All through this week’s reflection keep in the back of your mind where we ended-up last week: “my foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside.” { JOB 23:11} This quotation is a clear pointer to the reality of our JOURNEY into the future as our feet hold fast and we keep his way in the present. Our presents, which become our pasts, must always point to our futures.

Now, add some words and phrases from OUR EASTER SUNDAY PSALM [118 or 117]. There we read – this is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice in it …. his mercy endures for ever(he) has done mighty deeds … I shall live. Make a special note of how the Psalm includes all of the past, present and future.

Easter Sunday is TODAY, in the present, was built on the past, and takes us into the future. As OUR READING FROM ACTS [10:34a. 37 – 43] proclaims: God was with him … and we are witnesses. This reading also brings past, present and future together.

Let us move on to a quotation from Thomas Merton, one of the 20th century’s greatest spiritual authors. Merton was a Trappist monk whose many writings have been translated into more 20-languages, and in 2015 we celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth. His primary focus was the experience of God – not the idea! Merton once wrote: “I am aware of the need for constant self-revision and growth, leaving behind the renunciation of yesterday and yet in continuity with all my yesterdays. For to cling to the past is to lose one’s continuity with the past, since this means clinging to what is no longer there.” {A Vow of Conversation. Journals 1964 – 65; Page 19} {as I type this quotation it jumps to mind that what Merton wrote is the direction in which Pope Francis is bravely attempting to lead the Church?}

Understand how Thomas Merton expresses all that has so far been said about our Easter joy and challenge. There must always be a continuity with, but not a clinging to, all our yesterdays. The past has gone and the present {self-revision} is with us, and leads us into the future {growth}. It follows then that this is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. I am, as I compose these words, very nearly 76-years of age. The future still excites and beckons me on. However, I have learnt not to cling to the past but accept my present in continuity with all my yesterdays. I accept that there will have to be, in the foreseeable future, structural changes in my living (a self-revision) ….. without this there will be no more growth. This is the challenge for all of us. However, yet another celebration of Easter renews my enthusiasm for both the present and the future – without forgetting or ignoring the lessons of the past.

There is no doubt that all of this is emphasised by Saint Paul in THIS SUNDAY’S SECOND READING [COLOSSIANS 3: 1 – 4]. There, the apostle writes that if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above. What does this above mean? I do not believe that Paul is referring to the sky or to heaven. Rather, he challenges us to immediate self-revision and growth. He wants us to stretch ourselves beyond the immediately mundane concerns and cares. I must live in the continuity which prevents me from being bogged down in the present – then I discover our lives which are “hidden with Christ.” We cannot discover anything if we cling to the past.

Finally, two brief observations on TODAY’S GOSPEL [JOHN 20: 1 – 9]. First of all – the tomb is empty. Then, they did not know that he must rise from the dead.

It is no good locking ourselves in an empty tomb.

There must be continuity. We must rise in, and to, the present – for the future.

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