Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.

Sit still…..Relax…….Do not rush………

Take a couple of gentle, slow and deep breaths…becoming aware of your breath going in and out… stay focused on this breath of life……

Now from the depth of your heart begin to wish your mind well……….

Take a moment. Bless your day. Let your day Bless you……Take another moment. Bless your world. Let your world bless you……

Prayerfully, reflectively read the following……Dwell on the thoughts that speak to you in this moment……

We began our Lenten Journey with a cross traced in ashes on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday as a declaration of the necessity of repentance, of change of heart and of faithfulness to the Gospel values. We heard God’s call: “Come Home”..wherever you may have been and whatever you may have been doing, “come home”.

We met Jesus in different situations during our journey through lent. We heard his word and saw the way he interacted with the world around him.
We remembered his passion, his passion for his father’s will, passion for humanity, passion for you and me and suffering and dying out of that passion.

We remembered Jesus transforming bread and wine into his life and giving his life to us as food and drink. We remembered him washing the feet of his disciples and calling them and us today to follow his example in gracious and self-sacrificing service.

We remembered Jesus being betrayed, tried, judged, condemned and crucified. We remembered him dying on a cross. We remembered Jesus giving himself totally in life and in death. We remembered the cross, sign of shame and punishment, becoming the symbol of sacrifice, healing, unconditional love, total giving, redemption and salvation. We remembered and relived the passion, the cross and the death of Jesus.

The journey that we began in ashes brings us now to the fire of Easter. It is the fire that lights the Paschal Candle which proclaims: “the light of Christ”. It is the fire that brings us into the light of Christ and lights up our own path. Hold out your candle for all to see! Carry your candle into the darkness and light up your world!

Our Lenten journey brings us now to Easter – to new life, to new beginnings, to new presence. We celebrate our call to be an Easter People, a People of the Resurrection, a people transformed by the death and resurrection of Jesus, a people who must continue to journey in faith, in hope and in love. We must move on and meet Jesus, alive, where we are, now, at this point in our history.

We now take a moment to reflect on the different stories of the resurrection of Jesus…..

The Gospel of Mark (Mark 16:9-15) tells us that Jesus rose from the dead and first appeared to Mary Magdalene, but the followers of Jesus refused to believe her testimony. The disciples did not expect Jesus to be visiting Mary of Magdala after his resurrection. After all, her past was not that great and she was not one of the specially chosen apostles….she did not fit the common criteria for a visit from the world beyond…..

Be open! The Lord has his own way of surprising us! He comes to us through the most unexpected people, events, places and situations! No one expected to find the messiah in a manger or on the cross….that is just the way God revealed the power of His unconditional, unconquerable, benevolent love for us.

Two of the disciples on their way to Emmaus had an experience of the risen Jesus, while they were on the road. The disciples did not believe them either.

The Gospel of Luke (Luke 24: 1-10) speaks of two young men in white robe at the tomb of Jesus. They said to the women of Galilee who came to visit the tomb: “He is not here, but he has been raised……and they (the women) returned and announced all these things to the eleven and to all others”.

HE IS ALIVE! He goes ahead of us into our Galilees…..He will meet us where we are and we must move on and meet him where we are….in life and in death……

In the Gospel of John, we read the moving story of Mary of Magdala (John 20:1-9) going to the tomb of Jesus early in the morning and running to Peter and John to tell them that the tomb was empty. Peter and John went to the tomb and found everything as Mary had described. This excerpt concludes by saying that they believed without understanding the scripture “that he had to rise from the dead”.

Real faith is born of relationship. It is not an affirmation or acceptance of doctrines or acceptance of details of an event that can be verified scientifically or otherwise. To believe is to relate…to believe is to trust…to believe is to be intimate…to believe is to be in communion. Our belief in the resurrection and our commitment to live a resurrected life is the result of our communion with the risen Christ.

Finally, Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples and rebuked them for their disbelief. Then he sent them with the mission: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the good news to all creation”.

Jesus surprised them again by sending them with his message to fulfill his mission. Men of weak faith…… who could not see beyond their disappointment………men, who did not grasp all that Jesus said to them about his death and resurrection while he was among them, were sent to proclaim the good news of the resurrection!

Don’t wait and don’t hesitate to share and announce the good news of God’s love till you have fully matured in faith!

The farewell gift of Jesus was “Peace” and his first gift on his return after the resurrection also was “Peace”. On the evening of the first day of the week, when the doors were closed….Jesus stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you” (John 20:19)

This Peace, he said, was not the kind of peace the world would give. It is enduring peace, lasting peace, eternal peace….it is “shalom”, the “Total Well-Being”, “The Highest Good”, of human beings. It is not the absence or the end of war or conflict. It is the presence of shalom, even in the midst of tension. This is the kind of peace, shalom that Jesus experienced in loving and fulfilling the Father’s will.

The Peace that Jesus spoke of comes not from evasion of issues, but from facing them, dealing with them and conquering them – it is the making of peace, even when the way of peace is a struggle. The Jewish Rabbis held that the highest task, which a man can perform, is to establish right relationship between man and man – peacemaking, the force that binds/unites – the force that brings harmony.

If you want peace, be peaceful…..teach yourself to take a completely different approach, a gentleness approach, a “peacefulness approach” and be prepared to stay in that posture for as long as it takes.

I wish you Peace – God’s Peace – the peace that Jesus promised, the kind of peace the world can not offer. Peace in your hearts, peace in your homes, peace in your community, peace in your country, peace in the world.

I pray for you that you may have peace in your hearts, you may think peace, feel peace, speak peace. You may have a word of peace for your family, your friends, your neighbors and for all……You be men and women of peace. May your presence proclaim God’s Peace.

I wish you a very happy and joy-filled Easter. May the risen Lord bless you, your family and your ministry! You and your family are in my prayer especially during this season.

Happy Easter!

Fr. Gus Tharappel,msfs