For those immersed in the secular world, Easter is long over. The pastel bunnies, the chocolate eggs, the color-splashed jelly beans which appeared in the marketplace so temptingly just as Christians were beginning the fasting of Lent, have long been swept from the store shelves to be replaced in anticipation of the next marketable holiday. For the Christian steward, how backward this all seems. Yes, we believe that the Paschal mystery and the life-changing events of Easter are not over. They are not an end but a triumphal beginning, and they have altered us in a quite radical way.
The mystery and miracle of Easter challenge us to live as different people, as people of the Resurrection. What does this mean? For those new Catholics who participated in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), a period of mystagogy helps to understand this mystery. Indeed, this ancient Greek word actually means “to lead through the mysteries.” During mystagogia, many parishes introduce their new members to service in a quite practical way. Here are the ministries of the parish; here are the charities we support; here are the needs of our community and our congregation. How do you choose to live out your faith in the Resurrection in a quite tangible and real way? How do your gifts fit into our needs? Essentially, however, this is a question that the Easter season calls forth in all Christian stewards not just our newest members.
We have lived through Lent and the Paschal mysteries, all the while trying to deepen a relationship with the person of Christ. It’s as simple, yet as amazing and complex as that. The deeper the relationship grows, the more we become rooted in it, the more this relationship with Christ comes to dominate our lives. We no longer compartmentalize Jesus, we hold him at our center. And the mysteries lead us to the fundamental question at the heart of all Christian stewardship, the question that Easter compels us to ask: How do I steward my resources – my time, my money, my abilities and gifts, my very life – so that they are in service to the Kingdom of God? It’s not a part-time question. It’s not a seasonal question that’s swept off the shelf periodically. It’s the basic question which the Easter season demands of us: Jesus, how do you want me to serve you?