God's Way of Restoring our Humanity to Us

04-01-2018Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

On Easter Sunday at Mass we sing with great and joyous voice the responsorial psalm's antiphon "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad." Indeed, a brand new day, the first of days has come upon us as we celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. This day is the absolute key to understanding the meaning of all our days. The evil of sin is banished, death itself is conquered, and all of life opens onto life. Our wonderful Easter morn celebrates the new creation. On this day, the old gnarled tree of destruction has become the living tree of life, whose opening blossom is Christ and whose blossoms show us that we are growing free in Jesus Christ.

Our first reading which is from the Book of the Acts of the Apostles retells us of the ministry of Jesus and in its last verse offers us a definition of resurrection. The group of apostles experienced the Resurrection for themselves to be an act of forgiveness and reconciliation. All of the followers of Jesus, both those who stayed with him and those who had abandoned him at crucial moments, experienced the Resurrection as healing, reconciliation, and wholeness restored. Peter accordingly encourages his listeners to faith so that they might also experience resurrection in their personal lives.

Our reading from the letter to the Colossians reminds us to find joy in the fullness and newness of life that abides within us. The negative emotions and feelings of fear and alienation should be things of the past in our lives. Anxiety, dread, and apprehension should no longer be part of our emotional life. Nothing should stop us from having great joy. Since we are now resurrection people, we must recognize clearly that the risen Christ is present in our daily life and decide to act and live now as people who truly have died and risen to new life in Christ.

The resurrection of Jesus is God's way of restoring our humanity to us. Perhaps that is why the Gospel is far more concerned with what happens to Jesus' followers than it is in detailing what happened to Jesus. The good news of the Resurrection is much more than a happy ending to a violent tale. It is the beginning of a whole new way of life and living - our living and our lives. Like the disciples in the Gospel, all we need do to share in this life is to believe.

Note that Jesus himself does not appear in our Easter readings. Only the witnesses do. We read their personal stories. Hear and see how they are transformed in the news of his resurrection. We learn how thoroughly changed they were by reading the accounts from Acts and from the letters of Paul. Bear in mind that faith in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ means acting as people risen with their risen Lord. Though Jesus Christ does not appear as risen Lord in these readings, he is where the witnesses are. Bear in mind that those who were once followers do not walk with him side by side or a little behind him for they live in him. They have passed from death to life in his death and resurrection. They are called to live as a new people. Indeed, so are we to live in a new way in Jesus Christ.

A Blessed and Happy Easter to you: On behalf of Fr. Jack, Deacon Guy, the Ministerial, Professional and Support Staff and myself, I wish you and your loved ones a Blessed and Graced Easter. May you rejoice that the Risen Lord has given us light, peace, hope and strength and may you have time to delight in your family and friends in this special holy season.