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How to Prepare for Easter’s Celebration.

Updated on August 15, 2017
Odewoye Francis profile image

Odewoye,Graduate Electrical Engineering,Registered member, Engineering Council U.K,Registered member(COREN) Nigeria. Professional Engineer.

Introduction:

Easter refers to the day on which the church celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (Handy Dictionary of the Bible, 1995, see also Acts, 12:4). This feast of the paschal or Passover dates back to the Old Testament Judaism- the feast of the first fruits offering. This was fundamentally a historical commemoration of Israel’s liberation from bondage in Egypt which now becomes the dominant theme of the Passover (Gonzalez, 1985).

Originally, paschal meant the passage of Yahweh striking the oppressor and protecting His people. Later it was extended to mean the Passover of Israel from the slavery of freedom by crossing the red sea (Genzalez 1984, ps.23).

In the New Testament, our Lord Jesus chose to rise from the dead that same day. His victory over death, sin and suffering become the apology of all human longing for immortality. This time-Easter becomes for us a completely new value- a guarantee of our hope of everlasting life (1 Cor.15:14). So when we celebrate Easter, we preempt what we shall be like or ever and ever at the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Cruxification of Jesus Christ
Cruxification of Jesus Christ

1. How to prepare for Easter:

Easter has long been considered as the feast of all feasts, the sole unit of all solemnities. The Church throughout the centuries has inserted this treasure of grace and doctrine into a celebration, which sanctifies the Christian’s whole existence (Braso, 1956).

Therefore, our moral and sacramental participation in this mystery in which death and glorification are inseparably united is not only a mere remembrance of an event already past, but with real personal relationship to us. This is the reason why our preparations must be total. The Church in her wisdom oriented the forty days Lenten fast to this effect. In order to do through preparation, for the celebration of Easter, let us look at the Old Testament preparation for the first paschal in Exodus 12:1. The paschal meal consisted in the killings of the unblemished lamb. This lamb was roasted and eaten with bitter herbs, standing. The entire meat was finished and no more no less. When eventually they set out “they could not delay and had not even provided themselves with food (Exodus 12:39).

It is important to note what food represents here. It represents all encumbrances against our readiness to depart from the oppressive structures of evil to the liberty and freedom of the children of God. These encumbrances could be better expressed in the theological language of the seven capital sins which include:

(1). Anger. (2). Envy. (3). Lust (4). Pride. (5). Gluttony (6). Sloth (7).Covetousness. (Sheen, 2004).


The Seven Capital Sins
The Seven Capital Sins

2. The seven capital sins:

(1). Anger. (2). Envy. (3). Lust (4). Pride. (5). Gluttony (6). Sloth (7).Covetousness. (Sheen, 2004).

1. Anger:

Here we speak not of just- anger but of unjust- anger. Sheen observes that unjust-anger is that which is excessive revengeful and enduring. But just-anger is the opposite both in intention and content. A classic example of just-anger is that of our Lord Jesus driving out the money changers from the temple (Sheen, 2004, p.9). So as we prepare to celebrate this great feast of Passover, the question we must ask ourselves is my anger just or unjust?

2. Envy:

Envy is sadness at another’s good and joy at another’s evil. We can as well interchange envy with sadism. What rust is to iron, moths to wool, termite to wood, envy is the toe soul. Envy makes us willfully grieve at another’s good-either spiritual or temporal well for the reason that it seems to diminish our own good or importance, for e.g. an honour paid to another. Envy manifests it’s self in different ways such as; discord, hatred, malicious joy, blackmail, detraction, inputting of evil motives, jealousy and calumny. Am I guilty of envy?

3. Lust:

Lust is the inordinate love of pleasure of the flesh. Inordinate is the most important word here. This is because legitimate pleasure remains noble and holy. But lost subordinate the other or use the other person only as an object for selfish gratifications of the pleasure of the flesh. Have I subordinated people to serve my selfish pleasure of the flesh where I am at the head or either taken advantages of helpless others in this direction? Am I presently doing this?

