Tuesday, April 30, 2019

“Come to the Light” by Colleen O’Sullivan

“Come to the Light” by Colleen O’Sullivan

The high priest rose up and all his companions, that is, the party of the Sadducees, and, filled with jealousy, laid hands upon the Apostles and put them in the public jail.  But during the night, the angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison, led them out, and said, "Go and take your place in the temple area, and tell the people everything about this life."  When they heard this, they went to the temple early in the morning and taught.  (Acts 5:17-21a)

And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light because their works were evil.  For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed.  But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God. (John 3:19-21) 

We believe in the Light which overcomes the darkness.  Lord, may we be drawn to your everlasting Light.

Click to listen to a beautiful choral rendition of our Creed from Liturgy of Peace by Archbishop Ionafan, sung by the Kyiv Chamber Choir.


That darkness often seems to be more pervasive than light weighed heavily upon me as, during this year’s Triduum retreat, I journeyed with Jesus from the Passover meal with his friends to the Garden at Gethsemane, on to the courtyard of the high priest and then to the praetorium where Pilate reigned supreme, and finally to the place of crucifixion, Golgotha.  The kiss of betrayal, the seizure of our Lord, the sham of a trial, the scourging, the fickleness of the crowd, preferring to set free a murderer over the Son of God, and finally the slow, heavy carrying of the Cross to its final resting place and Jesus’ painful death – all events that speak of the darkest of deeds.

But then in the midst of all the darkness in our world, the new fire is enkindled at the Easter Vigil and the Paschal Candle lit.  As each person’s candle is lit, the light grows.  The Scripture readings proclaim the many ways in which God has acted throughout history to save God’s people.  At the Easter Vigil Mass, we joyfully celebrate the Light which overpowers the darkness, the Light of the Resurrection of our Lord.  

It’s easy to get sucked into believing that there is nothing but darkness all about us, that the world is full of evildoers.  When we turn on the news, we seldom hear anything good.  But I have only to look around the table at my Cursillo group to see women doing all sorts of good things for others, none of which will likely ever be broadcast to the world.  It doesn’t matter if our good deeds get published in the media.  Whatever you and I do for others in the name of the Risen Christ, we bring light into the darkness.  Our world becomes a little brighter.

God prefers the light to the darkness.   In today’s first reading, God sends an angel under cover of night to stealthily break open the bars of the prison where the apostles are being held.  God wants the apostles to use the early morning light to proclaim the Easter message at the Temple.  God believes they can bring light to the darkness that covers Jerusalem.

We may have to search for ourselves to see the goodness that is all around us, but if we take the time, we will find there is light in our midst.  There are people everywhere doing good in the name of the Risen Christ.  In the first chapter of his Gospel, John writes:  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  Easter is a time for remembering those words.  Easter is a season of light and joy.  It comes at a time of year when we can look around and marvel at the beauty of spring and the promise of new life.    

What one thing can you do to bring the Light of Christ to the world today? 

“Son of Encouragement” by Melanie Rigney (@melanierigney)

“Son of Encouragement” by Melanie Rigney

There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need. Thus Joseph, also named by the apostles Barnabas (which is translated “son of encouragement”), a Levite, a Cypriot by birth, sold a piece of property that he owned, then brought the money and put it at the feet of the apostles. (Acts 4:34-37)

The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty. (Psalm 93:1a)

“If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?” (John 3:12)

Lord, help me to live a life worthy of being called a son or daughter of encouragement by You.

Acts is one of my favorite books of the New Testament, because it’s full of action, the early Christians going to and fro, being persecuted, proclaiming the Gospel, helping people, so on and so on.

Today’s first reading has a lot less action—on the surface. It begins with a general narrative passage in which we are told about the communal style of living, everyone contributing what he or she has and receiving what he or she needs.

Then we go from the general to the specific: the introduction of the Cypriot Joseph. This is the first mention of him in Acts, and what a mention it is. He sells property and provides the proceeds to his community. And now, the narrative means more. We have the example of a person who sacrificed a possession for the good of the community. It’s fitting that the apostles nickname him Barnabas, son of encouragement.

We all sacrifice for the body of Christ, offering our time, talent and treasure. But too often, complaining, judging, and comparing can be part of that sacrifice. May we learn from the example Barnabas provides—and by the way we sacrifice, may we also encourage others to do the same.

Think about the nickname your brothers and sisters in Christ would give you. Would you like it to be something different?

