Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday in the Octave of Easter

Good News Reflection
Monday in the Octave of Easter
April 13, 2009

Today's Readings:
Acts 2:14, 22-33
Ps 16:1-2a, 5, 7-11
Matt 28:8-15

Living in the good news of Easter

Do you know what it's like to be fearful and, at the same time, overjoyed? That's how the women in today's Gospel passage felt when they encountered the risen Lord for the first time.

I can remember numerous occasions when I felt this way. For one, the moment my first child was born. In the midst of that wonderfully awesome joy, fear made me wonder: Can I be a good enough mom to handle the unimaginable responsibilities of raising this son into a God-serving man? (The answer was: "Yes, but only with the Holy Spirit's help. And when he grows up and seems to stray from My plans for him, it's not because you failed as a parent; it's because the Holy Spirit isn't finished with him yet.")

Think of any overwhelming, maybe even impossible task that you've been given. Or any God-ordained task you did do but apparently failed to do well.

Easter is not merely the end of Lent. Resurrection is not merely the end of an old life or old habits or an old problem that you've wanted to overcome. Easter is a season — an unending season — of joyfully running to others to share the Good News like those first evangelists on that first Easter Sunday. The resurrection experience is a season of letting your faith be a source of joy for those who don't yet know how to find Jesus, like the women did for the disciples on that gloriously surprising day.

How overwhelming does THAT task feel?

If we really understand that we're Easter people, which means that we've been resurrected from the destruction of sin, how can we restrain our joy? When we're fully aware, we don't want to keep this truth to ourselves. We push the fearfulness aside and freely share our life-changing experiences with others.

The movement of growth during Lent was inward. We reflected on our need for forgiveness. Now, the movement of growth is outward. In this, there is much to fear: What if we get rejected? What if we get persecuted for our faith?

But Jesus tells us what he told the first disciples: "Don't be afraid." And why not? The reason is simple and profound: Because he is with us always, and because he fills in the gaps of our inadequacies with his Holy Spirit. Jesus the Man kisses our boo-boos and embraces us in our persecutions. His Spirit gives us wisdom and inspiration.

The joy of Easter Sunday is nice, but let's be honest. In our everyday lives, do we live more by fear or by joy? Easter Sunday is the beginning of a season. Easter faith is the beginning of a lifetime of joy. It's time to move beyond the Cross. We have much to celebrate in Jesus. There are people around us who need to see us celebrate our faith. The Good News isn't GOOD news unless it raises people up out of their miseries. This is the evidence that the world needs, proving that Jesus is still very much alive.

© 2009 by Terry A. Modica
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