Scripture readings for today

Tonight is the Easter Vigil, and I thought a short reflection appropriate. Many people have spent this week reflecting on Jesus’ suffering and death. Tonight at Mass, there will be numerous readings to reflect upon, and we will also join in support and celebration of those persons entering the church. Our presence is a physical reminder that this celebration of Easter is about relationships. These new members of the Church need our support, prayer and love. They are a great reminder that God is merciful and compassionate.

Sometimes God’s mercy comes in the form of tears. Pope Francis, in his Ash Wednesday homily, urged the faithful to pray for the gift of tears. He said that tears would “make our prayer and our journey of conversion more authentic and without hypocrisy”. This prayer should have great meaning and hope for us all. For we fail to experience the deep joy, gratitude, and reconciliation of Easter, without a very real sense of what God has done. We pray for tears, because tears are a witness to reality. We stand in dire need of a relationship, the relationship that satisfies our deepest yearnings and desires, and covers us in the blood of Jesus to expiate sin.

The simple truth is that it is difficult to convey into words, the deep reality and new
meaning of our relationship with God and with others, the pain and suffering
we endure when communion is broken, and the incredible peace that floods our souls when relationships are healed and reconciled. I simply cannot capture these realities very well with words. However, despite my shortcomings, Easter captures the healing power. Everything is new, whether we feel it or not!

As I conclude my Lenten journey, I desire to continue my reflection on the word ‘NEW’. Lent can seem very long, and its conclusion marks a subtle temptation to prematurely end a season of growth. While the Lenten fast is over, a new emphasis on a healed relationship can begin for me. I can spend time in prayer and gratitude for my relationship with God. Relationships don’t just happen. Our relationships, both new and old, take time to develop, nurture, and improve. I hope to take this encouragement into my prayer life and thank God for new beginnings, spending a little more of my time with Him.

Joel Samaha is a husband and father of five living in Augusta, Georgia. He teaches and coaches at a local high school and is a member of the Alleluia Community.