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SUNDAY SCRIPTURES FOR MARCH 31 | God has breathed hope into us, we can breathe that same spirit into the world

Jesus’ resurrection should fill us with freedom and passion to share that Good News

As the blessed and glorious Easter season begins on March 31, we enter into our celebration of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

Have you noticed that most conflicts that have been destroying families, cities and nations are still going on? Have you noticed that people continue to experience the loss of loved ones, the loss of jobs and the insecurity of living? Have you noticed how hatred and prejudice still exist in our world? Have you noticed how each of us are not living up to our full potential as disciples of Jesus?

These questions are not intended to make us lose our Easter spirit, but to celebrate Easter in the context of reality. To put on rose-colored glasses and pretend as if Jesus rising from the dead has changed all aspects of the entire world would be living in a fairytale. We would certainly not be living the life that we are called to live.

How do we celebrate Easter when all of this difficulty remains? It seems to me that reality is the best test of whether or not we embrace the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. He has been raised from the dead — we ought to be filled with incredible freedom, lack of anxiety and a passion to share that Good News. The events of the world should not keep us from doing that. In fact, they should be the reason that we do it. We need real hope and real peace, and that can only occur in the midst of the transformation of our realities.

If Jesus has been raised from the dead, and that same spirit resides in each of us, the power that raised Jesus will raise us up as well on the last day. What more assurance do we need to be able to pour out our lives in service of the peace of God? In our Lenten practices, we might’ve experienced a deeper connection with Jesus, a deeper level of forgiveness for our sins and a greater capacity to live a loving and forgiving life. Please continue to practice that throughout the Easter season and the rest of our life. The spirit of God has breathed some new hope into us, and we can breathe that same spirit into the world, no matter the circumstances. Be sacrificial in living, be forgiving in conflicts and be generous as we experience the needs of others.

Don’t spend time in the past or the future. Instead, let’s spend our time in the present moment, noticing how Jesus is present to us. As we experience His love, enjoy it for a while, and then give it away, knowing that there is more to come, because He is always faithful.

I wish everyone a blessed Easter season. I pray that we might experience renewal and refreshment in our relationships and a greater sense of gratitude for whatever blessings we have. May we be uplifted out of any graves in which we have spent any time. May the burden that we carry be lightened, may we be given companions to help us carry the cross that we bear and may we begin to notice even more deeply the opportunities to share love and compassion with those around us.

Father Donald Wester is pastor of All Saints Parish in St. Peters.

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