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Weekly meditation

 Easter Sunday
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Empty Tomb, Expectant Heart
Easter Sunday


Father Robert Presutti, LC

 

John 20:1-9

On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran off to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and told them, "They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him." So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter, and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down to look in and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not lying with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he had to rise from the dead.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you are the source of all life because you are life itself. Your resurrection gives me the hope of being raised from the dead to rejoice with you forever in heaven. Thank you for your presence in my life. I love you, and I want to follow after you with all my heart. Be with me now, and inspire my prayer.

Petition: Lord Jesus, grant me the joy of seeing my hopes constantly kindled by your power over sin and death. May the strength of your resurrection overcome the weaknesses of my human nature.

1. Confusing Signs: Without faith, realities that should inspire hope and expectation only cause confusion. Jesus’ empty tomb is the sign of the most complete victory, the most extreme love, and the most powerful presence. Mary Magdalene, Peter and John all see the empty tomb. But their limited faith needs time to grow and completely accept the great gift that is offered to them. In approaching the mystery of God, I must stoke up my faith. Otherwise, what should cause hope and courage will only wind up becoming a stumbling block for me. Only a sincere and generous faith in Christ enables me to take the circumstances of life in hope, confidence and security.

2. Running to the Experience of Faith: Running is an integral part of this Gospel. Mary Magdalene runs. Peter runs, and John outruns Peter. Love for the Lord creates a sense of urgency. What they saw at the tomb could have been seen without running at all. But promptness is a sign of love for the Lord. If I wish to experience Christ and the power of his resurrection, I need to have a sense of urgency in my relationship with the Lord. I must strive to meet him and give myself to him in my here and now. I can’t wait for the “ideal” moment. If I don´t give myself to Christ now, under the present conditions, there is no reason to think I ever will.

3. Faith Begins with the Experience of the Senses, but Does Not End There: John, Peter and Mary Magdalene will eventually have an unshakeable conviction in the Resurrection, and become messengers of the Resurrection. But they first need to see the empty tomb and pick up the wrappings. They would also need to see and touch the risen Christ. All this would cause wonderment, reflection, and eventually a growing realization that would induce faith. God works in the same way in my life. First there are the lived experiences of my life: people I meet, circumstances I face, events that occur… Then my wonderment and reflection on what it all means. Then the slow dawning of faith.

“It is clearly evident that Christ´s resurrection is the greatest Event in the history of salvation, and indeed, we can say in the history of humanity, since it gives definitive meaning to the world. The whole world revolves around the Cross, but only in the resurrection does the Cross reach its full significance of salvific Event. The Cross and Resurrection constitute the one paschal mystery in which the history of the world is centered. Therefore Easter is the Church´s greatest Solemnity. Every year she celebrates and renews this Event, fraught with all the prophecies of the Old Testament, beginning with the "Protoevangelium" of the Redemption, and of all the eschatological hopes and expectations projected towards the "fullness of time", which was realized when the Kingdom of God definitively entered human history and the universal order of salvation” (Blessed John Paul II, General Audience, March 1, 1989).

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, you know how to prepare your disciples to experience your presence deeply and know you intimately. I ask today for a deepening in my faith in your resurrection. Let all the events of my life point me to the truth that you are alive.

Resolution: I will be prompt in meeting the duties and responsibilities of today, in the truth of the risen Christ.

 
PUBLICATION DATE: 2014-04-20

The Supreme Measure of Paschal Joy
Easter Monday

 

Matthew 28:8-15

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce this to his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” While they were going, some of the guards went into the city and told the chief priests all that had happened. They assembled with the elders and took counsel; then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, "You are to say, ´His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.´ And if this gets to the ears of the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." The soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has circulated among the Jews to the present day.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you are the source of all life because you are life itself. Your resurrection from the dead gives me the hope of being raised from the dead to rejoice with you forever in heaven. I need to dwell more often on the good you have done for us and on your promises to those who put their trust in you. Thank you, Jesus, for taking up your life again and leading the way home to heaven. I love you, and I want to follow after you with all my heart. I want to cooperate more fully with you in bringing many others there with me.

Petition: Lord, as a fruit of my experiencing your love, grant me the grace of witnessing to you.

