The joy and delight with which we as Christians celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord and the great feasts of the Easter season seem to revolve around one word – fidelity.
The fidelity of Jesus in the face of his impending suffering is summed up in the phrase ‘Not my will, but your will be done’; moreover, the fidelity of Christ to his promise ‘I am with you always’ is the bedrock upon which we build firmly all our personal love and devotion and the pastoral works within the family, within the Church and within our mission and ministry to the wider society around us.
During the Easter season of 50 days we read extensively from the Acts of the Apostles, the New Testament book which could almost be given the sub-title ‘What happened next’. It is the unfolding of how – in joys and persecutions, debates and conversions of heart – the early followers of Jesus were guided by the working of the Holy Spirit to deepen their fidelity to Christ.
This fidelity led some to travel great distances to proclaim the Good News; equally it inspired others to remain in their families and close-knit communities and to be a leaven and an inspiration for goodness of living – having hearts open not only to God but also to the demands of their communities and those in any kind of need. All this was done ‘faithful to example and command of Christ’.
What is different for us today? Not a great deal. The means of transport and communication may have changed, but the fundamental call to fidelity of life and of love remains constant.
Christ yesterday and today, the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega.