The readings from this reflection: Acts 1:1-11; Ps 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-95; Eph 1:17-23; Lk 24:46-53
I remember the first day that I first walked through the doors at the seminary in St. Louis. My parents, four of my brothers, and I all took my things up to Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, and were greeted at the front door by Bishop Edward Rice (the Bishop-in-residence at the time). It was all so new to me, but I remember particularly well the feeling of watching my family leave, and knowing that this would be my home for eight years. In reality, I had never been away from my family for very long before, and yet, there I was, watching them leave me and return home, which was over an hour and a half away. Now, to be clear, it wasn’t as if they were gone from my life, certainly. Yet, there was a sense that things were going to be different, and that I would have to work more deliberately to stay in contact with, not just them, but with all of my loved ones.
The readings from this reflection: Acts 15:1-2, 22-29; Psalm 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8; Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23; John 14:23-29
The Book of Revelation shares with us today, “The city had no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gave it light, and its lamp was the Lamb.” As I reflect on Jesus being the Light of the World, the light of my life, and the light that gives meaning to our lives, I could not help but hearken back to the Easter Vigil lighting of the Paschal Candle. From it came the subsequent illumination of the church as our individual candles were lit from it. One cannot get a better visual image of what is expected of us, as followers of Jesus Christ, than to be Christ’s light and life in the world. This illumination of the church represents for each of us the light we are to be in our family, our workplace, and in our environment.
During this Easter Season, I find it enriching to simply sit in church and gaze at the Paschal candle, thanking Jesus for being the true light that drives away all darkness. I sit and ask myself, “How can I better bring Christ’s light and life into the world?” It seems as if our world always has a dark cloud over it…COVID concerns, countries fighting against one another, the constant political unrest, and all the philosophical differences on just about every subject under the sun that, seemingly, must be aired over all the social media outlets. We can and must be better than this. But how?
Happy Easter! We continue to celebrate the great Solemnity of Easter and the Easter Season, the apex of our entire liturgical year. While many people are drawn to Our Lord’s birth at Christmas, it is His resurrection, where He conquered the power of sin and death and offers himself to us the pledge of eternal life, that is the ultimate expression of His mission.
I recently mentioned that “If you fear the Cross, you do not understand the Cross.” With the victory of Easter, the Cross becomes “the tree of life… The stairway of glory” (In Conversation with God, Vol. 2, “Meditation: Holy Friday – Jesus Dies on the Cross”). When we see Our Lord’s arms stretched open on the Cross, by faith we see that as His invitation to embrace us. I’ve mentioned many times of the tradition that I have of kissing the cross on my pillow when I go to bed at night and in the morning when I rise. It’s beautiful to begin and end the day in such a way. And the 50 days of Easter remind us that from the Cross flows our redemption. The resurrection of the Lord is a central reality of the Catholic faith and has been preached since the beginning of Christianity. Jesus Christ lives! And from that belief flows joy, peace, and happiness for believers. The resurrection of Christ gives meaning to our human existence beyond the grave. Christ is risen! He has truly risen! Alleluia.
The readings from this reflection: Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41;Psalm 30; Revelation 5:11-14; John 21:1-19
Is this command really that new? Hadn’t it been part of the tradition of Israel, loving God and neighbor with all one’s strength? Didn’t all of the great Eastern religions, before Christ, exhort their followers to love one another and bring humankind into one caring community? Hadn’t many of the Greek philosophers recommended the same path of life? How indeed can Jesus claim that his command is new?