It’s that season of hope again: Easter, although as I write this,
it is Holy Thursday. Looking ahead to the joyful post-Easter readings just
as we enter the most intense part of Holy Week feels like peeking ahead to
the “lived happily ever after” ending of a good story. That hope speaks to
me more strongly than ever this year.
This year is my family’s first Easter season without my father and uncle.
Readings like today’s Gospel help me think of them enjoying the new life that
Jesus has promised believers.
“No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven,
the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must
the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have
As I read this passage, I envision Dad and Uncle Jerome restored to life
in their prime, not as elderly men afflicted with cancer and other ailments.
It’s a little vague. Jesus doesn’t tell us what we’ll do in heaven or what
our new life will be like. However we can infer that eternal life will be
The reading from Acts offers us guidance for how to gain this new life.
It will be God’s gift to the givers, to those who shared their possessions
and lives with others as my father and uncle did continually. Dad was a self-taught
mechanical genius who delighted in using these gifts to solve problems for
others. Ask his advice on home repairs and he’d be at the hardware store buying
the supplies for your job before you finished your question, and forget paying
for materials. Uncle Jerome, a paraplegic bachelor, could have spent half
a lifetime bemoaning the accident that cost him his mobility. Instead he
changed occupations, learned to fly, helped educate his nieces and nephews
and raised thousands of dollars for his parish and the local Catholic schools.
They were givers and believers, just like the disciples in the Acts. As
I celebrate this season, I am honestly joyful, meditating on their new lives
because they gave so much in their old lives. They make the promises of Jesus
come alive to me in a new way this year. Easter blessings to all. Allelulia!