Wednesday, April 17, 2019
by Sister Elise Cholewinski
During this season of Lent I have been teaching a course for the Fox Valley Bible Study. We have been walking through the Passion of Christ according to the Gospel of St. Luke. My study in preparation for each class has provided me with many interesting details. One in particular really struck me. It is the meaning of the word “Paradise”, which is in Jesus' message to the good thief, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” It is a Persian word, meaning a walled garden. Sometimes a king would invite one of his subjects to walk with him in that garden. The thief received more than a promise of immortality. He was given the honored place of being a companion with Jesus in the garden of heaven.
As we celebrate the high point of the liturgical year this Easter, one of the readings presented to us is the account of the women being confronted by the empty tomb. They are told not to look among the dead for someone who is living. Our feast is not about a Jesus who rose from the dead a long time ago. To look for a historical Jesus is like walking into an empty tomb. That’s not where He is. We glory instead in the Lord who IS risen, present to us now in Word, sacrament, the community of the baptized, the poor, and the stranger.
It is particularly in the Eucharist that the Risen Lord appears to us. As we engage in this deep mystery at the table of His banquet, let us make of our hearts a walled garden, where as His honored companions, we enjoy the intimacy of His Presence.
If you had to write a Resurrection account of your own identification of Jesus in a poor person or a stranger, what would your story describe?
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