In reflection on a couple traditional Easter readings (Acts 4:32-25 and 1 John 5:1-6), what first struck me about these readings is their joy. The absolutely larger than life extraordinary pureness of these words express, what is to me, the gift of Easter. These words simply flow like poetry. After the darkness and fortitude of Lent, the time where we are most longing for Christ’s light to return, it does! God comes through for us, every Easter. What a grace!
But if you’re at all like me, you think, “Oh, if only the rest of our lives could be so certain.”
Well, I am here to remind you (as I hope these readings will) that our lives are certain. They are filled with so much love and joy and goodness that we should hardly spend any time in our lives dwelling on the shortfalls. It is true that this is a difficult thing for us to see, and indeed, I am as guilty of that as anyone. But at Easter, if during no other time of the year, we are asked to lay aside our Lenten struggles and acknowledge the deep, bright light that shows through each of us. When we choose to live out of this place of love, when we believe in it as much as we believe in the darkness of life, we can truly see that we are amongst a living grace from God. This grace is meant to give us endless new beginnings. This light is our connection to God, where we are one together, interconnected and glorious souls of living joy.
Consider the Acts reading: “With great power the apostles bore witnessto the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person among them…” How breathtaking this moment, how grand this description. Great power! Indeed, our complaints are slight in such a presence. And to live without need! For a moment, imagine that right now, you have everything you need. Do you feel the peace of that thought? Let it wash over you.
Or the reading from 1 John: “Beloved…And his commandments are not burdensome,for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith. Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” I am beloved, you and me and all of us here, gathered together at mass, we are beloved. What a beginning! If only we addressed each other in this way in greeting rather than a simple hello. We can breathe a sigh of relief because Jesus is speaking, he is relieving us of our troubles. Jesus is asking us to do things, yes, but they are our light, our means of feeling this grand victory. God is saying, have faith, believe in me, and we shall be the greater power.
I hope you are able to take these readings to heart this week and whenever your heart feels heavy. You are meant for greatness, no matter the hurdles ahead. Larger struggles only make your impending victory that much more heroic, that much more filled with joy at the finish line. And on that day, you will have a new beginning. Happy Easter!