Last Saturday night at the Easter Vigil, Fr. Arturo Bañuelas of St. Pius X parish in El Paso totally blew me away with his homily on hope. He reminded us over and over again that the “greater power” at work in our world since Jesus rose from the dead is a power that we are challenged to live every day. The work of the risen Christ continues and that is truly good news! So all week I’ve been asking myself, “How did I live this day as a woman who knows that a greater power is at work in the world because Jesus is risen?” If we take our belief seriously, and we must, then although each day holds many experiences of disappointment, hurt and aggravation, we must not give in to cynicism, judgement and fear. We must rise again and again.
Because Jesus did not stay dead, his work goes on in the world today-through us. That is, if we open ourselves to the deep reality of the Easter message. It can be so tempting to stay down, to sit at the dark empty tombs of our lives caught somewhere between confusion and despair. But we have been entrusted with the same message as Mary Magdalen and the other women: Jesus is not here. He is risen! Go tell the others!
This week was the same as any other in recent months here at the border. Every day more stories of death in Juarez, new mass graves of kidnapped Central American immigrants discovered, worries for the safety of our Santo Niño children and their families, long lines at the port of entry that try our patience. How do we cooperate in the ongoing work of Jesus that brings hope, that is courageous, that refuses to give in to despair?
For me, hope came in little doses, sometimes mixed with a little aggravation. A call came from the St. Vincent de Paul society at St. Pius to come with a truck to get canned goods to take to Mexico. I arranged to borrow a truck but when we arrived, the trailer full of food was locked and no one had a key. There were, however, a good number of boxes outside the trailer that we were happy to have and we took them to our families at Santo Niño. A special Easter gift of Graeters ice cream from Cincinnati arrived on Easter Monday. It was supposed to have been delivered on Good Friday. No dry ice remained. Just six pints of the world’s best ice cream at room temperature. But then on Thursday we received a complimentary replacement shipment!
These are just little things, little experiences of which my life was made this week. But they are the opportunities I was given to add a bit of hope to the mix of darkness and light that is the world. Choosing to take a deep breath of the power of the resurrection allows me to breathe out Easter hope. Just keep breathing!