By Ellen Hales
I over-indulge. As a kid, I would wake up on Easter Sunday at the crack of dawn, scan the house for chocolate and eat it all before breakfast. It wasn’t until the chocolate bliss turned rapidly into a nauseating sugar hangover that I could see it was an obvious waste of good, milky chocolate.
What is it about Easter chocolate that triggers an impulse to eat irrationally? Perhaps it’s the atmosphere of celebration or the need to eat before someone else in the family stumbles across it. Simply, I think we over-indulge because the chocolate is there.
To say the last 12 months have been manic would be an understatement. At first, I thought it was comical that society’s first reaction to the pandemic was: “Oh no! will we have enough toilet paper?” That one I did not expect.
As the fear increased, the over-indulging began and people started over-buying, making it difficult for people to get what they needed. There have also been some amazing instances of nobility and community service – people like Dr Li Wenliang, who risked his life and legacy to raise awareness about the virus in China, and all the other medical staff and scientists who have worked to contain the outbreak. I am in awe of the teachers and parents who have flipped their entire lives to maintain consistency for young people. This pandemic has reminded me just how interconnected we are.
At Easter we enter into the mystery of the Passion of Christ and the Resurrection of Jesus. As a human family, I wonder how we will resurrect from this pandemic. Will we take a shift towards justice, love and dignity for all, or will we be preoccupied trying to re-establish what was? We should consider what aspects of the world we want to leave in the tomb.
This year I’m finding answers in the memory of Jesus and his friends celebrating the Passover offering. The Passover Feast commemorates the freedom of the children of Israel from Egypt. Jesus is the “wisdom of God,” (1 Corinthians 1:24) and so we can trust that every word and action of Jesus was intentional and significant.
What does Jesus reveal by freely entering into death on the Feast of the Passover? Our Mother Church, in her wisdom, guides us annually into this memorial with the season of Lent. Like the Israelites, it’s a time of discovering true liberation in God. A liberation from over-indulging and ego.
This Easter, like never before, I want to celebrate the freedom we have in God!
The past 12 months have been a universal fight for freedom – a freedom from social isolation, from sickness, from racism and discrimination. Since the re-opening of our churches for Mass, I’ve become more aware of my liberation in Australia and my freedom of religion. This Easter we have a lot to be grateful for, but most significantly this year, it’s our freedom to over-indulge in worship.
Ellen Hales currently holds a dual role in the Diocese of Lismore, working as a Catholic Schools Office Youth Ministry Development Officer and the Diocesan Youth Coordinator. This year, Ellen celebrates 10 years of Catholic youth ministry service, beginning in 2011 as a volunteer with NET Ministries Australia. Ellen's experience ranges from parish-based youth ministry to international equipping schools and Ignite Conference keynotes. Ellen currently lives by the beach in a small coastal town in northern NSW, where she is enjoying the simple life.