” answered the rabbi once again.

Then a third student said, “Perhaps it is when you see a tree in the distance, and you can tell if it is a fig or an olive tree.” “No, your answer isn’t right either,” replied the rabbi.

After a few more guesses the students asked, “So what is the answer, rabbi?” The Jewish teacher stared back into the faces of his students, and with a gentle voice replied, “It is when you look on the face of any woman or man and see that she is your sister and he is your brother. Because if you cannot do this then no matter what time it is, it is still night for you.”

What that rabbi said is profoundly true. Only when we look into another person’s face can we discover that he or she is a brother or sister! We should therefore look into one another’s eyes more often, stopping to listen to one another before reacting, thus preventing the darkness of fear or hatred from clouding our hearts and minds.

Celebrating Easter means just that, dear friend, accepting the invitation of the risen Christ to come out of the darkness of evil and enter into the light of God’s love. In that light we can see Jesus and recognize everyone as our brothers and sisters. It is a gentle, warm light that allows us to understand that the night is over, and the day is at hand. It is a light that calls us to abandon the idleness of darkness and to look for hope because, since Jesus conquered death, no one nor any enterprise can be considered a lost cause.

We must always remember that being a Christian means being a person of hope precisely because of what happened on that Easter morning when Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went to Jesus’ tomb. Christian hope is no shallow optimism based on the refusal to face facts. It is rather a deep trust in God, because it is the Father who ultimately raised Jesus from the dead.

Good Friday, the day of darkness and death, comes for everyone. So does Holy Saturday, that day of emptiness and sorrow. On such days it is hard to believe. But Easter Sunday, the day of life and joy, is sure to come. After all, as we all know, death, the last enemy, has been conquered forever.

Dear friend, may the Lord in his goodness open our minds and hearts so that we can believe the good news of his victory over death. In his love for us, God invites us to love and respect one another, and he urges us to go forward with more confidence and hope because Jesus, our brother, is always beside us, showing us the way toward never ending love.

I wish you and your dear ones all the love and happiness that only Easter can bring.

Updated on February 29 2024