Getting on with the Work of Christ

“Appearance of Christ on the Mountain in Galilee” (detail) by Duccio di Buoninsegna [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“As we see God’s providence shining through his Resurrection and become active instruments for it, we experience the transformative power of the gospel and its quiet force to dispel darkness and vanquish despair.”

After the Lord’s Resurrection, he re-taught his apostles the gospel. The Lord prepared them to share and spread his own most excellent way of love with all the world. After spending forty days with the apostolic community, the Lord ascended to glory. As the apostles watched, an angel appeared and chastised them, saying: “Men of Galilee,why do you stand here looking into the sky?” In summary, the angelic witness was telling them, “It’s time to get to work!”

As we walk through the Easter Season, this same exhortation is given to us. Rather than taking the posture of a bystander or thinking that we have no role in the workings of divine providence, we are called to labor for the Lord’s kingdom of peace and mercy. It is an action that is born from contemplation. Divine wisdom echoes to us: “There is evil in the world, abandon yourself to divine providence, and now go and fight for goodness!”

Our willingness to pick up the mantle and proclaim truth and goodness can bring mockery or persecution. If we accept these with an Easter spirit, they can become opportunities for both conversion in us and in those who are causing harm or witnessing it. The gospel exposes injustice, evil, and offense.

Evil has a way of perpetuating a false narrative about its inevitability and seeks to convince us that we are victims and have no power to stop or battle against forces of wickedness. Our ability to be a “sign of contradiction,” and a voice of reason and moral truth, serve to wake up those around us.

Moral darkness and evil rely on silence, isolation, and fear in order to shame the one who stands for truth and goodness. As we grow spiritually and see God’s providence in our world, we are less drawn by the allure of vanity and the desire for human respect. We become stronger and feel compelled to name evil, promote what is good, and defend what is beautiful and innocent. This willingness edifies us and expands our ability to see the glory of the Lord’s Resurrection and the power of his message in our world today.

As we see God’s providence shining through his Resurrection and become active instruments for it, we experience the transformative power of the gospel and its quiet force to dispel darkness and vanquish despair. This manifests the light of the Paschal Mystery. It shows us divine providence, which becomes irresistible as we tangibly sense the reality of God’s love and practically discern the authority of truth and goodness. This whole process shows us how very real God’s kingdom is and how imminent goodness can be if we keep saying “yes” to all that the Risen Christ asks of us.

In this growing awareness, it is as if scales fall from our eyes and we begin to recognize the palpable nature of divine providence and our capacity to be its instrument in our world. We realize, “Evil happens, but I can champion goodness. Evil only wins if I do nothing.” The false sense of powerlessness is unmasked. The facade falls and grace begins to flow in our hearts. Our invitation is to enter the Easter mystery of the Lord’s Resurrection and begin to zealously work within the tide of his grace.

As our hearts marinate in this mystery, we begin to surrender more generously to divine providence. We realize more profoundly that each of us has a unique mission. We are called in the Risen Christ to stop “looking in the sky” as if we have no mandate, and instead to rally through the workings of divine providence and work tirelessly for the victory of God’s kingdom in our world so that goodness can triumph and goodness can flourish in our day.

Father Jeff Kirby, STD, is the Pastor of Our Lady of Grace Parish in Indian Land, SC. He is the author of the recent book, Be Not Troubled: A Six-Day Personal Retreat with Fr. Jean-Pierre De Caussade.

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About the Author

Fr. Jeffrey Kirby

Father Jeffrey Kirby is the parish priest of Our Lady of Grace Parish in Indian Land, South Carolina. He holds a doctorate in moral theology from the Holy Cross University in Rome and a Master of Arts in Philosophy from the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Father Kirby serves as an Adjunct Professor of Theology at Belmont Abbey College and Pontifex University. He has authored several books, including Lord, Teach Us to Pray and Kingdom of Happiness: Living the Beatitudes in Everyday Life.

In 2016, Father Kirby was recognized for his service to local communities and young adults throughout South Carolina by then- Governor Nikki Haley with the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest civilian honor.

Working with St. Benedict Press and Catholic Scripture Study International, Father Kirby was the Host of the award-winning program Doors of Mercy and was one of the co-instructors of the programs, Luke: The Gospel of Mercy and Jesus Revealed. He is the Host of the program Kingdom of Happiness, which helped launch the #BeBlessedChallenge throughout the English-speaking areas of the Church.

Father Kirby is the weekly spirituality Contributor for the news site Crux: Taking the Catholic Pulse, as well as the author of a bi-monthly Question-and-Answer column carried by The Catholic Miscellany, the diocesan newspaper in South Carolina.

Father Kirby grew up in a military family in West Germany, once hiked across Europe and North Africa for ten weeks, attended seminary at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, served in the Army National Guard, has run two marathons, and crossed the Atlantic Ocean twice by ship.

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