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The Seventh Sunday of Easter

“As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world.” Jn.17:18

“If you want to follow Jesus, you better look good on wood.”

These words from poet Daniel Berrigan, SJ stand in marked contrast to our usual idea of being glorified. Instead, once again, they remind us that the glory of Easter is deeply entwined in Jesus’ passion and death.

Jesus came into his triumphant Easter glory through the brutality of the crucifixion.
He didn’t get the one without the other.

Again and again in Sacred Scripture we hear the promise that we will one day be clothed in glory. And in his essay, “The Weight of Glory,” writer C.S. Lewis tries to help us imagine what glory might look like on us, as if it were a cloak we are trying on now to see how it might fit in eternity.

What do we think it will be like, Lewis asks, to stand before God and have God appreciate us for who we are and for what we have accomplished? What will it be like to see in God’s face how we are cherished and to know in our depths that God rejoices in what He has made?

What will that be like?

It’s overwhelming.

Even so, Lewis proposes flipping the contemplation around to consider a possibly even more unsettling reality – namely, that “next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.”  

While pondering that challenging thought, imagine for a moment that driver that just cut you off, the neighbor whose political stance you find untenable, or that homeless woman foraging in the dumpster behind the grocery store.

Now imagine each of them standing before God wrapped – as you and I will be one day – in a garment of glory and light.

Would you still blow your horn, tell them off, or walk on by?

Or would you be drawn to see them as they are in the eyes of God – cherished children, creations of the God of Glory?

In the words of Origen, one of the early Church fathers:
“What cloak am I weaving in both word and deed to wrap around Christ, our King, who is cold and shivering on the street?”

“As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world” says Jesus to the Father in today’s Gospel.

That “sending” involved a life dedicated to healing the sick, caring for the homeless, standing up for the orphans and the widowed, forgiving 70 x 7, and to ultimately accepting the brutality of crucifixion and death on a wooden cross.
So, too, our way of glory lies not in reveling in ourselves, not in lives dedicated to indulging our egos, but in sharing our neighbor’s suffering, in picking up crosses that are not our own – and helping others to carry them.

This will be the garment of glory we weave for ourselves – the arm we wrap around the shuddering man on the street, the cloth we spread on the table at the soup kitchen, the blanket we tuck around those shivering from the cold.  

As we rejoice in the great joy of Easter and all its glory, let’s re-commit ourselves to the promise and the reality of the glory manifest in each one of us – the glory of experiencing God’s great creation; the glory of knowing consciousness and the many beauties that life presents to us.

And let us always remember to make certain that our ears will hear the cry of the poor; that our eyes will see the root of terrible injustice wherever it exists; that our voices will speak out on behalf of those who have been ignored and left behind.

Just as Jesus did.

Let us be a people dedicated to weaving for ourselves a cloak of glory woven throughout with bits of wood from a cross like Jesus carried and upon which he died – and so entered His eternal glory.  

Because …
“If you want to follow Jesus, you better look good on wood.”

Ted Wolgamot, Psy.D.

Art by Jim Matarelli
Sister Rachel’s Quote of the Week

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