This is Easter! This is actually when we should be singing, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” This is the celebration of Our Lord’s great victory over evil, and that makes all the difference. The Easter season will continue until Pentecost. How should we respond? I suggest:
1. Rejoice! (obviously). Even if you are going through a very hard time, we remember that the hard times come to an end, and the victory of Easter is forever.
According to our capacity at the time, we can look defiantly at what is dragging us down and say, “your days are numbered, and we will get the last laugh.” We read in Scripture, “Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks, and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared; for today is holy to our Lord. Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10).” We can celebrate according to our capacity and show the world that just as we have done penance during Lent, now we party!
2. Get immersed in Acts of the Apostles. During the Easter season, the first reading is from Acts almost every day. It is the story of the Church in its beginnings and shows how to be an Easter people. If we follow those readings and reflect on them, it will give us a sense of what was their response to the Easter event and the Pentecost event. (You know you are allowed to read the daily Mass readings even if you don’t get to Mass that day?). As you go through Acts of the Apostles, I would encourage you to look for four things:
a. Telling the Gospel story
b. Working together as community
c. Worshipping God
d. Helping people in need.
I would suggest that those four things were how they made their mark on the world. Doing these four things, a small band of misfits changed the course of world history forever. I suggest if we grow in doing these four things, we can be as successful as they were. We have everything they had. We have the Gospel story, and we have the Holy Spirit working within us. During the Easter season, I’ll be unpacking more about how we might try to grow in these four things (actually, I plan to be doing that for the rest of my life, but one step at a time).
We remember that after the disciples encountered the Risen Jesus, the world was still a mess, and still very hostile to everything Jesus is about. Acts makes this clear. It also made clear that the Church had problems, and that it had flawed people in them from the beginning (that is made even more clear in the epistles). Despite that, a small band of misfits changed the course of world history forever. If we truly believe in the resurrection the problems in the Church now will not hold us back from doing wonderful things.
When people look back on this moment in history, what will they find? Let’s see how many reasons we can give them to know that we truly believed in the Gospel, that we believed in the power of the New Life that Jesus offers us.