May 21, 2022
by Joan Blandin Howard
Creighton University-Retired
click here for photo and information about the writer

Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 290

Acts 16:1-10
Psalm 100:1b-2, 3, 5
John 15:18-21

Celebrating Easter

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Praying the Rosary as
Pope St. John Paul II Suggested

So Simple, yet so Profound

“No one likes me, everyone hates me, guess I’ll go eat worms.”  A children’s woeful ditty of unknown origin.  Judith Viorst’s beloved children’s book “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” - the title says it all. Eeyore the donkey in A.A. Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh” says, “ (Life)It could be worse, but I don’t know how.”  Eeyore perpetually feels sad, grumpy, irritable, left-out, disliked. Sentiments not just of children. Grown-ups experience these same feelings.  We have recently witnessed Jesus being scoffed at, betrayed, abandoned, grief-stricken, terrorized, and feeling alone among his disciples.  I have experienced some of these same feelings.  Jesus knows us, his chosen people, his beloved.  He knows us and loves us individually.  Jesus knows my pain, my trials and my tribulations.  Jesus knows my joy and my hope.

In today’s gospel, we hear Jesus say to his disciples, “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first”. Jesus says to us: “I have loved you first”. In other words, we belong to Jesus. The world may hate me, but it doesn’t own me.  I belong to Jesus.

Through Lent, Holy Week and Jesus’s Resurrection we walked with Jesus. Jesus revealed himself to us in an intimate way as never before.  During those days, Jesus invited us to stay with him. To support, comfort and abide with him. And so we did, or tried to. Jesus was vulnerable.  As a community, we celebrated the Last Supper with Jesus and his apostles.  We washed each other’s feet.  We tried to stay awake with his other disciples as Jesus prayed and wept in the garden.  We hid in fear, maybe denied Jesus as did Peter.  Possibly we protected ourselves in crouching in the crowd as Jesus was condemned to death.  Maybe in a state of shock and disbelief we trudged along with the jeering crowd up the hill to Golgotha.  What was happening to Jesus was terrifying and believable. Possibly we cowered in fear for our own lives.  What had gone so wrong?  What were we left with?  What was I left with?  Without Jesus how were we to go on?  How was I to go on? 

 Throughout the New Testament, Jesus repeatedly says “I will never leave you.”
“ I will not forsake you…”I will not abandon you”…”I will be with you through it all”…you are mine.” Jesus left us with 33 years of lived example of how to live in relationship with God and with each other.  But still I trip, stub my toes, even fall.  I often ridicule and abandon another – stranger and friend.

Jesus left us two extraordinary gifts with his resurrection:  Hope and Joy.  Hope, such a little word without which all creation suffers and eventually dies. Hope is the living incentive to building the Kingdom.  Hope is rooted in unwavering belief and trust in God – God’s majesty, God’s mercy and God’s love – for me and for all creation.
Joy, an even smaller word, is what sustains us.  Joy far surpasses excitement, pleasure and happiness which are transient.  Joy is grounded, stable, reliable, unwavering.  Joy is a way of being.  Joy is God dwelling within me.  I am God’s joy and hope.  Joy binds me to God and God to me.  They bind me to others.  I can experience happiness or sadness and still live grounded in joy.  Joy is not transient.  

Simply Profound yet Profoundly Simple

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