In our Small Christian Community we often discuss how simple and straight forward Christ’s instructions are. How easy His directives are to understand. And despite this; how challenging they can be to follow and live. This week’s Gospel is a prime example. Jesus tells his disciples, and by extension each of us: “My children, I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”
Now, Christ’s love isn’t puppy-dogs, rainbows and unicorns. Christ’s love means putting the good of the other above your own. It’s sacrificial. It’s heroic. This is why I say discipleship is an action word. It’s not thinking. It’s doing… doing His will.READ MORE
Throughout the Easter season, our readings have given us glimpses into the life of the newborn Church and the bold witness of the early disciples in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to all who would listen. These disciples were the first to live a stewardship way of life and their example is as relevant today as it was 2,000 years ago.
In the First Reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, we catch up with Paul and Barnabas in Antioch. While they certainly have some success in reaching many people there with the message of salvation, others are downright infuriated by their words and send them packing. Yet, we read that “the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.” Overall, it seems as if Paul and Barnabas had failed in Antioch. But this seeming failure has not robbed them of their joy. What’s more, they are filled to the brim with the abundant gifts of the Holy Spirit. How is this possible?READ MORE
You’re correct; technically, it’s not a verb but bear with me… As we move through the Easter season we see a transition in how the risen Christ instructs the disciples.
The parables, metaphors and symbols have been replaced with clear directives. He "opened their minds to understand the scriptures" making known the connections between his own words and deeds and "everything written about [him] in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms."READ MORE
What does it take to believe that something is real? We live in an age of computer technology, with things like Photoshop and other programs that can enhance photographs, create realistic images, and mimic artistic renderings. When looking at a picture of something, we find ourselves wondering if what we are seeing is real or just the result of technological creativity.
Early believers came to believe because of what they witnessed in their new communities of faith. They saw people authentically living out Jesus' command to love and to show mercy. What do people witness when they see us in action? Would today's doubting Thomas' know we are Christian?READ MORE
Alleluia means "Praise God," in Ancient Hebrew, it means "Thanks be to God." Therefore, to be an Alleluia person means to be filled with praise and thanksgiving to God. A disposition of gratefulness and thanksgiving for everything… Because everything is grace: creatures, persons, events, thoughts, words, and deeds… all in life. To be a person who looks at another person, and in faith, in the spirit of God , says, "You are good and I thank God for you." Alleluia!!! Let us accept one another in the Spirit of the Risen Lord, believing that we can all rise up from the depths of our tomb (fall), and be an Easter person, Alleluia!, Thanks be to God.READ MORE
Following on with our Lenten theme, I thought I'd share a few thoughts on fasting. I'll attempt to paraphrase a short article "A Reflection on Lenten Fasting" by Rev. Daniel Merz which can be found on the USCCB website. In the early Church there were two fasts. One was the "total fast" that preceded all major feasts or sacramental events. It was a means of watching and waiting… preparing for something (Christ). The second fast was a fast of abstinence from certain foods, e.g., meats or fats. This was more an act of self-discipline and self-control. We're going to focus on the first which is generally referred to as fasting.READ MORE
Today starts our Holy Week Journey with the celebration of Palm Sunday. This week is like no other week in the Liturgical Calendar of the Church, a week filled with intense emotion and drama, all about the Son of Man who suffered greatly in the hands of men. He died an excruciating death and on the third day rose again to give us all new life. We journey with the greatest love story, Jn. 3:16 "God so loved the world, He gave us His only Son…" Jesus Christ our savior, His most precious one. We are loved so much, we are given the greatest HOPE, and we are invited to level up, to a new level of existence.READ MORE