Image credit: Gerhard Haubold [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

Sunday, April 28, 2019

God Is with Him

God Is with Him

And now, Lord, take note of their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with all boldness, as you stretch forth your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are done through the name of your holy servant Jesus." As they prayed, the place where they were gathered shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.   Acts 4:29-31

He came to Jesus at night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one can do these signs that you are doing unless God is with him." John 3:2

“The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so, it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

Perhaps Pentecost was not a singular event or celebration.  As the notes to the NABRE point out, Sacred Scriptures often uses earthquakes as a sign of the divine presence.  So, even though there are no tongues of flame in today's reading, the disciples may be experiencing the Holy Spirit in the present moment.

Now Mount Sinai was completely enveloped in smoke because the LORD had come down upon it in fire. The smoke rose from it as though from a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled violently.  (Exodus 19:18)

At the sound of that cry, the frame of the door shook, and the house was filled with smoke.  (Isaiah 6:4)

In the current example, the shaking of the building symbolizes God’s favorable response to the prayer and perhaps the presence of the Lord or the Holy Spirit. 

The presence of the Holy Spirit also harkens us to the Gospel.  Throughout the season of Lent, we met up with Nicodemus three times as we witnessed his conversion.  Now, the Good News revisits the first story in a different context.  First, we know from Good Friday that – unlike the disciples – Nicodemus stayed with the Lord on the cross and helped with his anointing with enough myrrh for the burial of a King.  More importantly, we know that Jesus planted the seeds of conversion and rebirth with Nicodemus during their first encounter.

Nicodemus already knew that God was with Jesus and by extension, God was with everyone who encountered the humble Rabbi.

The collision of the supernatural world with humanity is how our senses can begin to experience God.  With Nicodemus, it took the night-wind. Maybe with the rest of us, we need an entire earthquake.

Here in chapter 3, we had no idea where the spirit of the Lord would take Nicodemus.  Here in the current episode of our lives, we have no idea where the spirit of the Lord will take us. The challenge is to accept a future with God as Jesus accepted his Emmanuel God-with-us life.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

“Blessed Are Those Who Have Not Seen And Have Believed" by Diane Bayne

“Blessed Are Those Who Have Not Seen And Have Believed" by Diane Bayne

(Or Sunday of Divine Mercy)

Thus they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and mats so that when Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them.  (Acts 5:15)

Let the house of Israel say, "His mercy endures forever."
Let the house of Aaron say, "His mercy endures forever."
Let those who fear the LORD say, "His mercy endures forever."  (Ps 118:2-4)

Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me, and when I turned, I saw seven gold lampstands and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, wearing an ankle-length robe, with a gold sash around his chest. The hair of his head was as white as white wool or as snow, and his eyes were like a fiery flame.  His feet were like polished brass refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing water. In his right hand, he held seven stars. A sharp two-edged sword came out of his mouth, and his face shone like the sun at its brightest.  (Rev 1:12-15)

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of [his] disciples that are not written in this book.  But these are written that you may [come to] believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.
(John 20:30-31)

God of everlasting mercy, who in the very recurrence of the paschal feast kindle the faith of the people you have made your own, increase, we pray, the grace you have bestowed, that all may grasp and rightly understand in what font they have been washed, by whose Spirit they have been reborn, by whose Blood they have been redeemed. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

The readings for today, the Sunday of Divine Mercy, are full to overflowing with references to God’s mercy and love.  In the first reading we hear of the great number of people being added to the first community of believers, a community so in awe of the apostles that they lay their sick on the streets in the hope that just the shadow of Peter may fall on them and cure them. 

The responsorial psalm (PS 118) that follows is an outpouring of thanks to the Lord for saving the House of Israel, restoring their courage in times of distress and, most amazing of all, for making Christ, who was rejected by the builders, the cornerstone, of the entire nation.

With the second reading, we are taken into the Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament, where the voice of John, the Beloved Disciple, paints for us a picture of Jesus on the Last Day, who identifies Himself as the Savior who was once dead but who is now alive, and who bids John to assume the role of a prophet and to write down what he sees, “what is happening and what will happen afterward.”

At the end of the Gospel for today, we are taken into the confidence of the author of this Gospel as unsolicited, he reveals to us, his readers, his motive for writing about the events mentioned here.  He says that his action in telling the stories of Jesus commissioning the apostles  to forgive sins, and the conversion of Thomas, are solely for the purpose of convincing us, his readers, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that, by believing this, we may have life in his name.

The fact that Jesus was able to come through locked doors and confront Thomas is all that the author deems relevant for faith and belief in Him. By this selection of details, the author hopes Thomas’s response, "My Lord and my God!" – will be our own.  So, the wily interception of the author’s action is designed to move us, the readers of this gospel, to a similar action of our own. 