4. Pride:

Pride is an inordinate love of one’s own excellence. Pride goes before a fall says the scripture. I like the way Fulton Sheen put it, “ Pride manifest itself in many ways: atheism which is a denial of our dependence on God which makes mind unteachable, superficially which judges others by their clothes, (electronics gadgets), their accent and their bank accounts….(Sheen, 2004, p.39).” Goliath was proud of himself but David trusted in the Lord. This makes David humble and the Lord gave him victory. The victory of David symbolizes the reality of Good Friday and Easter. Where do I place my trust? In myself or God?

5. Gluttony:

Gluttony is the inordinate indulgence in food and drinks. Gluttons cannot speak three things without bringing in food. They are the people whom Abraham Maslow would categorize as still living within the basic instincts for survival. They can never deny themselves of categorizing as still living within the basic instincts for survival. They can never be denied themselves of food for the life of others. This was the only sin of Dives. They are like Esau who sold his birthright because of a pottage of yam. Do I discuss food, drink and meditate food most often?

6. Sloth:

Sloth is a malady of the will which causes us to neglect our duties: physical or spiritual. It could be interchanged with procrastination. Do I procrastinate in doing good things for God or others?

7. Covetousness:

Covetousness is the inordinate love for the things of the world. The sin of covetousness includes both the intention and manner of acquisition. This sin hardens the heart and kills the conscience. So was David that he coveted his neighbour’s wife Bathsheba the wife of Uriah. David never stopped at that he caused the death of Uriah. And so was Cain too. Covets betray and even exterminate the lives of their bosom friends because of money, women or men, and power. Have I betrayed a friend because of my inordinate desire to acquire things and people?

Back to Exodus (12:39) the preparation for the great Paschal, the Israelites had to abandon their houses, including great possessions even to forgetting about food just to secure their freedom. The seven capital sins of our discussion really can weigh heavily on us and stand on our way to the joyous celebration of the Passover feast-Easter. God forbid.


3. What can we do?

Somebody said; “The world is nothing but a reflection of our thoughts and feelings” (Harrison, 2003). Though old habits die hard. Yet a positivist approach looks at life as never too late start a fresh. Our greatest enemy in life is myself. What is the solution to this enigma? Self-scrutiny. This hurts most but brings about the conquest which Alexander the great in all his victories never achieved.

Critical Self Evaluation
Critical Self Evaluation

4. Critical Self Evaluation:

In the light of the seven capital sins let us make this journey together.

1. On Anger:

(a) How can I resist evil done to me?

(b) Do I frankly express my hurt feelings and seek divine justice and mercy?

2. On Envy:

(a) Do I really appreciate the unique qualities that God endowed me with or do I blame God for not creating me like the other person?

3. On Lust:

(a) Do I consider my pleasures of the flesh supreme, even if the other, whether male or female has to pay the prize with her dignity and happiness?

(b) Is physical pleasure and enjoyment the highest in my scale of values?

4 On Pride:

(a) Do I evaluate others based only on how materially successfully they are?

(b) Do I consider humiliation as a noble beginning for greatness?

5. On Gluttony:

(a) Do I always think and discuss food more than I discuss prayer, mortification and almsgiving?

(b) Do I always grumble so that I could grab things to eat and drink?

6 On Sloth:

(a) Do I sincerely attend to my spiritual needs: prayer, conversion, penance urgently?

(b) Do I do my work as if God is watching me?

7 On Covetousness:

(a) Do I withhold, delay or misappropriate the wages, rights, entitlements of others?

(b) Do I feel like amassing all the wealth in the world as to dish them out like Fr. Christmas?

5. Methodic Steps:

Pick a point of two scales from our points of mediation above:

  1. Sincerely score yourself over 100%. Throughout the day try to make amend for the percentages that are lacking in your score.
  2. By the following evening you may discover that the progress you made would overwhelm you.
  3. You may even begin to experience a sense of rich image of yourself than before.
  4. This may even be the starting point of your self-actualization and unqualified fulfillment in life.
  5. Thus you can do with the rest of the points

Conclusion:

Easter is really a celebration of victory over sadness and meaninglessness of life brought about by the seven capital sins. Our 14-points scale is just one of the simple and practical ways out. If they work for you, the joy of a liberated person will be added to your Easter this coming year. Then share it with your friends.

© 2017 ODEWOYE FRANCIS SUNDAY

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