Easter this year coincides with the reopening of our churches and a growing, if cautious, hope for life beyond the pandemic. This is a happy convergence.
When, with his wounds still visible, Jesus rose from the dead on Easter morning, he made himself known to individual disciples (Mary Magdalene, Peter, James), to a pair (the disciples going to Emmaus), to a small group of women, to the seven disciples who went fishing, to the Eleven, to a larger group of more than five hundred. He was showing himself the “great Shepherd of the sheep” (Heb 13:20), regathering a scattered flock. And all this over a period of time, the 40 days, days not without hesitations and uncertainties on the part of the disciples. He was regathering the disciples after the shattering and scattering caused by the trauma of his Passion.
In society and in the Church, we have felt the divisive effects of much that has happened over the last year – to the devil’s delight, no doubt. My prayer for us this Eastertide is that we may yield to the unifying, shepherding power of Christ, present in the Eucharist, that he may draw us, wounds and all, closer to himself and closer again to each other. May every one of us feel this blessing this Easter.
Bishop Hugh OSB