BY FATHER TOM FLANAGAN
ST. JOSEPH CATHOLIC CHURCH
We have just completed the festivities of Easter though we continue in the weeks ahead to rejoice in Christ's rising from the dead.
With him we too have risen! It is interesting for me to meditate on the scriptures of Easter-time and to see in them how God has chosen us to be his own adopted children through Jesus Christ (see Ephesians 1:5-7).
When we think about Jesus' ministry here on earth and the people he chose as his disciples, we notice that he chose very ordinary people and gave them extraordinary responsibility. He does the same with us.
As Christians living in the Risen Christ we touch the minds and hearts of the people with whom we are in relationship. In the very ordinary circumstances of our lives we help in the extraordinary establishment of the Reign of God here on earth.
God chooses us to further God's Reign and God is certainly capable of working through the ups and downs, the successes and failures, the joys and sorrows of our individual lives to advance God's work. God's Reign grows when we come to know people and to love them through our personal experience with them. That was the way of Jesus whose encounters with people were always personal, individual and specific.
I received a nice example of this recently in an email I received from a young minister who was just beginning missionary work.
"...where I stay now there is a hostel for physically challenged boys and girls. There are 15 of them. The other day the physically challenged children put on a cultural program to welcome me. The 15 inmates are polio-affected children. Mostly their legs and hands are affected and therefore, they are unable to carry on with their normal activities like walking, carrying something, etc. However, it was fascinating to watch them dancing and singing. It was inspiring for me to see how these children try to make others happy, especially me. Their life teaches me that when we help each other, we could overcome most of our difficulties. One boy carries water for the other, another washes the plates and clothes for the third one, and the third helps the lady in the kitchen. This is how they remind me that we are all inter-connected. At the end they manage to conquer the difficulties that they encounter. The world could be a better place if only everyone contributed something for the neighbor's well-being."
Like the children in this story, disciples of Jesus become servants of others, just as Jesus was. May the story of Jesus' life we celebrate in these Easter days reinforce in us our experience of being chosen by God and strengthen us as his disciples for service to one another!