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Sharing Easter Joy

by May 19, 2022Friar Reflection

It is rather difficult to talk about the resurrection in general terms. How can we explain it? Even the symbols that we use, which are beautiful and ornate, seem to be inadequate: Easter bunnies, little yellow chicks, Easter eggs, chocolates and sweets, tulips, daffodils, white Easter lilies, cosmic Christs floating on clouds, or empty tombs. In our culture and families, we even seem to put little effort into our celebrations of Easter, especially considering what we do for Christmas – Easter 2-3 days and Christmas 2-3 months of celebrations. In our general culture, Easter is all sweet, short, distant, and theoretical.

Today in the first reading we see that the disciples were just the opposite. They were so overcome with the experience of “complete joy” and new life that Jesus announces in today’s Gospel, that they just had to announce and share that joy. Jesus is risen from the dead. He conquered death and sin. He opened the way for us to live in communion with God. These joyful disciples and apostles went out from Jerusalem to share their personal experience. The speeches or catechesis that we have been hearing from Acts in the first reading during this Easter season are not general or vague or theoretical terms or images. No bunnies, chicks, or chocolate. The first disciples spoke in very personal terms. Their joy was so overwhelming and contagious that many people from all different cultures and religious traditions began to follow the Christian way of life. So many people, that the disciples and apostles did not know what to do at first – as we hear in today’s first reading. Even the people from outside of Israel who were considered pagans or Gentiles converted.

The Church’s “reason to be” is evangelization – being sent to announce the Good News. The first disciples’ way of life and sharing of their faith was beautiful with an internal or personal beauty. Their personal life of conversion and their life in community was beautiful. Today we tend to rely on external beauty to proclaim our faith. Hence, we have the marshmallow chicks, bunnies, eggs, chocolates, and even big, beautiful buildings. Our culture needs disciples for our modern times who are more like the first disciple – people whose lives have been completely transformed, full of joy and beauty.

 

 

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