If you asked most people if they were in favor of peace, they would say yes. I think the world views peace as ‘if you don’t offend me, I won’t offend you, and then everyone will be okay.’ However, there is a problem with this view of peace. As Christians, we believe that everyone’s individual way is NOT okay, unless it is in line with God’s word.
"Jesus said to his disciples:
“Whoever has my commandments and observes them
is the one who loves me.
Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”
Judas, not the Iscariot, said to him,
“Master, then what happened that you will reveal yourself to us
and not to the world?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words;
yet the word you hear is not mine
but that of the Father who sent me.
“I have told you this while I am with you.
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit
whom the Father will send in my name–
he will teach you everything
and remind you of all that I told you.” (JN 14:21-26)
"When Judas had left them, Jesus said,
“Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God is glorified in him,
God will also glorify him in himself,
and God will glorify him at once.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
I give you a new commandment: love one another.
As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
This is how all will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another.” (JN 13:31-33A, 34-35)
“It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first, but since you reject it and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles." (Acts 13: 46)
In our reading from Acts, Paul is telling the story of Jesus, or as he refers to it, “this word of salvation,” to the people in the synagogue. He tells how the leaders did not recognize how Jesus was the Mesiah, and how they condemned him to die even though He had done no wrong.
Today is the feast of St. Mark. Like everybody else, I knew that Mark was one of the four Evangelist but really, little else.
It seems Mark was born in Libya--in Cyrene. If you look on the map that is a good distance from Jerusalem but by all accounts he was one of the 72 disciples that Jesus sent out to preach the good news. He was not one of the original twelve, although related to St. Barnabas who was.
Come creator spirit, visit my thoughts. Fill my soul with heavenly Grace. You are called Advocate, presence of God, fount of life, fire, love, my guest and spiritual anointing. Isaiah is seven gifts, the writer of the law, the father's sure promise inspiring my words. Awaken my senses, filled my heart with passion. strengthen my body with firm and lasting virtue.
This means that the Christian God is … transcendent … is the ground of being, [and] has a physical body here on earth. The Christian God can be seen, heard, felt, tasted, and smelled through our senses.
Well, today we’re hearing voices, but they’re all good. I like hearing voices. I personally don’t hear them much, but my patron saint Joan of Arc sure did, to the great advantage of 15th century France!
“I am the good Shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.” Jesus was the visible sign of God’s constant care for his people.
It is the Spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail.
The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.
The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
“How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my Flesh is true food, and my Blood is true drink.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus says that “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me.” Jesus goes on to say that “It is written in the prophets: They shall all be taught by God”
Today’s first reading talks about Philip curing people in the city of Samaria. He cured the paralyzed and the crippled, those with unclean spirits. There was great JOY in that city. I can hear you saying, yes I would be joyous too if I were cured of my ailments. True, indeed. Or if my friend were cured of mental illness, I would dance for joy. The family in Silver Linings Playbook would be happy, too. Their son had to do other things to help himself.
Stephen holds nothing back. Many of us try to avoid confrontation and not offend others, when scripture says they are wrong. I know I would prefer to just ‘gloss’ over issues if possible and if I must say something, try to say it in the most non-offensive way I can. Stephen doesn’t.
"Jesus answered them and said,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me
not because you saw signs
but because you ate the loaves and were filled." (John 6: 26)
Always remember to say to yourself: “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me”.
I can do The big things and the small things, through him. And apart from him, scripture says, we can do nothing.
"When it was evening, the disciples of Jesus went down to the sea,
embarked in a boat, and went across the sea to Capernaum.
It had already grown dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.
The sea was stirred up because a strong wind was blowing.
When they had rowed about three or four miles,
they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat,
and they began to be afraid.
But he said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid.”
They wanted to take him into the boat,
but the boat immediately arrived at the shore
to which they were heading." (John 6: 16-21)
“He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do!” (John 6: 6)
"The one who comes from above is above all.
The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things.
But the one who comes from heaven is above all.
He testifies to what he has seen and heard,
but no one accepts his testimony.
Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy.
For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God.
He does not ration his gift of the Spirit.
The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,
but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life,
but the wrath of God remains upon him." (John 3: 31-36)
"God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him." (John 3: 16-17)
Jesus is a master teacher. This passage from John about Nicodemus is one upon every WORD of which I love to hang---especially the imagery of a blowing wind for the Holy Spirit. Who can capture the wind as it blows? No one. In fact, you don’t even know there IS wind unless IT is doing the catching. You look out the window to see if it’s windy, that is, if anything’s MOVING, but the wind ITSELF you do not see. That is the clearest definition of Divine Grace I know, and I love it.
No matter how impossible God’s promise to us seems, if we have faith in him, we’ll be blessed and his promises will come to pass. All promises of God are Yes and Amen. We’re better off trusting God than ourselves or other human beings; it has worked for me and those around me.
Don’t you just love Thomas? He is so like us…he doubts….he wants proof! God if you are really here with me, give me a sign. Let me find my keys. Cure my friend of cancer….do something to save the children from violence….let me see proof. Then I’ll believe.
“What are we to do with these men?
Everyone living in Jerusalem knows that a remarkable sign
was done through them, and we cannot deny it.
But so that it may not be spread any further among the people,
let us give them a stern warning
never again to speak to anyone in this name.” (Acts 4: 15-16)