In advance of such an action of ours, Jesus responds with another action all His own:  He utters one of his most consoling blessings for those of us reading this Gospel twenty centuries after it was written: "Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."

How do these final words of today’s Gospel move us to action?

How blessed are we to have this Sunday dedicated to Divine Mercy!

How blessed are we to have such a Lord, dedicated to Divine Mercy for all of His creation!!



So, they called them back and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. Peter and John, however, said to them in reply, "Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard." Acts 4:18-20

But later, as the Eleven were at table, he appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised. He said to them, "Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature."  Mark 16:14-15

My life flows on in endless song;
Above earth's lamentation,
I hear the sweet, though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation;
Thro' all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul—
How can I keep from singing?
(Hymn by Robert Wadsworth Lowry; Performed by Marty Haugen)

The Sanhedrin could have easily issued the order for Peter to stop breathing or for his heart to stop beating.  Peter has come a long way in his piety and action since hiding away in the upper room and retreating to the comfort zone of his fishing boat.

Jesus did some of his strongest work aimed at converting Peter from inside and outside the fishing boat – and the results are abundantly clear today. Jesus summoned Peter to walk across the stormy seas to meet him.  Jesus also advised Peter where to toss his nets to have a successful catch.

Peter’s disobedience of the Sanhedrin shows that Jesus’s work on Peter paid off. “It is impossible not to speak about what he has seen and heard."

What comfort zone does Easter pull you out of?

Friday, April 26, 2019

Going Fishing

Going Fishing

“Then all of you and all the people of Israel should know that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified; whom God raised from the dead; in his name this man stands before you healed. He is the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.”  Acts 4:10-11

Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We also will come with you.” So, they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. John 21:3

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. By the LORD has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes. Psalm 118:22-23

“The stone the builders rejected” means that what is insignificant to human beings has become great through divine election. The “stone” may originally have meant the foundation stone or capstone of the Temple. The New Testament interpreted the verse as referring to the death and resurrection of Christ.  The concept has deeper roots in the Psalms and the Hebrew Bible. 

Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD: See, I am laying a stone in Zion, a stone that has been tested, a precious cornerstone as a sure foundation; whoever puts faith in it will not waver. Isaiah 28:16

Flipping to the Gospel, we get a true juxtaposition of human insignificance and divine importance. When Peter declares that he is going fishing, he has no idea how true that expression would become in a metaphorical sense -- rather than in the literal sense of catching fish to sell at market.

In today’s Gospel, the act of unsuccessful fishing has forced the apostles to move their nets around.  They thought they were retreating back into the “comfort zone” of their prior expertise but were no longer as good at it as they thought they were. Through the Divine Advice of the stranger on the shore, their efforts turned into a successful expedition that opened the door for the new and different paths ahead.

Peter thought he was rejecting the commission given by Jesus and headed back to take up his nets again now that Jesus was gone.  Yet, Luke’s account of the successful fishing expedition connects with this story to show what will now be happening:

For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.  Luke 5:9-11

What nets have you caught up in the human and distracted from the divine? The Lord is here to untangle us from our nets so we can put them down and follow the “stranger on the shore.”

Thursday, April 25, 2019

“Peace Be with You” by Beth DeCristofaro

“Pax”, Pater Karl Sadler, OSB
“Peace Be with You” by Beth DeCristofaro

Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away, and that the Lord may grant you times of refreshment and send you the Christ already appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the times of universal restoration of which God spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old. (Acts 3:19-21)

He 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. And he said to them, "Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things." (Luke 24:44-48)

"Peace be with you," You said to your Friends, Lord.  May I hear you speak them to me.  May you fill me with your peace, overflowing upon my small world.  May I be fierce in faith while peacefully living as witness to your life of love.

Peter knew of what he spoke to the crowds in Jerusalem.  Jesus accepted his repentance from betrayal and from Jesus’ mouth his sins were wiped away.  His words to the audience were fierce in the challenge yet tender as Peter named their sin and offered restoration to them.  He spoke out of a faith which was forged in hardship and misunderstanding until his mind was open and his friend, his Lord, bestowed peace upon him.

Christ says “Peace” to me today but at times I find it difficult to hear him or to feel his peace in my heart.  There are days when I do not have peace when my faith is stressed beneath the weight of fear, opinions, bias, anger or the distraction of idols.  If I do not live in my faith and listen for the silence of Christ’s peace, I cannot share it.  My heart and mind is not open but is rather closed in the walls of my upper room for fear of losing what I think that I have.  Repent and be converted, Peter offers today, now.  And Jesus breathes his Peace upon me when I say Yes.

