Holy Saturday, 2022
To our Assumption family:
I think of Mary Magdalene weeping at the tomb, the two downcast disciples on the road to Emmaus, the group of disciples in the upper room, huddled together in fear. The companion of such sadness and disappointment and fear is a debilitating sense of helplessness.
This is where the resurrection appearances strike exactly the right note. As he shows himself to his followers, the Risen Lord not only wipes away tears, restores hope to the downcast, and brings peace to fearful hearts. He also instills in his disciples a sense of purpose, an itinerary, a mission. They are sent to bear witness. The work of evangelizing a sad and disillusioned and fearful world is set before them. Resurrection and mission are inextricably linked in these accounts.
When it comes to revealing its need for redemption, the world never disappoints. We feel it deep down in our souls. Just as we were coming out of two disturbing and disorienting years of pandemic, the war in Ukraine breaks out, adding to the list of global conflicts. The apparent helplessness in the face of the world’s disorder returns in full force. The impotence of merely human means shows its face.
But it is to just such as this that the Risen Lord says, “Do not be afraid. I have overcome the world.”
What does the Easter mystery mean, quite concretely, for our lives as missionary disciples? It is the impelling force behind such lives. Zeal for God’s Kingdom is born from Christ’s laying waste the power of sin and death. Our witnessing to this generative truth should make us wary of lives too closely tied to comfort and security. That includes not only habituating ourselves to a life of material ease, but to the “comfort” of our own cultivated self-regard.
To the paralytic at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, Peter says, “I have no silver and gold, but I give you what I have; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” To evangelize is to give what we have, or better, what we have been given. The arrangement of our apostolic religious life is directed toward assuring that Jesus Christ is really all that we have.
“…and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what happened to him.”
He is Risen!
Fr. Dennis, A.A.