I love this period of the year as spring nudges out winter. We experience re-birth. For Christians too this time of year sees an extra spring in our step. Catholic Christians in particular have just come off the lengthy period of lent in preparation for the celebration of Easter and the scriptures always start in the post Easter period with readings from the book of Acts. Even though our Lenten intentions somehow never seem to meet our expectations nevertheless we have completed a journey of preparation that culminates in the great Christian feast of Easter. As some of you may know, I have a particular passion for evangelization and so the readings from Acts really resonate with me.
As our family sat around the dinner table this Easter, my daughter- in –law, Megs, shared with us her journey to God. She had been in hospital quite seriously ill about 4 years ago and was unable to take medication to alleviate the pain she was suffering. My youngest son and his now wife, who are members of an evangelical community, teamed up with members of their Church to pray generally for Megs. She discovered later that at the exact time that she was being prayed for, her pain disappeared and her condition improved and she gradually returned to robust heath. It was the timing that caught her attention as well as the great sense of love that she felt flowing from her Creator.
God really has a way of getting our attention. For Megs, I think, it came as somewhat of a revelation as she had not been raised in a faith filled household and this experience has enabled her to really sense the presence of a loving and compassionate God.
This morning’s scripture reading from the Book of Acts [Acts 2: 14, 36-41] invites us to really focus on the magnificent paradigm shift brought about by the Resurrection. God, in his great love for all of us, had provided through the suffering and death of Jesus a vehicle by which we could be released from all of our sins and the slavery that our sinful addictions created for us. We could be free and filled with the Holy Spirit. We needed only to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus for God promises in His great mercy to forgive us our future sins as we confess them and ask for forgiveness. God can embrace you as he has embraced Megs. Not only has God saved each of us individually, but He has saved us together and built us into a Church [the Body of Christ]. Think of the Church as a ship comprising Christians of all denominations and those as well who follow the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in their lives. We are together on a voyage with our fellow crewmates and with our brothers and sisters all reconciled to the Father by the redemptive act of Jesus and all destined to be welcomed into the Father’s house once our earthly life is finished.
It’s a time to be particularly joyful assured as we are of our destination. It’s also a time to renew our commitment to share the good news with others in ways that the Holy Spirit directs each of us. We want our voyage to be successful for ourselves but we also want to invite others to board the ship and share the hope that is our joy. May this Easter season provide you with clear skies, a gentle breeze to fill the sails and calm waters as you continue your journey towards your Creator and may your life be witness to the hope and joy that you possess.