Easter is one of the most celebrated occasions in the Western world, a special time of love and joy. For Christians, Easter brings the good news that Christ’s resurrection fulfilled the promises of both the Old Testament and of Jesus Himself during His earthly life, and gives definitive proof of His divine authority. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Christ’s resurrection is an object of faith in that it is a transcendent intervention of God himself in creation and history, and it offers definitive proof of His divine authority, and is a story of unconditional love, freely given.

Not all Easter celebrations focus on the resurrection. Passover is also a holiday about renewal and liberation, and in the minds of many children, the Easter Bunny is second only to Santa Claus. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will be spending over seventeen BILLION dollars for apparel, food, decorations, and especially candy, so we take this opportunity to share basic facts regarding chocolate Easter eggs:

  • Diet tip: Eat an Easter egg before each meal….it will take the edge off your appetite, and that way you will eat less.
  • If you get melted chocolate all over your hands, you are eating it too slowly.
  • If calories are an issue, store them on the top of the fridge. Calories are afraid of heights, and will jump out of the chocolate to protect themselves.
  • Chocolate has many preservatives. Preservatives make you look younger.

No matter how you celebrate, this time of year is a reminder that life is a constant process of love, hope and renewal, especially needed in these turbulent, uncertain times. “No Charge for Love” is a perfect Easter story, familiar to some of you, but worth repeating.

Good Samaritan Oliver Townsend had rescued a neglected mother dog and her litter of pups, and determined to find a good home for all of the pups. He posted a sign advertising, “Pups for sale to forever homes,” but weeks passed and no good prospects appeared. Late on Easter Sunday, he was outside trimming some bushes when he realized that he was being watched by a young boy. “Sir,” the boy said, “I would like to buy one of your puppies. My mom says it’s okay, and I have a little money from my Easter basket.” He reached deep into his pocket and pulled out a couple crumpled bills and some change, and held them out. “Could I take a look at them?” Mr. Townsend shook his head, thinking that this would not be the right match. “You know, son, the mother of these pups was in bad shape, and I have spent a lot of money nursing her back to health, and caring for her babies.”

The boy looked directly into the man’s face. “I would take really good care of the pup, and if I don’t have enough money, maybe I could mow your lawn or something. Couldn’t I just take a look at them?”

The man put down his clippers, and let out a whistle, “Here, Dolly,” he called. From the front porch ran Dolly, followed by three little balls of fur. As the dogs came closer, the boy’s eyes sparkled with delight. Suddenly he noticed something else was stirring on the porch. Slowly, another, noticeably smaller pup, appeared, and in a somewhat awkward way, tried to catch up with his siblings.

“I want that one,” the boy said. “I will work for you until he is paid for.” Townsend knelt down at the boy’s side and said, “Son, you don’t want that puppy. I love him dearly, but he will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would.”

The boy repeated softly, “I want that one.” He reached down and pulled up one leg of his jeans, revealing a brace running down both sides of his leg, attaching itself to a specially made shoe. “You see, sir, I don’t run too well myself, and he will need someone who understands.”

Oliver carefully picked up the little pup, and gently placed him in the boy’s arms. “How much?” asked the youngster. With tears in his eyes, the man answered, “No charge – there is no charge for love.”

May your life be filled with hope, joy, and gentle, wise, wonderful, kind love, today, and all year long.