Easter is the high point of the whole church year, the foundation of our Christian faith as disciples of Jesus Christ, and they call us to a radical reorientation of our lives.
We use the words “repent”, “change”, “convert”, “transform”, be “born again”, “new life”, “resurrection”, “life in Christ”, “metanoia”, “emptying”, “forgive”, “redemption”, “salvation”, “healing”, “washing feet”, “Eucharist”, and on and on…..
The invitation of Easter is to new life, a fresh beginning, putting the old self (the false self) aside and rise to a fresh start.
Look what happened to Peter. He denied Jesus 3 times and then abandoned him to die alone. Now we see him as a new, courageous, forever changed, Peter. He is a good example of one who “repented”, changed, and had his “sins” wiped clean and is now truly committed. The grace of accepting the offer of Jesus to new life is very powerful. It changes everything. Resurrection tells us that life doesn’t have to remain the same old, same old, but can be made radically new through the grace, the love, of Jesus the Christ. All we have to do is to accept that gift, to say yes. It is never too late to experience resurrection – change is possible.
Christ’s grace, Christ’s saving power, Christ’s love comes to us precisely in our brokenness. The light pours in through the crack in the broken jar, through the flaw deliberately inserted into the weaving of the Navajo blanket. The broken bone is stronger after it heals, and the broken cup is more valuable and more beautiful because it has been repaired with gold (c.f., Kintsugi – the Japanese art form). Paul goes even so far as to tell us that all is grace – even sin!
Never be discouraged by your own imperfection – on the contrary. Never give up. We may not be able to heal ourselves but God can and does if we trust him and allow him. This gift is always available, never held back. This is why God became one of us, to heal and restore us.
Accept his great gift and experience the real joy that is Easter.
Acts 4:8-12; 1 Ps 118; 1 Jn 3:1-2; Jn 10:11-18
For us Christians the Easter season is 50 days long and only ends at Pentecost. It is a special time for us to be God-Conscious and aware of Christ’ risen presence in us and all around us. It is an invitation to go a little more deeply into our faith and especially it is a time to enjoy! It is Alleluia time!
Easter is counter-cultural – it says that human life is very important because God cares and that all of us are made in the image of God. It affirms the possibility of conversion, change, forgiveness and new life and, most importantly, that all of us are immortal and destined for life in and with God forever. It means we are loved.
Three of the hallmarks of this season are joy, peace, and hope. These should be part of our consciousness during these 50 days and then carried over to the rest of the year because they are characteristics of the Genuine disciple.
A joyless Christian is a contradiction in terms. Just before he died Jesus astonished his disciples by telling them that the reason he came was so that his joy might be theirs and their joy, complete. Imagine their joy when they experienced the risen Christ. In a sense too, humor
is a resurrection. Sometimes we take ourselves too seriously. God can bring joy out of sorrow as He can bring life out of death because of his love for us.
The first word of the risen Christ in today’s Gospel. He himself is our peace, our Shalom. Read the sayings of Jesus about peace. God’s peace is loving Communion with Him, with oneself and one’s neighbor. Dante’s famous slogan placed over the gates of paradise, “In His Will is our peace” – in His Will means in His love. We are called to be peace-makers.
Obviously Resurrection is the very source of hope. It sustained Jesus in His own struggles and death, as it does for us now that we know that God is present and active in our lives and watches out for us until he brings us home. Again the theme of hope is everywhere in the New Testament. Living without hope is no longer living.
Resurrection is here. Resurrection is now. The Risen Christ is all around us, in ourselves and in everyone we meet. He is in the bread and wine, in the newly baptized and in everyone who shares their life, love, and goodness with others, especially in loving service – in moms and dads, in doctors and nurses, in peace-keepers and peace-makers. He walks the earth today teaching, healing, touching, suffering, dying and rising. If we search for him and find him and love him in others by serving their needs, then not only is Christ risen but we are also already living a risen life by the power of His love.
Today’s Readings: Acts 4:32-35; Ps 118; 1 Jn 5:1-6; Jn 20:19-31
Scripture Readings for 2nd Week of the Easter Season A Thought for Each Day
Monday, April 13 Acts 4:23-31; Ps 2; Jn 3:1-8
1) The prayer of the apostles in persecution.
