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Sister Joan Chittister, OSB Headshot

We Have Risen With Him

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Excerpted from "Journey Into Light: Lent 2012"

Today, at an empty tomb full of light, begins the gathering of the community, of a small and fragile assembly of believers left to their own devices, of disciples whose faith has been shaken by the dashing of the dream. They come, their hearts darkened by sorrow, and leave full of a light they do not understand but cannot ignore. Something has happened here. Something they didn't plan and could not foresee. But something that will change their lives, give it focus, fill it with a new kind of passion, give it a purpose that will never end.

The cross has given way to the tomb now. The sense of yesterday's shattering loss has given way to new hope in them all. Life has changed entirely. Overnight. What they sought has not ended. Not really. Instead it has simply been given to them to complete.

The crowds have swollen now--you and I are in it, too, in fact. With our families, our ancestors, our friends, our children. But the experience is the still the same: There's no doubt we're in awe. Obviously there has been an impact. Most of all, the confusion is extreme. Yes, I have been touched. Yes, I would like to change. Yes, I know I'm called to do something. I simply do not know what. Or how.

How, after all, do I follow the poor Jesus in a world where money is the goal? How do I follow the just Jesus in a society where women and minorities live by different rules and classism is on the rise? How do I follow the loving Jesus in a world fueled by nuclear weapons in a rich society where one whole class of people do not eat two meals a day?

It is a matter of taking the Light from the tomb and re-igniting it ourselves, wherever we are, however we can. It's about seeing where the darkness waits for the Light that is Jesus and taking it there. It's a matter of doing something more than agreeing that things must change and making some change in them ourselves, where we are, in our own lives and in the lives of others around us.

It's about leaving the tomb to participate in better world movements, to serve soup at a soup kitchen, to begin art projects for children, to provide shelter for battered women, to stand with others for economic justice, to get engaged in the process of co-creation ourselves so that others may rise from the tombs of their lives, too.

"Do this in remembrance of me," Jesus said at the Last Supper. This morning, in the shadow of an empty tomb, with the Resurrection behind him, he left the remembering, the blessing, the sharing of life for us to do.

We do not sing "Alleluia" today simply because Jesus rose from the dead but because, if we take Lent and Easter seriously, we have also risen with him, following his healing, blazing, shattering light to ignite it in his name where we are. Alleluia.

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