Easter is a joyous occasion during springtime.
Families come together and have Easter Egg hunts, share special meals and
enjoy each other’s company.
But Easter is the most important day of the year
because on that wondrous day, Our Lord overcame death through His
While reading books about the Easter Bunny is fun
and brings humor to our gatherings, the religious nature of Easter is
central to our understanding of our Catholic faith. It is through the
Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus that the barrier created by the
sinful disobedience of man is overcome. Paul Maier tells this magnificent
story of the Resurrection of Our Lord in this fine book, "The Very First
Christopher is a young boy living in a rural area.
His parents are devout Christians and want him to deeply know Our Blessed
Savior. In their kitchen, they begin talking about Jesus and why He is the
center of history.
As the young boy asks questions about Our Lord’s
life, his father takes out the family Bible and turns to St. Luke’s Gospel.
The father reads about Jesus returning from the Temple as a 12-year-old boy
and growing in "wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and men. (Lk
2:52) He tells Christopher about Jesus growing up in Galilee and beginning
His public ministry.
As the boy continues to ask questions about the
divinity and mission of Our Lord, the father reads passages from the Bible
to answer the youth’s inquiries. One of the passages is the raising of the
widow of Nain’s dead son. Clearly, Jesus has power over death, and this
miracle attests to His divinity.
The father continues reading passages from St.
Luke’s Gospel to his son. He reads the account of Jesus entering Jerusalem
on Palm Sunday (Lk 19:37-38), and tells Christopher about the disbelief of
many people in Jerusalem. Christopher is then encouraged to read the account
of the Last Supper. He sees that Our Lord has made a "new covenant in My
blood, which is poured out for you." (Lk 22:19-20)
The father then continues reading the Passion
accounts in St. Luke to the boy, which culminate in the Agony in the Garden,
(Lk 22:41-46) and the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. (Lk 23:1-56)
After all the sorrow and pain of Good Friday, the
father now begins showing the son the magnificence of Our Lord’s
resurrection on Easter Sunday. (Lk 24:1-51) By the end of this loving
interaction with his own father, Christopher knows how Jesus interacted with
His Father and with all men. Paul Maier beautifully portrays how a child can
understand and rejoice in the events of the Resurrection in this lovely
book, "The Very First Easter."
This book lends itself to being read by an adult
with a child. It would be most helpful to have a Bible nearby during the
reading, so that you can continually turn to the Sacred Scriptures and show
the youngster where the events being described by St. Luke are located in
the sacred text. This way the child will see the connection between a
fictionalized picture book and the inspired Word of God. Maier provides us
with an exceptional teaching model to instruct a child in the faith. I hope
you get a chance to check out this award-winning book, and to read the
beautiful Biblical passages from St. Luke listed in this review. The sacred
scriptural readings will be a grace filled encounter for you both. Enjoy and