50 days of Easter spirit

By Lorene Hanley Duquin ,

(OSV News) — Most people don’t think in terms of Easter spirit. Yet the Easter season is a time that is filled with a spirit of joy and hope.

During the 50 days between Easter Sunday and Pentecost Sunday, we proclaim and sing the word “alleluia,” which means “praise the Lord.” We are reminded that Jesus has overcome death. We are given the assurance that our lives have meaning and purpose. And we have the promise of eternal life with Jesus in heaven.

Christ’s entry into Jerusalem prior to his crucifixion is depicted in a stained-glass window at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Centereach, N.Y. Palm Sunday, also known Passion Sunday, commemorates the event and marks the beginning of Holy Week. It is observed March 24 in 2024. (OSV News photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

Now that’s something to celebrate. But there’s even more!

Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he promised his disciples they would never be alone, because he would send the Holy Spirit to guide them. Then he commissioned his followers to spread his message all over the world and make disciples of all people.

Ten days later, on Pentecost Sunday, the apostles heard a loud noise, and the Holy Spirit descended upon them in tongues of fire. When that happened, they received spiritual gifts that transformed their lives and gave them the power to touch the lives of others. They ran into the streets and began to tell people about Jesus. Each person in the crowd understood them in his or her own language. Thousands became believers that day.

So, Easter spirit is more than just experiencing joy and hope. It’s also a special call to share the Easter message with others.

Good news is contagious. Here are ways you can spread the good news this Easter season:

— Host a neighborhood gathering on Sunday afternoons. As the weather warms up, send the kids out to play and meet and greet the people who live next door. Ask everyone to bring a dish or beverage to share. What a great way to live out Jesus’ command to “love our neighbor.”

— Make Friday night movie night. Pick your favorite streaming service and watch a movie as a family every Friday night through the Easter season. Eat popcorn and movie snacks and talk about the takeaway lessons each person learned from the show.

— May Day basket. Put together a small basket or box of goodies and deliver it to neighbors, shut-ins, grandparents or a young couple with a new baby. Be sure to stay anonymous — leave the basket on the front steps, ring the doorbell and run. Kids can make homemade greeting cards or cookies, or pass on a gently used toy that they’ve outgrown. Pluck some flowers or herbs from your spring garden, add a prayer card and all of a sudden you can be spreading the good news of Easter joy.

(Lorene Hanley Duquin is a Catholic author and lecturer who has worked in parishes and on a diocesan level.)