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SUNDAY SCRIPTURES | Understanding the implications of the Resurrection for our lives

We can act with courage because the Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead resides in each of us

The stunning fact that the grave cannot hold Jesus down is almost too good to be true. It’s so contrary to the normal way that things go. Even people of faith believe that once you are dead, your body remains in the grave until the end of time. For Him to be raised from the dead was a reality that had to be taken in one moment at a time. It might also be true for us today as we celebrate this Easter Sunday. Not only are we trying to understand what it means to be raised from the dead, but also the implications for us in our daily lives. It’s the inevitable “so what” question that we always face when it comes to faith.

We read in Acts chapter 10 that Peter stood in front of folks and proclaimed the facts of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. He also talked about the implications. Jesus would be visible to those who were given that privilege and His disciples were to act on His missioning words to preach about Him to others. They were to let others know that those who believe in Him will receive forgiveness for their sins. How is a person to do that when he or she is still trying to understand and react to the event itself?

Mary Magdala, Peter and John witnessed the empty tomb. Each of them saw it but didn’t immediately understand what this meant. Some walked on the roads that led out of Jerusalem, some hid in locked rooms, some went back to fishing and some simply wandered in gardens while weeping. As you celebrate this Easter Sunday, and as you try to understand the implications of the Resurrection of Jesus for your life today, what are you doing and where is your mind and heart?

We might be more conscious of the Good Friday part of the Paschal Mystery of living, dying and rising. We see the death tolls rise as more and more of our brothers and sisters die from this virus. We don’t get to gather with our extended families and share the risen joy that is usually present at Easter. Are we allowed to be resurrection people when darkness surrounds us? We better be. Otherwise we are adrift, without an anchor or a solid foundation.

This is not pretending or putting on “rose colored glasses.” We have done this before as individuals and as societies, countries and the world. We have carried hope and resurrection through dark times. We have believed even when we haven’t seen. We have suffered, and others have suffered around us. We have not given up hope. We have carried each other and others have carried us through personal and community tragedies. The Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead resides in each of us. Have courage and act with courage. This is not a “grit your teeth” time to just get through it. These are the times during which we grow in wisdom, age and grace.

Where are you experiencing life in the midst of death right now? Are you experiencing yourself stronger or more able than you thought? Have you noticed your own needs and reached out to someone for help and they were there for you? Have you decided to choose to love, even when it wasn’t your first instinct?

Ask God to assist you in coming out of the graves of your life. Notice the places and situations that you have allowed to begin to gather a stench. Roll back that stone! Don’t let fear keep you locked in some place of fear. It is Easter! We are an Easter people! Even in this time! God is always faithful!

Father Wester is pastor of All Saints Parish in St. Peters. Editor’s note: Bishop Robert J. Hermann is taking a break from writing the Sunday Scriptures column.

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