Happy Easter, everyone! In the Gospel of Saint John (20:19-23) the events of Easter Sunday and Pentecost are combined into one story where the disciples both experience the presence of the Risen Lord and, at once, are “breathed upon” to receive the empowering Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Even in the extended story (20:24-31), “absent Thomas” not only touches the Lord, but is touched by the Lord again with his breath! We have been breathed upon with the promise of new life during these past 50 days of Easter. We have also touched the wounds of the Crucified Lord by which our scars are also healed. With the experience of the Lord’s Paschal Mystery inscribed deeply in our minds and hearts, this mystery has already changed our lives by giving us new dimension and direction. And so we pray:
God of majesty and glory, you bring us to the day that crowns our Easter feast. Open for us the fountain of living water promised to the faithful, that the outpouring of the Spirit may reveal Christ’s glory and enlighten all who wait in hope for the glorious day of redemption!
How easy it might be to return to an old way of life. The disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) attempted such a journey, only to be interrupted by the Lord along the way. As the days of Easter move into the “background” of our ordinary lives, perhaps there might be some places in our lives that are in need of a bit of polishing. After all, many are proud to proclaim that we (and our companions) are “diamonds in the rough!” Some suggestions might be:
- Break the habit of leaving Mass early. We have about one quarter of our Mass participants who depart during Holy Communion. This is not only a bad example to our youth, but also a great lack of reverence.
- Be committed to the ministries of the Church. We are always in need of those who are willing to serve as Ministers of Holy Communion, Readers, Altar Servers, Ministers of Hospitality (Ushers), Ministers to the Sick and Catechists.
- Deepen your Spirit of hospitality. It is sometimes hard to watch people trying to sit down in Church when there are many empty seats (in the middle) and because we have become immobile, we make others “crawl over us” to find a seat. This is not a very good paradigm for the Church!
- Be more compassionate and merciful. This Year of Mercy is not just for us to experience mercy and compassion, but for us to be dispensers of these Gifts of the Holy Spirit!
As Preface IV of the Easter Season states, “For with the old order destroyed, a universe cast down is renewed, and integrity of life is restored in Christ!”
May the week ahead be filled with countless graces and blessings!