What can a possum teach us about Easter?
When a possum sees a hole in the ground with only one set of foot tracks going in, it is afraid to enter that burrow. It knows that something dangerous lies within. When however it sees two sets of foot tracks – those going in and those going out, it overcomes its fear and proceeds to venture in. The creature that had gone in before it had also come out safely.
This is the message of Holy Week: there are tracks leading in and out of the tomb. We do not need to fear suffering and death. They are not the last word for those who believe. Jesus’ resurrection is a ‘prototype’ of our own resurrection to glory: We too will be raised from the dead and given a new body in heaven:
“I am the resurrection. Anyone who believes in me, even though that person dies, will live”
Yet the pathway is still through the cross. We need to carry our cross and ‘die’ with Jesus in order to live the life of His resurrection from now. This is what Lent and the Passion of our Lord teach us: we are called to die to sin, to self-love and self-glory and to grow in love of God and others. Living this life requires God’s grace which we receive through prayer, the sacraments, the Word of God and the support of the Christian community. It is the only way to live in real joy.
So whatever we may be passing through: difficult times, discouragement, struggle with sin, a relationship breakup, dryness, we need to constantly look to our Lord because He truly ‘raises us up’. Our problems and struggles may not vanish in an instant but we are assured that the Lord is alive within us and we need not fear. We are only called to seek Him wholeheartedly and to trust in His infinite mercy and grace.
So though many of us may never see a possum in our life, the ‘wisdom’ of this marsupial should help us remember the essence of our faith. The resurrection of Jesus we celebrate in Easter, the Church’s greatest feast, reminds us that God’s love is stronger than death. We can trust Him completely with all our live since,
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?