Posts tagged: Judaism

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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Expanding Horizons

By , May 12, 2012 10:04 pm

During its very first chapter, the Church, the community of faith, was totally and completely Jewish. Jesus, the apostles, the disciples, all of the followers and all early members were of the Jewish blood and faith. However, very early on the total Jewishness of the Church begins to be altered, and men and women beyond the confines of Judaism begin to be received into the community of believers in Jesus.

Today’s first reading describes a dramatic scene where a Roman officer has a vision that he should send for Peter and find out more about the message that Peter has been preaching, that Jesus had risen from the death and ascended into heaven. It is a beautiful excerpt. Peter receives Cornelius and his entire household into the Church, but then, guided by the Holy Spirit, makes a decision of tremendous importance for how the Church will be developed on the Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 13th
He asks rhetorically, “What can stop these people who have received the Holy Spirit even as we have from being baptized with water?” The answer, of course, is NOTHING and so this whole Pagan household was baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. From then on, the missionary Church was on its way.

Helping to build the Church was the responsibility of the apostles and their early followers, but that responsibility continues even to this day. There are so many ways that we can be missionaries in our day-to-day lives. The best, of course, is to give an example in all of our dealing with people to be Christ-like – gentle and kind, honest and generous. Throughout its history, the examples of its holiest members has always been the greatest single cause for receiving converts into the Church. The example of the Christian life has always been much more influential in helping the Church to grow than theological discussions, as important as those may be. Throughout its history, the Church has always needed saints, extraordinary men and women whose lives really mirrored the life of Jesus of Nazareth. We have always needed them and never more than we do today.

On a separate note, tomorrow is MOTHER’s DAY- may God BLESS all the MOTHERs, and those who take on a motherly role here on earth!

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