Happy Easter! We’re in the midst of the Easter Season, which we celebrate for 50 days, until Pentecost Sunday (May 20th this year), when we remember the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and Jesus’ Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the Upper Room. Like them, we are called by the Lord to be His disciples. God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit calls us, as He called the disciples on the road to Emmaus, to recognize Him in His Word and in His Holy Eucharist (Luke 24:13-35).What does it mean for us to be disciples of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead? What is Resurrection Discipleship? With the help of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, we get some guidance:
Some of the first messages the Risen Lord communicated to His disciples are “Peace be with you,” and “Follow Me.” Resurrection Discipleship is a stepping forward along the way to follow the Way, Jesus Christ. It can be nothing else than a following in the steps of Jesus, a discipleship in Christ. In his Easter Gospel, Saint John expressed very clearly where and how Jesus Christ has gone and where we are to follow Him: “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” (John 20:17).And so, by God’s grace, we reach out to Christ by following Him, by ascending with Him. That is why Christian tradition deliberately speaks of following Jesus Christ. We follow, not a dead man, but the living Christ, crucified and risen from the dead. We are not trying to imitate a life that is past and gone nor to turn it into a program for action with all kinds of compromises. We must not rob discipleship of what is essential to it, namely, Cross and Resurrection and Christ’s divine Sonship, His being with the Father and the Holy Spirit. These things are fundamental. Discipleship means that we answer God’s call to us to repent, be converted, and keep His Commandments (Acts 3:13-19; 1 John 2:1-5); and Jesus tells us directly to preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins, in His Name, to be witnesses to His Passion, Death and Resurrection (Luke 24:35-48).Discipleship means accepting the entire path, going forward into those things that are above, the hidden things that are the real ones: truth, faith, hope, love, our being children of God, discovering that store of joy of which the world stands in such urgent need. Not only do we have a right, we also have a duty to rejoice in Our Lord Jesus Christ because He has given us joy and the world is waiting for it – He calls us to be witnesses for Him!
By God’s grace, may we follow in the steps of Jesus Christ, in Truth and in Love. May we be the witnesses that He calls us to be, as Resurrection Disciples, joyful disciples of Jesus, asking for His mercy, being merciful and completely trusting in Him.
With peace and prayers in Christ,