2) We cannot enter “heaven” unless we are born of God’s Spirit.
Question: Do you believe that you are “born of the Spirit”?
Tuesday, April 14 Acts 4:32-37; Ps 93; Jn 3:7b-15
1) The community was of one heart and mind.
2) Faith is our response to what Jesus reveals to us about his Father.
Question: How do you respond to the Good News?
Wednesday, April 15 Acts 5:17-26; Ps 34; Jn 3:16-21
1) The apostles are sent to jail but miraculously released.
2) “God so loved the world” – The cross is the measure of God’s care for us.
Question: Do you believe that God never condemns – only loves?
Thursday, April 16 Acts 5:27-33; Ps 34; Jn 3:31-36
1) The Apostles tell the Sanhedrin’s that they must obey God rather than men.
2) Jesus comes to tell us about God and what we can believe.
Question: Do you accept God’s offer of love and life?
Friday, April 17 Acts 5:34-42; Ps 27; Jn 6:1-15
1) “If it comes from God you will not be able to destroy it”.
2) In the Eucharist, Jesus shares his New Life with us.
Question: Do you share that life with others in their need?
Saturday, April 18 Acts 6:1-7; Ps 33; Jn 6:16-21
1) The apostles ordain seven deacons and the faith grows.
2) Jesus comes to us in our storm-tossed boat.
Question: Are you fearful?
Sunday, April 19 THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER
Acts 3:13-15, 17-19; Ps 4; 1 Jn 2:1-5a; Lk 24:35-48
1) The author of life you killed, but God raised Him from the dead.
P.S.: The Lord “let His light shine on us”.
2) Do God’s Will and you then live in His love.
3) We are witnesses to the Risen Christ and His forgiveness.
Question: Are you a forgiving person?
It was the custom for those going up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, to enter the city on foot. Only a King or a Ruler would ride into the city and then only on a magnificent horse, and accompanied by a retinue of soldiers and servants.
Jesus on Palm Sunday choose to ride into Jerusalem on a lowly little donkey, a beast of burden, a poor man’s animal. By doing so Jesus comes as a King whose rule is not about being served but about serving, and not about power and might but about love, forgiveness and compassion.
Paul tells us to have the mind of Christ who “emptied” himself for our sake. It started with His birth and ends with His death on a cross. Jesus represents God’s total solidarity with our human condition as if to say “I understand”, and assures us that in spite of everything He will take care of it – He will raise us up. God the Father will “save” us in his own way and in his own good time. We call this – Resurrection. God saying to us – trust me, I love you.
This is the Good News.
The “human condition” is our loss of intimacy with God. The Garden of Eden is a state of consciousness. Easter restores that intimacy. Resurrection tells very simply and profoundly that Jesus loves you, He gave his life for you, and now He is at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen, and free you. This was the first proclamation, the first announcement (called the Kerygma) after Jesus’ resurrection, and it is foundational and one we have to hear again and again, maybe in new ways – now, in my life, at this time. First comes God’s saving love, not anything I do, and only then do we need to respond. Paul tells us that “even when we were sinners” God loved us, loves us, and always will. This gives us the great freedom to love him – and one another – in turn. This is beauty, truth, and goodness on an infinite scale. We can only wonder.
This is what it means to be human – knowing that we are loved – this is what makes us free – still!
“Behold, I make all things new”.
Today’s Readings: Acts 10:34a, 37-43; Ps 118; Col 3:1-4; Jn 20:1-9
Resurrection – So What? (Practical Implications)
The way we live our lives – ethics – is our response to what God has done for us in and through His Son. It is our expression of gratitude.
It finds its true expression when we celebrate – and then live – Eucharist.
We, as a community of disciples (Ekklesia – Church), are called to continue the work begun by Jesus.
The way we live our lives is the true Christian worship – we honor or dishonor our Father.
True worship (giving “shape” to what is “worth”) is seen in our behavior and then celebrated in our liturgy.
We offer ourselves to God by being loving – as Jesus was. We help one another to carry our “crosses”.