The early Christians lived their lives in the Lord, for the sake of the world. They exhibited a holy boldness; because they internalized the faith they professed and allowed it to transform every aspect of their lives. They experienced the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. They manifested the gifts of the Spirit. They allowed the fruits of the Spirit to be borne in their lives. Do we? We can! We can turn our world upside down - with our words and with the witness of our lives - because the Resurrection makes all things new, beginning right now!
CHESAPEAKE,VA (Catholic Online) - At the Easter Vigil we had the joy of baptizing eleven adults, five children, and receiving ten Christians of other communities into the full communion of the Catholic Church.
It was an extraordinarily joyful celebration which lasted over three hours. I have heard similar reports from all over. Just when some people are so eager to count the Catholic Church out, she is rising up with healing in her wings, awakening like a sleeping giant!
On Easter Sunday my wife and I went to visit two of our adult children in a nearby city to share an Easter meal. It was a wonderful day of celebration, feasting and laughter.
We spent the evening. On Easter Monday morning, I greeted one of my adult children with "Happy Easter". She replied, "that was yesterday."
I took the time to explain that Easter is actually celebrated for eight days, an Octave, for good reason. She seemed somewhat underwhelmed by my assertion.In fact, she was a bit annoyed with me.
I further explained that the Octave unfolds into a fifty day season of celebration. Finally, I suggested that the Resurrection was meant to lead us into a new way of living. She rolled her eyes and said she wanted a cup of coffee.
As the day unfolded, I reflected on the fact that many Christians live as though Easter Sunday is just one day; a day in which we commemorate the historical fact that Jesus was indeed raised from the dead.
However, there seems to be little regard for the implications of that fact, that He really was raised, in the lived experience of our daily lives. This year, we can choose to fully experience the grace of Easter. Jesus is alive! He is with us! By embracing this Liturgical season - and allowing the Holy Spirit to awaken its deep meaning - we can enter more deeply into living the Easter Way.
With the Mass of Easter day we began the Octave, eight days of feasting on the readings which Holy Mother Church sets out on the table of the Ambo, letting them enter into us and change us. We can respond to the invitation to the banquet table, the Altar, and receive the Risen One in the most Holy Eucharist, becoming what we consume.
Throughout this Octave we can hear or read the marvelous post Resurrection accounts. We will follow the extraordinary changes which occurred in the early Apostles as the power of this Resurrection fashioned them into being living witnesses for the Lord and the Christian faith.
More importantly, we can decide to let the same power of the Resurrection make us into living witnesses to the Resurrection, disciples of the Lord, and empowered examples of the truth of the Christian faith, for this hour in history. The choice is ours.
We celebrate Easter for fifty days. At its end, we celebrate the next great Feast, the Feast of Pentecost. Alleluias will permeate our worship - but they are also meant to inform our lives. That is because, in those often quoted words of the great western Church Bishop, Augustine, "we are an Easter people and alleluia is our song."
Everything really is different because that Tomb is empty. We are different because we have been raised up with Christ. (Col.3) When we cooperate with grace, we can begin to live this difference in a new lifestyle.
Christianity is meant to become a new way of being a human person, a new way of living in Jesus. We are not only saved from - sin and death - but saved for - a new way of living!
We really are meant to become an Easter people. The phrase is more than a nice sentiment. In an age which is steeped in darkness, we are the light of the world because the Risen Jesus lives His life now, in, through and with us.(Matt. 5:14) We bring Goodness Himself to the earth which was created through Him and is now being recreated in Him.
Because Jesus has been raised, heaven has come to earth and earth can now come to heaven. Because Jesus has been raised, the new creation has already begun. The seed of the kingdom is manifested in the Church which is His Risen Body, the sign of the new heaven and new earth.
The Church is meant to become the home of the whole human race. In her, all men and women can be set free from the Law of sin and death. At her altar we can graze, being fed on His Word and nourished on His Body and Blood, healed by His Oil of Mercy and prepared for eternity.
As we follow the wonderful story recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, we need to decide that it is still being written - in and through us! What happened to those early Christians can happen to us!
The witness of the early Church revealed the power of the Resurrection at work in the lives of ordinary men and women who become extraordinary by living their lives in Him. It is meant to be our lived experience as well.
No longer afraid, those witness of the Resurrection, in the words of the Acts of the Apostles, "Turned the world upside down with their preaching." (Acts 17:6) They became so configured to the Lord that they lived and died like Him.
We are living in a new missionary age. It is time to let the story of the Resurrection be written in our own lives. By the power of the same Holy Spirit which raised Jesus from the dead, we can live a new way of life.
The early Christians lived their lives in the Lord, for the sake of the world. They exhibited a holy boldness; because they internalized the faith they professed and allowed it to transform every aspect of their lives.
They experienced the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. They manifested the gifts of the Spirit. They allowed the fruits of the Spirit to be borne in their lives. Do we?
We can! We can turn our world upside down - with our words and with the witness of our lives - because the Resurrection makes all things new, beginning right now!
Easter is more than a Day; it is a way of living our lives in Jesus Christ. Darkness has been scattered by the Light which broke forth from that empty tomb. That Light is meant to infuse our daily lives with the radiance of Resurrected love.
It is time to live the Easter Way!
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