• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Friday, 26 April 2019 16:05

The Easter Story - a reflection

 

Fr Michael Knight SVD 150By Fr Michael Knight SVD

Easter begins very early in the morning when it is still dark so the Easter experience is in fact an invitation OUT of darkness INTO the light of a new day. Furthermore, the Risen Jesus first appears not to “the heavies” like the 12 apostles but to Mary Magdalene who is one of the little people. Easter begins in the dark and with someone living on the margins of society.

Sceptics demand evidence and proof that Jesus rose from the dead. Well what do we have?

Firstly the tomb of Jesus was found empty by Peter and others but this alone is not conclusive evidence that Jesus rose from the dead. Secondly we have the accounts in the Gospel of the resurrection appearances. Again the authenticity of such appearances is impossible to prove as there is always a subjective dimension to these reports.

Finally, and what is most telling, is our realisation of the profound changes in terms of new life which became evident in the lives of the disciples. This point is most relevant for all of us today.

Questions for us at this time:

  • After this Easter will I be living a new and deeper life as a Christian?
  • What kind of person does Easter invite me to become?

Our faith tells us that the cross and broken-ness is not the end of our story, but rather a beginning, that can lead to resurrection and new life.

The Easter Triduum begins with Holy Thursday when Jesus shared the Passover meal with his disciples.

Jesus took bread, said the blessing and said: “This is my Body which will be given up for you”. Then Jesus took the cup of wine and said: “This is my Blood which will be poured out for you”.

Then during the Passover Meal we hear that Jesus did something very unexpected. He took a basin of water and a towel and he washed and dried the feet of the disciples. Normally this was a task for one of the house servants. In this action parable Jesus beautifully sums up his life and ministry.

The washing of the feet of the disciples (which is all of us) took a particularly poignant form on Good Friday through his passion and death on the cross.

Easter reflection feeding the poor 450 SstockDuring his ministry Jesus uses the image of a seed that first has to die in the ground but then from this broken-ness and vulnerability, new life springs forth. As adults I am sure many of us can look back on experiences of being vulnerable and broken but then through the action of grace new life has blossomed forth.

I would like to share a true story of a certain person whom, in this context, I will call “Tom”.

Tom grew up in a well-to-do family. In growing up he was pampered but at the same time emotionally neglected by his over-busy professional parents. As he was quite intelligent, he went on to university and later attained high-paying employment with an advertising company. He eventually reached executive level, was married and had two children.

As an advertising executive he travelled a lot in the company jet and imbibed the ethos of being part of a cut throat business, where one always had “to win”. He described it to me later as “dog eat dog”.

In those days Tom often felt he was running on empty so he picked up a habit of taking pep pills and uppers to keep himself going. Then slowly he got involved in an affair with a lady in another city. His wife found out and cleared out with the children. He consequently suffered a nervous breakdown. So in his 40’s he found himself alienated from his wife and children, addicted to pep pills and broken down emotionally. A very hard place to be.

At this time I was managing a refuge for the homeless in the inner city of Sydney. Our refuge was called Teresa House, named after Mother Teresa, of course. Tom had recently moved into the neighbourhood and one day he dropped into the refuge to see if he could get some help in sorting out his life. After listening to his story I suggested that he apply to do some volunteer work at the refuge, to help those less fortunate than himself. His first reaction to me was “no one could be worse off than me”. But he agreed and started to work as a volunteer.

The homeless and street people would arrive at Teresa House around 5pm and be welcomed with a coffee or tea and some biscuits. Tom and two other volunteers had already prepared the mattresses and beds where the people would sleep and then he and the others would prepare the evening meal. I asked Tom to share the meal with the homeless people and listen to their stories and gradually the light came on for him.

After a good night’s sleep with a roof over their heads, the homeless people would be given breakfast before they went out for another day on the streets of Sydney. Every evening we would receive a different group to give as many as possible a chance to stay overnight in Teresa House. People told me that this was the most homey refuge in Sydney.

Tom told me later that his first learning was: “Life is not about ME, ME, ME but about serving others”. This was a tremendous inner shift for him.

Tom told me that previously he had been a control freak and a bully towards his employees, but now in doing service work he felt more fulfilled, and no longer “running on empty”. Later too, thank God, he was reconciled to his wife and children.

From an experience of broken-ness Tom experienced what is in fact a resurrection, finding a new and deeper life. He is a new man today and gives witness to that wonderful Amazing Grace. The interaction of God’s grace and personal brokenness is what it is all about.

For us Christians, death and resurrection go together, not just at the end of life but all through life itself.