Second Sunday of Easter B
I should have known that something was up
when my vacation plans just wouldn’t come together…
Lent—as you know—is a rather busy time for us priests,
so I blocked out the week after Easter for a little “R&R”.
But that’s about as far as the plan got.
When I arrived at home on Easter Sunday,
I learned that my uncle and godfather was seriously ill;
yesterday/Friday, he had open heart surgery.
I took my car to the shop for some repairs;
they said I’d have to come back later in the week,
since they’d have to order some parts;
I returned later in the week,
only to find they’d ordered the wrong part.
Then, of course, there’s been all the drama
about the boiler blow-out at Notre Dame
and getting the extensive clean-up started,
which brought me back to Malone
a little more often than would normally happen during some “time off.”
Looking to salvage
at least a little reaspite from it all,
I thought I’d make a trip
to see my favorite barber for a haircut…
…only to discover that her shop
was closed for the entire week.
On more than one occasion,
I’ve turned my attention toward heaven
“You do realize that Lent is over, don’t you?
It’s supposed to be Easter!”
Appropriately wrapping up on Friday the 13th,
I’ve taken to calling this “the worst vacation ever.”
Can you tell I’ve been feeling a little sorry for myself?
What we most need whenever we hit a rough patch in life
is to regain a little perspective.
It’s not like I’m in the Midwest
living under the threat of tornadoes.
And this week has certainly not been a “disaster”
when compared to the sinking of the Titanic a century ago.
With the exception of my uncle—
who’s now recovering very, very well—
no one, thank God, got hurt in any of this.
In the grander scheme of things,
these problems are pretty small stuff.
It’s the Paschal mystery—
the mystery of Christ’s death and Resurrection—
that helps us, above all, to gain the right perspective.
While having dinner
with Fr. Scott Seymour the other night—
during which, like just now,
I was whining about my troubles—
he reminded me of a story
told about St. Teresa of Ávila—
the Spanish nun, mystic, and Doctor of the Church
who reformed the Carmelite order in the 1500’s.
It seems that one day the devil appeared to her,
disguised as the risen Jesus.
Sr. Teresa wasn’t fooled one bit,
dismissing the evil one immediately.
But before leaving, he paused to ask her,
“How did you know?
How could you be so sure
that I wasn’t really Christ?”
Her answer: “You didn’t have any wounds!
My Jesus has wounds.”
If after his Resurrection Jesus Christ
still carries about in his glorified Body
the wounds of his sorrowful Passion,
what makes me think I should be spared all troubles in life?
Since Christ bears those marks in his hands, feet, and side
into eternity out of his love for me,
can’t I, his disciple, bear up under my struggles
out of love for him?
No matter how great or small my share in it,
the Cross is never the end of the story
for those of us who believe
that Jesus is the Only Begotten Son of God.
If we share by faith in his suffering,
then we share, too, in his victory over this passing world.
As he did to Thomas, Jesus shows me his wounds
to remove my doubts, to calm my fears.
This is how much I love you! he says.
And this love is everlasting.
As these wounds remain with me, so I remain with you.
Hang on! I’ll see you through.
If it’s rest you seek, then rest in me.
Let my peace live in you.
Now that’s perspective!
The secret to surviving through suffering and struggle
is not to wallow in self-pity,
but to allow one’s self to be washed in Divine Mercy:
to live each day—in good times and in bad—
repeating with every beat of my tired, troubled heart
the prayer given to St. Faustina:
Jesus, I trust in you! Jesus, I trust in you! Jesus, I trust in you!
After her death in 1582,
a short poem was found written on a prayer card
in St. Teresa’s breviary;
it became known as “St. Teresa’s bookmark.”
They’re wise and challenging words to live by:
Let nothing disturb you,
let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing;
God alone is unchanging.
obtains all things.
He who possesses God
wants for nothing.
God alone suffices.
Even our worst days have been made by the Lord;
indeed, his mercy endures forever!