May the Joy of Easter shine brightly in your hearts!
Through the journey of Lent we have been gathering on Fridays to pray the Stations of the Cross. Many of us have personally experienced the rise and fall rhythm as we struggle with our own crosses and burdens. Through the struggle and the toil, the feelings of confusion and re-orientation, the rise and fall of hope and failure, we have been able to identify and confront some of the forces that have disfigured us. Some of these things are within us and some of them are from people or situations around us. Either way, whatever the source, we have felt the darkness and emptiness of pain and sin. These things have given us a tomb-like experience. We have felt trapped, isolated and unable to change.
Today, by God’s grace, we feel a new freedom! Our faith impels us forth from the confinement of old behaviors to new, better ways of living and loving! In practical daily living, Easter means the experience of tragedy but also joy through the experience of Jesus’ power to transform a tragedy into a new beginning. I think the disciples of Jesus had that type of experience, although much greater. They had placed all their hopes and dreams in Jesus and his promises but then came Good Friday and all their hopes and dreams were smashed to bits when he was taken captive, falsely accused and brutally killed. Their hopes and dreams seemed to finally vanish when he died on the cross. I doubt they fully realized what Jesus was doing for them at the time of the Last Supper—or on the cross. But as the sun rose on Easter morning, Jesus the true light rose with it and appeared to his disciples more fully alive than ever! In that moment, the power of Easter began to transform the lives of his disciples. Incredulity gave way to belief, despair gave way to hope, darkness gave way to light and sorrow gave way to joy, hatred gave way to love! Every Easter Jesus invites us to open our hearts to the transforming power of his love so that he can accomplish in us what he accomplished in his disciples. He sent them into the world renewed and freed from fear or doubt. He made them people of light and filled them with joy! Then he sent them to share the Good News of God’s love and mercy! May God fill you with light, happiness and peace that you may share it with others! +++ Fr. Peter