At the beginning of Lent I heard a quote, I don’t remember what I was watching, but it has stuck with me all through lent and has been much on my mind for Easter. “Darkness is not the absence of light, but the conviction that the light will not return.” Read that again slowly and think about what you have seen during this pandemic. It is a nefarious sneaky little thought that worms its way into our mind. We have limited movement, fears (sometimes irrational), social distancing, an inability to express our faith in community. If we are honest we begin to wonder if things will ever go back to normal, if we will be able to meet again in our places of worship, or go to a movie or the beach. It then becomes easy to be convicted that the light will not return. We have just spent the holiest week of the Christian year apart after all. 
At this point I am sure many of you are thinking,” wow Fr. David way to cheer us up”.  Bear with me a bit longer and it will become clear. As you can imagine Jen and I have continued our preparation for adoption which includes reading, surprise surprise. One of the books we have been reading has a refrain that is repeated throughout the book and is summed up in one word, HOPE. One of the most important words we ever learn in our lives. Hope. The antidote to many things. HOPE. The counter to convictions of despair. HOPE. The process by which all things seem new and possible.
This has been one of, if not THE, driest Lenten experiences I have ever known. I imagine it has been the same for all of you. However, when I examine it I realize that it wasn’t very different just…….More.For me Lent has always been a time of self examination and drawing closer to God in whatever way I can. That has been something that I’ve had to rely on throughout all of this, more than normal. I hope this has been the case for you as well. But what does that mean, what does this have to do with Hope? Simply put the Easter resurrection is the epitome of hope. Think about it for a second. The first witness of the resurrected Christ was Mary Magdalene. This is a woman from him seven demons were cast out. This is a woman who earns her living by selling her body. This is a woman who like many of us was one of the most broken among us. She was the first to witness the resurrection hope. The risen Messiah. Her tears of fear and rage and sorrow in an instant were turned to tears of hope and joy. Just like that the small seemingly insignificant word of hope returned to the people, all of the people. The resurrection of Christ is the returning of the light. It is that light that our hope and faith hang upon.
When I was at seminary every Wednesday we had benediction of the blessed sacrament. During that service we sang a song with these words that echo in my mind to this very day. “Oh saving victim opening wide the gates of heaven to man below, our foes press on from every side thine aid supply thy strength bestow.” In the earliest churches those of the Christian faith used to paint fish on their chest to identify themselves to one another. They did this for fear of being persecuted, or outright killed. We have not even come close to that in this time. The reality is that the Christian life does not even embrace the idea that darkness is the conviction that light will never return it is that the light has never left. That reality is the basis of our faith, the very reason we hope. It is the reason that we shout from the rooftops every Easter that Christ has risen with the response of the Lord has risen indeed. May you have a blessed and holy Easter.