Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Understand and be Easter People

By Beth DeCristofaro

When Peter saw this, he addressed the people, “You children of Israel, why are you amazed at this, and why do you look so intently at us as if we had made him walk by our own power or piety?  The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus whom you handed over and denied in Pilate’s presence, … The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses. And by faith in his name, this man, whom you see and know, his name has made strong, and the faith that comes through it has given him this perfect health, in the presence of all of you. (Acts 3:13-14, 15-16)

(Jesus) said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:44-45)

Lord Jesus, we ask you now
To help us to remain with you always.
To be close to you with all the ardor of our hearts,
To take up joyfully the mission you entrust to us.
And that is to continue your presence
And spread the good news of your resurrection.
(Carlo Maria Martini, SJ, “Hearts on Fire:  Praying with the Jesuits”, p. 150.)

Construction began on the Cathedrale Saint Sauver in Aix-en-Provence, France, in the 5th century and was not completed until the 15th.   It was a holy site longer, however, being built where a pre-Roman pagan shrine once stood and it is said that the baptistery was centered on the site of a Roman temple.  I remember standing there, in the immense, stark yet impressive nave wondering about the many, many people who had stood, knelt, or lifted their arms in prayer over the centuries.  They sought healing or power or wisdom perhaps.  They sought God.  Did they resist believing as the people who witnessed Peter’s miracle cure?  Did they have as much difficulty seeing God around them as I do? As Mary did outside the tomb on Easter morning?

Peter and John’s passionate, confident sharing of the Word was rooted in their certainty that their Lord Jesus had died and risen, changing the world and changing what it is to be human.  Their joy and faith, deep and strong as a mustard seed, showed how it can also change each and every person’s life and heart in particular, eternal ways.  Their fear was gone.  Salvation and Divine love given in abundance lit their eyes and inspired their words.  Their witness led multitudes to holiness in the Holy Land, all the way to France, the U.S. and to the ends of the earth.  

How do I experience myself as an Easter Person?  Jesus is overjoyed for me!  Can I share in His joy for me even if it brings mystery and great change into my life?  Can I share His joy with others even if they are fearsome, different, annoying, or have different beliefs than I have?  Can I be an Easter person, risen with Jesus even weighed down with the realities of being so human? If I open my mind and heart to him I can indeed.

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