A priest was teaching his Sunday school class about Easter. He took a seat on his desk in the front of the class and asked, “Who here can tell me the true meaning of Easter?”
Sean, a first-grader in the front of the class, raised his hand. The priest gestured to him.
"Easter means you get to eat a bunch of chocolate and candy and hunt for eggs," Sean said.
"Well," said the priest, "That’s certainly part of Easter, you’re right. But that isn’t the true meaning of Easter.”
Sophie, a first-grader sitting next to Sean, then raised her hand.
"Yes, Sophie?" the priest said, nodding encouragingly. "Can you tell us what the true meaning of Easter is?"
"Easter means you get to buy new clothes because all the stores in the mall are having their spring sales," Sophie said.
The priest chuckled. “That’s definitely a part of Easter. But it isn’t the true meaning. Can anyone tell me what they think might be the true meaning of Easter?”
There was a brief moment of silence. Finally, John, a rather quiet boy in the back of the class, raised his hand.
"Easter," John said, "means we thank Jesus for dying on the cross to save us from our sins."
The priest smiled and clapped his hands together. “There we go! That’s exactly it! Do you have anything else to add, John?”
"Yes," John said. "And on the third day He rose from the dead, came out of his cave, saw his shadow, and we had six more weeks of winter."
*(I can’t take credit for this joke…Father Brian, one of the only genuinely good-hearted priests I’ve ever met, told this to a packed congregation one Easter Sunday when I was little. The audience died laughing. Father Brian was a really phenomenal guy. He brought his dachshunds to the altar with him and they would just sit there when he was talking and he’d laugh because they were so ridiculously well-behaved. He devoted his free time to hanging out with people in homeless shelters and never tried to press his faith on to them—he just wanted to be a shoulder to cry on, or a friend to talk to, if someone needed it. He also had no problem speaking out against the corruption within the church. I don’t really identify as a Catholic anymore—just a Christian in general—but I can say that I’m proud to have met such a funny, accepting Catholic priest. He’s a credit to his profession. Here’s to you, Father Brian!)
To all who celebrate it, have a blessed Easter!