1. Coming into the Light of the Resurrection: Contemplate the women at the tomb. Feel their distress upon entering an open and empty tomb. Experience their fears for where the body might be. Share in their joy because their faith, and ours, awakens to the reality of Our Lord’s resurrection. Indeed, it is true! He has truly risen! Alleluia! Approach him and bow down, then adore and embrace the loving feet of Our Lord. He wants to be our strength, our light, and our love. He wants to be our Lord.

2. From Contemplatives to Missionaries: From our contemplation we must become missionaries. This is the instruction Our Lord gives these privileged women: “Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”From their adoration, Our Lord calls them to be witnesses to the world, beginning first with the apostles. These women, insignificant in the eyes of the world, have become irreplaceable heralds of the Gospel. Why? It is not because of any social class or role they had had. Rather, it is because of the faith and love with which they would live and accomplish the mission entrusted to them. They were faithful to Our Lord in spreading the Good News of the Resurrection to the apostles and the world.

3. Obedience of Faith Allows Us to See: Our Lord asks the apostles to obey his command: “Go to Galilee … there they will see me.” Christ requires our obedience in order for us to see him in faith and experience his resurrection. Without obedience, we might not recognize him. The guards at the tomb were obedient to the orders of the chief priests. Yet the guards lacked faith, so they did not believe what they saw and thus did not adore. We all obey someone. However, it is obedience to Christ that leads to faith which leads to life: “He who believes in the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36).

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, thank you for this time I have spent with you in prayer and contemplation of your resurrection. Help me always grow and mature in my faith. Without it I am lost. Without it I am unable to see you, and if I cannot see you, how will I be able to follow you? I place my trust in you and your promise of eternal life.

Resolution: I will make a special effort to speak well of others today, especially those with whom I may disagree.

 
PUBLICATION DATE: 2014-04-21

From Tears of Sorrow to Tears of Joy
Tuesday in the Octave of Easter

 

John 20:11-18

Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken my Lord, and I don´t know where they laid him." When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" She thought it was the gardener and said to him, "Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him." Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabboni," which means Teacher. Jesus said to her, "Stop holding onto me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ´I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.´" Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and what he told her.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you are the source of all life because you are life itself. Your resurrection gives me the hope of being raised from the dead to rejoice with you in heaven forever. I need to reflect more often on the good you have done for us and on your promises to those who put their trust in you. Thank you, Jesus, for taking up your life again and leading the way home to heaven. I love you, and I want to follow after you with all my heart. I want to cooperate more fully with you in bringing many others there with me.

Petition: Lord, grant me a faith that is alive, operative and fruitful.

1. Blinded by Love, Mary Stayed Weeping: St. John observes that “they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead” (John 20:9). Because the reality of the Resurrection had not yet entered into the mind, and much less the heart, of Mary, she stayed weeping outside Christ’s tomb. Take this moment to contemplate this moving scene which shows Mary’s deep love for Our Lord. Even angels could not persuade her with their questioning: “Why are you weeping?” Admire her love; imitate her love; want what she wanted – to be with her Lord, always! May our love for Our Lord give us the same fortitude in love that Mary showed at the tomb.

2. They Had Taken Her Love Away: Poor Mary! The sorrows of her life were so mean and pitiful. One sad day, desperation had led her into a life of prostitution. With her dignity gone, her empty soul seemed suited only to be a haven for roaming devils (cf. Luke 8:3; Mark 16:9). The world, the flesh and the devil saw her only with contempt and selfish opportunity. But Our Lord had seen her differently and loved her differently. The love that he had restored to her life, however, was now trampled upon as she contemplated his empty tomb. See her heart, already heavy with grief and horror at seeing her Lord mistreated, beaten and crucified. All these thoughts welled up in her mind and caused her to conclude, “They have taken my Lord.” Feel the depths of her helplessness as she finished her thought: “And I don´t know where they laid him.”

3. “Why Are You Weeping?” Mary’s love was at the right time, in the right place, and for the right person. Her tears were for her Lord. Jesus, moved by Mary’s show of love, would not let her remain in such a state. It is now Christ who asks her, “Why are you weeping?” In effect, Jesus is saying, “The sins of your past will no longer have power over you. Nor will those cruel men, or the devil. I am here and I am the Resurrection, the Way, the Truth and the Life! Sin, evil men, the devil, and death might stake their claim on you, but they cannot have you, for you are mine! I have bought you with the price of my own blood; I have laid down my life for you, my friend!” Our Lord sums up this great truth with but a simple, tender utterance of her name: “Mary”. Yes, Jesus knows us personally and loves us in a personal way. We must come to our senses and believe in the truth of the Resurrection. We must believe in Jesus.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, you lead me to life everlasting. Let me draw ever closer to you, trusting always in your ways and never fearing the cross. May I love you from the little cross of my life, whatever its form or character may be.

