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The Drama of Easter
By Susan Hines-Brigger


Watching the Drama Play Out
Enjoy the Ride
For Teens: Hide Those Eggs
For Kids: Read Me a Story

In 2004, when Mel Gibson released his movie The Passion of the Christ, it created quite a stir. Some people I know were profoundly moved. Others were turned off by what they saw as excessive violence.

But no matter how people felt, the fact that a movie based on the passion, death and resurrection of Christ made such a big impact already says a lot about the story. Let’s face it, the Easter story is a compelling one. It contains themes of love, self-sacrifice, friendship, forgiveness, betrayal, death, redemption—all the stuff that makes for a good drama. The entire Easter season grabs us by the shoulders and shakes us out of our complacency.


Watching the Drama Play Out

Even the services celebrated during Holy Week and on Easter are dramatic. For instance, during services on Good Friday, the priest processes up the aisle of the church carrying a giant wooden cross, singing, “Behold, behold the wood of the Cross, on which was hung our salvation.” People shout out during the reading of the Gospel, “Crucify him. Crucify him.” We approach the cross, bowing in reverence and remembrance.

From Holy Thursday until Easter Sunday, there is usually no music played. But on Easter Sunday, most churches rejoice in Jesus’ resurrection with the organ, singing, trumpets and a host of other instruments. The mood of the liturgy certainly reinforces the call for celebration. There’s no mistaking that this is the Church’s greatest celebration. Holy Week and Easter definitely take us on a roller coaster of emotions.

Enjoy the Ride

While we’re experiencing this wild ride, here are some suggestions for things that you and your family can do:

• During Holy Week, read one of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection. Each one tells the story from a slightly different perspective, but they all convey the same meaning. For instance, on Holy Thursday read the section on the Last Supper and the Garden of Gethsemane.

• Once you have read the Gospel stories, put them into action. For instance, go outside and take a walk, just as the disciples did on the road to Emmaus when they encountered Jesus after his resurrection (Luke 24:13-31).

• On Good Friday, spend the afternoon in silence and reflect on the sacrifice Jesus made for us when he died on the cross. Go and visit the grave of a loved one, or say a prayer for someone who has been betrayed, wrongly accused or even killed for the things that he or she believes in.

• Rent a movie about the Easter story, such as the 1977 miniseries Jesus of Nazareth directed by Franco Zeffirelli. The Passion of the Christ is another option, but use your best judgment as to whether or not it is appropriate for each family member due to the violent content and use of subtitles.

• In order to experience the many highs and lows of the Easter season, make an effort to attend as many of the Holy Week services as possible. Each one is special in its own way.

• Rejoice in Christ’s resurrection by hosting an Easter brunch for family and friends. Or visit a local park to view the newly bloomed flowers. Whatever you do, just celebrate!

• Enjoy this Easter season for the joyous time in our faith that it is!

Next Month: I Am the Prodigal Mom


For Teens: Hide Those Eggs

Few things are as synonymous with Easter as egg hunts. And while the eggs represent new life, most young kids probably equate Easter eggs with candy and treats.

Plan an Easter egg hunt for younger family members or for the neighborhood kids. If you’re using plastic eggs, you might want to fill some of them with religious items such as a rosary or some religious-themed stickers.

If you belong to your parish’s youth group, suggest that the group host an egg hunt for the children of the parish.

For Kids: Read Me a Story

Bedtime stories are a big deal at our house. Everyone picks out one book that he or she would like to read or hear that night. Usually, it ends up being the same stories over and over again because we always pick our favorite stories. (My favorite is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst.)

Do you have a favorite story? Ask someone special to read that book to you. When you’re done, talk about why you like the book so much.

Ask family members what their favorite books or stories are. Perhaps they could read one of them to you if the book isn’t too long.

Take a trip to the library and check out some books that you haven’t read before. In doing so, you may discover a new favorite.


Do you have ideas or suggestions for topics you'd like to see addressed in this column? If so, send them to me at “Faith-filled Family,” 28 W. Liberty Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202-6498, or e-mail them to

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