by Ken Rolheiser
The Resurrection Nest 

Tennessee author Margaret Renkl tells us of how early one spring she discovered a cottontail rabbit nest buried underneath a Rosemary bush. As she uncovered it, she discovered baby rabbits, completely vulnerable, no bigger than her thumb, eyes not even opened yet.

She noticed how the shallow hollow had been carved out by the mother rabbit and had been covered by dead vegetation and weeds, barely noticeable by anyone, underneath the scented Rosemary bush so predators would not smell the rabbits. 

She left it alone and came back a few weeks later to discover that there was no sight of the nest. As she lifted one of the branches, up came this little empty nest. There she found a tiny hollow with the shape of the baby rabbits. She could feel the heat from the rabbits that recently vacated the nest all lined with the mother rabbit’s fur. Renkl marveled at the empty nest.
In his 2020 Easter Reflection Father Brendan McGuire explains how this rabbit nest reminded him of the empty tomb of the Resurrection, the presence of God still there, still among us. We can still sense the loving presence of God, maybe not in a fur-lined hollow, but a world lined in magnificence and beauty; a world shrouded in love and kept warm for all of us to abide in.

That love is what Resurrection is all about, McGuire said. The love that God has for us, that he so loved the world that he sent his Son to be with us so we could experience that nothing will separate us from his love.

That first Easter Sunday Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb, the other disciple getting there first. Peter went in and saw the linen cloths lying on the ground. And they believed! Until now, “they had failed to understand the teaching of the scripture, that he must die and rise from the dead.” (John 20:10).

That first Easter Sunday was the beginning of Sunday celebrations. The Church that formed with the risen Christ calls us to celebrate every Sunday. St John Paul II spent his last years promoting the Sunday Eucharist as the highest priority. 

When a family decides to go to Sunday Mass every week, God becomes their center and identity: their one non-negotiable appointment, their weekly connection to their neighbors. For a Sunday Mass family, God is the anchor and the tie that binds.

John Paul spent five years creating “facts” to make it so. He declared a Year of the Eucharist, wrote an encyclical, and, for English speakers, oversaw a process that reformed the Roman Missal and re-translated the Mass, attracting Catholics with novelty and authenticity, both at once.

And Sunday worship works! World-Wide Marriage Encounter tells us that today, one in two marriages fails. If the couple is married in church and continues to go to church, only one in fifty fails; but where the couple is married in church, continues to go to church and has a prayer life together, the failure is one in 1005.

What do we hear on Sunday mornings? “Whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life.” (John 5:24). This Easter let us realize that we can have eternal life now. If we believe in Jesus, we have “passed from death to life”, from the slavery of sin to the freedom of Christ. (John 5:24).

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