As I write this reflection, I am in a retreat house with sunshine streaming through the windows behind me. There are several groups here; one for a workshop on spirituality in every day life, a women’s quilting group, an RCIA group, a charismatic group and our group of couples for a retreat. All are here to extend and deepen their relationship with God, but each will do it in their own unique way. The RCIA group has been learning and preparing for some time and now there must be a sense of excitement as they anticipate their Baptism, Confirmation and first Eucharist at Easter Vigil. I find that I envy them in a way because it is all so new and exciting. I want that fresh perspective. It is a bit like the yearning I sometimes have for the unquestioning faith and love for God of childhood.
As I ponder the readings for this reflection, I fast forward from the fifth Sunday of Lent in anticipation of the time when you will be reading this. Easter has come! Jesus is risen! In today’s reading, Mary Magdalene excitedly discloses the news that she has seen Jesus, but no one will share in her excitement. No one believes her. How disappointing that must have been to have such good news and not be believed. Then two more saw Him and no one believed them either. It is not until the eleven saw Him for themselves that they finally believed. After all the time they had with Jesus, seeing what He had done, hearing what He had said, why don’t they believe?? They have literally walked and talked with him for three years. Can you imagine what it would have been like to have that opportunity to be one of His closest companions? He has told them He will return, what’s not to believe?
Ahh! But how am I different? Am I the ever-faithful and trusting follower of Christ? I have been blessed with a lifetime of His presence, but do I always believe? I guess not! Is my unfaithfulness because I was not there in the time of Christ to see and hear Him? Is it because I was baptized as an infant and grew up with the faith that has become “old hat” at times?
I think it is because I am a human with “feet of clay.” I want to truly sense and believe in His presence with all of my heart and soul. I want that belief to be expressed in how I view and live with others and the world around us. I want that attitude to give me the courage to share with others in word and deed what I have seen and heard. I want to be like the newly baptized, engulfed in a fresh and vital relationship with God.
All of my desires can be realized. Each time we celebrate the Eucharist we have the opportunity to renew our Baptism, to make our faith fresh and vital. We are as fortunate as the disciples; Christ is with us always. May we be ever aware of that presence. As in today’s reading may we be able to say, “It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”
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