Editors Note: This is the sixth article of a six-part series on “Experiencing the Miracle of Easter in our Lives.” The articles also include discussion questions to allow them to be used in Easter (or post-Easter) discussion groups.
Ordinary People, Extraordinary Desires
When couples try to bring Jesus into their homes, good things happen. None of us should think that this is beyond our capacity. The people we just looked at were everyday folks who worked hard to bring God into their homes.
The Roman commander, Cornelius (Acts 10), didn’t know that through his resurrection, Jesus could empower his family to live holy lives. He taught his children how to pray, and he led his family in the Jewish prayers of the synagogue. He taught them the value of giving to the needy and of having respect for other people. He tried his best to build a family that was pleasing to God, and God blessed his efforts. God blessed them for what they did know and used Peter to bring them to a much fuller faith.
Likewise for us, we must believe that God blesses our efforts. He wants to bless our prayers and our gifts to the poor just as he did for Cornelius. He wants to perform miracles of the Spirit in our homes. Jesus promised us, “Believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours” (Mark 11:24).
Like Mark’s mother Mary, God asks families to be hospitable, generous, and courageous—especially in today’s world. Mary was determined to make her home a dwelling place for God’s people. She was also determined to raise her son to know, love, and serve Jesus above all else. We can learn a lot from Mary’s twofold approach to life: her deep involvement in the church and her desire to form her son in Christ. It’s possible to do; it’s beneficial for our children; it’s a necessity in today’s world. Mary is a special model for single moms who love the Lord and the church. She, too, was faced with the challenge of raising Christian children in an unchristian world.
In his Letter to the Romans, Paul called Priscilla and Aquila “co-workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks” for him (Romans 16:3-4). Suppose they did not stay behind in Ephesus. Where would the church be? Suppose they did not invite Apollos to their home and teach him about the resurrection. Where would Apollos be? With so much marital division today, Priscilla and Aquila show us what it’s like to love and serve Jesus as a couple. They sacrificed for the sake of the church. They were prepared to move with the Spirit’s leading—all for the sake of evangelizing people and building up the church. Jesus is still looking for married couples who will put him first and place his interests above their own.
Easter Families for Christ
Easter is all about our being raised with Jesus. The more we know that the power of the resurrection is the power to be just like Jesus, the more we will ask the Lord for that grace. At its most basic foundation, Easter puts a heavenly desire into our hearts to lead holy and pleasing lives. Luke tells us what Easter people do. He said, “Every day in the temple and at home they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ” (Acts 5:42).
Perhaps we can make Easter a springboard to help us begin gathering our family to pray the rosary once a week or read the Bible just before dinner. Maybe we can take some new steps to practice hospitality with our friends or reach out to people in need. It’s not hard to go to Confession or to help our children learn about Jesus. It just takes a little bit of courage and creativity.
Do you want to make Easter the central goal for your family? Do you want to develop an Easter environment in your home? Do you want your children to love Jesus, honor the poor, and serve the church? Then initiate just one or two changes that you feel will best help your family come to know Jesus better. After that, all you have to do is increase your own prayer for your family and leave the rest in the Lord’s hands. If the first disciples did it, we can too. After all, we have the same Holy Spirit that they had!
(Joe Difato is the publisher of “The Word Among Us” devotional magazine. To contact him, go to his website at www.joedifato.com . Many thanks to The Word Among Us (http://www.wau.org/ ) for allowing us to use his articles from their 2009 Easter Issue. Used with permission.)
Questions for Reflection/Discussion
- The article opens with these words: “When couples try to bring Jesus into their homes, good things happen. None of us should think that this is beyond our capacity.” In what ways are you doing this in your home? What have been the results? What additional things can you do?
- What lessons can we learn from Mark’s mother Mary, as outlined in the article, for making our home “a dwelling place for God’s people?” Which ones can you apply to your home?
- What lessons can we learn from Priscilla and Aquila, as outlined in the article, on how to “love and serve Jesus as a couple?” If you are married, which ones can you apply to you and your wife?
- “Easter is all about our being raised with Jesus.” What do these words from the article mean to you? How have you personally experienced being “raised to life in Christ” (Colossians 3:1)?
- The article gives some ideas on how “to make Easter the central goal for your family.” Which of these ideas can you apply to your family? Share some additional ideas as well that can be applied to your family.
- If you are in a men’s group, end your meeting by praying for one another that the Holy Spirit would give you the wisdom and desire to make Jesus more fully the center of your life and each member of your family.