By Bishop Gerald Barnes
A fresh start…
Hitting the reset button…
Turning the page…
We are all familiar with these colloquialisms that describe the fundamental need of human beings to be redeemed from struggle and sin.
We (hopefully) acknowledge where we have gone wrong, we resolve to take a path that leads us to healing and to right relationship with God, and we express our gratitude to the Lord for another opportunity to live out His will for us.
Our yearning for a shot at redemption reaches its pinnacle when we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ at Easter. That God sacrificed his only begotten Son so that we might be reborn in faith, and that Jesus brought this promise to fulfillment by rising from the dead, is the bedrock of our Christian belief. It is the greatest example of God’s abounding love and mercy for us.
As we celebrate this day, and this liturgical Season of Easter, and enjoy the egg hunts, delicious meals, baskets and gatherings with family and friends, do we remember that this invitation to redemption and healing is real for us today? The Lord extends his hand to us, to follow him and to be renewed, and healed. In our own way, we are all in need of this. As Bob Dylan once sang, “he not busy being born is busy dying.”
We don’t have to look too far today for examples of the pain and destruction that happens when people become estranged and separated from that which gives them love, support and acceptance. Whether it is the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the acrimonious public dialogue over issues like immigration and gun control, or the rising number of brothers and sisters living on our streets, we are faced with so many situations that need healing.
As with most things, it begins with us—acknowledging our own need for healing and reconciliation with those who we might have hurt or who have hurt us. The well-known parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke’s Gospel, and its three principle characters, can help us reflect on this. The departure of the Prodigal Son and his squandering of family wealth causes an estrangement. In the end, however, it is the older brother who remains isolated and bitter, refusing to join in the celebration of his brother’s return and his reconciliation with the family.
In this Easter Season, will we be like the father; forgiving and reconciling, or the older brother; holding grudges and refusing to open ourselves to love again?
Let us take this time of rebirth in the Resurrection of our Lord to look at our own need for healing and to be agents of healing and reconciliation with those around us. And let us offer our gratitude for the many blessings we receive from God, who so loved us that he gave his only begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life (John 3:17).
I offer my prayers and blessings to all for a joyous Easter Season. He is Risen. Allelujah!