A group of second graders was given a task of writing a short letter to God. About anything. Some funny things came out of this! One wrote, “Dear God, maybe Cain wouldn’t have killed Abel if they’d had their own rooms. It works with my brother.” There were some good ones. One girl wrote, “Dear God, If we come back as something, please don’t let me come back as Jennifer Horton. I hate her.”
Now you and I know that we don’t “come back” as something. I won’t come back as a bug or dog or king. That is ridiculous. But I tell you this: God does want to bring us back today….back to life!!
Easter is all about life, our life in the Risen Lord! Thing of it is, I think so many people aren’t really alive. So many people kind of walk around in a fog, stuck in some addiction or just a routine, or a plain la di dah way of living. But God wants to raise us out of that! Because when we’re alive in God, we see everything differently, we live differently! Matins yesterday had me mediating on a line from an ancient sermon: “Sleeper arise! I did not create you to be a prisoner of hell!” There’s a line in the movie Auntie Mame, “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.”
God wants to bring us to the banquet, bring us to life, he wants to wake us up. That’s what happened with the folks in our Gospel. We see Peter and John and Mary Magdalene in our Gospel, and after the resurrection, every one of them is running! Before it, they were in blah mode, sleepwalking around. Now they’re running, now they’re alive. The Risen Jesus did it!
God brought great new life to our parish last night. 94 people received the sacraments for the first time! Praise the Lord. There is new life here and it’s the best ever! We should all be thinking about who we want to convert for next year!!
Our Risen Lord wants bring us back to life, too. In Revelation, God says: “I hold this against you: you have lost the love you had at first.” God wants to bring you back there, back to that time in your life when you had a great life with him. Maybe you’ve had such moments and now they’re way in the rear view mirror. God wants to bring you back to that intimacy, that life in God. Maybe you’ve never been there, you’re here because you “have to be,” and I tell you this: God wants to bring you back to the life of faith that your ancestors had, folks for whom life with God in the Church was everything.
Here’s the thing: God wants to bring us back to life, but it will take some effort. It will take more effort in prayer, in coming to Sunday Mass, in living a life in the Church. It is not always easy but it is worth it! We can all try harder. I got the most beautiful card from one of our first graders in the school. It’s beautiful. There is a rather unflattering picture of me on the front, no hair on top but hair on the sides, and it says, “Happy Ester.” Inside this beautiful girl wrote, “Dear Father, I love it when you teach. It is the best. You do a great job. You try your best. I try my best to listen. I love you so much. I know you love me to. Will you come to my birthday?” I love that–“You try your best.” Friends, JESUS WANTS US TO TRY OUR BEST! He wants us to try our best in living a life in God. DO IT!
The best way to receive the life God wants to give us on this Easter? The Eucharist, the bread of life!!! Today and every Sunday! Mother Teresa said she could do everything she did because of the Eucharist, because Jesus the bread of life lived in her. When we receive the Eucharist every Sunday–every Sunday is a celebration of the resurrection–JESUS LIVES HIS LIFE IN US.
That’s the life he wants to give us. May it be ours!