We have so many opportunities to hear the silence of Christ’s abiding peace.  In your prayer time, during the Eucharist, as you confess in Reconciliation still your own voice of fear, opinions, bias, anger or the distraction of idols.  Hear Jesus’ peace and joyfully repent, gladly accept.

Illustration:  “Pax”, Pater Karl Sadler, OSB http://www.paterkarlstadler.com/kunst/?linolschnitt

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

“The Risen Christ Meets Us Wherever We Are” by Colleen O’Sullivan

“The Risen Christ Meets Us Wherever We Are” by Colleen O’Sullivan

And a man crippled from birth was carried and placed at the gate of the temple called “the Beautiful Gate” every day to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple.  When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked for alms.  But Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.”  He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them.  Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you:  in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.”  (Acts 3:2-6)

That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus’ disciples were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.  And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.
 (Luke 24:13-16) 

Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name;
make known among the nations his deeds.
Sing to him, sing his praise,
proclaim all his wondrous deeds.  (Psalm 105:1-2)

It may as well have been Saturday all over again for the two disciples heading away from Jerusalem to their village, Emmaus.  Holy Saturday always has a disconcerting feeling of emptiness to it, which these companions were still carrying with them as they put one foot in front of the other.  They were so disappointed and disillusioned. 

For a fleeting moment earlier that morning their hearts had been filled with joy at their women friends’ report that Jesus was alive.  But when they rushed to the tomb, they found only burial cloths, not their friend and teacher.  Disconsolate, they decided to leave the city and return home.  Sharing their feelings with one another along the way, they were suddenly joined by a stranger.  This fellow traveler asked what they had been discussing and they told him.  The stranger called them foolish and went back over the Scriptures from Moses forward, showing them that the Christ had always been destined to suffer.  Still, the two disciples had no clue to this wayfarer’s identity.  It was only later that day in the breaking of bread at their evening meal that they recognized the Risen Lord! 

Jesus comes to us wherever we are.  Jesus rushed after them when he realized they had turned their backs on Jerusalem out of despair.  Jesus completely turned their lives around by pursuing them in their hour of doubt.  And Jesus often does this for us as well.  He doesn’t wait for us to come in search of him.  He meets us right in the midst of our troubles.

The same thing happens in today’s first reading.  Peter and John encounter the crippled man at the Beautiful Gate.  This disabled man has no expectation that this day will be different from any other.  All he hopes for is alms sufficient for the day’s needs, and that’s what he asks for when Peter and John stumble upon him.  He has no idea that he’s about to meet the power of the Risen Christ until Peter tells him he has no money and commands him to get up and walk in the name of Jesus the Nazorean.   And that’s exactly what takes place; the man gets up and, for the first time in years, is able to walk around!   He wasn’t seeking Jesus, but Jesus, through Peter and John, found him and healed him!

Our Scripture readings today are taken from real life.  Sometimes we’re like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, scurrying away from the very place the Risen Jesus is to be found.  When have you run away from disappointment, discouragement or despair?  Take time in prayer today to share whatever it was that sent you fleeing.

Often our ideas about where we might encounter the Risen Christ are somewhat limited.  Who would have expected to meet him at the same Temple gate where every day previous to this had yielded nothing but the same old, same old, maybe because that’s all you asked for?   Share your deepest desires with the Risen Christ in prayer today. 

Monday, April 22, 2019

“I Have Seen the Lord” by Melanie Rigney (@melanierigney)

Mary at the Tomb, Rembrandt [Public domain].

“I Have Seen the Lord” by Melanie Rigney (@melanierigney)

“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.” (Acts 2:38)

The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. (Psalm 33:5b)

She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher. 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.’” Mary went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and then reported what he had told her. (John 20:15-18)

Jesus, I beg You to open my eyes to Your presence.

She thought it was the gardener.

Sometimes, we think it’s that person at work who frustrates us, that women who stands on the left instead of the right on a Metro escalator, that man who sits in front of us at Mass and smells a little and sings off-key.

Sometimes we think it’s the person whom we love more than anyone else on earth, that mentor who lovingly challenges us to think the best rather than the worst of others, that customer service representative who’s so patient in helping us regain access to an online account.

And sometimes, we are right.

Other times, we realize later that there was some Jesus in that moment, whether His appearance presented an opportunity for a small act of mercy or provided us with needed grace and love.

She thought it was the gardener. But when He called her name, she knew. Listen… is He calling yours?

Look for the Lord in unexpected places today, using your eyes and ears.

