Acts 2:14, 22-33
Fifty Days of Conversation with the Word
In the past four days we have drawn so close to Our Lord and Mary. We felt their pain and perhaps wept. We searched the motives, looked into the hearts of the apostles and the women of Galilee. After the intense days of the Passion, a quiet Saturday, a small number gather for a Vigil. In the darkness the Redeemer, the Risen One symbolized by the lighted Easter Candle, enables us to proclaim, "O happy fault and sin of Adam". In that hour of darkness we see the Scriptures of the Old Testament in the light of the New. The vigilers witness to Jesus, the First Born from among the dead. That quiet, joyful celebration that welcomes new believers to the font, sends the first joyous ‘alleluias’ that build to louder celebrations on Sunday as our belief that the Lord has Risen is affirmed by renewing the vows of Baptisms.
All of that happened in the past four days! Now it is Monday and we are celebrating the fifty days of Easter. What is left for us to do? Have we exhausted all of our feelings?
It is the Scriptures that fuel our celebration. Set before us these days is the Risen one and the community that grows around Him. Blended with the practical life situations and people of Acts we hear the mystic John: the Good Shepherd, The Vine, Jesus Bread of Life and reflections of Jesus at the Last Supper.
Although we have our daily work, schedules to fulfill, families to love and tend to, for Our Risen Lord these are no more obstacles to his presence being with us than were the barred doors of the upper room when he wanted to be with his disciples. Indeed our ears may be more anxious to hear the words of Jesus than the disciples who would soon doze and then scatter. If we are grieving like the disciples walking to Emmaus or if we are as agitated as Peter who gathers his companions to go fishing in the darkness, Jesus comes in His Word to enkindle fire in our hearts, to be with us and our friends in confusing times.
It is interesting to see the reactions of the people who meet the Risen Lord and those who receive the message that we hear Peter proclaim today. Their reactions are not hysterical or shocked; at times they are profound, deliberate. Matthew tells us Mary Magdalene and the other Mary are afraid but joyful, and even take hold of Jesus feet to do him homage.
In our Easter days we are given the gift of God’s Word. Jesus is present to us in that Word. May we then continue the intimacy we have experienced during the days of the Passion and continue to share our hearts with the Risen One who approaches His friends eagerly. Paul will share his missionary desires with Jesus. Peter must have asked for help in his confusion of gathering Jew and Gentile at one table. We will hear the words of Stephen, words probably like those of many others who will follow his example, so great is their love for Jesus. Let us welcome the Risen Jesus in his Word these fifty days. As the Word he will talk with us, invite our sharing, and be present with us.
Fr. William Murphy, CP is pastor of St. Joseph’s Monastery parish in Baltimore, Maryland.