The question posed by Nicodemus is one which we all ask in one way or another. How are we to know that the Spirit is really working in the world if we cannot see it and understand it? How are we to be born again in the Spirit if we don’t know anything about the Spirit?
It’s human to prefer the familiar and the known. We hesitate before stepping into an unknown or unfamiliar situation. And yet, Fr. Michael Mascari, O.P., reminds us that it is God who is in control.
How do we hang on to joy, to the joy of the Gospel, even in the midst of our current anxieties? Christ walks beside us in the dark as our rock.
Some of the hardest things we are asked to do as Christians is to accept both our need for mercy and to extend that mercy to others. Accepting and extending mercy means making ourselves vulnerable to others. Mercy means we have to have the humility to recognize our own mistakes. And mercy means we have to accept that this is what Jesus did and so we have to do the same. Deacon Christopher Johnson, O.P. makes it clear: when Jesus returned and appeared to the disciples in the locked room he gave them peace, forgiving them even though they had abandoned him.
In the sacrament we pray for those things we wish to protect the child from. Just as parents prepare a safe area for their newly arrived baby. So too in Baptism we do the same thing. We ask God to protect the child in the exorcism. We say the devil has no entrance here, because of the saving power of Jesus.
Jesus Christ is risen indeed. The tomb is empty. This is the Good News which we are called to preach with joy and exultation. Alleluia!
Msgr. Richard Lavalley continues his reflections on the sacrament of Baptism. Parents give the gift of God of their children back to God. He reminds us we are all called by God personally since God always calls us by name.
In the wake of Christ’s death, it must have been tempting for the disciples to return to the old normal, to what they were always used to after the apparent tragedy of the Crucifixion. But Jesus does not call us into the past or ask us to go backwards. Rather, Jesus asks us to embrace a new and transformational new normalcy.
What does it mean to celebrate Easter? In these reflections Msgr. Lavalley uses the Easter season to unpack the beauty and mystery of the Sacrament of Baptism. Baptism is not just something that is nice, it is something that is essential.
In our Christian lives, and especially in these difficult times, we have to rely on the Cross of Jesus Christ. We have to make a leap of faith and trust in God’s promise and The Cross provides something for us to hang on to in the midst of our doubts and our tribulations. The Cross is hope. It is also encouragement. Each of us is asked by God to do some service, some act for God and for our neighbors. But often we fail to make the leap and we ask again and again: Who, me? Do you mean me, God?