Name of Jesus on our lips!

 

Thursday Second Week of Easter

Acts 5:27-33

John 3:31-36

 

Can you imagine a world where the name of Jesus Christ is not spoken? The name of Jesus Christ needs to be on our lips, as we go throughout our day. The most powerful prayer we can say is simply saying the name of Jesus over and over. 

 

In our first reading the apostles have been arrested twice and put in jail, and now there are standing trial before the Sanhedrin. This high court of priestly men question the apostles about preaching in the name of Jesus Christ. The Sanhedrin says, “We gave you strict orders not to preach in that name.” The Sanhedrin cannot even say the name of Jesus Christ. The apostles respond with we have to be witnesses to Jesus Christ. What they mean by being a witness to Jesus Christ is they not only need to speak his name and repeat as often as they can they also need to show this in their actions. The disciples are saying; we have to repeat what we know because it is in our spiritual DNA.

 

In our Gospel, we continue with the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus. Jesus is inviting Nicodemus into a personal relationship with him and letting him know that he needs to be a witness for him.

 

We become good witnesses when we repeat what we know about Christ in our lives. An easy way to do this is by living in complete gratitude for all that God has done in our lives. We thank Jesus by name for helping us through all the troubled times, the things that filled us with doubt and fear, and God saw us through those difficult times. It may even be that those very things we worried about were turned into a blessing by God.

 

We also need to live in gratitude and thank Jesus by name for the things that God will do in our lives that we do not even know about at this time. To live as to trust that God will bring us blessings that we cannot even see at this time.

 

May the name of Jesus always be on our lips!

 

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God is winning!

 

Easter Weekday Wednesday

Acts 5:17-26

John 3: 16-21

St. Stanislaus

 

 

We all like our sports teams to win, we do not like it when they lose. We play this game of life to win we do not play to lose. We would never wish upon ourselves to be sick or to not feel well, we do everything to win. Our readings this day is all about God is winning!

 

In our first reading, as the disciples are taken to public jail, God is winning as an angel comes and frees them from jail during the night. The angel tells them to go right back to where there were when they got arrested and begin preaching again. God is winning, because this time when they are arrested the second time the guards are the ones afraid because the disciples are gaining popularity. God is winning!

 

In our Gospel, God is winning as we continue with this discussion that Nicodemus is having with Jesus. Nicodemus is trying to figure out who he is and at the same time trying to figure out who Jesus is. We hear the famous line, “God so loved the world that he gave his only son that all who would believe would have eternal life.” God loved the world so much he allowed his Son to die on a cross so he would win for us our salvation.

 

God is winning! God is winning! God is winning!

 

Our nighttime selves.

 

Easter Weekday Tuesday

Acts 4:32-37

John 3:7-15

 

I think to make more sense of our Gospel, we have to go back a few lines to the beginning of this chapter in the bible, and then it gives more meaning to what is going on in this story. The line is “Nicodemus came to Jesus at night.” I think this is significant because I ask the question, “Why did he not come during the day?” I think it is because, during the day, Nicodemus knows who he is, he has an identity, he has a reputation as a leader in the community, and he works hard to keep that reputation clean. However at night, Nicodemus has to face himself, and all of his questions about life, and he is confused and lost. The nighttime living is not much fun, so Nicodemus has to do something to figure out who he is so he comes to Jesus in the night and asks his questions.

 

Do we have a daytime person and a nighttime person? Do we have a time that we are sure of ourselves and a time that things get a bit shaky?

 

Jesus responds with today’s Gospel, that “You Nicodemus must be born from above.” What an answer to a guy who is already struggling to figure out who he is and who Jesus is. What Jesus is inviting Nicodemus to do is to share in a personal relationship with him so that he will no longer struggle in the night. We need to be born again, and again, and again until we get it right!

 

In our first reading from the Book of Acts, the disciples have this personal relationship with Jesus as the community of believers is of one heart and one mind, and no one went without.”  

 

This personal relationship with the risen Christ needs to become evident in our lives during the day and be secure in our lives during the night time. May we find what we need in this Eucharist.

We are ressuection people.

 

Second Sunday of Easter

Acts 4:32-35

I John 5:1-6

John 20: 19-31

 

Why did you come? What did you come to see? You have seen the construction; you can see the barricades, so why did you come? The valet parking? The disciples are asking the very same question of Jesus in our Gospel today, “Lord, why did you come?” Our readings beg us to know why we have come, and celebrate the risen Christ in our lives.

 

In our Gospel the disciples all except Thomas are huddled together in a closed room, and Jesus appears to them saying, “Peace be with you.” The disciples get to see, hear and feel the risen Jesus. Later that day Thomas returns, and the others tell him, “We have seen the Lord!” Thomas says, “Unless I get the same chance you got, to see him, to hear him, and touch him, I will not believe.” Thomas is asking for no more than what the disciples had gotten as evidence of Jesus risen from the tomb.

 

One week later all the disciple are gathered together in their locked room. Why? Why does the world not know that Jesus is risen from the tomb? Jesus has already appeared to them once. The doorway to the tomb is open, but the doorway to the disciples home and hearts is closed tight. The house the disciples have been staying in has become a tomb. The disciples are the ones who are the ones who are doubting, not Thomas! When Thomas sees the Lord, he makes a strong profession of faith, “My Lord and my God.”

