In the Passion readings leading up to Easter, it seems that the Spirit of God takes a back seat to the dramatic events of Holy Week. But this is not so. The Spirit, as one of the divine Persons of the Trinity, is the driving force behind every decision Jesus makes and every action he takes. Without the Spirit, Jesus does not enter Jerusalem or confront the prideful and violent tendencies of the Roman authorities and the religious leadership. Without the Spirit, Jesus does not go to the cross and he does not rise again.
Each of the Four Gospels point to the deep relationship between Jesus and the Spirit, beginnning at his baptism by John in the Jordan (Mt 3:16-17). From there, Jesus is driven by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted and to confront Satan (Lk 4:1-14). Most importantly, the Spirit is also acknowledged by Jesus himself as pivotal to who he is as Messiah and what his mission is all about. In a synagogue at Nazareth, he proclaims to the community the following prophecy from Isaiah and finishes by declaring that the prophet’s words have been fulfilled upon the event of his own baptism in the Jordan:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
(Luke 4:18 ff)
It is the Spirit that works through Jesus for the sake of others. To be sure, then, the Easter event is not only about the resurrection of Jesus. It is also about the indominable power of the Spirit to bring life from death, order from chaos (Gen 1-2). As you move through the remaining days of Triduum and into the Easter season, take time to connect with the Spirit of God, with whom you have been sealed at Baptism and Confirmation. Those initiated into the Church have not only been marked by God. Like Jesus, they too have been anointed to proclaim the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives, etc.
May this Easter be one that moves you out of your comfort zone and into lives and events around you, allowing you to share your love and faith with others in ways that encourage, heal, and liberate. This Easter, while families all over the country will be searching for eggs, why not start searching for those around you who could benefit from the Spirit at work in you? Start living in the Spirit!