SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, May 21, 2023
Acts: 1:12-14 | 11 Peter 4:13-15 | John 17:1-11
It’s the seventh, and final, week of Easter and the end of the fifty-day period known as Mystagogia – the time to celebrate and contemplate our immersion into the mystery of Christ. This week’s Gospel brings us back to the Last Supper to conclude our Easter reflection.
Jesus had just told his disciples that he would be returning to the Father while assuring them that he would not abandon them. In a short time, the Holy Spirit would anoint them with power from heaven so that they could carry on his mission.
Then, in deep communion with the Father, he spoke aloud a prayer. “Give glory to your Son, so that your Son may glorify you, just as you gave him authority over all people, so that he may give eternal life to all you gave him.”
We should listen very closely to what Jesus is saying because he’s teaching us about the inner life of God and our connection to it. When Jesus speaks of Eternal life, he isn’t speaking about life without end; he’s speaking about a quality of life. Eternal life is the very life of the Eternal One. He promised inclusion in God’s inner life to anyone who believed in him. Remember his powerful proclamation. “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Belief in Jesus as the anointed one sent by the Father is the way to Eternal life.
In his Last Supper prayer, Jesus revealed the profound nature of his mission: “I revealed your name to those whom you gave to me out of the world.” Knowing a name means knowing a person inside and out. Revealing God’s name to us means that the Eternal One is part of us, and we’re part of the Eternal One. Knowing the Eternal One is to know Eternal Life.
We’ve discovered, through Jesus, that God is love – love poured out – love received – love poured out in return. This last Sunday of our Easter Mystagogia reminds us that, because we know Jesus, we know God’s name. Our pilgrimage to Eternal life has begun. Take some time today to ponder this incredible revelation.
God from God,
Light from Light,
true God from true God,
I praise you.
I bless you.
I glorify you.
I thank you for writing my name on your heart.
- Published in Church Reflections
SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, May 14, 2023
ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 8:5-8, 14-17; | 1 PETER 3:15-18; | JOHN 14:15-21
The night before he died, Jesus opened his heart to his disciples. He spoke of his love for them, and assured them that he would not leave them orphans, a strange term to use. To understand why Jesus chose this image we have to gaze into our own hearts. There’s a powerful message in his choice of that word.
The film “Lion” tells the true story of a five-year-old Indian boy who was separated from his brother. It was nighttime. His brother told him to stay in the safety of a desolate train stop while he went to search for work. Of course, time moved very slowly for the child, so he began to explore the station. He wandered into an empty train only to find that its doors locked automatically behind him. Suddenly, the empty train began to move, and for the three days, without food or water, he was trapped. The train took him 2,500 miles away from his home. Watching Saroo calling for his brother over and over again when he was finally able to leave the train, is heartbreaking.
Watching the film, I imagined myself being five years old, having no idea where I was, and having no sense of reference. There was nowhere to turn to for help; everyone was a stranger. A panic choked me as I watched the poor child. The words of the mournful spiritual sounded in my head. “Sometimes I feel like a motherless child, a long way from home.”
When Jesus told his disciples that he would not leave them orphans, he was not only trying to reassure them of his continual presence, he was introducing a new way of life to them. But before they could grasp his teaching they would have to experience the loss, the powerlessness, and the emptiness of an orphan. In twenty-four hours he would be dead. His body would be ripped apart by a merciless scourging and crucifixion.
Like little Saroo, the disciples experienced a heart wrenching loss. They lost not only their master and teacher, they lost the life-giving spark of hope that he had ignited in their hearts. The “soul loss” may be a good way to define their experience – the loss of inner light.
At the Last Supper Jesus told his disciples, and through them us, that he would not abandon them like orphans. He would send them “another Advocate to be with them always.” This “Advocate” would heal their soul loss. He would not only restore their sense of “me,” he would open for them the door to a new life, an expanded and liberated life.
The Last Supper was also Jesus’ First Supper. From this time on the disciples will never again gather as abandoned orphans, because it was at this meal that he gifted them with the Eucharist. From this moment on Jesus will be present with them not only as the Lord of the supper, but also as their friend who lays down his life for them. From now on, during each Eucharist they will know, without any doubt, that he will never break the bond of friendship with them. At each Eucharist, he will lay down his life for them and offer himself as the Lamb of God.
We haven’t been left as orphans. We’ve been found, redeemed and invited to dwell in the mansions the Father has prepared for us.
ASCENSION May 18, 2023
“While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why are you standing looking at the sky?’”
