Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

Our spiritual lives could well be described as the placing of “mind over matter.” The matter is our activity, such as the plans we make, or the career we pursue. But over and above all that is our purpose. What, in short, is our goal?

An earthbound example of action and goal would be that of the two teams in a “Super Bowl” such as we watched two months ago in the company of millions. Every play that each team made was aimed at the goal of being world champions of football.

We too should be involved in the pursuit of a goal. If not, we are in danger of having no reason to get up in the morning, and that would be tragic in itself. Our goal as Catholics is our eternal salvation. That places us squarely in a competition not of our own making. That between good and evil. Both sides want us and pull at us for their triumph over our souls. This struggle is “super” in the sense that it is “above” all else in the human project.

The resurrection of Christ our Savior clearly presents us with the goal of sharing in His victory over sin and death. In His struggle with all that afflicts us in human life we find mirrored our own. But since we live in Christ and He lives in us, we have our own victory guaranteed unless we cave in to sin. Unless we change our purpose to some earthbound goal that has nothing to do with God and everything to do with our decision about what is worthwhile.

Christ’s love of us is so inviting. So powerful an antidote to that “upside down” kind of thinking that our life is all about us instead of all about God and our relationship with Him. Prayer and the sacraments, especially that of the Holy Eucharist, help us to maintain “right side up” thinking. And deep peace.

There is a story from the Middle Ages about a young woman who was expelled from heaven. As she left, she was told that if she would bring back the gift that is most valued by God, she would be welcomed back. She brought back drops of blood from a dying patriot. She brought back some coins that a destitute widow had given to the poor. She brought back a remnant of a Bible that had been used for years by an eminent preacher. She brought back many similar things but was turned back repeatedly.

One day she saw a small boy playing by a fountain. A man rode up on horseback and dismounted to take a drink. The man saw the child and suddenly remembered his boyhood innocence. Then, looking in the fountain and seeing the reflection of his hardened face, he realized what he had done with his life. And tears of repentance welled up in his eyes and began to trickle down his cheeks. The young woman took one of those tears back to heaven and was received with joy and love.

God love you and give you His Easter peace.

Rev. Peterson’s Reading & Gospel Summary

Reading I: Acts 3: 13-15, 17-19

Peter’s sermon theme is that the suffering Messiah was raised from the dead. This implies our personal need for repentance and conversion.

Reading II: I John 2: 1-5a

The author connects knowledge of Christ with observance of His commands. This in turn leads to a deep love of God.

The Gospel: Luke 24: 35-38

The main point is not the reality of Jesus’ body as much as it is His victory over death by His renewal of the table fellowship with His disciples. Preaching repentance “to all nations” becomes their mission.