I have written before about the spiritual dimension of bees and how they can also be a source of solidarity. This Easter season, as bee keepers in the northern hemisphere are getting ready to start new hives and catch swarms, there are a few more interesting parallels. In yesterday’s Gospel for the 3rd Sunday of Easter (Lk 24), the Resurrected Jesus asks for some food to prove the point that he is not a ghost, but the true body, flesh and bone. And the apostles “offered him a piece of roasted fish and a honeycomb” (Lk 24, 42). Since the point Jesus was making was to prove he had a real body, the messy business of honey must have been appropriate, sticking sweetness to his hands and face.
The great hymn of the Exsultet, which the deacon sings at the beginning of the Easter liturgy, points us quite gently towards a further aspect. It reminds us that this object, the candle, has its origin in the work of bees. So the whole of creation plays its part. In the candle, creation becomes a bearer of light. But in the mind of the Fathers, the candle also in some sense contains a silent reference to the Church,. The cooperation of the living community of believers in the Church in some way resembles the activity of bees. It builds up the community of light. So the candle serves as a summons to us to become involved in the community of the Church, whose raison d’être is to let the light of Christ shine upon the world.
Let us pray to the Lord at this time that he may grant us to experience the joy of his light; let us pray that we ourselves may become bearers of his light, and that through the Church, Christ’s radiant face may enter our world (cf. LG 1). Amen.