Daily Reflection
April 19th, 2007

Nancy Shirley

School of Nursing
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Thursday of the Second Week of Easter
Acts 5:27-33
Psalm 34:2 and 9, 17-18, 19-20
John 3:31-36

The readings for today focus on the living the Good News – we have the apostles in the first reading living out their mission in spite of danger to themselves; in the responsorial psalm we are reminded of God’s everlasting love for us; and in the gospel, John challenges us to accept this Good News and thereby live forever. I struggle with a focus on these readings, because as I write this we are on the brink of the Triduum and my thoughts are deep into how to prepare myself for these significant and sorrowful days ahead. Yet, I know so well that these sorrowful days lead to the Good News – our salvation through the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus. What an unbelievable gift to us – what love there is for us.

As I look beyond this preparation for Easter and to its joyful and glorious celebration, I am once again feeling blessed, grateful, and filled with responsibility. Not unlike the Apostles we are called to spread the Good News. This doesn’t mean we are all expected to climb the pulpit and preach. It does mean, however, that we talk, act, and think as followers of Christ. If we do, indeed, accept Christ as our Lord and Savior then we also accept the benefits and responsibilities that go along with it. I’m haunted by a question that was posed to me in an email responding to a reflection. The rhetorical question was this: “If Christianity was a crime, would there be enough evidence to convict us?” Wow. . . something I have to ponder and really consider with some critical self-reflection. Would I be found guilty or acquitted for lack of evidence? Would there be enough evidence in how I lived, in what I said and did to convict me?

In thinking about the Ignatian values of Magis, we are reminded that it means “more.” I used to limit that to a striving for excellence, to do one’s best. While that is true to some extent that is not the entire picture – the more is more in living in the spirit -- piling up that evidence that will be used “against us.” We should not seek excellence for the end product of just being “the best” – rather we seek it always for the Greater glory of God . . . the motto of the Jesuits. So in the context of the question – the more, the Magis, is providing that compelling evidence that we are Christians in the true sense of the word – living like Christ.

Living up to that expectation is no small task. Perhaps it is at this season, however, when we have just experienced once again the miracle of the risen Christ and our own chance at salvation that we are most open to embrace that challenge. So many songs as we lead up to the glory of Easter force us to question how we are living and reflecting our beliefs to others. On Palm Sunday, I was struck once again by the song “Feel the Nails.” I’ve heard it before, I've been to well over 50 Palm Sunday services – but once again I had to ask myself about the promises I break to living the life that is expected of me. The chorus below certainly made me think about what I do that could be hurtful and cause suffering to Jesus. My need to change behaviors that hurt others in any way and that are not true to living in the image of Christ.

Does He still feel the nails everytime I fail?
Can He hear the crowd cry, Crucify again?
Am I causing Him pain, then I know I’ve got to change,
I just can’t bare the thought of hurting Him.

However, as I reflected on these readings, I also wondered about how what I don’t do or practice hurts Him – my failings in terms of my silence and apathy. Perhaps my silence and lack of action at times causes the greatest pain of all. . . .Would I be convicted of Christianity?

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