|Feast of St. Andrew Bobola
Psalm 2:6-7, 8-9, 10-11
Today our campus is “dressed” for graduation weekend. The riot of nature’s spring blooms – lilac, cherry blossoms, daffodils and early roses – reflects the spirit of those preparing “to commence” with life after college and those here to celebrate this rite of passage. It will be a celebration of promises kept and unlimited possibilities.
We gather this day in the shadow of Easter, in the shadow of the empty tomb which will be forever “empty.” As we pray today’s scripture we are confronted with the irreducible core of our belief, namely that Jesus died and rose from the dead. This is what the apostles proclaimed, this is what animated the early Christian communities; this is what remains at the core of our Christian faith. For as St. Paul noted: “If Jesus had not been raised from the dead all would be in vain.”
Reflecting on the resurrection, we know God to be one who keeps promises. As noted in today’s scripture: “…we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that he raised up Jesus…”
Our Easter faith is rooted in the faithfulness of God and the faithfulness of Jesus. As we reflect on the post-resurrection stories, one dimension that I find very consoling, is that Jesus meets his friends where they are: Mary Magdalene in her fear; Thomas with his doubts; Peter and the others fishing crippled by their sense of loss and alienation; and the travelers to Emmaus in their disappointment.
Just so, the Lord meet us – where we are – in our anxiety, fear, doubt, distress, joy or happiness. Francois Mauriac reminds us that after the resurrection, we are apt to encounter Jesus when and where we least expect.
Who among us does not have concerns as we live out the life-death cycle that is part of all of us and of those we love? In any given week our hearts are filled with competing emotions drawn from personal experiences or the headlines: the war in Iraq, economic uncertainty, swelling unemployment, the death of a parent, the uncertainty of final exams, the joy of an engagement, a friend diagnosed with breast cancer, the birth of a baby, an acceptance into graduate school. Our lives are roller coasters of emotions and needs.
It is these events, in the heartbreaks and the heart-lifts that nudge us closer to God. The risen Jesus meets you where you are, as you are, in your special circumstance and need. The risen Jesus is out there!
He is out there because Jesus, too, is a keeper of promises.
St. John tells us today that Jesus “goes to prepare a place for you,” quickly assuring us, “I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” Jesus is faithful to his promises. He is fulfilling his promises to us every day. For it is the Easter mystery that gives life meaning and direction.
Because of that, Easter, the fulfillment of the greatest of promises, is a “commencement” into a new life, a life filled with endless possibilities. It is for us to believe, to be women and men of Easter faith. And if we are, we know the way, the truth and the real life. Because Jesus, the Easter mystery, assures us that he is “…the way, the truth and the life.”
Now as I return to my spring blossom-dressed campus, I can view the
“commencement” of our students in the light of Easter faith, in the confidence
of the Easter promise and in the presence of the Easter Jesus; who may
be just around the corner!
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