Easter is about God saying “yes” to Jesus and what he was passionate about. What Jesus was passionate about was God and the kingdom of God. God was the central reality of his life and the kingdom of God was the center of his message. The kingdom of God was not about heaven, not about life after death, but about the transformation of life on earth, as the Lord’s Prayer affirms. It is not about “Take us to heaven when we die,” but about “Your kingdom come on earth” – as already in heaven. The kingdom of God on earth was about God’s passion – and Jesus’s passion – for the transformation of “this world”: the humanly created world of injustice and violence into a world of justice and nonviolence. That’s why the powers that ruled the world of Jesus killed him. They were not unknowingly doing the will of God by playing their part in God’s plan of salvation to provide a sinless sacrifice to pay for the sins of the world. No. They killed him because he was a radical critic of the way they had put the world together and he was attracting a following.
Thy kingdom come.
Reflect on the transformation of life on earth that is required to make this into a world of justice and nonviolence. Think of those who worked toward that transformation in this humanly created world and what happened to them. Can you work toward a transformation of justice and nonviolence in your small part of the world? What is one specific action you can take?
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor] and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Each of us should find ways to communicate Jesus wherever we are. All of us are called to offer others an explicit witness to the saving love of the Lord, who despite our imperfections offers us his closeness, his word and his strength, and gives meaning to our lives.
Charity is no substitute for justice withheld.
Jesus’s resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord’s Prayer is about.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us. No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection, no pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the Church’s mission. No set of goals and objectives include everything. This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water the seeds already planted knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities.
It is from the numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
Robert F. Kennedy