Tuesday of Second Week of Easter
The Gospel reiterates the Easter theme by giving us the heart of the Gospel message in one sentence in John 3.16: “God so loved the world….”
The beautiful gospel reading invites us to reflect on this Easter theme of LOVE which is shown in deeds of GENEROSITY and an invitation to live in the eternal LIGHT of the Risen Lord.
For the past few days, we have heard the accounts of the resurrection in which the Risen Lord appeared to his disciples in LOVE. With great patience and love, the Risen Lord walked along side the two unnamed disciples at Emmaus and how his love was to triumph over sin and death. His appearance to his disciples who were sheltered in place for fear of the authorities and the first greeting was PEACE. With deep love, he drew Thomas’ hand into his wounds that transformed Thomas’ doubt to belief. In other words, the loving presence of the Risen Lord brought joy and conquered fear in their hearts.
Secondly we look into the quality of love of God … that he gave his only begotten Son to the world. Giving … generous self-offering of Jesus on the cross was to bring a distinct quality in the love of God. It is for this reason that the accounts of the early church in the acts of the apostles was that of generosity – how they were of one heart and mind and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common for those who owned property would sell them and the proceeds they distributed to each according to need. For each heart that is overflowing with love of the Risen Christ can only respond with generosity and self-offering.
Thirdly, wherever true love is present in generosity toward those in need there is a beacon of hope that shines and scatters the darkness of despair. The light of easter was burning in the hearts of disciples as they exclaimed: “we have seen the Lord!” The Lord is Risen was not only an event in the life of Christ, but more importantly was central in the faith of the disciples. It was an eternal light in the Christian message that guides us in all difficult and dark moments in our history.
Love, generosity and light of the Risen Lord are very much with us amidst this pandemic … countless acts of love … from families coming together to make PPEs … front liners in their daily acts of self-generosity in their service and care for the sick and infected … these many acts can serve as a beacon of hope and eternal light of Christ in the dark cloud of COVID-19 hovering over us.
Last week I was contacted by the sister of a close friend who was dying in New York due to COVID-19. She asked if I could administer the sacrament of anointing to her dying brother. I asked her to get in touch with the chaplain of the hospital. Within 48 hours, Joey, my friend, passed away. It was heartbreaking for the family who would have wanted to be at his bedside to assure him of the love of family. After his death, a common friend received a call from the chaplain of the hospital where Joey expired. Her name was Molly who was part of the chaplaincy of the hospital and narrated the last moments of Joey’s life: a group of nurses was at his bedside praying for him as he was dying. One of them put a rosary in his hand.
Even in the most painful and dark moments of a victim’s life, the love, generosity and light of easter shines forth. It was a very reassuring feeling that he did not die alone — nurses and staff of the hospital stood in place of his family and friends in love, in a very loving gesture entrusted and gave him to Mother Mary to guide him into the eternal light of the Risen Lord in paradise.
God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son . . so that we may all live in the light of the Risen Lord. In this pandemic, we ask ourselves — we are we being invited to love more deeply that will prompt us to acts of self-giving and be the light for others….
Pedro Arrupe 28th Superior General of the Society of Jesus
Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in Love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.