Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Easter Sunday

Ignatian Spirituality: Set the World Ablaze

Easter Sunday
March 27, 2016
Acts 10:34, 37-43; Psalm 118; Colossians 3:1-4; John 20:1-9

            Peter stands among the people to boldly proclaim the great irony: This man, Jesus, was put to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised this man on the third day to be visible to the witnesses chosen by God. This man, whom they thought they killed, serves as the appointed judge of the living and the dead. This is no laughing matter, but you can almost sense Peter rejoicing in this great victory because God has vindicated Jesus and his way. Those who ate and drank with Jesus are given special privileges in the kingdom.

            In John’s Gospel, the scene is more somber as Mary Magdalene does not even consider that Jesus could have been raised from the dead. Even Peter goes into the tomb and notes the placement of the burial cloths, but does not conclude that Jesus was no longer dead. The other unnamed disciple, however, enters the tomb after Peter, and he sees and believes. The Resurrection is not an easy concept to figure out and it takes time for the meaning to set in.

            Even today, we have to experience the resurrection of Jesus personally for us. Jesus died to give our lives meaning; his resurrection also has to make sense of our challenging life situations. Jesus has to return expressly for us, just as he did for his mother, his disciples, and those who were faithful to him. He wants to come back to us to console us and to reassure us we can go through life together. His ministry is all about comforting and encouraging us and delighting in his victory over the awful forces of the world. He has won.

            Believing in Jesus is a difficult thing to do these days. Tragedies in Paris, Brussels, and Istanbul, and unresolvable like crises the Middle East dilemma make us wonder if God has any power to shape world events. Death, sorrow, and suffering grip us because it makes no sense to lose a loved one. Why does God allow the suffering of the good and the innocent? Too many factors keep us away from developing a faith life in the one who can make sense of the senseless. The Resurrection takes time to understand; it is a process we have to go through just like Peter, the other disciples, and Mary Magdalene did.

            We know when it happens. Something inside our soul is suspended, if but briefly, and we linger over a moment that comes from outside of us. Can there be a possibility that Jesus is reaching out to me? Something in our lives gets realigned or knocked out of place, whether I am a believer or doubter. I have a sense that there is something, perhaps someone, greater than that which is in my life. I may be filled with a desire, a yearning, for my world to have greater meaning. I hold onto this moment and return to it. Somehow, something meaningful is being born within me. Something authentic, something real, is growing inside my soul and it fuels me, even if I tell no one else about it at first. We do not even know if it is from God, but it is something I cannot deny. If we are like the beloved disciple, we see and believe, but most of us are like Peter, who is weighed down with life’s decisions, and it takes time to grasp the holy among the profane, the mystery in the midst of ordinary life.

            Mary Magdalene brought news of the Lord’s resurrection to Peter and the disciples. The Twelve were bolstered by the burgeoning faith of Peter and the beloved disciple. The fact is: people come to the faith because of someone else’s experience. Even if we think we are of insufficient faith, it might be a rock to someone else who is looking for the mystery of the divine in you. Don’t deny them. Give it to them and let them know of your doubts and certitude, and then leave it up to God. Your life might be the vehicle that brings someone else to salvation. Respect your contributions because it reflects God’s love.

            God is found in an increase of love, hope, and faith. Wherever there is a movement towards greater love, God’s presence, whether we see it or not, is magnified. Enjoy your life. Love one another authentically. Delight in the ones you are with and you will find God by your side. When you reflect upon this growing love and the increased gratitude you feel, you will experience aspects of the resurrection. We live in the time of the resurrection, and we show it to the world by loving and living in joy. Let us be the people God calls us to be, seeking what is above, and raising all things to the sacred. We will be a transformed people because we will know that God is living within us and is raising us up too. Alleluia. Alleluia.
Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (Acts 2) Peter stands up on Pentecost to proclaim to Jews in Jerusalem that Jesus of Nazareth who they put to death has been vindicated by God and raised to new life.
Tuesday: (Acts 2) When the Jews realize the significance of their actions, they petition Peter to be baptized in the name of Jesus.
Wednesday: (Acts 3) Peter and John heal the crippled man at "the Beautiful Gate" at the temple.
Thursday: (Acts 3) All who witnessed the healing recognize that the man used to be the crippled beggar. Peter and John preach to the Jews gathered at Solomon's portico and tell them all that the prophets and scripture say about Jesus.
Friday (Acts 4) The priests, temple guards, and the Sadducees confront Peter and John and hold them in custody. The religious authorities question their teaching and healing power. The Sanhedrin dismissed them with instructions not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
Saturday (Acts 4) Peter, John, and the healed man persevere in their boldness. The Sanhedrin wait to see if this is of God or of another source of power.

Monday: (Matthew 28) In Matthew, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary meet Jesus on the way and he exhorts them not to be afraid. The chief priests hire soldiers to say, "the disciples came and stole the body of Jesus."
Tuesday: (John 20) Magdalene weeps outside the tomb and thinks Jesus is the gardener, until he speaks to her familiarly.
Wednesday (Luke 24) Two disciples heading towards Emmaus meet Jesus along the way and he opens the scripture for them.
Thursday (Luke 24) As they recount their story to the Eleven, Jesus appears before them, beckons them not to be afraid, and eats with them.
Friday (John 21) Six disciples are with Peter as they fish at the Sea of Tiberius. After a frustrating night of fishing, Jesus instructs them to cast their nets wide and they catch 153 large fish. The beloved disciple recognized the man on the beach as the Lord and they rush to meet him.
Saturday (Mark 16) Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene who told the Eleven about him. Two other disciples on the road returned to speak of their encounter, and then Jesus appears to them while they were at table.

Saints of the Week

No saints are remembered during the Easter octave.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      March 27, 1587: At Messina died Fr. Thomas Evans, an Englishman at 29. He had suffered imprisonment for his defense of the Catholic faith in England.
·      March 28, 1606: At the Guildhall, London, the trial of Fr. Henry Garnet, falsely accused of complicity in the Gunpowder Plot.
·      March 29, 1523: Ignatius' first visit to Rome on his way from Manresa to Palestine.
·      March 30, 1545: At Meliapore, Francis Xavier came on pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Thomas the Apostle.
·      March 31, 1548: Fr. Anthony Corduba, rector of the College of Salamanca, begged Ignatius to admit him into the Society so as to escape the cardinalate which Charles V intended to procure for him.
·      Apr 1, 1941. The death of Hippolyte Delehaye in Brussels. He was an eminent hagiographer and in charge of the Bollandists from 1912 to 1941.

·      Apr 2, 1767. Charles III ordered the arrest of all the Jesuits in Spain and the confiscation of all their property.