April 7, 2015
by Mike Cherney
Creighton University's Department of Physics
click here for photo and information about the writer

Tuesday in the Octave of Easter
Lectionary: 262

Acts 2:36-41
Psalm 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22
John 20:11-18

Celebrating Easter

In today’s readings we see the impact of Peter’s testimony and Jesus revealing His Risen Self to Mary Magdalene. My reflection focuses on the Gift of the Holy Spirit.

I can imagine myself in the crowd listening to Peter speaking with confidence on Pentecost Day. I can see myself wondering why this man has chosen this moment to place himself into the spotlight. I wonder what has changed. Jesus has been executed and in this scene I would not think that it would be wise to be vocal about the nature of Jesus. Peter has clearly undergone a transformation. We see he invites the crowd to an initiation to the same transforming Spirit. I can see the crowd following Peter’s invitation to Baptism, an invitation into the community of individuals empowered by this Spirit.

In the Gospel, I see Mary Magdeline, saddened by the loss of a mentor, a spiritual leader, and a close friend. She cries at his tomb. She is upset about the disappearance of his body. She encounters the Risen Christ but does not recognize him until she seems to be given the Gift of the Spirit. She returns to the apostles, but they are still without this Gift.

Personally, I find myself challenged by Holy Week and Easter. When my parents and my sister each died, I was not moved to thoughts of resurrection. Rather, I found myself asking why were they taken. I wanted to see a resurrection, but I did not. When I return to my hometown, I don’t find myself drawn to places of my youth. Instead, I my only fixed stop is the cemetery. Drawn each visit with a heavy heart. I can empathize with Mary Magdalene.

My faith can only survive connecting to the Gift of the Holy Spirit. Like Mary Magdalene and the disciples, my moving beyond fear and sorrow only takes place with this Gift.

My prayer today is for an openness to this Gift.

Lord, I have not been this way before; please guide and direct my paths.
The Spirit you have placed in me is asking, “Will you please wait?’
I sometimes respond with, “I have no time.”

But where does this time really come from, anyway? Are you not the provider of all things, great and small? I may sometimes take more than is mine. I may forget that you are giving me the gift of life.
Help me, dear Lord, by placing your Spirit deep within my heart.
If I remain open, the Spirit can direct my ways. You know I mess things up at times, when I want to do it my way.
Your Spirit, Lord, can give me the gift of peace, the gift of hope, and the gift of love.
Wouldn’t this be far better than what I try to buy with the money I make?

My time, Lord, is so precious.
Let me take time to sense the power of you Spirit moving within me.
I look for power to direct the world the way I want – I often fail!
The Spirit knows what is right, why don’t I just follow that power?

I could probably do far greater things working with you. But you know the forces of the world around me that are trying to get me to choose things that I don’t really need.

I get confused at times, Lord. Be patient with me, I want to try again.
Give me the understanding heart and the open mind that I need.

I really want to see you in everyone and to not condemn others.

I am not perfect, yet I pray the Spirit can form me into the new creation you want me to be. Walk with me now, Lord; I am ready to take your hand.

We can do far more things together than I could ever do alone.

(Spirit Renew Us from the webpages of the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New Ulm)

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