In these early days of the Easter season, the scripture readings lead us through a number of events in Acts of the Apostles. In these events the apostles, disciples, high priests, and those hearing the Good News of the Resurrection all have a choice. Believe or don’t believe.
Who believes the women who run to tell the apostles what they saw at the tomb? Who believes when John and Peter enter the tomb? Who believes as the disciples walk along the road to Emmaus? Who believes when told that Jesus has appeared to the apostles in the upper room? Who believes, like in today’s story of the miraculous release of the apostles from prison? And who chooses to not believe?
We read today in the gospel passage from John, “And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil.” There are far too many examples in our world today of those who choose darkness and sin: the tragedy of war that displaces those who have no power to end it, the scourge of human trafficking and abuse of children, and the devastation of denuded forests, dying coral reefs, and choking smog. These are all human choices.
Yet we believe. We choose to see all the occasions where love triumphs over death. Forgiveness. Generosity. Selfless love. We choose to see what is happening all around us as Spring calls forth new life in dormant flowers and in tree buds. As priest and author Andrew Greeley is said to have written in his journal, “Someone keeps sending me flowers.” We can choose to see the flowers of Spring as the ongoing invitation of God to believe that Spring follows Winter, that Love is greater than Death, and that the Resurrection triumphs over Good Friday.
Robert Hotz is a consultant with American City Bureau, Inc. and was the Director of The Passion of Christ: The Love That Compels Campaign for Holy Cross Province.