There are many in the Church today who live as if there is no end to Lent. And while we might think this fact is hardly worth mentioning, it has such wide reaching consequences for the entire Church that Pope Francis felt it necessary to point it out in his document, Evangelii Gaudium. It is sad that even in Easter, when Holy Mother Church says, Lent is over, let us rejoice, these individuals call out, not for me! And upon some introspection, we have to admit that this is sometimes our response to the empty tomb as well. We, like Mary Magdalene, cannot see the hope in it all.
In this we seem to the world somewhat of a contradiction, or to use St. Paul’s language, a stumbling block. For we, who have been to where Jesus is, do not always come back with good news. Instead, we too, like those steeped in the culture around us, make it plain that we cannot quite find God.
There are very few, like John and Peter, who would begin dashing off to find the Lord after our weak presentation of the circumstances. Indeed they must have such great faith already who, upon hearing our stories and the apparent absence of anything divine in our lives, would seek out Jesus with their time and effort.
Our witness is still worse however, if we are blind to our own contradictions. The central mission of the Church is after all to evangelize, and yet we Christians so often live as if this was the last thing we were asked by our Lord to accomplish. The late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, once described this as ‘…a touching, yet perverse, overconfidence in the Church.’ We tend to think that the Church will continue to thrive without my help, without my unique witness and without my (albeit poor) ability to spread the good news.
The truth is that the Church is calling her children to an experience that changes lives. Lent is finished and Jesus is alive.
Check out Patrick and his ministry – evango – at https://evango.net/