Brothers, for the past forty days, leading up to the great feast of the resurrection, we have pondered the cross and everything that Jesus accomplished by his death. We are now in the grace-filled Easter Season, fifty days of celebration and fulfillment, and a time to ponder and participate in the new life that our risen Lord has freely given to us.
At Pentecost, Peter announced the exciting good news that Jesus, now exalted to God’s right hand, has received the Holy Spirit, and that he has poured this Spirit out on the apostles (Acts 2:33). What’s more, Peter said, this gift of the Spirit is for everyone who believes and is baptized (2:38-39).
Remember a time when you had exciting news? You couldn’t wait to tell the family or a close friend. You walked with an extra bounce in your step. Smiling came easy, and your heart was filled with hope. Well, now we have more than enough of a reason to not be silent: Jesus is risen from the dead! He triumphed over sin and broke the chains of death. Now he offers a new life to all of us. Because of the miracle of Easter, it is clear that nothing is impossible for God.
We know that everyone needs to have something to hope in. The problem is that the world tells us to limit our hopes to this world—the hope for a peaceful life, the hope for a better future for our children, the hope that we can get ahead a little bit in the world. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with these hopes and dreams, but they don’t satisfy the deepest yearnings of our hearts as Catholic men. Only Jesus and his promise of the resurrection can do that. And only Jesus can give meaning to the other hopes we cherish.
Our Heavenly Father wants to open our eyes to the beauty of a life lived in and through his Son. He wants to show us a life that includes the mysteries and wonders of heaven along with a sense of vision and purpose and hope for our earthly lives.
As we recall how Jesus has touched our lives, we will feel compelled to share our own sense of hope and excitement with the people around us. And likewise, the more we step out of our comfort zones to talk about Jesus, the more excited we will become. Why? Because there is power in the message of the gospel. People’s lives change when they hear it—even if it comes from everyday people like ourselves.
So, during this grace-filled season, don’t be afraid to tell people about God’s love. Don’t be afraid to tell people about how Jesus’ resurrection can overcome fear and sin in them. People are longing for the answer—and you can give it to them!
Brothers, Jesus is still alive in heaven. He is still pouring out his Spirit on us today. He is still giving us the power to live a wonderful life that is holy and pleasing to him. So, as we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, let’s praise him also for raising us up with him so that we can walk with him each and every day, and we can share his great love with others!
“Thank you, Lord, for raising us up to heaven with you. How can we possibly fathom such love? May we all receive your grace to live in the power of the resurrection. Jesus, risen Lord, give me the boldness to share the good news of your victory today. Help me to not stay silent but to proclaim that you are our best and brightest hope, and that you alone are Lord!”
(Maurice Blumberg was the founding Executive Director of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men (http://www.nfcmusa.org/), and is currently a Trustee. He is also the Director of Partner Relations for Partners in Evangelism, (http://www2.wau.org/partners/), a Ministry to the Military and Prisoners for The Word Among Us. Maurice can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
[Many thanks to The Word Among Us (http://www.wau.org/) for allowing me to adapt some material from daily meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.]
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
1. In the article, we her these words, “At Pentecost, Peter announced the exciting good news that Jesus, now exalted to God’s right hand, has received the Holy Spirit, and that he has poured this Spirit out on the apostles (Acts 2:33). What’s more, Peter said, this gift of the Spirit is for everyone who believes and is baptized (2:38-39).” Peter presents a clear presentation of the Gospel message at Pentecost to the Jewish men and women gathered in Jerusalem — and many were converted, filled with the Holy Spirit, and joined the Church. It was a powerful demonstration of the power of the Gospel when it is spoken clearly. If the opportunity arose for you to present the basic Gospel message to someone or to a group, what would you say? If this would be a struggle for you, take some time to write an “elevator” version (15 to 45 seconds), a five-minute version, and a twenty-minute version that includes its impact on your life.
2. In the article, we also hear these words: “Brothers, Jesus is still alive in heaven. He is still pouring out his Spirit on us today. He is still giving us the power to live a wonderful life that is holy and pleasing to him.” Do you believe these words? Why or why not?
3. The article ends with these words: “So, as we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, let’s praise him also for raising us up with him so that we can walk with him each and every day, and we can share his great love with others!” Make a list of three people who need to hear the Gospel message of Jesus’ great love for them. Are you willing to be the one to do it? What steps can you take to cause it to happen?
4. If you are in a men’s group, pray for one another for the grace to live in the power of the resurrection and the boldness to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as a starting point.