This account of the Ascension calls us back to our Jewish roots, the High Holy Days: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. In Jewish mysticism the blowing of the ram’s horn on Rosh Hashanah recalls the faith of Abraham. You remember the story; we read it at the Easter Vigil. To test his faith God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son. But just as Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac, God stopped him. God rewarded Abraham’s faith by promising that he would become the father of a great nation. Abraham saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. He took it and sacrificed it in place of his son. The blowing of the shofar, the ram’s horn, is meant to remind God of Abraham’s faith and his special, intimate relationship with the Jewish people. Its sound assures the Jewish people of God’s love, mercy and compassion as they ready themselves to confess their sins on Yom Kippur ten days later.
Tradition named the time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur “The Days of Awe.” These are the ten days when Jews are in profound and intimate conversation with God, like Abraham was on Mount Moriah. Sukkot, celebrated five days after Yom Kippur concludes the Days of Awe by bringing the community back down to
earth; they eat outdoors with their feet planted on the ground. They’ve been in heaven. Sukkot calls them back to earth, purified and renewed.
Beginning with our mystical Liturgies of Holy Week, and continuing for fifty days after Easter, we’ve been remembering, and entering into, Christ’s Paschal Mystery his life, death and resurrection. We’ve baptized new members into his mystery, and have renewed our own immersion into Christ. The message of the two men dressed in white garments call the Christian community back down to earth. We’ve been in heaven long enough. It’s time to get to work, to plant our feet firmly on the ground. We have a mission to take up. We have to give sight to the blind, to cure the crippled, to cleanse the lepers, to open the ears of the deaf, to raise up the dead, and to preach the Good News to the poor. We have to wash each other’s feet. We have to break the bread of our lives for one another.
Don’t be afraid. Pentecost is a few days away. We’ll be anointed from above.
Prayer Come Lord Jesus, send us your Spirit, ignite the fire of your love within us. Use us to renew the face of the earth.
- Published in Church Reflections
FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, May 7, 2023
ACTS 6:1-7 | 1 PETER 2:4-9 | JOHN 14:1-12
The gospel today is taken from John’s account of the Last Supper. If we were to read the entire passage, we’d realize that this meal is one long emotional roller coaster. It begins: “Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father.” Whatever he does and says at this last meal is of the upmost importance. It’s his LAST chance to get his disciples to understand who he is, and why he came. So, he washes the disciples’ feet instructing them to do the same for one another. He announces to the group that one of them will betray him. He gives them a new commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you.” He concludes by predicting Peter’s denial!
After all that, Jesus looks at these fragile men gathered around the table and says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” What a statement! In a few hours their world is going to implode. Judas will sell Jesus to the religious leaders for thirty pieces of silver. Jesus will be arrested, and finally executed by crucifixion. These men, his closest disciples, will abandon him. Peter will deny that he ever knew him.
Trying to calm his disciples hearts, Jesus continues to teach them. “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself; where I am going you know the way.” Then Thomas, the disciple who will not believe that Jesus rose from the dead unless he touches the nail marks, asks the most important question of the evening. “We do not know where you are going; how can we know the way.”
These disciples had followed him for three years. They’d given up everything for him, home, family, occupations. They felt that none of this was in vain because they believed Jesus was the Messiah. They didn’t know how,
but they were sure that he was going to overthrow the Roman occupation. He was going to set up a glorious Jewish kingdom, even more powerful than that of David and Solomon, and they would rule with him. They felt they had a glorious future ahead of them.
The answer Jesus gives to Thomas is the most important teaching any of them would ever hear. “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you know him and have seen him.”
Jesus’ teaching seemed like riddle to the disciples at the time. They knew Jesus. They traveled with him. They camped with him. They ate with him. They witnessed the great catch of fish. They saw him walk on the water. They listened to him when he delivered the sermon on the mount. They saw him heal. They saw him raise Lazarus and Jairus’ daughter from the dead. These events were spectacular miracles. They saw miracles but failed to understand the meaning behind them.
“If you know me, then, you will also know my Father.” That was his message to the disciples the night of the Last Supper. That’s his message to us, today. Our hearts need to burn within us when we see him in the scriptures. Our hearts need to be touched by the miracles he performs. We need to truly recognize him when he gives us the bread to break and share. When we truly recognize him, our hearts will beat in sync with his, and with the Father’s. We mustn’t forget this most intimate and important teaching, and use it as the map to the Father’s heart. “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” “I am the way, the truth and the life.”
