Easter Thoughts 2011

April 21, 2011 at 10:52 1 comment

Usually as we look at Easter we see the Story as being about our own resurrection after we die. But, as indescribably important as this is, if we limit the Story to just what it means for us later, we miss out on a lot. The Story also speaks to us in the setting of whatever is going on in our life right now. A key part of the Easter Story is the women going to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body, and wondering who will roll back the rock for them. As they arrive they find it has already been taken care of, and Jesus is not there. Gradually, beginning with Mary Magdalene, they encounter him risen, and in unexpected places.

There is a lot of commotion in the Church these days – the impending new translation of the Mass, the abuse crisis, perceptions of the hierarchy as heavy-handed and focused on protecting themselves and their prerogatives, demands by laity for more and meaningful involvement in the leadership of the Church, demands for a rethinking of celibacy and ordination of women, censuring or excommunicating of theologians and others who do not stick firmly and literally to the “party line”, etc. If we believe the Holy Spirit truly is guiding the Church, we also have to believe the Holy Spirit is involved in all these. We might then ask ourselves what the Holy Spirit is calling us to do.

These events are polarizing, and engender an attitude that is not nice or even civil or respectful of others and their opinions which might differ from ours. In the wisdom of the Holy Spirit it would seem that we, both as a Church and as individuals, are on our own journey to find Jesus who is already among us. As the women in the Story, we have already decided where we will find him – dead and in the tomb, uninvolved in our ordinary everyday life. An analogy might be that we expect to find him in doing what we have always done just as we have always done, believing what we have always believed just as we have always believed, all of which seem to have kept Jesus dead and in the tomb, away from our private everyday lives and hidden behind a big stone, in reality unreachable and untouchable, uninvolved in any sort of a meaningful relationship with us.

We might ask in our own life if we really are on a journey to find Jesus, or if we are just going through the motions. Are we doing “holy things” to be safe just in case or because we have always done them? Might we get so focused on doing the holy things that we don’t let ourselves get to where they point us and instead we decide to keep Jesus at a distance from us and uninvolved? Do we even want to be on such a journey? After all, what we know is safer than what we don’t know.

The Story teaches us that Jesus is more than we can ever imagine. It speaks the truth that Jesus is among us, reaching out to us in so many ways that we do not recognize, and that we really are our worst enemy. In the Story his closest friends do not recognize him because he is not as they expect him to be. Mary thinks her is the gardener, his friends are running away and do not recognize him on the way to Emmaus, the disciples lock themselves in a room, and he has to come through locked doors to get to them, Thomas sets conditions on what Jesus has to do before he will recognize him. How are we different? Simply we are not. We are, like the persons in the Story, good people who are unsure of what to do. Perhaps we have begun to lose hope, perhaps not, perhaps we have everything figured out, with all the right answers, our own code of conduct, perhaps not. Perhaps we want to be on a journey with Jesus, perhaps not.

The Risen Jesus is for all of us whatever, here and now. When we let him, as did Mary in the Garden, his friends on the road to Emmaus, his disciples behind the locked doors, he shows and explains himself very well, and he does this in our ordinary everyday life. Our contribution to the process is our choosing to be open to him as he is, our consenting to find the stone rolled away (perhaps a metaphor for our willingness to lay aside continually our need to know and be in control). As we move and are moved in this direction, we find the Story happening in our own lives, and we are constantly, and gratefully, amazed.


Entry filed under: Catholic, Gospel thoughts, Priest, thoughts.

Gospel Thoughts 23 January 2011 Easter 2011 – 2

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Jim Sweetman  |  April 21, 2011 at 16:14

    I remember while we were walking on the piazza in Vicenza and I was critical of a chapel member, you stated, “Scripture is intended to show us how to lead our lives, NOT tell us how others are to lead their lives. I don’t know if I’ve improved in that area, but I’m tryin’ and am grateful for that encounter with…hmmm…encounter with whom…or Whom…
    Hope all is well w/ you. We’re all well; No. 8 g’daughter (Mike and Kate) will be here in @ two weeks – Eloise JAMES!
    Have a blessed Easter.


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