Readings: Acts 10:34, 37-43; Colossians 3:1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5:6-8; John 20:1-9; Mark 16:1-8
“Christ indeed from death is risen, our new life obtaining.”
In the first words of Genesis, God ends the reign of darkness and chaos and replaces that reign with dawn and order. So the first day came to be! Jesus rises in the morning on the first day after the Sabbath. Again God conquers darkness and chaos. Light and order reign. In John’s gospel, the believers are called to silently contemplate the risen Lord. Mary Magdalene does not at first recognize Jesus and later Jesus has to show His wounds to the disciples before they acknowledge that it is the Lord. These stories convince us that every Christian has the spiritual task of contemplating the person of Jesus and coming to know Him as the Resurrected One.
Through His death and resurrection, Jesus is transformed. That is what we will become. Jesus’ transformation took an instant as He shed His mortal body. Our transformation will take a lifetime, but in the end, like Jesus, we will rise transformed! Knowing the risen Jesus transformed the early Christians who then went out and witnessed to others. We, too, are transformed as we witness to the wonders that Jesus has done in our lives.
Let us then rise to the new dawn! As we contemplate the risen Lord and share Him with others, we become an “Alleluia” people on the path to transformation!
Readings: Isaiah 52:13-53: 12; Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9; John 18:1-19, 42
Jesus stretches out His Hands between heaven and earth. The curtain in the Temple that separated the people from God is ripped in two. A new bridge has been established between God and us. The bridge is Jesus Who, now crucified, will never die again. He lives forever as our passageway to the living God! From His cross the Lord also gives us Mary to be the Mother of all believers. Through this last deed of Jesus we discover that the nature of the Church is to be a spiritual family. Mary helps to solidify in the spiritual family of the Church the values of humility, joy, interior peace, and simple piety.
The readings present us with the end of a stage of history. No longer must humanity be dragged by its fears, sit in unforgiven sins, and live at the mercy of the evil spirit. Now begins the era of the New Covenant of God with humanity marked by the Spirit of God. When Jesus gives up His Spirit, the Spirit doesn’t die but instead fills the Church. As Isaiah prophesies: “See, my servant shall prosper, he shall be raised high and greatly exalted.” (Isaiah 52:13)
In this year of the new creation make forgiveness and peace hallmarks of your life.
Let us pray: Lord, by the suffering of Christ your Son you have saved is all from the death we inherited from sinful Adam. By the law of nature we have borne the likeness of his manhood. May the sanctifying power of grace help us to put on the likeness of our Lord in heaven who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Holy Thursday, Easter Tridum
Readings: Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-15
“But if I washed your feet then you must wash each other’s feet.” (John 13:14)
People often say “Seeing is believing.” But on Holy Thursday, Christ turns it all around. On Holy Thursday, believing is seeing. Today the Lord establishes His greatest gift to His disciples, the Eucharist, the gift that has carried the Lord’s Presence to His followers throughout the centuries. Here in the Eucharist we humble human believers see and taste God.
If you go to the Holy Land and visit the room of the Last Supper, you will probably be surprised at how plain it is. No great church surrounds it, and nothing in the room would give a hint of the majestic event that occurred there. It is a simple upper room. This simplicity reflects our gospel reading that calls us to be servants of one another. Jesus’ act of washing the disciples’ feet was a sacred rite that prepared and purified them for the bread of life. If they did not serve one another as Jesus was serving them, then they could not receive the bread of life.
The poor of Jesus’ day did not wear sandals, so their feet needed to be washed before entering a house. The poor of our day do not have sandals, food, a home, or political power. Once we have seen Christ in the Eucharist, we also see the poor who need us to wash their feet, call them into our home, lead them to the bread of life.
Let us Pray: Loving Father, at that supper, Jesus told us to “love one another” and I know that is the heart of his gift, his sacrifice for me. I ask that I might find the source of my own heart, the meaning for my own life, in that Eucharist. Guide me to the fullness of your love and life. Amen.