March 31, 2016 – Thursday in the Octave of Easter
Saint for the day: Stephen Mar Saba (died: 794)
The readings that we’re hearing in these days after Easter should give us encouragement since even those who walked and lived with Jesus had fears and questions concerning what it was all about. I didn’t count how many times Jesus said, “Have no fear. It is I” to those who were encountering Him after His resurrection. He also told them to “look at me and see that I am not a ghost.” All of us have fears of various kinds and we know that it’s fear of the unknown that prevents us from moving ahead. If out of fear we lock ourselves in our own personal ‘upper rooms’ we will never be able to meet the resurrected Jesus on the way! And even though Jesus miraculously comes to us he still says, “Do not cling to me.” Scripture tell us, “Fear of the Lord in the beginning of wisdom,” We have to think of that in terms of “awe” rather then common “fear.” And when Jesus tells us not to cling to Him He is reminding us that we can not just hold on to Him as some kind of “security blanket” but must be willing to go out and proclaim by the words and actions of our lives that Jesus is risen and goes before us to show the way.
Some of the “evangelicals” speak of accepting Jesus as our “personal savior” and this can promotes a false sense of what Jesus is all about. Accepting Jesus into our lives is meant to be the force that puts us back on the road and out there to live fully the life that has been given to us. But we are not alone since we are also given the gift of the Holy Spirit – the creative force – that empowers us to be all that we are meant to be. And we have to remember that the Hoy Spirit Is given to us in order to build up the “body of the Church” and not for our own aggrandizement. It’s never just me and Jesus but always me as part of something much larger than and grander than anything I could do by myself. We are the Church and that Church will only be a good as all the individuals put together. Amen!