3rd Sunday of Easter
On the road to Emmaus, Jesus walks up alongside two of his disciples, though He's not recognized for who He is but thought to be a stranger. This Stranger begins to unpack for them the Scriptures and how they foretell and prefigure the Christ. The hearts of these two disciples are set on fire as Jesus teaches them, though they don't fully realize it in the moment. It's only at the end of the day, in the breaking of the bread, that they recognize Who was with them, and then Jesus vanishes from their sight. Take a walk on the road to Emmaus, let Jesus draw close, even if you don't recognize Him at first, let Him teach you about the Scriptures and Himself, let Him set your heart on fire!
2nd Sunday of Easter/Divine Mercy Sunday
On this Divine Mercy Sunday, Deacon Brian reflects on the immensity of God's mercy. He lays out two common traps (both springing from pride) that we as Christians can fall into and which limit our reception of God's mercy. Like children at Christmas or Easter who freely and joyfully receive gifts, he encourages us to remember the mercy of God as an undeserved gift, but a gift that God desires to give to us. Let us open our arms, hearts and minds to accept (with the joy and enthusiasm of a child) the incredible gift of mercy that our Savior desires to share with each of us!
During this time of COVID-19 I've heard people say both how unfortunate and difficult of a time this is, and how many blessings are hidden in this time. While I agree with both (and I most certainly see God's hand at work in my life, in our Church, and in our world in the midst of the difficulties) there is an easy mistake to fall into while trying to make sense of it all. The mistake is to look at the blessings and the good coming out of it and say, "God did this so that...(list your blessing or good thing)." The problem is that if we say that God did this in order to bring about good things, then we also have to say that it's His fault that bad things and struggles are happening in so many lives - we inadvertently, but very quickly, turn God into a monster. The appalling message of Easter, of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, is that God can bring good out of ANY situation. Not that He wants bad things to happen, not that He wanted His son to be rejected, tortured, and murdered, but out of anything - whether good, neutral, bad, or downright horrific - God is able to bring good. God's goodness is unstoppable! Not even death can stop Him! Christ is Risen! Alleluia, alleluia!
“Holy” literally means “different.” As we enter into this year’s Holy Week we are certainly experiencing a very “different” time in our country and world. I would propose, however, that this time of COVID-19 can actually assist us in entering more deeply into this Holy Week, more deeply into the life, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, than we ever have before!
Note: I will be live streaming Easter morning Mass from St. Joseph at 9:00am on Sunday, April 12! Please visit the parish website www.stjoseph-hayward.org to view live or watch the recording.