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Chris (email link at the bottom of each page)

He is Risen

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John 20:1–9 or Mark 16:1–7
 
Depicton of a rock tomb with the entrance open
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Easter Sunday
 
Our faith is rooted in real and historical events.  Jesus of Nazareth was born in the town of Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth and minstered in Galilee and Jerusalem; he died on the cross at Calvary and rose again on the third day.  All these events are historically verified by reliable witnesses: the birth and the ministry of Jesus by the historians Josephus and Pliny the Younger, the resurrection by the disciples.
 
In about AD 56 Paul wrote, “I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.” (1Cor. 15:3–5).  Paul is referring to what we can call the living tradition of the resurrection and we are inheritors of this living tradition today.
 
However, primary evidence for the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is a sign, and a confusing one at that: the sign of the empty tomb.  None of the Evangelists witnessed the actual event, only its aftermath, if you like.  Why is this?  Of course, like many subjects in relation to faith, in order to understand we need first to believe: faith comes before understanding.  In accepting and believing that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead, we can enter its mystery.
 
When Jesus rose from the dead an “evolutionary leap” occurred and a new kind of life broke forth from the tomb.  This new life is outside the boundaries of time and space that we know and understand.  Although it occurred within history, Jesus’s resurrection is beyond history, meaning that nothing like this has happened before.  The resurrected Jesus has revealed a new life, a new existence, one that is set free from the corruption of sin and death.
 
The disciples experienced the Lord as a risen and real person and laid down their lives for this faith.  Perhaps the truth of Jesus’s resurrection can be grasped only with the eyes of faith.  Today we open wide these eyes of faith and let the light of the resurrection radiate and illuminate our lives.
 
Jesus Christ, you are risen today, death has been swallowed up in victory, a new life shines forth.  Today of all days, O Lord, I want to know you and the power of your resurrection.
 
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Jesus and Peter walk on the water

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1 Kings 19:9, 11-13 • Psalm 85: 9–14 • Romans 9:1–5 • Matthew 14:22–33

Jesus rescues Peter as he sinks

Both Jesus and Peter are  recorded by the Gospel-writers Matthew, Mark and John as having walked on water.

In Dei Verbum the bishops of the Second Vatican Council explain this important and profound truth by saying: ‘The sacred authors wrote the four Gospels, selecting some things from the many which had been handed on by word of mouth or in writing, reducing some of them to a synthesis, explaining some things in view of the situation of their churches and preserving the form of proclamation but always in such fashion that they told us the honest truth about Jesus’ (para. 19).

If we approach the sacred text in this way, we open ourselves up to being taught, informed and enlightened by the Holy Spirit about the meaning of this event in Jesus’ life.

Jesus's walking on the water is certainly a miracle but it is also a sign. A sign of what? A sign of Jesus's divinity. Who else could walk on water? Who else could calm the wind and the waves? Only God. Only God can truly say: 'Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid' (v 27 NIV), because only God can promise true and everlasting peace.

Lord Jesus, you invite me to step out with you on the storm waters in the furious squalls of life.  I do indeed take courage from your promises, because it is you who invite me not to be afraid and with your Holy Spirit all things are possible.

Chris
 

 

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Conversion of Paul's jailer

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Acts 16:22–34
 
 
God will literally move heaven and earth to save us; God did so to lead the jailer and his family to conversion.  The fruits of that conversion were immediate: deep joy, service of others and a profound conviction in the gospel message.
 
The call to conversion is one that occurs throughout our lives.  We are called to lead others but also to be converted ourselves, and to this task we give ourselves.  But why does God seek our conversion?  What is it about the human condition that makes it so necessary?  The Church recognises that the human heart is heavy and hardened by sin and by selfishness.  It is because of this that we need a new heart.
 
Conversion is first and foremost a work of God, a movement of his grace within us.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, “God give us the strength to begin anew.  It is in discovering the greatness of God’s love that our heart is shaken by the horror and weight of sin and begins to fear offending God by sin and being separated from him.  The human heart is converted by looking upon him whom our sins have pierced.” (para. 1432).
 
It is through the continuing process of conversion that we come to know God’s love; and we come to know God’s love by gazing upon the One we have pierced.
 
This is the path that the Holy Spirit invites us to walk.  We are converted in the first instance by love, and it is by love that we will continue to be converted.
 
Father, teach me that thre is no other path but through the burning love of the crucified, a love which transformed Paul when he was carried up to the third heaven (2 Cor. 12:2) that he could say: “with Christ I am nailed to the cross.  I live , not not I but Christ liveth in me.” (Gal. 2:20 Rheims New Testament).
 
Chris
 
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Jesus heals the official's child

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John 4:43–54
 
In today’s Gospel passage the child of a Gentile officer in Herod’s court is ill and dying.  But his encounter with Jesus is very brief.
 
“Sir, come down before my child dies.” (v.49)
 
 “Go, your son will live."
 
The fever left the child and he was restored to health.
 
The key to this healing was the official’s faith.  “The man took Jesus at his word and departed.” (v.50).  By this John provides us with a great definition of faith: taking God at his word.
 
It’s like saying simply to God, “If you say it is so, then it is so, and I can put my hope and trust in you.”  Faith, we know, is being sure of what we can hope for and certain of what we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1).
 
Faith is really no more than taking God at his word.  As St Augustine said, “For what is faith unless it is to believe what you do not see?"
 
Take heart and encouragement from our official in today’s Gospel, for he took Jesus at his word and was mightily blessed.  If we take Jesus at his word we too will be mightily blessed.
 
"The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:17
 
Chris
 
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Heal our Blindness

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Mark 8:22–26
 
 
The account of the healing of the blind man has great significance in Mark’s Gospel.  It comes just after a period when the disciples seem unable to understand who Jesus is, despite the miracles that they have seen, and just before the revelation given to Peter and his proclamation that Jesus is the Messiah.
 
A unique aspect of this miracle is that Jesus heals the blind man in stages; his love and patience are shown in that he does not leave him until his vision is completely restored.
 
If we have questions or doubts we can trust that Jesus wants to give us the same clarity as he gave the blind man.  If we ask him in our prayer and seek him in Scripture reading, he will reveal himself and teach us just as he taught his disciples.
 
Lord Jesus, thank you for the light that you have given me.  I know that there are many things that I do not see clearly yet; please touch my eyes every day, so that I may see more of your glory and lead others to your light.
 
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