Invitation to a Full Heart and Willing Spirit
Second Sunday of Easter
Sunday of Divine Mercy
During Holy Week, we moved from death into life as we immersed ourselves in the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Today’s readings invite us to make the same journey in our time and place. The scripture readings for Sunday also highlight some of the ways we refuse to live the Paschal Mystery.
The reading of Acts shows us that the early Christian community was whole-heartedly about the community. Care of the community. Building up the community. Attending to the needy and suffering of the community. Offering one’s own bounty and success for the benefit of the community. Their shared love of and commitment to Jesus and their overwhelming desire to align themselves with the teachings and values of Jesus asked them to take hard and personally challenging action… asked them to journey into suffering, little deaths, and the experience of resurrection for the sake of the community caring for its vulnerable.
What does this reading call us to consider? How does it call us to action? Where does it highlight our need to repent, experience forgiveness, and create change?
Yes… Today’s world is much more complex in so many ways than the world experienced by the early Christian communities. So, to copy the actions of the early communities is not the task given us. We are called to understand and embody their level of commitment, live the wisdom and selflessness of the principles and values given in the teachings of Jesus, and figure out how to live it fully in our world.
The reading from Acts beckons us to think and pray more deeply. The reading demands of us growth in our generosity and the widening of our sphere of concern. The reading from Acts is an excellent lens to use in evaluating the ways in which we give service and respond to the call to be more for others. It is a reading that challenges us to use the Gospel message as our starting point for understanding the world, for forming political opinions, and for guidance in how we act in our relationships and communities.
How different would the world be… how different would we all be if:
· we knew and acted from the place of oneness;
· we simplified our material life by pursuing less and sharing more;
· we had leaders, civil and religious, committed to the common good;
· we witnessed with great power to love of God through Jesus in our thoughts, words, and actions.
The Gospel gives us one example of why this does not come to be. Today we meet Thomas…doubting Thomas. His story is one of distrust, stubbornness, and self-righteousness. It was a moment that a self-chosen worldview blinded him to the truth… almost robbed him of a relationship with Christ, who is life itself. Our story is often the same as Thomas’… although usually expressed in more polite terms! We vehemently assert that our worldview is the right one and close ourselves off from building communities that explore and grow capacity for diversity and care for the vulnerable. As a society, we continue to value material success over simplicity and the common good. We pit dogma against human need instead of exploring both in dialogue so that we can become more like a church and society. We run after certitude instead of building a deep and mature faith that can navigate the complexities of our world with decisions that express the values and principles of the Paschal Mystery.
Living the Paschal Mystery is complex and calls us to constant growth and change. Jesus met Thomas where he was and beckoned him to abandon his world and to enter into the world of life over death, of union instead of separation, of embracing love even when it seems impossible. Jesus meets us in these same places with the very same invitation… touch into me and know me and live in me.
Let our eyes, minds, hearts, and souls be opened by Christ. Let us do the hard work of our faith so that suffering and death will always yield to life renewed. Let us allow ourselves to be swept up in the love of a God that wants us to cleave to the unconditional love placed within, around, and among us… trusting that God will always bring us, each of us, into the resurrection.
May you walk the path of Jesus with a full heart and willing spirit so that the vision of our God sets the world aright!
Sr. Didi Madden, OP