by Ken Rolheiser
Back to the Lord’s Supper

Darkness covered the land from the sixth until the ninth hour. Then Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And gave up his spirit.

Rocks cracked, the earth quaked, the temple curtain was torn in two. “The tombs opened, and the bodies of many holy men and women rose from the dead.” (Matthew27:52). After Christ’s resurrection they entered Jerusalem and were seen by a number of people.

A battle ensued after the Resurrection. The powers of darkness continue to resist the light of Christ. To this day Christians are persecuted for bringing this light to the world. The final treatment of the apostles of Jesus bears witness to this battle between dark and light. The apostles were martyred for their efforts to spread the Good News to all the earth. 

Peter and Paul were martyred in Rome, Andrew in Asia Minor, Thomas in India, Philip in North Africa, Matthew in Ethiopia, Bartholomew in Arabia, James in Syria, Simon the Zealot in Persia, Matthias (who replaced Judas) in Syria, Thaddaeus (Jude) in Syria, and John was exiled and died in Patmos. 

You and I can be heralds of the light and bear witness in comparative safety as we embrace the hope of Easter. If this year’s Paschal celebration has not brought us back to the Eucharistic table, it is not too late. The lessons of Easter continue to encourage us.

Holy Saturday Readings reminded us that the earth was dark once. Then God created light. On Good Friday darkness came back when man tried to kill God. From the sixth to the ninth hour darkness descended. Then the dying voice of Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.”

It was at this hour that the Bad Friday became a Good Friday, or a God Friday. Christ descended into the hell of death and darkest sin and created light anew. The blindness of sin and death gave way to the light of a new day. The graves opened for the saints and for us.

In Baptism we died to sin and were reborn in the new life of Christ. God’s love will remain with us. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:38).

The Easter Gift of Everlasting life can drive away our fears. It can put loneliness to flight. In our suffering, our pain, we can gather strength from the community of believers in the church. This same church unites us to our loved ones who have gone before us in the Communion of Saints.

We may still be, metaphorically, where the tires hit the road. The worries of daily life surround us. Our feet are on the earth. But we get a clear direction in our course of life, a direction that leads us beyond our everyday struggles and work. 

What must we do? - Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, ransom the captive, and bury the dead. 

- Instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, admonish sinners, bear wrongs patiently, forgive offences willingly, comfort the afflicted, pray for the living and the dead. 

Light still triumphs over the darkness when we consecrate our sufferings and our lives to Christ on the cross, moving toward Resurrection.

(557 words) 

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