Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Grace to you and peace. Happy Easter! “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” How many times have we prayed these words? We say them at every Mass. How many times have we really meant them? Our prayer does not offer a spirituality of release, a one-way ticket out of trouble, an escape from the real world. It is not “Lord, let me leave this earth, and go to your kingdom in heaven.” It is not we who go; it is the kingdom that comes. The kingdom comes into this real world and transforms it.
As we continue our celebration of Easter, we celebrate the Resurrection not simply as a promise of future life, but as Jesus’ absolute and abiding claim on this world here and now. On that note, Anglican bishop and New Testament scholar, N.T. Wright, wrote in his book (which I highly recommend) The Resurrection of the Son of God, “No wonder that as a matter of historical fact, the Herods, the Caesars, the Sadducees of this world, ancient and modern, were and are eager to rule out all possibility of actual resurrection. They make a counter-claim on the real world. It is the real world that tyrants and bullies try to rule by force, only to discover that in order to do so they have to quash all rumors of resurrection, rumors that would imply that their greatest weapons, death and destruction, are not after all omnipotent.”
The Church proclaims: It is the real God who made this real world. Jesus is He who reclaimed it decisively and forever by His Resurrection, not a bizarre miracle, but a beginning of a new creation.
How does this new creation begin? How does this kingdom come? Jesus tells us that He is the way. He invites us to come to Him and put our lives into His hands. We do it by living in relationship with Him, listening to His teaching through the Church, and following His way. That’s how we will come to the life He promises those who have joined Him “on the way.” Jesus makes it clear that He is the path to God and if we follow Him, “the way,” we will have “truth”—for he is God’s revelation to us, and God is Truth, the ultimate reality. We will have “life”—for Jesus draws us from the death of sin to new life.
Our Dominican brother, St. Thomas Aquinas, describes it wonderfully well: Jesus is at once both the way and the goal. In His human nature He is the way, and in His divine nature He is the goal. Therefore, speaking as man, He says: I am the way; and speaking as God, He adds: the truth and the life. Truth and life are what we want, and Jesus is the way. Go
Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord!