Today’s find: Easter people

Admittedly, I haven’t had much of chance to get to know the new Pope, but he’s already starting to grow on me. He seems like ‘Easter people’.

In the Gospels, we meet quite a cast from that first Easter:

  • The women from Galilee (Luke names three: Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James; Matthew, two: Mary Magdalene and the other Mary; Mark adds the curious detail that out of Magdalene, Jesus had driven seven demons; she is the only woman named in John’s account.)
  • Peter – always running, but never seeming to get anywhere.
  • The rest of the apostles – to whom ‘the story seemed like nonsense,’ according to Luke.
  • The disciples on the road to Emmaus – unable to recognize the Master walking right alongside them.

Upon close inspection, the original Easter people look like anything but saints. They seem dazed and confused. They are filled with doubt. And what instincts they do follow don’t seem to be at all what the resurrected Jesus has in mind. Imagine how it must have pierced Mary Magdalene’s heart when Jesus upbraided her for the hug she so desperately wanted to give him.

But here’s the thing about Easter people: They don’t let the story end there – whether it’s in doubt or amazement. Somehow, they know that what they have just witnessed is not simply a magic trick. It’s not even just another one of Jesus’ mighty deeds. And they allow it to change them. They allow Him – the risen Lord – to change them, even though none really has any idea what it will mean.

It’s a trait they appear to have in common with Pope Francis. I’ll always cherish the first image I saw of him, stepping out onto the balcony to extend a blessing to the throng below in St. Peter’s Square. He, too, looked dazed and confused – a fisherman who couldn’t seem to remember where he docked his boat. I was touched by his humanity in that moment. Touched by his courage, too, in accepting a job that he clearly didn’t aspire to.

And then I read about one of his initial papal tweets. ‘Being with Jesus demands that we go out from ourselves, and from living a tired and habitual faith.’

What a concept for us to contemplate as we celebrate this great feast in 2013. Pope Francis reminds us that Easter people don’t cling to the past. Easter people resist the temptation to say, ‘been there, done that.’ Easter people always step forward in faith.

Easter people embrace vitality over comfort – because they (we) have seen the risen Lord…and we simply can’t get enough of Him!


4 comments on “Today’s find: Easter people

  1. Mark Morrell says:

    It’s a geat day, John.

    Our lord is alive! He is alive in all the Easter people. His promises of everlasting life and a life full of peace, joy, love and eternal glory are true.

    A celebration is in order!

  2. Lisbeth Hostetler says:

    What a beautiful way to start my Easter morning, John! Thank you for your words! I do indeed like our Pope Francis.

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