When I was a child, I often wondered how far up Jesus had to ascend before he got to heaven. Then as an adult, I was dumbfounded when I read that one of the early astronauts made a comment about not seeing any traces up in space of the ascended Jesus. It is not that I have a clearer understanding of this mystery than I had as a child or than the astronaut seems to have had. I simply ask different questions now. I don't wonder where he went or where is he now. Instead, I wonder what it all means.
The lectionary readings in the period after Easter are particularly beautiful and exuberant and that is the case for this fifth Sunday after Easter. In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles we hear about the results of Paul and Barnabas' first missionary journey. They had set out from Antioch, the great Roman city located on the present day border between Turkey and Syria. Antioch had become Paul's home base and there, under the tutelage of Barnabas - one of the great leaders and unsung heroes of the early Church - he would be prepared for his later mission. Their first missi
Cry out with joy to the Lord all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness, come before God singing for joy! (Psalm 100: 1-2)Easter is not over and done with, for our joy in the resurrection and all that it means to us continues to fill us with JOY. The readings we are given to hear remind us that ALLELUIA remains our song, as we contemplate the resurrection of the Christ in new and deeper ways.
"Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something" (John 21:6). These are the words of Jesus to his disciples after his resurrection. How are these words also intended for us?
Easter has always been a "Big Deal" in my southwestern Minnesota family. It is a day for feasting and loads of fun and lots of laughter. But last Easter Shawna (a pseudonym) the twenty-something, self-proclaimed agnostic daughter of one of my cousins, surprised me: "I think Easter is just a lot of lights and lilies; trumpet flourishes, flowers, and a really good story!" To this I, in my best pastoral tone replied: "Well yes - it is a really good story! But I do think it's more than that, as well." "Well how do you know?" Shawna responded.