- Published in Church Reflections
FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, April 30, 2023
ACTS 2:14A, 36-41 | 1 PETER 2:20B-25 | JOHN 10:1-10
We’ve spent three Sundays reflecting on accounts of the resurrection of Jesus. All three of them took place on a Sunday, connecting them to Christian gathering day, the day we gather for the breaking of the bread. In each appearance Jesus continued to minister. At the tomb he called Mary Magdalene’s name rescuing her from the darkness that held her spirit hostage. Then he showed himself to the disciples who were in hiding in the upper room. Giving them hope when he breathed his Spirit into them giving them the power to forgive sin. He broke Thomas’ disbelief as he invited him to touch the marks of his crucifixion. Finally, he enlightened the two disciples fleeing to Emmaus to the meaning of the scriptures, and opened their eyes to his presence as he broke the bread with them.
This week Jesus reveals himself to us through a descriptive image: “I am the gate for the sheep.” To understand what he’s revealing about himself we have to understand shepherding in the Middle East at his time.
Sheep were raised primarily for their wool not for slaughter. So, shepherds were committed to their care and safety for their entire lives, ten to twelve years. The shepherd named all his sheep, and his sheep would respond to the call of their name. They relied on the shepherd to lead them to grazing pastures and water. He carried a sling shot and a club for protection against wild animals and robbers. The shepherd was with his sheep day and night. He never let them roam unattended. At night he would gather the sheep into communal pens, and to protect the sheep, he would sleep in the entrance to the pen. He would literally become “the gate for the sheep.” A wolf or wild animal would have to walk over the shepherd to get to the sheep.
By defining himself as the “gate” Jesus pledges his undying commitment to us. He’ll walk with us, strengthening, supporting and
protecting us during dark times. He’ll lead us to green pastures where he’ll spread a banquet for us at which he himself is the bread broken and shared. He’ll lead us to those restful, living waters that quench our thirst for eternal life
ANOTHER REFLECTION ON THE DISCIPLES AT EMMAUS
“Supper at Emmaus”
Surely they have seen him somewhere before, this stranger that they picked up on the road to Emmaus. The three of them discussed the recent crucifixion of Jesus, and now he may still be alive after his tomb was found empty. Yet in their hearts, they were not quite sure that Jesus was the son of God and divine. Still, they were unknowing disciples and followed Christ. They had loved him. Now they were walking with this stranger, and all three were talking about the crucifixion. He was explaining scripture to them as they had never before heard it or understood it. “Stay with us!” they pleaded as they reached Emmaus, and he was about to travel on. “The night Is coming.” They said. “We do not know you, but we want you to eat with us. We loved this Jesus, and now there is nothing beyond us but darkness, but when Jesus was alive there was the promise of heaven.”
Margaret Gilbert is a parishioner and published poet. You see her in church regularly. She serves as the cross bearer at the Sunday 4 PM Mass. Thank you, Margaret, for sharing your reflection.
- Published in Church Reflections
THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER, April 23, 2023
ACTS 2:14, 22-33 | 1 PETER 1:17-21 | LUKE 24:13-35
In his study of the origins of the Eucharist in the Gospel of Luke entitled “Dining in the Kingdom of God,” Fr. Eugene LaVerdiere, SSS, asked a rhetorical question regarding the disciples at Emmaus: “Why didn’t the disciples recognize Jesus?” His answer shook me up. “Because they didn’t recognize him in the first place.” I had always presumed that after the resurrection Jesus had a new body that was different from ours; that’s why nobody recognized him. But then, just think about it, when he appeared to the disciples in the Upper Room he had to show them the wounds of his crucifixion to prove to them who he was. At the tomb, Mary turned her gaze from the empty tomb and saw a man standing near her. She thought he was the gardener. It was only when he spoke her name that Mary recognized him. These two disciples fleeing from Jerusalem were carrying their own wounds. The voice of their master had been forever silenced. Their faith in Jesus the Messiah had been shattered. Any hope they had of a new kingdom had evaporated. They were downcast and were rehashing the events of Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion when he walked up to them. He didn’t call their name as he did with Mary at the tomb. He didn’t show his wounds as he did to Thomas and the group in the Upper Room to prove who he was. This account of Jesus’ resurrection appearance is quite different from the others. Jesus asked these disciples to share with him what they had been debating, which they did. His response to their account was somewhat off-putting. “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe what the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then he did what he always did with them; he taught them. He shed a new light on everything they already knew. They knew the scriptures. They knew the five books of Moses. They knew all the Messianic prophecies by heart. Every Jewish boy learned them in Hebrew School. But as they walked along with him teaching them everything was beginning to make sense. The sun was setting by the time they came to Emmaus. They were still hungry for his words. They couldn’t let him go on. They invited him to stay with them. A strange thing happened when they sat down to eat. Jesus assumed the role of the host. “He took bread, said the blessing, broke it and gave it to them.” Then it happened. “Their eyes were opened and they recognized him but he vanished from their sight.” What Jesus did with them that night was what he had done innumerable times with them. He taught them, and then broke the bread of fellowship with them but they never realized that he would one day be breaking himself for them. Today was the first time that they really listened to him. It was the first time they let his words revive their hearts. They allowed his words to bring light into their darkness. Their hearts were broken until they heard him speak; now they burned with the fire of new life. On the road to Emmaus they came to understand the breaking of the bread. He was present to them that day, when they, as true disciples, sat at his feet listening to him. He would continue to be with them, when as true disciples, they broke themselves for each other as he had done for them
- Published in Church Reflections
SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER, April 16, 2023
ACTS 2:42-47, | 1 PETER 1:3-9 | JOHN 20:19-31
ast Sunday we stood before the empty tomb with Mary of Magdala in the pre -dawn darkness. We saw Peter and John arrive. We noted the confusion on Peter’s face. We saw John in awe, his eyes filling with tears.
