In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “today” is not just a word, it’s a concept. It shows up most frequently in the section on prayer, where it refers both to the fact that God meets us in the concrete events of the present moment (our “today”), and that all time is in God’s hands (God’s “today”).
“Today” is a fitting concept for reflection this week because it’s the “Octave of Easter.” For eight days the Church celebrates every day as Easter Sunday. To reinforce the point, the Gospel for every day in the Octave is an appearance account of the Risen Jesus. As if to make the point inescapable, the Alleluia verse for every day in the Octave is this verse from Psalm 118: “This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it.”
The Church expends a great deal of energy to get us to focus on “today.” I’d like to explore two aspects of that focus.
First, consider our experience of time. It is said: “Time flies when you’re having fun.” Time also drags when you’re not! The seconds and minutes and hours tick on without change, but our experience of time changes.
God is telling us that we were meant for an existence that rises above time. Our experience gives us a little taste of that, and Jesus’ resurrection explains what our experience ultimately means. Thus, in the resurrection, Jesus’ body was transformed. God intends for time to be transformed, as well — transformed into the “today” of the resurrection.
Second, we hear about the appearances of the Risen Jesus this week from every Gospel writer: Matthew, John, Luke and Mark, in that order. In addition, every day we hear Peter giving some testimony to the Risen Jesus in the Acts of the Apostles.
One of the beautiful things about these accounts is how each gives witness in its own way — a word, or phrase, or theme that’s its own special touch.
It would have been possible to tell the same resurrection account every day or to draw accounts from only one witness, just as it would have been possible to harmonize all the Gospels and eliminate their differences. But the Church saw value in preserving the different perspectives of each Gospel. Each Gospel is rooted in a unique experience of the Risen Jesus, and each has its own special way of giving witness to Jesus.
The same is true of each of us. God called the evangelists to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus in their own way, using their particular gifts and backgrounds. God calls each of us to give witness to our experience of the power of the Risen Jesus as well, using our particular gifts and backgrounds.
Each of us has our own “today.” We experience the Risen Jesus in the concrete events of our daily lives; and we’re called to proclaim the Risen Jesus in our own unique way. This is the day the Lord has made. Happy Easter!