THE SYMBOLS OF EASTER
The beginning of the Easter celebration is marked by the blessing of fire and water, two of the most important symbols of life in the Christian tradition.
Scriptures is replete with images of fire and water:
God revealed himself to Moses through the burning bush. A pillar of fire guided the Israelites at night as they journeyed through the desert. The primary task of priests in the Old Testament was to protect the fire in the temple and keep it burning. In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles in the form of tongues of fire. A few days after Jesus resurrected, he set up fire and prepared breakfast for his hapless apostles who went fishing all night but came home empty-handed.
The role of a good shepherd is to lead the sheep to quiet waters and refresh their souls. A psalmist compares his longing for the divine presence in the temple to a deer pining for flowing streams. People who trust in the Lord are like trees planted beside the waters that stretch their roots to the rivers. At the well, Jesus offered the Samaritan woman a spring of water welling up to eternal life. At the last supper, Jesus poured water on the apostles’ tired feet and washed them.
Fire and water. Symbols of Easter. Symbols of LIFE and HOPE.
Ironically, water and fire can also be sources of destruction. Fire ravaged more than a thousand homes in a slum area recently. In 2013, Yolanda’s water took the lives of thousands of people and caused unimaginable devastation in Leyte.
We are like fire and water, capable of bringing about life, or death. At Easter God showed us through Christ what the redemptive choice is. Let us be Easter people. Let us be for others, not death-dealing, but life- and hope-giving fire and water.
TO ALL ASSUMPTIONISTS:
Fr. Joselito C. Henson