This Sunday we’re in a locked room with many men and women, all of them disciples.
They’re speaking in hushed, fearful tones. A few of the women stifle a yelp when they see it, but no one speaks. The silence of death still has its grip on the room.
Then they hear it, one word, one beautiful word. Shalom. A gentle, embracing, rocking-back-and-forth Shalom. Still no one speaks. He lets the word move through the room as he quietly extends his hands. They see the wounds as he stretches out a loving gesture of welcome. Their eyes follow his hand as he pulls back his tunic revealing the wound on his side. The wound that bled water and blood. He’s the crucified Jesus. They recognize him! Jesus, wounded. Jesus, alive. Jesus, come to raise them from the dead. They begin to breathe again. Many of them cry. Some shout his name. Again, he says Shalom.
He moves from one to the other breathing into each of them the breath of his own life, his Spirit. He anoints them with such power that they can forgive sins. When he departs as mysteriously as he appeared, the room rocks with the blare of their voices.
As he approaches the door, Thomas hears the commotion inside. He knocks loudly the secret knock they had agreed upon. As they pull open the door, he hears everyone speaking at the same time. “We’ve seen the Lord!” But Thomas’ spirit is too beaten down, too lifeless to share the celebration. He can’t hear. He’s deaf to the good news. Until the following Sunday.
This time no one is missing when he comes. Everyone hears him speak the word, shalom. He reveals his side and stretches out his hands to Thomas. “Thomas, touch my wounds.” The moment he touches the wounds the Spirit flows through him – he sees. He hears. He recognizes the voice of his Lord and his God!
This is our story, the story of our gathering. The story of our fear and disbelief. The story of our healing. The story of our anointing. We must never stop telling the story. We’ve been anointed to share the good news.
- Published in Church Reflections
EASTER SUNDAY, April 09, 2023
ACTS 10:34A, 37-43 | COLOSSIANS 3:1-4 | JOHN 20:1-9
It was that unique time before dawn, that very still, very quiet darkness. Sometimes, it’s eerie. Sometimes, it’s awesome. Mary was part of the darkness. Her mind was filled with the images, the cross, the blood, the suffering. Something was so wrong. The stone covering the tomb entrance had been pushed aside. The tomb was open. It was empty. She ran back to the group, frantic. “They’ve taken the Lord from the tomb and we don’t know where they put him.” John and Peter followed her back to the tomb. They all ran. Peter trailed behind.
Why did they follow her back to his tomb? Jesus had been plotted against and killed. They were his followers. They knew there were plots against them. They were hiding in a tomb of their own, but there was something compelling in Mary’s frightened declaration. They left their tomb, and followed Mary to his.
John and Simon Peter ran together for a bit, but John was so much younger. He quickly moved ahead. He was already peering into the tomb when Simon Peter arrived. Out of deference he didn’t enter.
Simon Peter squatted down and entered. Like adetective, he studied what little was in there. The tiny room was just big enough to fit in. The bedlike shelf where the body had laid was clear except for the shroud and two linen bands that had bound Jesus’ hands and feet. They were folded up at one end of the shelf. The cloth that had covered his head was rolled up at the opposite end. There were no signs of pilfering here, no signs of desecration. Whatever happened here was methodical and peaceful. He put his hand to his mouth and wondered.
John came in behind him. Something happened to him the second he entered. He felt he had entered a sacred chamber. Tears welled up in his eyes. Something happened here, something beyond logic. The old man and the young man were silent.
