2nd Sunday of Easter B – Easter’s New Day
The bees are stirring and birds are on the wing! I saw swallows on Easter Sunday morning. ‘Tis the season of new light, new life, new energy and new hope. Long ago we were told that Christ was gone to where we hope to go. Heaven was the focus. Easter’s focus is not the afterlife but eternal life, being drawn by the Spirit into the life of God. Today we look outward and around us in solidarity with others who seek justice and peace, and ask why there is so little. A South American bishop once wondered, ‘When I feed the poor they say I’m a saint; when I ask why they are poor I’m called a communist.’ As we listen to the Acts of the Apostles we see the first Christians spent their lives in service of others and not seeking power over them. Like them, we latter day followers of Jesus are not meant to be guardians of the status quo but responders to the signs of the times, architects of change.
The three, as they race to the tomb, are in harmony with the morning star rising in their hearts. The angel tells us through Mary of Magdala to go back to Galilee and rediscover Jesus all over again. ‘He is going before you to Galilee; it is there you will see him’ – Mark 16: 7. The whole gospel is a contemplative celebration of the Resurrection. Re-read Mark for Eastertide, starting with Jesus in Galilee – walking with him, listening with new ears and seeing with new eyes. There we’ll discover that God who is Love is an enduring everyday reality and not just a passing sentiment. There we will see Jesus as a man of action. His actions of compassion are more important for us than the articles of our faith. To be a Christian is to be in a lifelong learning process. Faith and trust constantly seek new understanding. It is more blessed to question than to have all the answers.
Looking at a vixen outside my window yesterday, feeding and playing with her young in joy’s excess, it struck me that Easter calls us to shift from self-protective bureaucratic hierarchies to communities of faith and courageous outreach. Jesus empowered people to take responsibility in living, learning and caring for one another (cf. Acts 4: 32-34). Jesus did not control people through authoritarian decrees, laws and sanctions. In this respect our current church has a big learning curve ahead of it! It’s time for us Catholics to abandon religious arrogance and stop thinking we are superior to others, and that ‘right-wingers’ are better Catholics than those who are more liberal. We need to be aware that we are not possessors of all truth but searchers for the truth. Some Catholics still think they have all the truth. Not a few evangelicals think that way as well.
Watching the birds these days carrying in their beaks twigs, grass, fur and feather to build nests for their young, I ask what do people today really need? A bigger cathedral or a roof over their heads? Food, health care, child care, compassionate understanding, a more secure and hopeful life, respect and acknowledgement of their human dignity, especially if they are poor or immigrant. Again read Acts 4: 32-34. We need pastoral leaders and ministers who are more than mere professionals. The church needs leaders who are anchored in deep faith and who understand us and support our own faith development as compassionate and genuine spiritual guides. As Easter people, we should stop seeing the world as a rival and recognise it as a place where the Divine is encountered. Remember Thomas Merton’s experience of Divine Love on a crowded city street.
Fr. QQ – 04/07/2021