April 9, 2007
ALLELUIA! HE IS RISEN!
(a reflection by Willy Effinger)
Saint Paul once wrote: “Let us celebrate, not with old leaven ... but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” What exactly is this old leaven? It refers to our weaknesses, our iniquities, our shortcomings, our sinfulness; it includes our lukewarm behaviour, our unwillingness to live the Gospel message, our inability to promote Christ through our words and actions.
It is this inaction which renders us guilty, for on Judgment Day the Lord will ask us how merciful we were in our lives on earth. Did we give drink to the thirsty and food to the hungry? Did we visit the lonely and imprisoned? Did we make the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy part of our daily lives?
During Lent, we have had forty days of prayer and reflection, fasting and mortification, probing of hearts and minds. Some are tempted to think of it as wasted time or a time of “doom and gloom”. For Christians, however, it should be a hopeful and helpful time. Who would not prepare themselves for an upcoming wedding feast? Surely, we would check out our wardrobe, mend what needs to be mended and replace what is worn out. We would think of suitable words to say and an appropriate, meaningful gift to bring. We would certainly cleanse ourselves and make sure that we set aside the time to attend the wedding banquet.
Similarly, when the season of Lent is used wisely, we are not only ready but excited to celebrate the great Feast of Easter! We remind ourselves over and over again that Christ has opened Heaven's Door for us, that life everlasting is possible for each one of us. Just as Lent and Easter return each year, we must make a continuous effort to grow in Christ; we must allow ourselves to undergo constant conversion. Stagnancy and complacency are not acceptable to a true disciple of Christ. By virtue of the name we carry, a Christian is called forth to proclaim our Lord and to become a living witness of His love and to bring His peace to all those we meet.
We may encounter obstacles along the way but, by the grace of God, they will not hinder us; instead, they become stepping stones towards our sanctity. As we go along, trusting and believing, we will receive the strength and wisdom to either move the obstacles or to deal with them courageously, perhaps even joyfully.
During our lives, we may often ask: “Lord, who will roll the stone away?” He may whisper the answer in our hearts: “Come and see on Easter Day!”
Just like the holy women who followed Jesus, we must never give up. When all seemed lost, they kept searching, preoccupied with their desire to find the Lord. Let us adopt this desire to seek, so that we might also find the stone rolled away.
Let us not give up, even if we are not immediately successful. He, the Giver of all life and grace, will present Himself at the appointed time, without fail, if we persevere, for His love is unwavering. By His grace alone will we partake of the feast of our own resurrection, when we will experience the eternal happiness of life everlasting with our Risen Lord!