Ax + Sword: Commentary 2018

Week 7 (Easter Season)

Acts 10:43A, 37-43
Psalm 118
Colossians 3:1-4
Mark 16:1-7 and John 20:1-9

Jesus is Risen! Happy Easter!

Over these past few weeks we have shared a journey. One of faith, hope and love. And now I leave you to go on your own. Hopefully you have been moved by God’s Spirit to go in a new direction.

The power of Easter changes everything. And I really mean everything. I say this to remind you and me of that reality. I used to think that maybe Easter was a nice thing to think about, to even ‘believe in’ if I wanted my life to be different. Now I know that Easter is really an every-single-day-of-my-life event. Every day is Easter. Easter faith. Easter hope. Easter love.

Easter faith is one that doesn’t mind surprises. It is one that lives in fear, darkness, and silence much of the time, but always pushes us to the light of Christ, which shines the brightest in the middle of the night.

Easter hope is one that draws us to new horizons. It is one that trusts that the sun will rise tomorrow and the day after and the day after that. Our lives have meaning, power and purpose. We can’t always see that purpose, but Easter hope reminds us that we live one day at a time. We live in grace.

Easter love is one that becomes stronger over time. It transforms our broken and hardened hearts. Often when we least expect it. It fosters peace in ourselves and our world. We are most able to love as Jesus loves when we share his banquet of love prepared for all people.

These are not just nice church platitudes written as an exercise in biblical vocabulary usage. These are drawn from experiences that have changed my life.

I have experienced the sadness and darkness brought about from betrayal, abandonment, and hatred. Why didn’t these experiences of my past keep me locked up in a cycle of fear and despair? Maybe it’s genetics or maybe it’s something else? Either way, God created it and re-creates it each and every day. I have heard countless stories of hopelessness and sorrow from people who are bound by their sins and the sins of people who have hurt them. Every moment I spend with these hurting brothers and sisters of mine, I get to carry the resurrected Jesus into their lives. This is the same Jesus who was brought to me by countless individuals over the years – and most of them probably have no idea they were instruments of God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness. As I reflect on who they might be, many names and faces come to mind, too many to list at this moment.

I am so thankful people have shared the Good News of Jesus with me. That they shared with me, in words and actions, that Jesus lives!

Over the next fifty days of Easter, let us celebrate the Risen Lord! Let us all run away from the empty tomb renewed in our mission and vision to share the Good News! Where we go from here is a conversation worth having with God.

On Easter Sunday and the many days following, we no longer hear words of Jesus, but rather stories and words of his disciples. Since Jesus now lives in his disciples – we must allow Jesus to take all that is wrong with us and make it right – so that we can boldly proclaim the one message of faith, hope and love to every creature under heaven!

Fr. Ross Miceli, M.Div., S.T.B., is pastor of St. Boniface Parish in Kersey and Campus Minister at Elk County Catholic in St. Marys. He can be reached at father.ross@st-boniface.org for questions or comments.