Resolution: I will seek out a friend I may have alienated by my bad example or lack of self-control, and I will strive to be reconciled through a generous act of charity and understanding.

 
PUBLICATION DATE: 2014-04-22

Unexpected Company and Personal Reassessments
Wednesday in the Octave of Easter


Father Robert Presutti, LC

 

Luke 24:13-35

That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus’ disciples were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. He asked them, "What are you discussing as you walk along?" They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?" And he replied to them, "What sort of things?" They said to him, "The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see." And he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures. As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?" So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the Eleven and those with them who were saying, "The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!" Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you are the source of all life because you are life itself. Your resurrection gives me the hope of being raised from the dead to rejoice with you forever in heaven. I need to dwell more often on the good you have done for us and on your promises to those who put their trust in you. Thank you, Jesus, for taking up your life again and leading the way home to heaven. I love you, and I want to follow after you with all my heart. I want to cooperate more fully with you in bringing many others there with me.

Petition: Lord Jesus, walk by my side. Open up my person to the meaning of Scripture and the events of life. Make my heart burn within me with your words .

1. Two Downcast Faces: These two disciples had been badly shaken by the events of the last few days. They had courageously left home and family to follow the Lord. They had listened to his words, witnessed his miracles, and even generously gone out and preached in his name. They had expected Jesus to be the longed-for Messiah. And it was precisely at the moment Jesus referred to as “his hour”, when he was accomplishing his greatest work, that these disciples broke with Jesus. What when wrong? God worked in a way and with a power these disciples had not expected, and which they did not accept. The cross and suffering had not entered into their plans. A gloriously triumphant path, they could accept; but not a crucified Lord. As long as there were miracles, encouraging crowds and the high of emotion, following Christ was their thing. But when the Cross cast its shadow, they threw in the towel. And so, they are on their way back home, back to their old lifestyle, hopes shattered and faces downcast. Their conversation was a self-pitying reconstruction of events, without faith, without a sense of God, sunken in their own sorrow.

2. Unexpected Questions from an Unexpected Guest: The two disciples are so centered on their own woes and wounds that they do not recognize who walks alongside them. Feeling sorry for ourselves does not help us go to God, but only immerses us further in our own impotence. What breaks through this situation? An unexpected question that destroys the incorrect assumptions of these two malcontents and invites them to look more deeply at their own situation. Reflection on the obvious, on the real events of our life (and not our own broken, limited plans and hopes) is what begins to open the door to a reborn hope. What are you talking about? Why? Did you fail to grasp something?

3. The Breaking of the Bread: Christ is the shepherd that seeks out these two stray sheep. As always, he masterfully and gently enlightens their conscience and leads them to the truth. Listening to Christ prepares these two disciples to recognize him when he takes, breaks, blesses and gives them “bread” – the same actions of the Last Supper. After recognizing Our Lord in the “breaking of the bread”, their entire dispositions change. Even their way of assessing events and situations changes. They had stopped for the evening, but after experiencing the Lord, they race out in the middle of the night to share their experience with the others.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, teach me detachment from self, and acceptance of your glorious plan. Walk always by my side, and help me realize, that as long as I am in conversation with You, even without my realizing it, there is always hope and salvation.

Resolution: I will let God break my own limited plans and expectations. I will talk to Christ about what goals he wants me to set for my life, impossible though they may seem.

 
PUBLICATION DATE: 2014-04-23

You Are Witnesses of These Things
Thursday in the Octave of Easter


Father Robert Presutti, LC

 

Luke 24:35-48

The disciples of Jesus recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread. While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, it is really I. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have." And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, "Have you anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them. He said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled." Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. And he said to them, "Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you are the source of all life because you are life itself. Your resurrection gives me the hope of being raised from the dead to rejoice with you in heaven forever. I need to reflect more often on the good you have done for us and on your promises to those who put their trust in you. Thank you, Jesus, for taking up your life again and leading the way home to heaven. I love you, and I want to follow after you with all my heart. I want to cooperate more fully with you in bringing many others to heaven with me.

