For forty days during Lent, we prepared for the most important church feast – Easter – which was celebrated following the liturgies of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Easter Sunday was filled with alleluias. We sang and prayed Christ is risen! Let us rejoice! The Easter season ends with two great feasts – the Solemnity of the Ascension when Jesus squarely placed his mission into the hands of his disciples. And the second is the feast of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon those disciples giving them the power to witness to all they learned and experienced while they were with Jesus.
Christ told the disciples they were to go out and bear witness to his mission and change their world, and he promised to give them the power to do it. We are commissioned to change our world. We, as the present day disciples of the Christ, face some very serious and difficult challenges in our own world today. Christ commands us to speak out against all kinds of injustice, even if we are misunderstood or criticized for our stance. We are commanded to lay down our lives for our neighbors. We may not be called to do this literally, but we are called to help others – the poor, the marginalized, the sick, the homeless, the immigrant, the trafficked, the sinner and the stranger – even if it costs us dearly to do so. We are commanded to forgive our enemies whether they be friends, neighbors or family members with whom we just do not get along with anymore, or even the members of Isis or the Taliban. We may well say, “What! We can’t do all of this. It is beyond our ability to do this.” But, and this is an important but, we can’t forget that Christ gives us the power of the Spirit to accomplish all that Christ asks of us. Because of this we need to regularly pray and reflect on all the graces, talents and other gifts that we’ve received. We need to pray and reflect on all the needs we see around us. And then we are to respond to them in whatever way we are capable of doing.
Even though we celebrate Christ being raised up in glory and are grateful for the Spirit we received at baptism, we can’t forget that Christ remains with us until the end of time. Christ is inseparable from the activity of the Spirit, as well as the mission of the Church. Christ’s spiritual body is here right now – present within us, present around us, and present through us. This last sentence is the key for us who are called to be disciples. Christ is present here and now through us!
How seriously do you take your responsibility to be a disciple of Christ?
In what ways do you continue to bring the Easter message of hope to a hurting world?