"Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed"

"Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed"

By Msgr. Bernard Bourgeois/ bigccatholics.com

The Easter season stretches from Easter Sunday to Pentecost, making up what is known as “The Great 50 Days.” This is a season in which the Church rejoices in and with the resurrected Christ. It is certainly the most festive season of the year as the Church proclaims the Easter Alleluia. Lilies abound in our churches and the baptismal font and the paschal candle are at the center of our Easter celebrations. The faithful renewed their baptismal vows on Easter Sunday and reflects upon them throughout the Easter season. The lighting of the paschal candle, which took place at the Easter Vigil Mass, is a reminder of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and is lit at every Mass throughout Easter. It stands as a sentry; one light of hope in a world that is still filled with despair and sin. The readings of the season are from the Acts of the Apostles in which the Church is reminded of its earliest days and called to recommit to the same faith.

This is a season in which Jesus’ disciples slowly descend from the peak of faith, celebrated on Easter Sunday. There is much work to do in the Easter season that follows. The Church has enjoyed its time at the mountaintop celebrating Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter. Now, Jesus’ followers return to their normal lives of work, family, school, and home, and with that comes the real test: can the follower of Jesus, who has been so enlightened by the resurrection of Jesus, make faith work in his or her daily life? Is it possible to believe? The Easter season is about letting it all sink in. The Eucharist, as celebrated Holy Thursday, the death of the Lord which was the focus of Good Friday, and the Resurrection, which the Church proclaimed on Easter Sunday—all of these are matters of belief that go beyond what human reason can prove. In the Easter season, the faithful are asked to embrace these matters of faith which were celebrated in rapid succession during the sacred Triduum. Faith and belief are lifelong journeys. It does not come all at once but over the course of a lifetime the disciple embraces the great mysteries of faith. In a sense the human person is wired to believe in only that which he can see, touch, and prove. Faith requires that the same person go beyond the senses to embrace the Lord in love.

The first matter of faith to be accepted is that God exists. God is. The human person knows little of the nature of God, only that he exists and that he is all powerful, all knowing, and all loving. According to Genesis, men and women are created in his image and likeness. The person comes to accept God’s existence through realizing the beauty of creation and by understanding that he or she is not responsible for himself. Something somewhere has created me, placed me, and given me gifts. Wow! God exists. Can you believe it?

The person is called to believe in Jesus Christ as fully God and fully human. God has loved the person so much that he became one in all things but sin. Why else would God have become human? It is for the benefit of the person. He suffered, died, and was raised, the focus of the Easter season. The Resurrection is not a ghostly appearance but a true rising from the dead. Jesus will never die again. Through the Resurrection hope has entered the world. Sin and suffering will not be the final chapters. It is hope and new life that will be the final words on human history. Can you believe it?

The Eucharist is one of the most important matters of belief. On Holy Thursday, the Church celebrated the moment when Jesus took bread and said “This is my body” and the cup of wine and said “This is my blood. Do this in memory of me.” From the earliest accounts of the Church, it was noted that this instruction was taken literally. The Eucharist is the central prayer of the Church and is the heart of all parishes. However, the human person is skeptical. It still looks and tastes like bread and wine—how can it be said that it is the “body and blood of Christ”? Again, this is a matter of faith to be embraced. Through the power of the Holy Spirit and the words of the Church, this change happens. You will believe in the Eucharist when you felt its power in your life. Can you believe it?

These are all matters of faith to be embraced—the fact that God exists, Jesus Christ, and the Eucharist. All of these go beyond what can be learned through human reason. The Easter season helps the followers of Jesus to take it slowly. One embraces these mysteries of faith through prayer. The Lord wants you to embrace him in love. You will not have these matters of faith all figured out, but you do not need to completely understand them. Humans embrace one another in love all the time without fully knowing the other, but they still do it. Why? Because it is what makes us human. When the person has felt the experience of the living God, Jesus Christ, and the Eucharist, then he or she will know that it is all true. In the Easter season Christians are asked to accept and embrace fully the truths of faith and to live as sons and daughters of God most high. It is what makes us human.

Sun, 04/16/2017 - 22:08
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