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SERVE THE LORD WITH GLADNESS | Seize the opportunities we’re given to proclaim the power of Jesus

The week following Easter Sunday helps us enter into the ‘today’ of the Lord

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Have you ever had a moment when time stood still — in sorrow, in joy or for any other reason?

The same thing happens this week: Liturgical time stands still. Every day is treated as the day of the resurrection. Every day, the Gospel refrain is the same: “This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it” (Psalm 118:24). Every day recounts one of the resurrection episodes.

The fourth section of the Catechism is about prayer, and one of its repeated themes is the “today” of the Lord. When we enter into prayer, we enter into the “today” of the Lord — God’s timing. The goal of prayer is to help our entire lives enter into the “today” of the Lord. This week is a great opportunity to practice and reflect on that — to think about how time belongs to God, and how all the time of our lives can be given more completely to God.

This week, Matthew tells us how Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary and sent them with a message to the apostles. John tells us how Jesus encountered Mary Magdalene in a garden, and she went to the apostles to tell them: “I have seen the Lord.” Luke tells us about Jesus’ encounter with two disciples on the road to Emmaus and how they went back and told the others that they had seen the Lord. Mark gives us a summary and recap of all these events, followed by one more encounter with Jesus, who sends His disciples into the world to proclaim the Gospel.

That leads to a question: How have you encountered the risen Jesus? Perhaps you’ve encountered Him in confession, adoration, service, quiet moments of spontaneous prayer — or in all of those and others, each in a different way. Whatever it is, each of us needs to be able to say, along with Mary Magdalene: “I have seen the Lord.”

All week long, we hear how Peter seizes the opportunity to proclaim what he has experienced in Jesus. On the day of Pentecost, as people are wondering what’s happening, Peter proclaims the basic message of salvation in Jesus. While walking up to the Temple, Peter heals a man in the name of Jesus. When people gather to marvel at the healing, Peter explains that this has happened by the power of Jesus. When the Jewish leaders examine Peter and John about the healing and ask, “By what power or by what name have you done this?” Peter proclaims the resurrection and power of Jesus.

Notice this: Peter doesn’t have to make the opening to talk about Jesus; he simply has to take the opening that’s given to him. There’s a great lesson for us in that! So often, when we think of evangelization, we think we have to make the opening — and we get tied up in knots trying to figure out how to do it. What we see in these episodes is that Jesus makes the opening. That means we don’t have to force it. But, when the opening is given, we — like Peter — we have to be ready to take it!

We’ve all had moments when we missed the opening. As we think more deeply about evangelization, and try to get better at it, let’s pray that we will learn — like Peter — how to take the opening when it’s given.

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