Fearful Yet Overjoyed

Fearful Yet Overjoyed

“My brothers, one can confidently say to you about the patriarch David that he died and was buried, and his tomb is in our midst to this day. But since he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne, he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he abandoned to the netherworld nor did his flesh see corruption.  Acts 2:29-31

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce the news to his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”  Matthew 28:8-10

May God arise; may his enemies be scattered; may those who hate him flee before him. As the smoke is dispersed, disperse them; as wax is melted by fire, so may the wicked perish before God. Then the just will be glad; they will rejoice before God; they will celebrate with great joy. (Psalm 68:1-3)

For a few hours, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were the only members of the church to have witnessed the Resurrection.  According to this account in Matthew’s Gospel, they also were the first to get the New Commission.  They saw, believed, and then obeyed the two new commandments:

I.            Do Not Be Afraid.
II.          Go Tell My Brothers to Go to Galilee.

The Easter message and the Christmas message overlap. After the preparation of Advent, Christ is born and we are told to “Go Tell it on the Mountain.”  Our Christmas job is to spread the Good News. After the preparation of Lent, Christ is born again and Scriptures instruct us (again) to “Go tell it.”

When we have an encounter with Jesus, we are not to keep it a secret. Yet, if we were to have an encounter with Jesus after witnessing his execution, we would probably be just like Mary Magdalene and the other Mary: fearful yet overjoyed before we head out to spread the Good News.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

“He Is Not Here, But He Has Been Raised”.by Jim Bayne

“He Is Not Here, But He Has Been Raised”.by Jim Bayne

(Jesus) commissioned us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead. To him, all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”  (Acts 10:42-43)

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.  (Ps 118:24)

Brothers and sisters: If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  (Col 3:1)

At daybreak on the first day of the week, the women who had come from Galilee with Jesus took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb; but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were puzzling over this, behold, two men in dazzling garments appeared to them. They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground. They said to them, “Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here, but he has been raised.  (Luke 24:1-6)



O God, who on this day,
through your Only Begotten Son,
have conquered death
and unlocked for us the path to eternity,
grant, we pray, that we who keep
the solemnity of the Lord’s Resurrection
may, through the renewal brought by your Spirit,
rise up in the light of life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Last week, I came across a piece in which a young college student tried to explain the existence of God to his atheist professor.  He began by asking the professor a series of questions about the existence of cold.  He pointed out that cold does not exist.  Otherwise, we would be able to go colder than absolute zero,  –459.67°F.  Absolute zero (-459.67̊ F) is the total absence of heat.

Next, he did the same thing with darkness. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something.  Darkness is the absence of light.

He concluded by stating that like, cold and darkness, evil does not exist either.  It is simply the absence of God.

We have come through the darkness of Lent and Good Friday into the Light of Christ.  God, in the form of Jesus of Nazareth is no longer absent.  Today is the feast of the Light of Christ Jesus risen from the dead; risen from the darkness of the tomb. 

At the Easter vigil last night, the service was started in total darkness.  The darkness was first dissipated by the lighting of the new fire.  It was further dissipated by the lighting of the Easter candle.  Then each person present added their little light as their individual candles were lit.  Pretty soon the entire church was bathed in light.  The darkness no longer existed.

This, symbolically, is how the light of Christ is brought to the world each and every day. Each of us, by contributing our little light brings the light of Christ to the world.  Without our little light, the world is a little bit darker.

As members of the Cursillo community, we have the privilege of bringing our little light to the world by living our lives of Piety, Study, and Action.  We can brighten our light by devoting more time to our Piety, Study, and Action.

Rather than just reporting a moment close to the Lord at your weekly group reunion, report all of the ways in which you encountered Christ in your life this week: in the sacraments, Liturgy of the Hours, Eucharistic adoration, Lectio Divina, Centering Prayer, nature, in the life of the people you met this week, or through your own desert experiences (think of Mother Teresa's 50 years without consolation).

How did you brighten your light through the study of more than just a single magazine article?  Perhaps you met with a small group to work your way through the study guide that goes with Richard Rohr's new New York Times bestseller The Universal Christ.

Another possibility is David Brooks' new book, The Second Mountain.  This book tells the life stories of people who are actually living Richard Rohr's "second half of life," that is, using all of the resources gained in the first half of life to serve the needs of others.  What a way to bring the light of Christ to the world!

How did you trim the wick of your candle through Apostolic Action within your own family? Did you take time away from your electronic device to talk to your children about the light of Christ?  Did you take time to tell them how much you love them and how valuable they are to the life of your family? Did you take time to listen to your work colleagues personal dilemma and thereby bring some light into his/her life?  Did you give a few bucks to the homeless person you encountered at the stop light?

These are just a few ways in which each of us can enhance our own Easter experience and that of the little lights in our environment.