1 Peter 1:3-9
"Rejoice to the full in the glory that is yours, and give thanks to God who called you to his kingdom, alleluia." 4 Ezra 2:36-37
The entrance antiphon for Sunday, May 1, shows what is going on both in our scripture readings and in our eucharist. The first reading from Acts depicts the disciples and those newly added to their number devoting themselves to the Lord and to each other, praying together at the temple, "breaking bread" in their homes, exulting together, praising God, and fully enjoying their ministry to themselves and to the people.
What is going on? The resurrected Jesus has confirmed them in his love. The Father has raised him up and sent him to appear to them to affirm his love and his Father’s love, and to promise the fullness of love in the Spirit. Jesus loves them, God loves them – and they have fallen in love with God.
Peter’s first letter bears this out: ‘Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who in his great mercy gives us a new birth . . . through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." He tells those who joined the disciples later "rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy." Why? "Although you have not seen him, you love him." They listened to Peter, believed his word; they turned to Jesus in love.
The Gospel gives us the well-known story of Thomas: he falls in overwhelming personal love for Jesus, "My Lord and my God." ("Notice the word ‘my’. . . . Indeed it is the only time in the Gospels that we have such a declaration." Michael. P. Gallagher, SJ, Faith Maps, p. 130).
Many years ago a friend of mine, then newly appointed Provincial of the Maryland Jesuits, sent me a card of advice that he had printed for the novices. It had been written by the Superior General Pedro Arrupe, SJ, and was about "falling in love."
"What you are in love with,
What seizes your imagination,
Will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning,
What you will do with your evenings,
How you will spend your weekends,
What you read,
Who you know,
What breaks your heart,
And what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything."
That line "It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning" really gets me every time.
Peter Fitzpatrick, CFX, is a Xaverian Brother living at Ryken House, Louisville, across Bear Grass Creek from the Passionist Community Sacred Heart Monastery.