The challenge to be Easter People!

Some 60 years ago, I remember being struck by a question still relevant today.  A great theologian, Johannes Hoffinger, asked: “if we are Easter People, why do we so often look like people in need of an aspirin?”

The question is straightforward. The answer is more complicated.

Today’s world

A Good Friday world of suffering

On that first Good Friday, the followers of Jesus were thrown into utter confusion. They faced dashed hopes! They thought he was going to make their word perfect. Now he was dead!

Today, who among us is not suffering? The sufferings of the body of Christ today are very real. There are the sufferings that make our daily national headlines. Other sufferings stalk just beneath the surface.  In our personal and family lives, we face the suffering of dashed hopes. Chronic illness, addiction, lack of a job or other opportunities, etc. You know them well.

A Holy Saturday world without the presence of Jesus

On that first Holy Saturday, they now found themselves in a world without Jesus and hope. They had nothing and no one to rely on.

But how different is that from the multitudes who live with despair and confusion today? We live in a secular throw-away society. Growing numbers deal with the loss of what gave them meaning and a reason for living – a sense of belonging and identity. It is a world without the glimmer of hope of Jesus.

Too often, we are like the early followers of Jesus. We look for aspirins to reduce the pain instead of recognizing our experiences of Resurrection joy.

The challenge of becoming Easter People

Easter people are filled with hope. They rejoice that the outcome, eternal life, is certain. They see the power of Jesus’ resurrection. They are not spared pain and confusion. But Easter people have learned to recognize the unexpected presence of Jesus in their daily lives. Recognizing these encounters gives them life and hope.

Today, we do not experience Jesus’s resurrection the same way that early Christians do. Too often, I miss the Jesus of surprises who

  • Walked with me and helped me see something in a new way
  • Went unrecognized because I did not expect him in certain skin color, language, or status
  • I would not let sit at my table because I was so focused on feeding myself
  • Asked me in the depths of my doubts to put my hands in the wounds of his resurrected body
  • Commissioned me to tell others he lives as the ultimate source of life everlasting
  • Transformed my fears to become his healing hands today.

Experiencing Jesus in “Stations of the Resurrection” (Via Lucis)

We need to open our eyes!

With the blessing of Pope John Paul II, we are encouraged to walk the 14 stations of the Way of the Resurrection”

Why not try praying some of these stations looking through the newspapers of your life to experience the echoes of these 14 stations.

  1.  Jesus Rises From the Dead (Matthew 28:1-7)
  2. The Tomb Empty (John 20:1-9)
  3. The Risen Lord Appears to Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18)
  4. Appearance to Two Disciples on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-27)
  5. Recognized at the Breaking of Bread (Luke 24:28-35)
  6. Appears to His Disciples (Luke 24:36-43)
  7. Gives the Power to Forgive Sins (John 20:19-23)
  8. Confirming the Faith of Thomas (John 20:24-29)
  9. On the Shore of Lake Tiberias (John 21:1-13)
  10. Tells Peter to feed his sheep (John 21:15-17)
  11. Entrusts to followers with a  Mission to the World (Matthew 28:16-20)
  12. Ascends to the Father (Acts 1:6-11)
  13. Waits for the Holy Spirit with Mary (Acts 1:12-14)
  14. Sends the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-13)

Can you learn to experience the transforming way of the resurrection?

Click below for an early audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk

Easter people in a Good Friday World

Holy Week reflections 2022