By Jillian Zaczyk

I grew up a Disney kid. Some of my earliest memories are of Saturday mornings. Sprinting down the stairs in spotted 101 Dalmatian footie pajamas (tail included) sticking in Disney movie after Disney movie in the VHS player. These animated masterpieces were engrained in me… I mean who hasn’t jumped around on the furniture to Scar’s “Be Prepared” from the Lion King?

Disney captured my imagination so much so that many Easter mornings I would open my eyes and picture the opening scene from the Lion King. The sun peaks out over the horizon, and a voice bellows out an unintelligible yet undeniable joy. Sitting in the pew and in front of the TV, a correlation between Simba and Jesus grew in my mind: both sons of a great father, who have an extraordinary destiny, both are thought to be dead, but rise again to take their rightful place.

Easter focuses on Jesus’ rightful place. As Fr. Larry Richards says, Jesus’s rightful place is as our savior whose “love is so strong, it’s stronger than our sin and it’s stronger than death.” Jesus does not stay on the cross or in the tomb, but rises to live with and love us like no one else can.

What about us? Where is our rightful place this Easter? Mary of Magdala illustrates this point in today’s gospel. “While it was still dark” Mary of Magdala headed out to the tomb of her best friend Jesus. Even being filled with unimaginable amounts of uncertainty and fear, Mary’s love for Jesus overcame the darkness of persecution. Our rightful place is to seek out Jesus, especially in the poor, and love him despite the “darkness” in our lives and society. Today let us seek out Jesus who transforms darkness into love and life.  



Jillian wants to live in a world filled with corny jokes and coffee mugs that refill themselves. She is a youth minister, teacher, and missionary discovering God's joy and humor around the world. Her mission is to encounter Jesus and grow in solidarity with everyone she meets, especially the poor. Jillian graduated in May 2015 with a Master of Theological Studies from Boston College's School of Theology and Ministry. She and her husband, Jason, live in Cleveland with their lovable labrador retriever. 

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