Easter is a feast of new life. It is the feast when the visible, physical Jesus became the Christ of glory through suffering, death and resurrection. That is an astounding fact, and one that should call each of us to deepen our relationship with such a generous and loving God.
But I think we need to go back to the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry to remember why we are called to live meaningful lives. In the Gospel of Luke, we find Jesus stating his personal mission when he tells the crowd in the synagogue that he came to proclaim good news to the poor, give sight to the blind, heal the broken-hearted, comfort the afflicted, and set captives free. (Luke 4:18-19) In other words, he came to teach, preach and heal. His entire ministry was spent in the service of others. Following his death and resurrection he commissioned his disciples, and the community he founded, to continue his mission of serving others. In the eyes of some, Jesus’ ministry was seen as a failure, but for millions of people of faith, for over two thousand years, Jesus is the model of how to be successful and live a meaningful life.
We all want to live meaningful lives. Some of you have chosen to offer your resources, time and talents for the good of others, to serve others. By service to others, I do not mean doing a good deed or service in order to have someone do a good deed in return. What I do mean by service is the unselfish use of your personal gifts and resources for others. Over time, the offering of service to others gives new meaning to your life because you know that you are doing something worthwhile. You have reason to celebrate new life every time you offer yourselves to some person or project.
Another aspect of service is the understanding of self-sacrifice. This means that you meet the needs of others even if it means sacrificing your own needs and wants in order to help others.This doesn’t mean being a wimp and letting people walk all over you. Rather, it is a willingness to go the extra mile when your time, talent and resources are needed. Your service is offered and provided out of a genuine and deep desire to help and be of service to others. To be of service is to be ready to help or be useful wherever and whenever your services are needed. You serve out of a motivation of love.
St. Paul tells us that it is no longer we who live, but Christ lives in us. He also tells us that we are to “put on Christ.” In other words, we become the presence of Christ in our world. We, of all people on this planet, have reason to celebrate because we are the Easter people who bring Christ to others. From experience, most of us realize that thinking and working for others adds meaning to life. And, like Jesus, you are called to be leaders, servant leaders, who offer your services out of love.
When and how have you offered your services to others?
How has your service added meaning to your life?