There were so many amazing things that happened in the days just before and after the first Easter. When I think about Jesus as being God, some of these things make sense to me, but when I think that Jesus was also a man, I find his actions incredible. Imagine Holy Thursday evening. This was the night before he was going to die a horrible and painful death. When he was eating with his apostles, he knew that his torture would begin that same night and would not end until he died the following afternoon. If I knew that I had such a short time left with my closest friends, I’d probably reminisce about happier times. I might try to tell them everything I thought they needed to know, so my teachings would carry on. But what did Jesus do? He shared a meal with them, and in the act of sharing that meal, he instituted the Eucharist – the cornerstone of our lives as Christians.
We heard in the Acts of the Apostles – the first reading – about how some of his disciples actually lived this message during the time after the Resurrection. Luke described an almost perfect world where people prayed together, ate together, and shared their possessions with each other. They were passing on the good news that they had heard – they were living the good news. Luke writes: “…[they] ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the good will of all the people.” Tonight when you sit down to eat, try eating your food with a glad and generous heart! I think it would be a wonderful meal. Imagine:
By extending his wounds to them, he was inviting them not only to touch his physical wounds, but to touch the wounds of the world. Today we see these wounds in the homeless, the victims of war and racial violence, battered women and children, those suffering with debilitating physical and mental illnesses. By extending his wounds to us, he’s inviting us to pass on the special love that he had for the suffering people of his day, to the suffering people of our day.
Easter is a time when we remember our baptism in a special way. At the Easter vigil, we saw five adults walk through the baptismal font in a very beautiful and moving ceremony, initiating them into the Catholic faith. On Easter Sunday, six little babies were baptized. Baptism mirrors Christ’s death and resurrection. As we immerse ourselves in the baptismal waters, we die to sin, and we arise from the waters as Christ rose from the tomb on the first Easter.
As we remember our baptisms during this special season, we should remember the important messages that Christ gave us in the difficult – and yet glorious times surrounding his death and resurrection – his clear and unequivocal instruction to share and worship in the Eucharist, to serve one another in humility, and to forgive. This is the call of our baptism. Pass it on.