Petition: Lord Jesus, bring me your Easter peace. Let me share in your victory over sin and death. May I live for you alone.

1. The Disciples’ Mixed and Changing Reaction to the Resurrection: The Gospel narratives manifest the disciples’ volatile situation. They want to believe, but lack confidence. They experience the sincere joy of seeing Christ resurrected, but have not completely overcome their cautious disbelief. The two from Emmaus recount their encounter, and Christ himself appears to them. Yet even when he is right there in front of them, they are slow to believe. Our Lord’s patient, accepting attitude is encouraging. He did not come for a meal, but takes a piece of fish to help them believe. We all have our moments of light and generosity, and our moments of sluggishness and inner resistance. I want to believe, but because it implies letting go of my false securities, I need detachment and purification. Christ aids my weakness by his nearness and closeness.

2. It Is I Myself: Christ is not a ghost. He is not a figment of my imagination, nor the result of my wishful thinking––something too good to be true. Christ is more real than my fears; his grace is stronger than my weakness, more powerful than sin and death itself. As the disciples have mixed reactions to his presence, he invites them to get a grip on themselves and reflect in faith. Reflection and contemplation in faith always lead to the truth of Christ. Am I living in an illusory world of my own making because I’m not reflecting in faith on the realities and experiences of my life? All I need to do is overcome my incredulity with faith and trust in the Christ.

3. Thus It Was Written: The Cross was not a mistake. Christ does not see it as a necessary evil. Rather, “it was written”. In other words, it could not have been any other way. Without the Cross, no resurrection. Without the Resurrection, no experience of the fullness of life, no hope for things to come. My life too has its own experience of Christ’s cross. What for me might be an unexpected twist, an obstacle or a problem, is for the Lord a means of purifying my heart, and bringing me to the Resurrection.

Conversation with Christ: At times Lord, I fear I am seeing a ghost, just like the disciples. Your plan and will are so far beyond me that at times I have difficulty distinguishing my own wishful thinking or false hopes from your will and your call. Help me to find in you the only source of my hopes, and the One who will never fail me.

Resolution: Today I will speak of Christ’s resurrection and the hope which it brings us.

 
PUBLICATION DATE: 2014-04-24

Fire of Mercy, Fire of Love
Friday in the Octave of Easter

 

John 21:1-14

Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way. Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathaniel from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee´s sons, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We also will come with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, "Children, have you caught anything to eat?" They answered him, "No." So he said to them, "Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something." So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord." When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards, dragging the net with the fish. When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you just caught." So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, "Come, have breakfast." And none of the disciples dared to ask him, "Who are you?" because they realized it was the Lord. Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish. This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you are the source of all life because you are life itself. Your resurrection gives me the hope of being raised from the dead to rejoice with you forever in heaven. I need to dwell more often on the good you have done for us and on your promises to those who put their trust in you. Thank you, Jesus, for taking up your life again and leading the way home to heaven. I love you, and I want to follow after you with all my heart. I want to cooperate more fully with you in bringing many others there with me.

Petition: Lord, grant me the grace to seek your mercy and offer it to others.

1. I Am Going Fishing: In a meditation earlier this week we saw how the two apostles, Peter and John, entered into the tomb. Scripture notes that John believed, yet it is silent on the subject of Peter’s faith (cf. John 20:8). Peter had to resolve something in his life before his faith would completely commit him to Our Lord. Peter is mulling in his heart over his past infidelities. When men feel uncomfortable in situations, they tend to seek out familiar, daily securities that can restore their self-confidence and worth. For Peter, that security was fishing, and so he goes, inviting along the other apostles who had also abandoned Our Lord in his passion. Perhaps their own discomfort is why they so readily joined Peter…. Do I have the interior wherewithal to turn back to Our Lord when I have offended him? Do I have a spirit of reflection, humility and courage?

2. True Friends Bring Us Back to Our Lord: Perhaps John entered the boat with different intentions than did Peter and the rest of the disciples. Perhaps this fishing trip reminded him of the previous trip that brought Peter to repent and declare, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord" (cf. Luke 5:1-11). Acting on this inspiration, John may have entered the boat to stay close to Peter until an opportunity of reconciliation would arise. The opportunity came suddenly when John shouted out, "It is the Lord." John did not abandon Peter. Neither are we to abandon each other. We all have “baggage” in our lives. It’s comforting to have a friend who brings us back to the Lord. We also need to know how to approach others with humility and understanding to bring them back to the Lord. Am I friends to others like John was a friend to Peter?

