Here we are at the end of the fourth week of our Easter celebration. Happy Easter – again!!! Can there possibly be something more we are to ponder about Easter? In the words of a famous politician, “You betcha!”
Our sacred scripture for today gives us an amazing insight. Remember that the Christian Jewish believers have been thrown out of the temple and the synagogues. They have been scattered and are following Paul’s lead in going out to other countries to bring the good news. He is in Antioch today where believers were called Christians for the first time. The heart of his message is the Crucified Lord has fulfilled God’s promise of salvation. His message is simple but profound. To become a believer, focus on the person of the Crucified Jesus, grab hold of Him and never let go. Hold on to Him in every circumstance of life, in every moment of trial, in every shadow of darkness, in every confrontation with evil and in every celebration of what is good, happy, peaceful and holy. In the words of the popular liturgical song, make the Lord Jesus the center of our life and keep Him there.
In our reading from Acts, Paul reinforces this stance in life by helping us to understand that we now have a new way of reading the Hebrew Scriptures. We are called to read as believers in the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. All is seen and understood now through the prism of the Cross and Resurrection. From Genesis through the Exodus and Passover, through the Mosaic Covenant, through the inheritance of the Promised Land, through the prophets and Wisdom figures of old, through the Kingdom and its kings – all must now be seen and understood through the moment that it is all fulfilled in the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. This perspective on reading Scripture is another of the Lord’s Easter gifts to us and it stands alongside the gifts of eternal life itself, joy, peace, the Holy Spirit, baptism and so much more that flows from the font of the Resurrection.
Our Gospel reading from John makes it even clearer in case we missed it in the first reading. God bless Thomas – he sets it up for us to hear and see clearly. Where is this place to which Jesus is referring? Where is He going? How long a walk is it? Are there any landmarks to expect along the road? No Thomas, Jesus is not speaking of a geographical location. There is no road. There is no journey to a temple or a synagogue essential to life with God. There is only a PERSON, the Lord Jesus. He is the Way to life. The Risen Lord is in the Father and the Father is in the Son. Our Way to the Father is in the Son. If we keep Jesus as the center of our life each minute, each day, week, month and year – always, we will know the Way; we will have the Way; we will be following the Way. It is an inward journey which leads us to life choices and decisions which accurately reflect the mind and heart of the Risen Lord Jesus in our sense of self, in our relationships with one another, in our parishes, our Church and our world.
Can there possibly be anything more to discover about Easter? Indeed there is! The Lord’s Easter gifts continue to pour forth. The Easter Mystery is like a diamond held up to rotate in the light. The gleaming facets continue to be discovered long after we thought we had seen it all.
Fr. Richard Burke, CP, is a member of St. Paul of the Cross Province. He lives at St. Ann’s Monastery in Scranton, Pennsylvania.