It is easy for us to connect to the new life that is blossoming all around us. The spring season unfolds with grace, determination and beauty. Backyards, walkways and parks are once again revealing plenty shades of green and various colors of flowers. The cold stillness and gray of winter is giving way to the anticipated living colors and fervor of springtime.
This external awareness and natural connection to the beauty of new life also finds expressions in our innermost sentiments. The walk through the Via Dolorosa and the darkness of Calvary placed us on the road to new possibilities. Indeed, the profound prayerful silence and sacrificial reverence that guided our Lenten and Triduum journey paved the way for the grace of the resurrection.
Deep in our heart, we can eagerly sense the invitation of the spirit of life beckoning us to go further and enter more intentionally into the light of truth and transformation. Yet, like the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35), burdened by what has been a difficult and painful COVID-19 year, we struggle to see and recognize the amazing event of life before us. So, we find ourselves having to discern anew what is most needed for our time, trusting that our Alleluia prayers and contemplation of the risen Christ will show us the way forward.
For some of us, this may be a time of renewal, embracing and holding on to those people and circumstances that have brought forth abundant blessings. Staying close to family, friends and colleagues who give us support and help us grow. For others, this springtime may be the moment we finally and firmly let go of bad patterns and habits. A time to be courageous in abandoning old ways that weigh us down and prevent us from moving into greater healing, resilience and fresh beginnings.
Already the lessons of the pandemic have shown us how much new life can emerge even in the midst of great difficulties and unforeseen challenges. The practice of social distancing, for example, taught us that with creativity and adaptability our sense of community, friendship and nearness to one another need not be a thing of the past. Moreover, this past year revealed a great deal of generosity of spirit and kindness in our shared humanity.
In faith, too, we know and trust that the vitality and resilience we most need is never far from the breaking of the bread we share with one another in generous accompaniment. In prayerful contemplation, mutual consolation and community, we have witnessed a vast horizon of empathy and have renewed our hope in the gift we are for one another. Together we have found ways to reconnect to our spirituality of communion and our journey of compassion in action.
In the footsteps of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we see that our path forward is not meant to be simplistic or uncomplicated. In fact, we believe that the challenges and struggles ahead can never really extinguish the light and newness we have received in Christ’s resurrection. Certainly, we can readily recognize and see the Risen Lord in the common table of plenty. “Then they said to each other: ‘Did not our hearts burn within as He talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?’” (Luke 24: 32).
May our affirmation of the eternal word of life keep us walking outwards to an ever-fuller embrace of our common humanity in Christ—Alleluia!
F. Javier Orozco
First published April 16, 2021 in the St. Louis Review