Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter! He has risen!

This morning's blog is going to be a bit different than what I usually do.  Normally I would write a homily to talk about the readings of today.  I purposely have avoided writing during Holy Friday and last night I went to the Vigil.   After the Vigil, I found myself so wired that I couldn't fall asleep immediately.  So I began to meditate on the mystery of our salvation.  As Catholics, we journey with Christ in the liturgy as He goes from the Last Supper, into the Garden, and through all of the events that lead to His death and Ressurection.   I endeavored last night to let God speak to me through one of the most interesting and maybe even most powerful ways, the imagination.  So I placed myself in those scenes.  I imagined what it might have been like to have been there, so long ago.

Here I am at the foot of the cross.   My mind still reeling from the events that have preceded.   As a young servant, I watched as the Master washed the feet of His disciples.  I marveled that He was doing my job for me.  His royal hands washing away the caked dirt from the journey.   Then when it came time for dinner, He asked me to sit with them and eat as well.  I've never gotten to eat with anyone, let alone a King.   My eyes were filled with tears as I realize the generosity my new Master had shown me.  He had made me one of them.  A brother.  A friend.   I would follow Him anywhere I realized.  Then I saw a man named Judas rise and run into the night after some words were exchanged.   I didn't know what would happen, but I had an uneasy feeling in my stomach. 

Then we had found ourselves in a beautiful grotto.   This garden had been off limits to me before.   I was only allowed in the back alleys, coming in through the hidden entrances and avoiding being seen by the wealthy.  He had asked that we stay awake with Him.   I kept falling asleep.   Then I would wake to His voice calling to us in the night.  Instead of anger, instead of rage at our failure, it was filled with sympathy at our weakness.   Sorrow lined His eyes and He seemed to care more about what was going to happen to us, than even what He was going through.   Then it happened.  The man named Judas came back and with a kiss on the cheek that seemed to last an eternity the world was shattered.  It all came crashing down.  I barely got away with my own life as they had taken hold of my clothes.  

All the rest of the events a blur.   Here I stood at His feet as the world shook, the sky darkened, and the last breath of God himself issued forth.  Filled with anger I turned around to glare at the crowd behind me.  All of those who yelled crucify him!   The soldiers who drove the nails into His most precious hands and feet.   The men who walked by spitting and jeering!  Oh, the hatred flowed through me and I wanted to berate them and beat them.   I scanned the faces in the crowd and the color drained from my face.   They were all images of me.   I found myself staring at reflections of the one who had betrayed Jesus.   The one who couldn't stay awake.  The one who fled when He was being seized.  The one who throughout his entire life couldn't simply follow Jesus but put other things in His place.    I covered my eyes and with stooped shoulders began to cry with heaving sobs.   

I felt a hand on my shoulder then.  I turned to face whoever it was that had touched me.  Hoping it was the Romans coming to treat me the way they had treated my Master.   My life wasn't worth living without Him.  How could I go back to just the normal everyday drudgery of a slave, knowing what life was like being with the King of the Universe?  My heart leaped with joy at the sight of my Master standing before me.   He has risen!  It was Easter morning!  Then I realized it was my fault He had died.   It was my sins that drove Him to that cross.  I fell to my knees.  I began to cry again in remorse and sorrow, knowing that I deserved Hell and every ill that befell me in this life.   I again felt the tug of a hand, pulling me to my feet.  

He once again began to turn me toward the crowd behind me.  I could still hear their jeers, their mockery, their anger.   I closed my eyes.  I couldn't bear to look at all of it again.  My Master bid me open my eyes.  I refused, my fear overwhelming me.  Then I found myself opening my eyes in obedience to God, even though my bodily fears bid me to do otherwise.   There wasn't a crowd before me but a jeweled and silvered mirror.  Its reflection was mine for but an instant.  Then it changed into His.   I felt Him squeeze my shoulder as He departed for a time.   He had reminded me of the simple truth that He did not go to the cross because I forced Him too.  He went to the cross for my sins, but by His own free will.  He chose to die for me.  Then the tears came again.  This time not in fear, not in sorrow, but in joy.   He loves me.   He has died and risen for us!  Help me, Lord, to keep my eyes open and always focused on you! 

I hope this meditation helps someone this Easter morning!   Happy Easter, may God bless you and keep you safe.   Enjoy your families, your celebrations and above all give thanks to God for giving us the gift of salvation!  

His servant and yours, 
Brian Mullins

"He must increase, I must decrease." 

A meditation for Easter, April 16, 2017.