Are you really happy? Have you checked your eyesight lately? Have you checked if your soul is missing?
Christos Anesti! (Greek for: Christ is Risen!)
Rejoice and Be Glad! Our shame and betrayals have been dismissed and forgotten by God. Today God reveals to us that deliberate and pre-meditated love is more powerful than evil.
Sadly, of course, we still have to bear the consequences of our bad actions, and neglect of those in need. However, God’s message, today, promises us that a new beginning is possible: God gives us HOPE. Easter declares that, despite our sins, God has not rejected us.
But there is a catch: Easter is not an invitation just to start again – and do smarter – what we were doing before. This new beginning requires a radical change in our mission:
We are called, during our everyday activities: to forgive, to speak the truth, to defend the weak and, most of all, to deliberately make plans to do loving actions for the good of others.
Perhaps some of you are bristling at the invitation – as I have presented it – because you feel you are already doing it. Good! Great! Keep it up.
However, before we dismiss the invitation above, can we do a self-awareness check:
1. Am I really happy with myself – most of the time? Yes/ No
2. Are most of my ‘significant people’ really happy with me – most of the time? Yes/ No
If we answer NO to either question, then perhaps we should revisit the invitation above.
Easter Sunday is wonderful and joyful when we are with our families and friends celebrating. But, if we are not careful, it will be just like any other party we have: enjoyable at the time, but quickly forgotten as my problems and lifestyle continue to make me empty/ frustrated/ sad.
Easter calls us to a new vision; to check our eyesight: George Orwell (author of Animal Farm), once summarized our difficulties to see clearly:
“A rather cruel trick I once played on a wasp. He was sucking jam on my plate and I cut him in half. He paid no attention, merely went on with his meal, while a tiny stream of jam trickled out of his severed oesophagus. Only when he tried to fly away did he grasp the dreadful thing that had happened to him. It is the same with us. The thing that has been cut away is our soul and there is a period of time… during which we do not notice it.” (G. Orwell, Collected Essays, Vol. II, Page 15)
To safeguard our soul we must embrace with more pre-meditation, the invitation Christ has given to us to be my disciple, to follow me, to come and see.
It is interesting to reflect back on my earlier life and the dedication I had in planning my study, my work, etc. But I don’t recall much pre-meditation about my social responsibilities.
I just tried to be good, to help people when I saw them in need, to send donations to Christian Blind Mission Intl, and Caritas, etc. when I received their letters. I was a typically reactive Christian, rather than a pro-active Christian.
I wonder if you would say the same? Even today, it’s easier to blame the Church leaders for moral decay, for family breakdowns because they should do more programmes. Not my job!
The most dedicated and pre-meditated activists I see in the world today are people proposing freedoms which the Christian faith is often arguing against. There are, however, some notable exceptions: Catholic Education groups, Climate Activists, St Vincent de Paul Societies in so many parishes helping the poor, the Pro-Life groups, Caritas and a new-ish news organisation called: www.CatholicVote.org.
In our Catholic Schools there is much attention to social responsibilities and opportunities for students to be involved. But what happens after our school years? Many organisations helping others in need are crying out for more volunteers but very few people are stepping forward.
Today, as we enjoy the relief from fasting, and the true gratitude I’m sure we feel for what Christ has done for us, can we, like Ethan Hunt (Mission Impossible), accept a new Mission:
“Your mission, should you choose to accept it,…” is to join an organisation that reaches out to show love in our world. Even active participation and support of the local parish does that. And your SOUL will come back to you.
The Easter Resurrection reminds us that, just as God has rolled away the stone for us, we have been empowered by God to roll away the stone for others: those trapped in unhappiness; in shame, in regret; the hungry; those who are depressed and without hope.
We are proud of our Oblate Youth, Nairobi, who reached out to support a struggling Children’s Home on Holy Saturday. With little enough for themselves, they shared what they had. Can we check our eyesight and do something similar where we are? HAPPY EASTER!
By Gerard Conlan, OMI