Over the next two weekends we have or will be given the wonderful opportunity to celebrate the risen life of the Lord as we welcome “our younger parishioners” to the Table of the Lord. Our parish rejoices with the families of our First Communicants as they encounter the risen Savior in the “breaking of the bread.” One of the wonderful parts of these celebrations is the welcoming of many visitors (grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends and many others) who are so excited to be here to celebrate with their young friend.
In this season of Easter it is good to keep reflecting on and unpacking the mystery that is center to our faith. What does the resurrection mean for our daily lives today? How can we incorporate it more fully in our everyday routines? And what about our relationship with others? How can we make our understanding of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus expand beyond the walls of our church building and radiate out into the world around us?
Here are some thoughts that come from Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM. He says: “The Gospel is beyond and bigger than any one religion, and that’s why some, like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, speak about ‘religion-less Christianity.’ It is what the Native religions call summer, fall, winter, spring. It is what Aboriginal people and the mystics call darkness and light. It is what the Eastern religions call yin and yang or the ‘wheel of fate and fortune.’ It is simply the pattern that defines everything. Death and resurrection are the mystery of faith.”
It is not uniquely a Christian ability to live that pattern trustfully, and many do it better than us. Many Christians spend their whole lives avoiding all downs while still shouting the ritual acclamation we used to use at Eucharist: “Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again!” Sometimes we leave our faith inside the church building or assign it to the privacy of personal prayer. How we live truly shows that acclamation! Ours is a 24-7 faith, lived in the world as well as in the Church.
Just look around! As we see the trees leafing out and the Spring plants beginning to blossom, we realize that new life is happening all around us this time of year. There is no other pattern: all dies, all is transformed, and this cycle will never stop. Hospice workers say that many people put off this consoling surrender till the last days, hours, and even minutes of life, and then die peacefully and even happily. The essential meaning of being a religious person is to surrender and love it all ahead of time. We do not have to wait for “enlightenment at gunpoint”! Our resurrected Lord invites us to die with him in Baptism and so rise with Him to new life. That’s what Easter reminds us to celebrate!
Let us continue to pray for peace and for the end of terrorism in our world!
In peace and courage,