‘This is the day the Lord has made,’ is the Psalm for Easter Sunday. Can you imagine an Easter Sunday congregation in full voice singing out these words? Singing is not a strong suit of Catholic congregations so we will have to try hard to picture the scene. This is the day the Lord has made! What are we singing about? Why do we use this psalm on Easter Sunday? Easter Sunday is the day of creation. It is the day when we make great claims for what God is up to in our world. It is the annual feast when we celebrate that God’s work in creating the world and bringing to life the human race, is still unfolding. We have all kinds of names for this day. It is the day of the resurrection, the Lord’s day, or the first day of the week.
On Easter Sunday we celebrate that God is bringing humanity to life in a new way. The passion of Jesus Christ showed how human beings act when left to their own devices. It is characterised by darkness, denial, abandonment, jealousy, anger, hatred and violence. The day of the resurrection is characterised by light, life, forgiveness, peace, reconciliation and healing. The contrast could not be greater. Christians come together to celebrate the day of the resurrection because they have grasped something of what it means to people of light and life. They also celebrate this day knowing that it does not belong to them, but to God. The day of the Lord is not a possession of the Christian community. It is a gift of God to the whole world. It is an invitation to leave behind the world of jealousy, anger, hatred and violence and to be recreated in the image of the risen one whose life could not be held by violence and death.
Easter Sunday is a day for us to look deeply into the places where darkness hovers and to imagine with new found hope that the Lord can be at work in bringing new light and peace. We can start with looking into our own troubled lives and invite the Lord to enter with healing and peace. Take away the fear that sometimes dominates our hearts and minds and prevents us from living and giving to the full, and we can sing ‘this is the day the Lord has made’.
We can look into our communities and see where hope is rising in liberating women and young girls from the scourge of violence, abuse and degradation, and we can sing ‘this is the day the Lord has made’.
We can look across the globe and pray for freedom from oppression, release from false imprisonment, food for the hungry, justice for the afflicted, and an end to the pandemic, and we can sing ‘this is the day the Lord has made’.
We can look at the various deaths, both physical and metaphorical, that visit us each year with the belief that death will not have the last word, and we can sing ‘this is the day the Lord has made‘.
Fr Brendan Reed
Camberwell, Balwyn Deepdene, Surrey Hills Wattle Park Parishes