I wonder were I will savor the Presence of Christ in the 50 days of Easter.
Easter Monday brings with it a new emphasis changing the old into new: old leaven is out, and new leaven brought in; new gifts recognized and offered to the Lord for the work of building up the Church. “Clear out the old yeast, so that you may become a fresh batch of dough.” (I Corinthians 5:7) Easter Monday is the second day of a new beginning.
At Easter we sing this verse: “This is the day The Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice.” As people baptized into the Resurrection we can say: “You and I are the people the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice.”
Easter manifests God’s love that is more powerful than death. It’s a liberation: Easter means death no longer enslaves us. Our early Christians saw the light of Jesus Christ bursting forth from the tomb, a light that shatters of death’s bond.
The Resurrection from the dead is God’s great gift of salvation given to us. One theologian writes that the “Resurrection, God ratifies, sums up, and valorizes his material creation. Therefore, Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is not just about him. It’s about all those who will participate in his Mystical Body, the Church, and it’s about all of matter. In raising Jesus bodily from the dead, the Father is raising all of matter to new life.”
The Resurrection of Jesus from the dead speaks to us as been given a New Creation radically changing the sin of Adam into a new heaven and a new earth, a new body: we are living creatures living within the life of God. In Christ Jesus we are human beings with an alive, flourishing humanity. Christians believe that heaven is not just a spiritual space that our souls go following death. It’s first a new creation on earth with the doors of heaven opened unto new life with the Holy Trinity.
Post Pentecost some of our study and prayer ought to work on what it means to live by the Holy Spirit and how does the Church relate to the Spirit. We need to be serious about the Holy Spirit and not leave such questions to the dust bin or the happy-clappy Christians who claim to be slain in the Spirit alone. Sometimes I get the sense that we Catholics go to extremes when it comes to Holy Spirit: either we pay no attention to the Spirit or we ascribe to much to the Spirit. We even forget that the Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity: the Bible reveals the Holy Spirit to be God.
There is nothing to fear in coming to understand the what and who the Holy Spirit is for the Catholic.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (797) teaches:
What the soul is to the human body, the Holy Spirit is to the Body of Christ, which is the Church. To this Spirit of Christ, as an invisible principle, is to be ascribed the fact that all the parts of the body are joined one with the other and with their exalted head; for the whole Spirit of Christ is in the head, the whole Spirit is in the body, and the whole Spirit is in each of the members. The Holy Spirit makes the Church the temple of the living God:
Indeed, it is to the Church herself that the “Gift of God” has been entrusted. In it is in her that communion with Christ has been deposited, that is to say: the Holy Spirit, the pledge of incorruptibility, the strengthening of our faith and the ladder of our ascent go God. For where the Church is, there also is God’s Spirit; where God’s Spirit is, there is the Church and every grace. (Saint Irenaeus)
Think of the difference between what happened at Pentecost and what happened at Sinai. There, the people stood at a distance. The mood was one of fear rather than love…Scripture tells us that God came down in the form of fire, and while the people stood in terror at a distance he wrote with his finger on tablets of stone…But when the Holy Spirit came, the believers were all together in one place. Instead of terrifying them by descending on a mountain top, he came into the house. Suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a strong, driving wind. In spite of the noise, no one was afraid…On the mountain there was also smoke, whereas in the upper room there were only clear, steady flames. These came to rest on each one of them, and they began to speak in other tongues…Listen to a person speaking an unknown tongue: it must be evident to you that the Spirit is writing on the heart, and no longer on tablets of stone. So then, it is not on stone, but in your hearts, that the life-giving law of the Spirit has been written. In Christ Jesus, in whom the true Passover has been perfectly celebrated, this law has set you free from the law of sin and death.
A person with certitude in someone or something is going to propose that you consider making an inquiry into what is the cause of your certainty and hope. Naturally we will want to share with others and to deepen within ourselves a reality that blossoms as a beautiful new flower. The draw of that flower is no mere superficial thing: there is hope, beauty, expectation, communication, an essentiality that is unique. This is the role of the Pope who gives good example and daily tells us the cause of his joy and hope in being a friend of Jesus Christ. He encourages to look deeper into our faith in Christ and not to settle for less than what has been offered, that is, everything.
“Being Christian is not just obeying orders but means being in Christ, thinking like Him, acting like Him, loving like Him; it means letting Him take possession of our life and change it, transform it and free it from the darkness of evil and sin” (Pope Francis, General Audience, April 10, 2013).
The head of the ecclesial movement, Communion and Liberation, Father Julián Carrón reflects on what it means to be a Christian today with the help of the new pope in L’Osservatore Romano (18 May 2013), in “As Beggars of Faith.” It is a brief reflection on what he sees going on with Pope Francis leading the Church as he meets with the Church’s many ecclesial movements.
The text of Father Carrón’s reflection is here: JCarrón As Beggars of Faith.pdf