3. From the Fire of Betrayal to the Fire of Mercy: As Peter arrived on shore he saw the charcoal fire. How it must have rekindled his sorrow of the night before Our Lord’s passion when, as he warmed himself by a fire, he denied Jesus by saying, “I don’t even know the man” (Matthew 26:72-74). How he must have wished he had said other words, like when he declared, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16). Peter’s history, like ours, wasn’t always written with constant fidelity. But Our Lord invites all to the rich banquet of his mercy: "Come, have breakfast." Our Lord returns kindness for evil, leaving us with a real and eloquent illustration of the Beatitudes (cf. Luke 6:27-38). The disciples didn’t need to ask him, "Who are you?” Three years of seeing Jesus forgive sins and cure the sick helped them to know Jesus as the Merciful One. Do I know him by that name?

Conversation with Christ: Lord, may I always understand that your act of redemption doesn’t end just with the forgiveness of my sins. It ends with my heart changed and willing to forgive and even to serve those who have wronged me. Allow me to spread your charism of love everywhere.

Resolution: I will do a significant but hidden act of charity to someone whom I find difficult to be with, perhaps even someone I consider to be my enemy.

 
PUBLICATION DATE: 2014-04-25

The World Awaits Our Witness
Saturday in the Octave of Easter

 

Mark 16:9-15

When Jesus had risen, early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe. After this he appeared in another form to two of them walking along on their way to the country. They returned and told the others; but they did not believe them either. But later, as the Eleven were at table, he appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised. He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you are the source of all life because you are life itself. Your resurrection gives me the hope of being raised from the dead to rejoice with you in heaven forever. I need to dwell more often on the good you have done for us and on your promises to those who put their trust in you. Thank you, Jesus for taking up your life again and leading the way home to heaven. I love you, and I want to follow after you with all my heart. I want to cooperate more fully with you in bringing many others to heaven with me.

Petition: Lord, grant me the grace of a profound apostolic zeal.

1A Saint Who Is Sad Is a Sad Saint: “When they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.” From these lines of scripture we can see the power our emotions can exercise over our faith. Melancholy can affect our trust. Perhaps we have been hurt by others and our sorrows are as real as those of the disciples. But let us not get accustomed to our tears; rather, with the courage and help of Our Lord, let us put aside past resentments and pain. After all, if his love is enough to convert our hearts, what grounds do we have to think that it is not powerful enough to convert the hearts and lives of those who hurt us? Humanity will not be converted by the distressed. We should be willing to give the world a joyful witness to the Resurrection, for the source of our joy is in the Lord, not in the hands of our adversaries.

2. Rebuked for Unbelief and Hardness of Heart: We may be a bit scandalized at Our Lord’s apparent lack of understanding and sympathy towards his disciples who were mourning his tragic loss. Sometimes though, a good shaking-up is required to slough off a melancholic spirit and to switch us from an inordinate self-love and self-pity to a concern for others. In moments when we begin to despair and feel suffocated by our sufferings, St. Paul reminds us to have hope: “I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38). We must never allow anything to rob us of our trust in Christ. He is faithful to his promises.

3. We Are to Be Witnesses to His Love: Despite their unbelief, Our Lord did not retract his gift of redemption or lessen our responsibility for the mission.It is not to a dull everyday routine that we return.… We need to imitate the zeal of the Apostle Paul: ‘Straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14)’”(John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte, 59). Our encounter of faith with the Risen Lord cannot be kept solely for the private sphere of our life. Rather, it needs to draw us to be zealous in proclaiming him to others. The sense of Christ’s command—“Go into the whole world”—is to proclaim him to as many others as possible.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I have taken away from this meditation the lesson that it is time for me to wake from my slumber to fulfill your words. I must “go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” Help me to realize that my past sinfulness and disbelief do not excuse me from this mission.

Resolution: The next time I find a person struggling or in turmoil, I will offer to pray with them—or at least for them if they decline.

 
PUBLICATION DATE: 2014-04-26

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