"Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone but in every leaf in springtime." --Martin Luther
The spring ritual of rebirth and renewal is synonymous with resurrection. More than 2,000 years after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the foundation of all Christian faiths, we still celebrate the hope of redemption and everlasting life.
Today is the first Easter with Pope Francis, the new leader for the 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide. He is the first pope to use the name Francis, in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, and the first from the Americas.
Francis is a humble man who preaches morality, inclusiveness and concern for the poor. On Holy Thursday he washed and kissed the feet of 12 people in a Rome youth prison, including two Muslim inmates and two young women -- the first time women were a part of the traditional rite.
On the topic of celibacy, the new pope said in an interview in 2010: "Some say, with a certain pragmatism, we're losing manpower. If, hypothetically, Western Catholicism revises the issue of celibacy, I think it would for cultural reasons (as in the East), not as a universal option."
Married priests are already allowed on a case-by-case basis. The Rev. Scott Snider, a former Protestant minister, is a priest in the Springfield Diocese who serves parishes in Highland, Pierron and Pocahontas. He has been married for 30 years.
The 2,000-year-old Catholic Church moves slowly, but examples of inclusion, dialogue and, most importantly, humility, give this Easter a real feeling of rebirth, renewal and resurrection.