May 9, 2018
by Andy Alexander, S.J.
Creighton University's Collaborative Ministry Office
click here for photo and information about the writer

Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 293

Acts 17:15, 22-18:1
Psalms 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14
John 16:12-15

Daily Easter Prayer

Celebrating Easter Home

Prayers by and for Mothers

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Finding Hope in the Easter Season

Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled

You Athenians, I see that in every respect you are very religious. Acts 17

I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always. John 14

When he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. John 16

When Paul preached at Athens, he tried very hard to enter through their door. He recognized that they are "very religious" and he noticed that they had a shrine "To an Unknown God." Paul tried to identify this unknown God as the God of all creation. However, when Paul gets to the good news of the Resurrection, some scoffed at him and others just walked away.

The Resurrection really is the "sticking point" in our world today. Certainly, we can see this in a secular world that lives for today, in so many tragic ways. But, upon reflection, each of us can recognize that it is faith in the Resurrection upon which our day to day choices about living this life hangs.

When I "forget" about the Resurrection, and live each day, from one challenge to another, caught up in how others perceive me, fighting one inconsequential battle after another with relatives and spouses, then I've at least lost sight of the Good News. In this Easter Season we are trying to let the reality of the deep meaning of Easter settle in for us.

The tomb is empty and Jesus is alive. That means we - all of us - can be alive forever. Forever. Death - and all the "deaths" and losses we face in this life - are just "scarecrows." Paul declares: “Death is swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” ( 1 Corinthians 15:55)

This flies in the face of the ironic and sarcastic poster of some years ago: "The one with all the toys at the end, wins."

The Good News of the gift of eternal life invites us to live in freedom. It invites us at this time of the year to ask ourselves, "How freely am I living?" Or, to ask, "How much grief do I hold onto?" Or, "What sadness, or disappointment or disillusionment, or hurt has taken hold of me?" So, we can ask ourselves, "From what can I ask to be liberated, so that I can live in freedom and joy?"

Freedom is powerful. People with nothing to fear have great courage, are very bold and self-sacrificing. When I've decided to put down this or that bucket of sand or fear I carry around, I've experienced new energy, new life, a renewed courage. Ultimately, to take possession of the gift of life that has been given me - to acknowledge that all the "deaths" that "threaten" me are mere "scarecrows," - then I really do have a renewed life. Accepting grace - which is a gift - and living in it, really empowers the grace to be effective.

Paul says it in such a lyrical way when he proclaims, "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)

In that beautiful Alleluia verse, Jesus assures us he will not leave us orphans in this world, "I will ask the Father
and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always." And, in the Gospel today he tells us that the Advocate, "the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth."

If we believe in the Resurrection and live in that freedom each day, and confidently hold onto the promise that the Holy Spirit will accompany us and guide us on our daily life, we can be living not only happier and holier lives, we can be more outstanding witnesses to so many others about the power that comes with the freedom of our faith in the Good News.

"Most Loving God, thank you for the gift of life eternal! Thank you! I so look forward to what I can barely imagine you have created for us, for our eternal happiness. Free me from my earth-bound sorrows. I want to have compassion and to be able to feel grief. I want to be sensitive to the suffering and injustice of our world. I want to live with mercy, a mercy I know from your way of loving me. And, I really want to have deeper peace and a sense that we all will work for a more compassionate and just world, with greater courage, if we place our lives in the promise of eternal life. Take away my fear and fill me with confidence in the presence of your Spirit among us, working to gather us in a peace nothing in the world can give."

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