Monday, April 13, 2009

My God and Your God

April 14, 2009

Tuesday within the Octave of Easter

By Beth DeCristofaro

"Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call." (Acts 2:38-39)

Jesus said to her, "Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, 'I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" (John 20:17)


Today Father, this blue sky lauds you.

The delicate green and orange flowers of the tulip poplar tree praise you.

The distant blue hills praise you, together with the sweet-smelling air that is full of brilliant light.

The bickering flycatchers praise you with the lowing cattle and the quails that whistle over there.

I too, Father, praise you, with all these my brothers, and they give voice to my own heart and to my own silence.

We are all one silence, and a diversity of voices.

You have made us together,

You have made us one and many,

You have placed me here in the midst as witness, as awareness, and as joy.

Here I am. (Thomas Merton)


This morning in Virginia was an iconic Easter morn. The sun was rising in fiery peach grandeur while the bird chorus sang lustily and the flowers in my yard were decked out in finery for the day. Easter Vigil Mass was uplifting and beautiful. Yet, just as the Monday following a Cursillo weekend experience, today is today and I am back into the same life I in which I went to sleep yesterday.

Two exhortations in these readings speak loudly to me. The first is in Acts. Peter tells the crowds to repent and be baptized. Repent, meaning turn back to God in a renewal of my covenant with God, recalls my renewal of baptismal vows last night and the prayers, fasting, almsgiving of Lent. Did I, in fact repent? As I look back over Lent, I am in a different place in my spiritual journey than when I started. It was a difficult Lent and far from perfect but fruitful. Did I learn what perhaps the most important lesson is? Repent, turn back to God continuously and with constant contentment? We will see. I am hopeful that yes, I can make this recommitment happen.

The second moment is Jesus’ words to Mary. Stop holding on to me, he says. You need to let go of your earthly desire that I live not die. You must discard your earthly definitions of who I am. You must set behind you your earthly perceptions of God. Trust me. I give you your God in a new covenant as Brother, Teacher, Friend, Intercessor, Lover and Divinity. Jesus tells us that the incredible gift of the Resurrection is not in the moment when the stone rolls away but in the ongoing relationship now made possible. We are invited to be part of the dance of the Trinity with our Father, our Brother and the Spirit blowing within us all.

With whom can I share these awesome gifts: repentance and sense of the indwelling God? To whom can I bring Christ? In the first chapter of Acts Jesus gives the disciples new identities, only possible after his death and resurrection: But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1: 8)


Our witness must be also prompted by the indwelling Trinity. Repent, let go of our own desires and agendas. Despite any struggles we face to whom will we witness today that God is my God and yours, that the Father is my Father and yours, and that God loves me as he loves you?

Prayer from Thomas Merton A Book of Hours, Kathleen Deignan, editor, Sorin Books, Notre Dame, IN, 2007, p. 47.

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