Good Friday and Easter Sunday: Embracing Dying and New Life

Photo: Sister Nancy A. Sell, OSF

As we commemorate Good Friday and Easter Sunday questions arise.  What really happened? Why did Jesus die?  Did Jesus realize he would die early in life?  Did Jesus “know” he would rise on the third day making death less of a sting?

What little we know from scripture and taking into consideration the human experience, we can say that Jesus grew in understanding of life.   He was open to divine life within and understood over time that divinity and fullness of humanity come together.  Jesus was in tune with stirrings within and with the creative spirit of divine life enfolding him.  He took time for quiet to listen.  Jesus was human like all of us.   He did not want to die.  Jesus knew at some level if he continued the trajectory of life to which he felt called his life could take him in the opposite direction of a safe and comfortable life.  Standing up for the marginalized, listening deeply to those in trouble, tending the sick, and calling forth injustice caused difficulty.    He must have yearned for the quiet of the carpentry shop at times.  Yet, his life direction took him elsewhere.  Jesus died because of the human tendency toward jealously, envy and greed.

Jealousy, envy and greed.  Some surrounding Jesus wanted what he had–a gentle spirit, a compassionate heart and a generous openness to those around him.  Instead of looking at the goodness inside of themselves and cherishing who God created them be,  they attacked Jesus.  Some were jealous and envious that people liked and followed Jesus.  Someone called a friend sold Jesus for a couple of pieces of silver.  Greed took over.  It was the human tendency toward envy, jealousy and greed that killed Jesus.

What killed Jesus can also kill us if not physically, can kill our spirits–no one is exempt from the tendency toward envy, jealously and greed.

Easter Sunday is triumph over envy, jealousy and greed.  Jesus could have turned back,  denied divine life within, denied his gentle spirit, compassionate heart and generous openness to those around him, but he did not.  Jesus came out of God’s love and lived that love entrusted to him.   His pain in dying was real not eased by thoughts of resurrection.

The women who ran to the tomb discovered that goodness had overcome envy, jealousy and greed.  They found Jesus not battered by the limitations of humanity rather Jesus whose presence stronger now in death touched the lives of those shaking in fear.  Their spirits soaring, the women ran to tell the others.    The women experienced divine life pulsating within.  They saw so clearly how God had gifted them.  Their eyes opened to new life and understanding through the resurrection.  Divine life was all around.

Easter, new life,  no longer looking at another and comparing, rather enfolded in a Spirit we cannot fully comprehend.  Easter, new life, gratitude, cherishing who we are and God’s life pulsating within us.

We have journeyed together throughout Lent embracing the fullness of God’s love and life.   May our spirits rise on Easter embracing divine life pulsating within us.

Happy Easter.

Blessings and peace

Suggestions for reflection:     How do I harm others and myself through jealousy, envy and greed?   How have I experienced God’s love and life more fully throughout Lent?  What needs to die within me to experience the new life of Easter?  What new life do I experience as I celebrate Easter?

About SisterNancy

I am a Catholic Sister, a member of the School Sisters of St. Francis from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I enjoy swimming and nature: hiking in the mountains and along rolling hills, sitting by water and walking through the various seasons of life. I am a spiritual director, spirituality consultant, chaplain and retreat director. You can contact me at
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3 Responses to Good Friday and Easter Sunday: Embracing Dying and New Life

  1. Marian says:

    Thank you, Sister Nancy, for all the Lenten reflections. But especially, I am grateful for this final one, which spoke to me in a personal way. It is helping me to walk with Jesus through His final days and to be ready to celebrate “new life”–both Jesus’ and mine– on Easter Sudnay!

    I hope that your Easter is a wonderful feast day.

    Sister Marian

  2. I find the more I can admit to these tendencies within myself, the more free I become. First I thought, I am not envious! Then I thought again–.I wish I had more friends…so I suppose, envy is part of who I am. Then I thought, yeah, but I am not greedy! Then I thought of all the books on my shelves…and, thought, yes, I need to share or give them to others to enjoy. Yes, but I am not jealous! Then I thought of how I felt sorry for myself in my isolation and how much better others have it. Now I realize I have much to learn…much to let go of…much to do to let the Spirit of Jesus take over. I realize I have to allow the “entombed Lazarus” be called forth and allow Jesus to live within me.

  3. Theresa Held says:

    These reflections were super!!

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