In this post-Easter season, I have to rejoice anew that I live in a world with seasons since the very world around me speaks of resurrection and of life.
We have all seen the banner hanging outside a church or read the words on a signboard: “We Are Easter People and Alleluia is Our Name.” I love it, but I often ask: is it true for all Christians?
But a new creation is everything!
- Galatians 6:15
In a garden bathed by early sunshine, in hearts where hope is reborn, in a little community lifting their faces to hope, this is the first Easter joy. May we join them, for we too have risen from our old selves on this glorious morning when everything is new.
Let there be no hindrance to our prayers of joy and gratitude on this day. Alleluia indeed!
Bear one another’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
- Galatians 6:2
What a bleak and empty day for those first disciples in Jerusalem. Their only comfort must have been in each other, as they confessed their mutual failures and their fears for the future. Would they ever again know that they were forgiven and loved?
As they clung to each other, may we be conscious of the gift of a believing community at this time.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
- I Corinthians 15:26
We come to Calvary not understanding fully but knowing that Jesus desired to be one with us in everything, even death. In this place of torture and insult, his last breaths are marked by forgiveness and love. We are silent before such goodness.
May we have the grace to be with the witnesses to love beyond comprehension.
As often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
- I Corinthians 11:26
We take our places too at that Last Supper on this blessed evening. One final time Jesus will share the basic elements of life with those he loves and whom he asks to be with him in the hours to come. We know they do not understand. Do we?
May we pray for the grace to know what this night means for everyone who comes to the table.
So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.
- Galatians 6:9
The temptation of fatigue is always very real. Disciples are called to keep on doing over and over the same good deeds, and they are so rarely appreciated. Jesus knows this. He lived it too, so we need to ask for the grace of perseverance.
This final phrase is our prayer before we step into the holiest days of Lent.
Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.
- Galatians 5:26
This verse is just a restatement of the final teaching of Jesus to love one another. If we did love as he has commanded us, we would not be arrogant or jealous or competitive in the wrong way. What thoughts must be in the mind of Christ as he spends these last days with this group whom he has tried so hard to form to new values.
May we in our prayer this day join Jesus and his followers for our final instructions.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
- Galatians 5:22
Jesus has a few days left to impress this message on those in Jerusalem. This is what he has taught by his every action during his very public life, and he has so often been misunderstood. Can we stand beside him today and say, “I get it”?
Towards which of these virtues should I turn my attention today?
There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
- Galatians 3:28
As we join the festive crowd coming into Jerusalem on this Palm Sunday, might we feel something of this great spirit of the message of Jesus. He has come to call all of us, from every category of the world’s divisiveness, to be his. Jesus will never be the king his countrymen wanted, but he can be our triumphant leader if we hear this call.
Consider what this clarion cry actually means for the Christian community; we are one in him.
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
- 2 Corinthians 9:15
We pause as we stand on the threshold of the final week of Lent. We have heard, again and again, what discipleship demands and we have tried to respond. No, our efforts might not have been perfect, but we have tried, which is all that God asks of the willing heart. Now we gather our strength for this “last lap”, as it were, ever conscious of God at work in our souls.
May we find time in our prayer to thank God for the graces of these weeks and to ask for the strength of soul to walk carefully and prayerfully through the days ahead.
Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
- 2 Corinthians 9:7
The loving joy of the first Christians was what attracted so many outsiders to ask what they might believe that made it possible. Would that joy had remained an essential of the faith down through the ages. Instead, far too often a frowning countenance was the Christian face. Let’s recapture that first happiness today.
May we pray for the grace to offer delight and welcome to those we meet today.
The one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
- 2 Corinthians 9:6
This obviously proverbial saying had crept into the consciousness of Paul, as a city person. However, he knew enough from his travels to recognize that the farmer’s generous hand was the one that would be rewarded come harvest time. What does this mean for us? Can we afford to sprinkle more seeds of understanding, forgiveness, compassion, across our fields of endeavor or are we afraid to give lest we lack at some future moment?
Can we sow more freely on today’s field?
For the love of Christ urges us on…
- 2 Corinthians 5:14
Quite simply, this is the motivating force of this Lenten effort. We love him and he loves us. It is easy to say, isn’t it, but so awesome to consider. God so loved us that he wanted to be a part of all we could experience in this world, even unto death. There is no way we will ever fully understand this, but we can certainly try.
In a quiet moment, let us just repeat in our heart: “God loves me, without conditions.” Say it until it becomes real.
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
- 2 Corinthians 5:1
While Paul never had a life long enough to have read John 1:14, he is echoing what must have been a current thought, that this earthly existence is temporary like the shelter a tent offers. Just as Jesus dwelt here only for a relatively brief time, our lives follow a similar pattern in the great roll of the ages. Nothing is permanent but eternity. We need to stop from time to time and reflect on this.
In our prayer time, let us consider how much time and thought we give to that heavenly dwelling place.
But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.
- 2 Corinthians 4:7
The marketplace of Corinth was filled with shops selling clay pots and jugs for daily use. There was little beauty in them. They were not to be admired, but put to use. This is how Paul sees our calling. We have nothing to glory about in being a disciple, but many needs to which we can respond. This should be enough.
Can we reflect on this plain truth and find joy in being of use to God?
You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all.
- 2 Corinthians 3:2
Down through the ages wise men and women have rephrased what Paul says here, but the blunt truth is still hard to accept. We are the only Christ some people will ever meet, the only gospel they will read, the only bearer of the Good News that might come their way. For good or ill, this is how they see the Christian way of life. It is to be so read that we are trying to deepen our discipleship, isn’t it?
Let us resolve to be conscious of this unfair but awesome responsibility as we move into this day.
If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
- I Corinthians 15:19
Paul keeps widening his perspective as he writes to this loved but difficult community. His letter has to conclude with the great reminder that we Christians do all and try to be all for just one ultimate reason. There is more to life than just this life on earth. This is our Easter goal, but we often get so involve in daily things we forget to remind ourselves that death is not final. God’s love draws us ever onward.
We need prayer time to absorb this mystery and to rekindle our faith in it.
Sister Carol Perry
A gifted teacher and Bible Scholar, Sister Carol uses her extensive scholarship and imaginative storytelling skills to offer a fresh and innovative approach to exploring the Scriptures, bringing the stories of the Bible to life.
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