The Easter Season is a time of great joy – for God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that we might be saved.
We rejoice in this news each year, as it reads in our Opening Prayer: “May your people exult forever, O God, in renewed youthfulness of spirit.” The Psalmist agrees: “You put gladness into my heart O Lord.”
The Mass readings during this time celebrate ‘Graces flowing from the Resurrection.’ In today’s readings the opportunity of forgiveness from our sins and restoration of our inner peace are emphasized, through God’s grace and our sincere repentance. St. Peter puts it this way: “Repent and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.”
St. John adds another aspect of forgiveness: “If anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one.” A few years ago, I came across a very helpful reflection on our struggle with temptation and the mercy of God. It is by Fr. Jacques Philippe, a member of the Community of the Beatitudes.
Father Philippe writes that our real spiritual battle is to maintain our peace of heart even when we fail in our good intentions to avoid temptation. He writes: “It is only in this way that we can pursue the goal of the elimination of our failures, our faults, our, imperfections and sins. We know that we cannot obtain this by our own strength; it is uniquely the grace of God that will obtain it for us.”
Another grace that flows from the Resurrection of Jesus is the freedom to forgive oneself for a sin. Fr. Eamon Tobin has
something important to say about this; he puts it in an imaginary conversation between us and God. God says:
“My dear, I am so different from those perfectionistic voices inside of you. They love you when you perform well. When you perform poorly, they are angry with you. I urge you to stop listening to those voices. They are destructive. They are not
of me. It is crucial that you learn to distinguish my voice from the voice of your “Inner Critic,” “Adversary,” and “Tyrant.” My voice is never harsh, judgmental, or condemning. It is gentle, inviting, compassionate, and full of mercy. I only speak tough words to the self-righteous, arrogant, and proud of heart. All I seek is for you to believe that I love you.”
“Peace be with you,”
You said to the Apostles,
“Peace be with you,”
You say to us.
Help us to dwell in the
Peace you wish to give to us
And may we hold high the
torch of peace for others.