Jesus Christ is risen today! Alleluia! Shout, “Alleluia!”
It is spring—the season of new life. I went to Gatorland in Orlando last Thursday and new life abounded as mother birds sat on the nests and as they fed those already born. Baby egrets with their spiked hairdos reaching for food. Easter is about new life in Christ.
In the “Wreck of the Deutschland,” Gerard Manley Hopkins, wrote about the Risen Christ:
Let him easter in us, be a dayspring to the dimness of us . . .
Yes, the Risen Christ wants to easter in us. As I tried to reflect on the events of each day from Palm Sunday to today, I used Mark’s Gospel and I became aware of Jesus’ long journey from Galilee to Jerusalem. Mark’s account is full of statements by Jesus that he must go to Jerusalem to be handed over to crucifixion. The end was near. Jesus had exhibit nonviolence in a world of violence when he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. He had gone about the country proclaiming justice for his humble followers. He ran afoul of the Jewish priests and the fervor of his followers irritated the Roman occupiers. He would be crucified by these authorities as a common criminal.
When he first spoke about his imminent death the dimness of the disciples showed through. Peter says no to the way and Jesus calls him Satan. He is about serious business and his disciples are jockeying for position in his kingdom. They all ran away in the Garden. Mark was such a hurry that he ran naked after the grabbed his clothing. Peter denied him three times. Jesus faced his final hour alone on the cross. The disciples were dense and dim. They just did not get Jesus’ message this side of the cross. All this is in stark contrast to their bold, public proclamations after the resurrection.
Fast forward to us today. I am only speak for myself but I am dim and need the wellspring of Christ’s message to rise up in me. Perhaps we are all in need of an infusion from Spirit of the Risen Christ. What is it about Jesus’ message that we do not get. Yes, Jesus is our personal savior in the sense that he shows us the way to life in the Father. But our commitment to Christ has a communal, political dimension. Polis is a Greek word for city state and has come to mean those who make up the city state—the community in which we live. Our discipleship has social dimensions. We, like Jesus, live in this world. Jesus told the power seeking brothers that discipleship is about service to others, not domination of others. We are to take up our crosses, die to ourselves, and serve others by alleviating human misery and suffering.
The Risen Christ is calling us out of our dimness. He is calling us to awake. He is calling us to new life.
In our dimness can we have Christ’s vision? As disciples of Christ–
Can we imagine a world where children do not cry themselves to sleep because they are hungry?
Can we imagine a world where 40,000 people do not die every day from preventable causes?
Can we imagine a world that respects life at all stages?
Can we imagine a world where everyone has enough?
Can we imagine a world where the least among us have food, drink, clothing, shelter, education and medical care?
Can we imagine a world where everyone has access to clean water?
Can we imagine a world where we truly care for God’s creation?
Can we imagine a world where nonviolent dialogue and diplomacy replace perpetual warfare?
Can we image a world where there is no racism?
Can we imagine a world free of discrimination based on gender, creed, and sexual orientation?
If we can imagine such a world, we are ready to let Christ easter in us. If we espouse Kingdom values, we will follow Christ on the way—the way of the cross is the way to new life.
There once was a third grader who was a hellion in the public schools. He had been suspended for the third time. His parents decided to put him in a Catholic school. Months went by without a call from the teachers or the principal. At supper his parents asked him what was going on. He said, “When I went into that classroom and looked up at the guy on the cross, I knew they meant business!
The cross is Christ’s way to resurrection and Christ means business! We find the Risen Christ in the cries of the poor, destitute and marginalized. We find the Risen Christ in the sick friend or the grieving neighbor.
As we share Eucharist today, let us ask Christ to easter in us and take away our dimness so that we might live for one another.