There are times in the lives of all of us when an experience comes along that stretches us, makes it hard to understand, explain and grasp. Sometimes the experience is beauty and loveliness, for example, the birth of a child. At other times the event might be terrible, ugly and tragic, a fatal auto accident. And when we move from such moments and later try to explain to another what happened, what it was like, we fail; there simply are no words adequate.
For more than 2000 years Christians have tried to put into words the Easter story. The Passion gospel is proclaimed during Holy Week and narrates the story of the Last Supper, the arrest and torture of Jesus and His crucifixion and
death. On Easter Sunday, we proclaim the story of the empty tomb: Jesus has been raised from death and now lives again.
So it is that we can tell the story, just like we can say that at a certain time and place a precious child was born and similarly at such and such a time, a terrible and fatal accident occurred. And yet the narration only tells a part of the story and there is so much more to really begin to understand the event. It is moving beyond the story and into the real meaning of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus that brings one into the place where we struggle to find the
Music, poetry, literature, drama, opera, art in every form has all sought to lead us into the depths of the Jesus story. Often all of these most noble of efforts are helpful in lifting us beyond mere words toward a mystery as elusive as it is
alluring. For we are seeking to know something of God, the ineffable and omnipotent One, and still, there are no words. Yet the magnitude of the Easter story impels us to seek to understand, something!
Our tradition asserts that this broken world, including you and me, with all of the evil, fear, darkness and sadness of our time, has been embraced by the Son of the Living God, nailed to a primitive cross to suffer, die and be buried. And early in the morning of the third day, this same Jesus rose from death, conquering the power of evil and death forevermore. On the first Easter morning, Hope was born. It is not a theoretical and distant Hope, rather one that is available to all. On Easter the Church celebrates in a particular way the Sacrament of Baptism, initiating a person into the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
There is a stirring in people, an inner something that longs to grasp this enormous truth, for which there are no words. Christ is Risen and in the midst of all the activities of humankind, the joyful and the sad, Hope is present and can never be diminished. To move beyond the story this Eastertime, to let the inadequate words lead us deep into our heart and to listen to that inner longing for Hope and walk in the promise of Easter is the gift God offers every one of us.
Fourth Sunday of Easter
April 24 / 25 2021
In today’s Gospel reading we hear Jesus referring to himself as “the good shepherd.”
His sheep know him, trust him, listen to him and follow him; having faith that no harm will come to them as
long as they stay close to him. We reaffirmed our faith in Christ when we renewed our baptismal
promises at Easter.
As stewards of our relationship with Jesus Christ, are we, like the sheep, willing to listen to Jesus, follow him, trust him?