Posts tagged: Followers

Jesus Loves His Friends

By , April 5, 2014 4:48 am

April 6th, Fifth Sunday of Lent

Oh, today’s Gospel! This is one of my favorite texts in the entire bible whether you are talking about Old or New Testaments. Today’s Gospel excerpt is drawn from the 11th chapter of St. John’s Gospel and for me it is wonderfully meaningful. The whole thrust of this Gospel is John, communicating to the first generation of the life of the Church, his memory what Jesus revealed about himself.

Sometimes our Lord communicated with words and other times just extraordinary actions. Today I am making reference to what I consider a wonderful extraordinary aspect of the life of Jesus of Nazareth. That is the fact that he was a MAN.
Members of the Christian community always recognize that Jesus is God dealing with us through a human nature. We know that. We believe that. But can we get our arms around it? Can our limited brains really grasp the awesome reality that within this Jewish carpenter from Nazareth the Godhead dwelt?

Well, today’s text really helps us to go in that direction. You know the story so well. Jesus goes to visit his friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus but on arriving, he is told that Lazarus died several days before. The text says that he was “troubled in spirit, moved by the deepest emotions” and then listen to this, he began to WEEP!

Did we all catch that? Jesus of Nazareth is weeping. This Divine Presence is torn by emotions, saddened and filled with a sense of loss. Can we really grasp that? I think the principle underlying the scene is that Lazarus was a friend of Jesus. Jesus liked him. Jesus was crushed on learning of Lazarus’ death. I like to transfer that concept to the rest of us. Yes, we are followers of Jesus, yes, we believe in him, but do we really see him as our friend? What a gift.

If we live a good life and if we do the things I just mentioned, we are his friends. Would your acquaintances be impressed if you were at a meeting and they announced that the president of the United States has called for you and has asked you to return the call? Would it seem important to you if it were only the governor or the mayor? My friends, if we are living a good life, we are the friends of Jesus. There is nothing better than that.

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Christ Working Through Us

By , July 6, 2013 4:09 am

July 7th, 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

From time to time, I have to remind myself as to exactly what we are doing together as we journey through this long segment of the Church year called the time after Pentecost. At first, it seems like a fairly bland period of the liturgy. The big feasts of Christmas, Easter and Pentecost are crammed in the first half of the year and now it is just, in a very real sense, walking with Jesus and listening to him talk in his public life. This period lasts half the year so we ought to utilize it as effectively as possible.

I think that it helps to imagine that you are walking with Jesus followers a little bit behind him and you can hear his voice. That was 2,000 years ago but it still rings true. Today, let’s take a look at one of Jesus’ followers who was an extraordinarily effective listener, Paul of Tarsus. In today’s second reading, Paul is writing to the community that he helped to establish in Galatia in modern Turkey. In it, he reminds the Galatians of misunderstandings that he suffered in the early Church, the sicknesses that he has had, beatings and other forms of persecution. Paul admits that he beseeched the Lord asking for an easier life but he heard the Lord say, “My grace is enough for you, for in weakness power reaches perfection.”

Here we are dealing with one of the mysteries that has always been present in the following of Christ. The world has its own set of standards in what is good, what is to be pursued, what are accomplishments, but Jesus has a different approach. Through Paul, the Lord is telling us that while we ought to try our best at everything we do, we ought to be conscious that when we do great things it is his power working through us. When we do great things, even in the face of our weaknesses, then it is really the power of God that is being manifested.

In today’s excerpt Paul says, “Therefore, I am content with weakness, mistreatment, with distress, with persecution and difficulties for the sake of Christ for when I am powerless it is then that I am strong.”

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