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  • Fr. John Jennings

Easter: Season of New Life and Rebirth for Jesus....and for Us

[He] suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried;

he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven…

Easter takes us through an entire season of rebirth and new life. Beginning with Good Friday and lasting until the Feast of Pentecost our Christian community celebrates the core of our faith, the Paschal Mystery. It is the feast expressing the passage of Jesus from death to new life. The words of our Apostles Creed express our faith in this part of the Christian story. What we might miss is that it is also the passing of ourselves from death to new life.

The resurrection stories in the Gospel present the disciples and friends of Jesus seeking him at the tomb, among the dead. They do not find him there. Nor would they find him in any place that represents domination, death, violence, greed, oppression and bondage. They would find him in the places of life and light, liberation and peace. This is where the risen one is to be found.

In Matthew’s Gospel (20:1-18) we find ourselves facing the grieving and loss that is the common human experience of death. The disciples have lost their teacher and mentor. The dismay at this loss is expressed by Mary Magdalene as she cannot find him even in the tomb. She weeps at the loss of Jesus.

Then, in an insight of faith, Mary moves beyond the physical sight of Jesus to the spiritual recognition of the Risen One. She realizes in faith that this awareness is not just for her. It is Good News to be shared. Immediately, Mary rushes to tell the other disciples, as Matthew puts it: I have seen the Lord. And so, the new life of the Risen One begins to permeate the face of the earth.

The resurrection sends Jesus back into the world. His resurrection proclaims that there is life after death, there is hope and promise and that the power of evil, oppression and bondage is broken. The world and humanity are given new life.

What we may not realize is that like the risen Jesus, we too are sent back into the world and that we bring the Risen One with us. We carry Jesus into our world of families and friends, of commerce, economics and politics. We carry him into the places of oppression, bondage and poverty, of violence and suffering. As Jesus, we carry the resurrection and its hope. We bring what the risen one brings – PEACE. This is the Good News – we believe in the possibility of new life for all.

The spiritual writer, Carlo Carretto in Blessed Are You Who Believed describes the presence and power of the risen Jesus that we welcome into our lives and that we bear into our world.

When you forgive your enemy, When you feed the hungry,

When you defend the weak

You believe in the resurrection.

When you have the courage to marry, When you welcome a new-born child,

When, you make a home together

You believe in the resurrection.

When you wake at peace in the morning, When you sing to the rising sun,

When you go to work with joy

You believe in the resurrection.

The resurrection is for all. The promise of new life, hope and healing, peace and liberation is for all.

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