3rd Sunday of Easter (May 8, 2011)

I’m always amazed at how the Spirit works when it comes to these letters or reflections. I was sitting at the computer, with the screen open to the Scripture readings for this coming Sunday. The First Reading is Peter’s speech to the people of Jerusalem immediately after the descent of the Holy Spirit. About halfway through that talk, Peter mentions of Jesus: “It was impossible for him to be held by {death}.”

That turn of phrase really caught me. I pushed back from the desk, leaned back in my chair, crossed my arms, and started to reflect on how that applies to my life, to our lives as a People of God. You hear often how Jesus “defeated /conquered/vanquished death”, but those verbs have always been a puzzlement because death is still a reality in our lives. Strictly speaking, it’s not defeated, because it still claims us.

But when it comes to being “held” by death, that’s a different beast. I can accept the holding, or I can choose to break the hold one way or another. It’s a choice I make.

For example, if I suffer from chronic illness, but try hard to remain cheerful and positive, then I’ve broken the hold death has on me. If there is someone who drives me nuts, I break the hold of death by praying for that person and for my own conversion of attitude, as opposed to joining in criticism and negative thinking about him/her.

Lean back in your own chair and think about it…how does death have you in its grasp…and how can you – with God’s help – free yourself from that hold.

One other thing, this time on the Gospels of Sunday and the past week. Look at those appearances of Jesus, both recorded and not recorded. How desperate he much have been to be with them; how he must have loathed being separated from his friends! He wanted to be with them in the worse way….nothing was stopping him from being with them. It’s very much like a person who has gone through a near-death experience, or recovered from a major life-threatening illness. They never look at life in quite the same way, and their #1 priority is usually to spend as much time as possible with those they love. Well, as it was for his disciples, so it is with you and me: how desperately Jesus wants to be with us!!

Love deeply, pray faithfully, laugh often!

herb yost reflections

Fr. Herb, C.S.C.

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