Easter Sunday, 4/16/17
With Easter coming on, I can’t keep from recalling the late spring in 1964, when for ten years I had been pastor of a parish in Korea. That year, with the ground frozen hard, was the cruelest winter ever. The families that had cooked their last bit of grain were making dinners of grass, and the little girls responsible for those kitchen fires, had to go farther and farther into the hills to build up the bundles of twigs on their backs.
With our church sitting on a hill fifty feet above the town, each morning, coming out from my 6:30 Mass, I would pause to scan the whole scene. The town’s primary school was just below us; and I liked watching the town’s kids skirting to school around the bottom of our hill.
Each morning I was particularly taken by one ten- year-old boy who, instead of following the easy path around the base of our hill, chose to struggle up one side, then, after pacing across our yard, he would carefully let himself down the path on the other side. of our hill.
One morning just before Easter, the little boy, with his book pack on his back, altered his routine. He stopped and hunkered down on one side of our yard; and as I was going in for my breakfast, I briefly wondered about the boy acting differently. But at ten in the morning when I was waiting for the mailman to come up and cross to our door, the matter became quite puzzling. The man had stopped and bent down at the same place on the edge of our yard.
That got me out of the house. Walking across the yard to where the mailman was hunkered down, I saw he was studying a bit of green that resembled a single shoot of asparagus.
When I asked him what kind of shoot that was , he said, “Paik-hwa gott-jeda.”
I knew that a “gott” was a flower, but I had to check my dictionary to find out that a paik-hwa was a lily.
It wasn’t so much that first lily that held the attention of the little boy and the mailman. It was its announcement that the cruel winter was over. So, in seeing Jesus as our Easter Lily, we go beyond him to the promise he brings that our cold hard winter is coming to an end..