Saturday of 5 th Week of Easter
Acts 16:1-10; John 15:18-21
“Christ is risen and lives among us. What more secure truth, what more
consoling reality during this present earthly exile that these two facts on which are
founded the certainty of faith and the hope of eternal salvation! Christ is risen. This
historical truth shines without a shadow of doubt and its splendor is confirmed by the
living testimony of the Church which would not have withstood the test of time had
Christ not been raised. Christ is among us.” (Pius XII, Easter Urbi et Orbi Message,
1955) These words of Pope Pius XII stopped me in my tracks.It is awesome to think
that He who suffered on the cross for love of us is risen and lives among us who suffer
as a result of the pandemic. It is mindboggling to think that He who was rich and
became poor for our sake is with us who are threatened with economic uncertainty due
to the impact of COVID-19 on the world. It is almost beyond our comprehension to
ponder how He who was sealed in the tomb is with us who are separated from our
loved ones and find ourselves isolated not only in body but also in mind. Saint
Augustine was right when he wrote: “Late have I loved thee, O Beauty ever ancient and
ever new” (Confessions, Book 10).
The resurrection of Christ is both ancient and new. We are at once surprised and
comforted by it. The Good News of salvation is ancient and new. When we embrace its
proclamation we are taken outside of time. The salvation of the human race is ancient
and new because it was part of God’s creative plan from the beginning. That which was
from the beginning is a part of his plan for each of us right here and right now. God who
is love is ancient and new. God has placed the desire for loving and being loved deep in
our hearts and it is by means of that desire that he draws us into his loving embrace.
We are living in a challenging and solemn time. COVID-19 has inflicted
excruciating physical, mental, and emotional pain on many people, world-round.
Because of it, life has slowed down, providing each of us time to rethink our
priorities. Like the first disciples of the crucified and risen Lord, we cannot go back to
who we were pre-pandemic. Like them, we find ourselves behind locked doors, but we
must not allow physical separation to become emotional isolation. Like them, we have
heard the angel of the resurrection declare, “Do not be afraid.” Therefore, we must
confront all outbreaks of fear and loneliness. The words of Jesus are just as true for us
today as they were to the disciples: “I am with you always, even to the end of time”
(Mat. 28:20). With this assurance, we can choose how we will integrate these
experiences as we move forward.
Because of the enormity of this crisis, we feel small and inadequate before the
world and before the great mystery of God. Because we are confronted with more
questions than we have answers, we are beginning to realize that our destiny is only
partly in our hands. This journey is teaching us to turn to the One who alone has the
words of life. Hopefully, we will become more sensitive and attentive to our relationships
with others. With God’s grace, we will become more grateful for the attention paid us
and for the support given to us, and the acts of kindness shown us.
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