By Sister M. Martha Pavelsky, MHSH
Have you ever risen from the dead? If you’re an overworked, underpaid, weary-to-the-bone person who nevertheless hauls out every morning to take on another day, you have.
If you live in the eastern half of this country and have struggled with and struggled against the winter of 2016, you may be rising again just about now, finding your grimly-set jaw softening as you notice the blooms coming to life in your garden, or shiny maroon buds fattening on a tree.
Spouses, parents and others buy into resurrection when we choose a bit of amnesia relative to last night’s argument or bedtime tantrum, and speak a quiet “good morning” as the new day begins.
Resurrection is more common than believed—unless we’re speaking of “Jesus bustin’ through them rocks,” as a second grader in Mobile, Alabama, once defined it for me.
“Bustin’ through” is what’s significant in that description. Reflect for just a moment on what you may need to “bust through,” and ask our risen Lord to empower you to do it!
Day 8, Many believed because of the woman’s testimony
- Exodus 3:13-15, Moses at the Burning Bush
- Psalm 30, The Lord restores us to life
- Romans 10:14-17, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news
- John 4:27-30.39-40, Many believed because of the woman’s testimony.
With her heart transformed, the Samaritan woman goes out in mission. She announces that she has found the Messiah. Many believed in Jesus because of her witness. The force of her witness stems from the transformation of her life caused by her encounter with Jesus. Thanks to her openness, she recognized in that stranger “a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4.14)
Mission is a key element of Christian faith. Every Christian is called to announce the name of the Lord. Pope Francis told missionaries, “wherever you may go, it would do you well to think that the Spirit of God always gets there ahead of us.” Mission is not proselytism. Those who truly announce Jesus approach others in loving dialogue, open to mutual learning, and respecting difference. Our mission requires us to learn to drink from the living water without taking hold of the well. The well does not belong to us. Rather, we draw life from the well of living water which is given by Christ.
Our mission must be a work both of word and witness. We seek to live out what we proclaim. The late Brazilian Archbishop Helder Camara once said that “many have become atheists because they have become disillusioned by people of faith who do not practice what they preach.” The witness of the woman led her community to believe in Jesus because her brothers and sisters saw coherence between her words and her own transformation. If our word and witness is authentic, the world will hear and believe. “How are they to believe if they have not heard?” (Rom 10: 15).
God, Spring of Living Water, make of us witnesses of unity through both our words and our lives. Help us to understand that we are not the owners of the well, and give us the wisdom to welcome the same grace in one another. Transform our hearts and our lives so that we might be genuine bearers of the Good News. And lead us always to the encounter the other, as an encounter with you. We ask this in the name of your Son Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Source: Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute
By Susan Engel, MHSH
It begins with a question. Several years ago, ABC aired a documentary entitled “Resurrection.” It offered a compelling debate about whether Jesus rose “physically” from the dead. They interviewed Biblical scholars—Jewish, Protestant and Catholic. The program did not definitively answer the question of whether the resurrection was physical as well as spiritual.
The answer for me is – something happened that was not merely an internal conversion for the apostles. If they did not have an experience of seeing Jesus in a resurrected form, how could they change so drastically? Logical reasoning or wishful thinking did not convince the Apostles that Jesus rose from the dead. Neither did reflecting back years later after Jesus’ death make the apostles create the story of the Resurrection. Searching the Hebrew Scriptures for answers could not create such an enormous radical change in the followers of Jesus.
After Jesus died, not only did their dreams and hopes for a new kingdom evaporate, but they were frightened for their own lives. The gospels record what happened. The Apostles were behind locked doors. They were fleeing Jerusalem for fear they would be crucified next. They went back to fishing. They sought the safety and security of their former lives. But then Jesus appeared to them and they were emboldened. Nothing else can explain why all the Apostles, except John, were martyred.
Reading spiritual literature, nature is often cited for a reason to believe in the Resurrection. In the springtime when we see new buds burst forth from what appear to be dead branches, doesn’t that help us believe in life after death? The lesson from nature strengthens my belief in a cosmic creator God.
I know the answer to the question raised in the ABC documentary.
To believe in Jesus’ Resurrection, I look to Mary Magdalene who was the first to meet the risen Jesus, and I see the answer to the question in the lives of the Apostles.
The answer is Easter! The Resurrection happened. I’m sure of it.