 

Is our faith, any more different than the disciples since Easter? If we want to know what we believe about the resurrection of Jesus, look at our lives and how we live. Our beliefs or lack of are what guide us through our lives. Our faith is not based on an empty tomb; our faith is based on the resurrection, so we must be resurrection people.

 

People who believe in the resurrection know that faith and life are messy. Resurrection people ask hard questions, and they know answers do not always come. Resurrection people believe more in what God believes about them than what they believe in God. Resurrection people know that God is always entering places that are locked to bring his peace. Resurrection people unlock doors even when they do not know what is on the others side. Resurrection people may never touch or see Jesus, but they believe that Jesus has been seeing and touching them. Resurrection people say along with Thomas, “My Lord and my God!”

I am going fishing!

 

Friday Octave of Easter

Acts 4:11-12

John 21:1-14

 

 

Our memories are a powerful thing. I was listening to the radio yesterday in the car, and a song came on I had not heard since my college days, and it took me right back to that time.

 

In our Gospel Peter and the others are using their memories to go back to a simpler time, so they go fishing. I think Peter is fishing for answers more than fishing for fish. How can he forget what just happened at the last supper, how he denied Jesus, how painful Jesus looked hanging on a cross, looking into the empty tomb, and now Jesus being raised from the dead? Peter’s memory is filled with lots of things.

 

When professional fishermen do not catch anything, Jesus tells them to put their nets on the other side. All of the disciples begin to pull on the nets, and they cannot bring the nets because of the amount of fish. When they come to shore and Peter smells the charcoal fire he remembers what happened at the last charcoal fire he was at. When Jesus asks him for some fish, it is Peter alone who goes and hauls in the nets that all the others could not bring in. Peter is trying to erase the memory of that last charcoal fire.   

 

How is our memory today? Are we still lost in guilt or shame of something we have done? Is there still doubt and fear in our memory of things that have not happened in our lives? May the resurrected Christ fill our day with hope, and peace, and may we believe that Christ has come to save us.

It is not enough!

Thursday Octave of Easter

Acts 3:11-26

Luke 24 35-48

 

 

It is not enough to believe that the tomb was empty on that Easter morning. It is not enough to proclaim “Christ is Risen!” It is not enough to believe in the resurrection. We have to move the resurrection from an event in history to an experience in our lives! 

 

In our Gospel, the disciples are huddled together in a locked room as they are trying to figure it all out what it means that Jesus has risen from the tomb. As the disciples who saw him on the road to Emmaus were explaining everything, Jesus appears in their midst. The disciples get a firsthand experience of Jesus as they get to see him, touch him, and eat with him. Jesus opens the scriptures to them to help them understand what his “rising” from the dead meant. They are amazed and filled with great joy.

 

In our reading from the Acts of the Apostles, the people get a real experience of the risen Christ as the healings, miracles, preaching and teaching of Jesus continues after the resurrection through the hands and lips of the apostles. It all takes place in the name of Jesus Christ, and his mission continues.

 

How are we experiencing the resurrection in our lives? Our roles are to take the resurrection event and place it in our lives. Where is the resurrection evident in our life?

 

 

One angel declares the good news!

 

Easter Vigil & Sunday

Acts 10:34, 37-43

I Corinthians 5:6-8

Mark 16:1-7

 

 

What I find interesting on this night, is on the most glorious event to ever happen in the world, God sends one ordinary angel to proclaim the Good News that Jesus Christ his son, has risen from the dead. God had all kinds of angels at his disposal to send, he has the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael and yet he sends one ordinary angel. Maybe this angel felt very comfortable in a tomb and felt like it was just another ordinary day.

 

The other thing I find interesting is there is not much drama about the resurrection of Jesus. There are no big lights, no flashing neon signs, or no stars in the sky. The only fanfare we get is an ordinary angel, to tell the women “He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.”

 

Without much fanfare, we may lose the power and the punch of what happened on this night. I am not saying, Jesus, did not rise from the tomb. I truly believe Jesus rose from the tomb but do we get the whole effect of what happened? There is the fact that Jesus is the only one to be raised from the dead, no one in our cemetery had one it yet, and they are still waiting. Maybe I could say it another way that makes more sense for us. How about saying it this way, “Good morning! Now go home, and you will see Jesus.” If I said it to you this way, is it easier to understand what we do tonight? Maybe you like it said this way and maybe not? Either way, to say, “Good morning. Now go home, and you will see Jesus” are not my words, but the words of the ordinary angel sent by God to announce the Good News to the world that His son, Jesus Christ, has truly risen from the dead.

 

8:00 & 10:30: Go home! Yes, go home! The angel says this because if we cannot find Jesus in our homes, how are we ever going to see him any place else? We gather here every week to return home and to see Jesus. We will renew our Baptismal Promises as a sign of our willingness to be transformed.

 

The stone was not rolled away from the tomb so that Jesus could get out; he would have found another way out of the tomb. The stone was rolled away so we could look in and believe and find Jesus in our homes. We thank this ordinary angel for rolling away the stone and for giving us such a great gift of Good News, “Good morning. Now go home, and you will see Jesus.”