the resurrection desert
"Head south toward the road which goes from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route." —Acts 8:26
We've just spent forty days fasting in the Lenten desert, in imitation of Jesus' forty-day desert fast (Mt 4:1-2). Now Jesus is risen, and we celebrate the season of Easter, a fifty-day Sunday of feasting and rejoicing. Yet, like Philip, some of you may find yourselves in the desert after Easter Sunday (Acts 8:26). You may have lost a loved one (Acts 8:2), suffered persecution for your Easter faith (Acts 8:3), or are simply returning to your normal life after the spiritual high of Easter (Acts 8:27).
If you're in the Easter desert, you are not alone. Others, such as the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:27), are also in the Easter desert. In the Easter desert can be found:
- spiritual hunger (Acts 8:31),
- refreshing water which appears at just the right time, even in the midst of the arid surroundings (Acts 8:36),
- the precise, powerful guidance of the Spirit (Acts 8:29),
- the seeds of international evangelization (Acts 8:27, 39),
- conversion (Acts 8:38), and
- rejoicing (Acts 8:39).
If you are still in the desert, ask not so much to be taken out of the desert; rather, ask for "ears open to obedience" (Ps 40:7; see also Is 50:4). Your emptiness and suffering might be exactly what the Spirit uses to bring Easter joy to the world. After the Lord's purpose is completed, the Spirit can quickly carry you out of the desert to the refreshment you need (see Acts 8:39-40).
Prayer: Father, use me to spread your word to the whole world.
Promise: "If anyone eats this bread he shall live forever; the bread I will give is My flesh, for the life of the world." —Jn 6:51
Praise: Maria has come to recognize that hunger for God is a prelude to a deeper move of His Spirit in her life.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 9, 2009
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