When I was a teenager, I attended a workshop on prayer. This workshop mainly used the Bible for praying.
I still remember one of the many steps that I was taught during this workshop; it consisted of imagining myself as a part of the scene of the Scriptures on which we were meditating. The leader invited us to close our eyes and take the role of any of the people present in the scene, or simply be there listening to Jesus, or the prophet, or whoever was involved.
Reading today’s Gospel, I imagine myself listening to the words of John. Further, I imagine the author thinking: “What can I write to lead them to know that Jesus is God? How can I tell them that Jesus is our savior? How can I provoke faith in them?”
The words that he actually uses manifest his depth of faith and conviction in Jesus, the Son of God. At the end of the reading, we find the purpose of John’s Gospel: “These [words] are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.”
How wonderful and great is the conviction of John.
The primitive community of Christians had a deep understanding of those words. They believed in Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. They believed in the one who was crucified, died, buried and now has risen.
Faith must affect actions
Through this risen Jesus and the faith in him, they began to have life — a true life manifested in concrete actions within the community. The community of believers was of “one heart and mind,” sharing not only their possessions but their lives.
We, as well, have to be heralds of this life received in baptism and nourished in the Eucharist. Our faith in Jesus’ resurrection must affect our actions.
In our daily activities, we offer ourselves as a sign of Jesus’ resurrection. We all have different roles in society; there are parents, friends, teachers, health workers, politicians, etc. Whatever our role in society, we should use it to manifest the life we have received from our risen Lord.
Pope John Paul II in his apostolic exhortation “Christifideles Laici” offers some recommendations that are applicable to this. I propose two for our meditation and concrete action:
• “Without hesitating, to courageously identify and denounce evil” (CFL 14).
• “Personal dignity of every human being demands the respect, the defense and the proclamation of the rights of the human person” (CFL 37).
May this Easter time bring to all of us abundant blessings to manifest with “intelligence and love” (CFL 37) our faith in Jesus, the Son of God, the Messiah.
Deacon Manuel Gerardo Gomez Reza is in formation for the priesthood at The St. Paul Seminary for the Diocese of Rockford, Ill. His home parish is St. Joseph in Elgin, Ill. He has no teaching parish at this time.
Divine Mercy Sunday
• Acts 4:32-35
• 1 John 5:1-6
• John 20:19-31
What actions can you take, during this Easter season, to show others your faith in the risen Lord.