Not every day can be Easter Sunday. Or can it?
Easter is on Sunday.
When I was growing up under the watchful eye of a strict Catholic stepmother, Easter Sunday meant putting on my best clothes, going to church, and then suffering through a long, dreadful family dinner when all I wanted to do was attack my Easter Basket.
Now that I am an adult living far from home, Easter Sunday means skipping church, eating random Easter candy purchased as an afterthought while grocery shopping, and enjoying a new episode of The Walking Dead.
As a lapsed Catholic and huge fan of AMC’s hit show about life after the Zombie Apocalypse, there is one burning question that comes to mind as I try to figure out what I did to make the Easter Bunny forget about me: Do they celebrate Easter on The Walking Dead?
I’m not asking this because it seems highly unlikely that anyone has the time to paint and hide Easter eggs, put together Easter baskets, or wear an Easter bonnet with all the frills upon it in a world overrun by zombies with a flesh fetish.
I’m curious because during eight years of Catholic grammar school, the Nuns drove into my head that Easter is the celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection after his crucifixion on Good Friday.
According to the laws of the land populated by Rick, Daryl, Carol and the rest of the survivors, the above statement of facts would make the Son of God a zombie aka a walker. So if Jesus (not the character who was recently introduced on the show, but Jesus Christ Himself) appeared on a dusty road in Alexandria, our heroes would feel compelled to drive something sharp through His brain to return Him to the realm of the dead.
Not only would that ruin Jesus’ big exit on Ascension Thursday and put the entire Catholic religion in jeopardy, but it would also make Easter virtually obsolete. Of course, much like Christmas has become mostly about Santa Claus and receiving gifts, Easter could probably survive if the focus was shifted from religion to the Easter Bunny, candy, and colorful eggs.
The fact of the matter is that Easter’s big draw has always been the idea that one man rose from the dead to save mankind. How impressive would that tale be in a world where everyone returns from the dead?
I’m not keen on seeing religion become a plot point on any of my favorite television shows, but I have to admit that it’s always bothered me that none of the characters on The Walking Dead has ever confronted Father Gabriel about the similarities between Jesus’ return from the dead and the rise of Walker Nation. We know that religion exists in this version of the Earth’s timeline because Gabriel is a priest, there are plenty of churches, and most of society as we know it has already gone to Hell.
I could definitely see Carl being the one to ask the group’s conflicted priest about it in confusion after spending a boring day reading the Bible and eating an enormous can of pudding.
Better yet, I would love to see a frustrated Rick, his face and clothes stained with blood and walker innards after another attack left a key member of the group dead, screaming at Father Gabriel that his religion was a sham because he worshipped the world’s first walker.
How would Father Gabriel handle the angry accusation that Jesus was a zombie?
Better yet, how many months of detention would the Nuns have given me for bringing up that very same point in Religion class? According to them, everything in the Bible should be taken literally, and the Good Book clearly states that Jesus returned from the dead.
By definition, that makes Jesus a zombie, right?
My entire religion is based on the somewhat farfetched concept that God’s Son was born of a human mother after an Immaculate Conception, lived among us for thirty-three years, and then died for our sins. Before the Catholic Guilt over that extreme sacrifice could wipe out the entire religion, though, Jesus rose from the dead and we were all saved.
Granted, there are no stories in the Bible, or any reports in history books of Jesus going on a wild killing spree and eating the brains of the living in order to create an all-powerful Zombie Army to battle the Romans for world domination.
From everything we were taught, after His Resurrection, Jesus looked and acted exactly the same as He did before He was crucified. In the forty days he walked the Earth before his ascension into Heaven, His skin didn’t rot, His limbs did not fall off, and He never made that scary hissing growl sound that walkers always make on The Walking Dead.
Of course, we also have to take into account that this all took place almost two thousand years ago, well before there were cameras to capture Jesus’ appearance on film, a twenty-four hour news cycle to follow His every move, or any social media platforms on which Jesus and His followers could have posted selfies and updates on His life after death.
So we simply have to take the word of the Bible, which was written by loyal members of the pro-Jesus crowd, and the Catholic Church, whose infallible leader works for the Son of God’s Father, that Jesus was not a zombie. But is that enough proof?
Put yourself in Rick Grimes’ bloodstained boots. You’re out in the middle of nowhere on a supply run, desperate to find food and weapons to keep your people safe, when you come across this charismatic stranger.
He introduces Himself, you chat a little, and then you ask him the usual three questions: How many walkers have you killed? How many people have you killed? Why?
What do you do when the stranger tells you that He’s never killed a soul, but was recently murdered, and just returned from the dead?
Do you size Him up as a harmless madman? Laugh Him off as an annoying prankster? Or take Him at His word and punch Him a one-way ticket back to death with a bullet through His brain?
While it’s true that walkers have never been talkers to this point, this guy won’t stop going on about how He rose from the dead, so maybe He’s a new breed of zombie. After all, He did show you the gaping wound under his ribcage that most certainly could have led to His death.
Are you going to take a chance with the stranger, especially given what’s happened in the past pretty much every time you’ve come across what looks like a promising situation with a person or persons outside of your group?
If I were Rick, I wouldn’t want an Easter Parade of talker walkers to overrun my camp, kill my people, and add to their numbers. It simply isn’t natural for anyone to rejoin the ranks of the living because death was never intended to be anything but permanent.
I would send the comeback kid hopping down the Bunny Trail to the afterlife.
If He came back to life again, then it might be time to find religion and pray to whoever’s watching over us to stop all the resurrections.
After all, not every day can be Easter Sunday. There simply isn’t enough candy left in the world to celebrate properly, and rumor has it that walkers got to the Easter Bunny last year.
Besides, how could the survivors of a Zombie Apocalypse be expected to believe there’s a God after all the horrors they’ve seen?
Just something for you to think about while you’re rifling through the kids’ Easter Baskets this weekend in search of that last chocolate peanut butter egg.
Read Austin Hodgens every week on The Good Men Project!