All this past week and today, the Acts of the Apostles lets us know what life as followers of Jesus, post-Easter, was like. In his physical absence; they remembered all that Jesus had taught them about right living. Their days and nights after the joy of the Resurrection were about living as Jesus had taught them—living in love, with compassion, justice and mercy toward all of God’s People. Their lives were about sharing with those who had less, so that no one would be in need.
This first week of Easter, I found myself thinking realistically about the living situation at our home. As you all know, our daughter Eryn, her husband, Adam and our grandson, Elliot have come to live with us, sharing our space, meals, schedules, all of what makes up our life for the most part, as they work to get settled in a new home here.
We are into the 4th week of a possible 10 week arrangement as they are preparing to close on a selected house. This arrangement calls for patience from all of us to “accommodate” each other, put our singular desires aside in deference to what is best for all of us. This is our post-Easter experiment and I would say that we are doing quite well, everything considered.
Not unlike the original post-Easter community that “held everything in common,” there are times of stress for all of us, born out of winter colds in a spring that hasn’t found us yet, tiredness and lack of personal routines. But, there is the joy of being together and sharing the otherwise rare moments that come with this arrangement: a little, clear voice at 6:30 in the morning wanting to begin his day, an afternoon of romp and tumble in huge Minnesota snow piles provided by Grampa’s plow, shared meals, lovingly prepared and presented by different cooks, complete with blessings including all the special things that went on that day in the mind of a four-year-old, and daily conversations with extra voices and shared ideas and perspectives.
Like that first community of believers, it is about joy, it is about dark, it is about light—it is about finding the best that each of us has to offer. And that, simply put, is what Jesus calls forth from each of us in Easter time, which we know from last week, is about all time—Easter is not an historical event we remember, but an action that is on-going. So for that reason, sharing our living space with extended family is a wonderful, yet realistic Easter experience.
Joy then, seems to be an element in living after the Resurrection—a joy that was palpable, sensing Jesus’ presence in a new way and trying to allow their actions to radiate that joy. For us too, my friends, because we have never known Jesus’ actual physical; we must look for him, “in a new way,” in each other.
Joan Chittister names Easter as a mystery of light and darkness—she says that we must go into the tomb, into the dark and decide if we will follow Jesus’ disciples back into the world of the living and here-in lies the light. The only way to respond to death is with light—the light of goodness—inclusivity—justice and mercy.
This past week, we remembered that day, 50 years ago when a prophet of our times, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was taken from us. He is quoted as saying, among other things that “Darkness cannot put out darkness, only light can do that!”
There is much in our world today that seems to be about darkness—from the halls of power in Washington, we see a great lack of moral sense, a lack of general leadership and guidance in deference to selfishness and a lack of true caring for our people beyond what they can do for those in power. The light and joy that Easter can bring was never more needed than now.
After February’s mass school shooting in Florida, a new surge of moral leadership and fortitude has arisen in our nation’s young people—a light that came out of darkness—a light that we all must uplift and not let die.
I began reading an older volume this week, entitled, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by gynecologist, Dr. Christiane Northrup. Even though it has a 1998 copyright, the truth she speaks about women and their wisdom and how it has been discounted over time in the patriarchal society in which we still live, to the point of making women physically, emotionally and spiritually sick is something that must be continually addressed until this darkness becomes light.
Another reflection on Easter that I read this past week uplifted the fact that those who witnessed the Resurrection seem to be doing “a lot of running.” So marvelous a thing was witnessed, by Mary of Magdala, by John, the apostle, by the disciples on the way to Emmaus, that the Scriptures tell us that “they ran” to tell the others!
A question we may want to ponder this week is, how excited are we at hearing the Good News that Jesus has risen, and does it inspire us to actions of light, or are we more like Thomas, in need of proof?—“I need to see this or that and then I will believe and act on my beliefs. The Church gives us 5 weeks to ponder and reflect on our response.
As Joan Chittister also said this week, Easter is not a fairytale with a happy ending, once and for all—Easter is just the beginning! Our choices are darkness or light—may we choose to be bearers of the light!
Amen?— Amen!— Alleluia!