They left the tomb and returned to the city in silence. Mary remained behind weeping as she stood before the empty tomb.
This is the story we tell, today. We have to wait another seven days before we hear the other things that happened that day – that Easter Sunday. Why are we made to wait?
We need time to discern who we are. Are we Mary, overwhelmed by the darkness that never seems to go away? Are we Simon Peter, still not sure about it all? Are we John seeing heaven for the first time?
We need time to realize that the dawn has come. We need time to believe in the impossible. We need time to see a new heaven and a new earth.
- Published in Church Reflections
PALM SUNDAY, April 02, 2023
MATTHEW 21:1-11 | PHILLIPIANS 2:6-11 | MATTHEW 26:14-27:66
It’s Palm Sunday.
Jesus has been secretly planning his entrance into Jerusalem. Right now, he wanted to stay under the radar of the religious leaders. He made secret arrangements to procure a donkey and her colt. He was planning a prophetic act. He was going to dramatize the messianic prophecy of Zechariah. “Behold, your king comes to you, meek, and riding on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”
It was Passover time. Jerusalem would be bursting with pilgrims. Some estimations put the number to as many as two million. His prophetic entrance into the Holy City would serve as a public announcement; Jesus was the Messiah. The crowds picked up on it immediately. Some people spread their cloaks on the road while others strewed branches along the road just as their ancestors did when Judas Maccabeus entered Jerusalem in triumph after his defeat of Antiochus Epiphanes.
The crowds preceding and following Jesus shouted messianic acclamations: “Hosanna (save us) to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
The residents of Jerusalem were shocked to see the multitude. Asking who this was coming into the city on a donkey, they we told, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth!”
Jesus went straight into the temple and performed a second prophetic act; he drove out the money changers and the people selling animals for ritual sacrifice. Quoting the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah he shouted at them, “My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves!” The area Jesus cleansed was the court of the Gentiles, the only place reserved for non-Jews. His prophetic act called all people to God’s house, Jew and Gentile alike.
It was official, and without any doubt; Jesus was revealing himself as the Messiah. His announcement was what the religious leadership wanted to hear. It gave them grounds to pursue his execution. But they were alarmed at his popularity.
We’ll follow Jesus throughout this week. We’ll see him making secret arrangements to celebrate Passover. We’ll see him wash the feet of the apostles. We’ll pray with him in the garden, witness his arrest and stand at the foot of his cross. We’ll go to the tomb and wait for the sun to rise.
- Published in Church Reflections
FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT, March 26, 2023
EZEKIEL 37:12-14 | ROMAN 8:8-11 | JOHN 11:1-45
Jesus, weeping, speaks three powerful commands today. “Take away the stone!” “Lazarus, come out!” Untie him and let him go!” Let’s consider why Jesus is weeping.
There was a family he loved very much. They were much more than disciples; they were his adopted family. They didn’t live very far from Jerusalem, so Jesus often stayed with them when he was teaching in the temple or attending the Jewish festivals.
He began to be upset and weepy as soon as he got the message that Lazarus was ill. When he told his disciples that the illness wouldn’t end in death, he already knew that Lazarus had died. There was more to it, though, something more profound. Jesus was weeping because Lazarus was soul dead.
Take note of Ezekiel’s prophecy. “O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them.” He extended this prophecy to an image of a field covered with sun-bleached bones. Israel was soul dead. People were walking around; but inside they were dead. The spirit of God, God’s breath of life, wasn’t in them. Paul warns us of that same death in his letter today. “You are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the Spirit. If only the Spirit dwells in you.”
We all need to have God’s breath of life in us. If we don’t, we’ll be like the people of Israel, sunbleached bones scattered across a field, or like Lazarus, entombed, imprisoned, breath-less.
Each of us is being invited this fifth Sunday of Lent to hear, to really listen to, the Lord’s words. “Take away the stone!” “Lazarus, come out!” “Untie him and let him go!” What do each of those phrases mean to you personally?
If you heard Jesus shouting a command to take away the stone, what would he be referring to? If Jesus called your name and cried “Come out,” what would he mean? If Jesus cried out to untie you – to let you go, what would happen to you?
Try asking yourself these questions as a meditation today. Begin by praying these phrases from Psalm 130, take your time as you read them. Trust the Spirit to guide you through the meditation. Don’t be afraid to feel whatever the Spirit evokes in you. This is an active prayer. Let the Spirit put flesh on your bones.
Lord, out of the depths I cry to you,
Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ear be attentive to my voice in supplication.
I trust in the Lord; my soul trusts in his word.
More than sentinels wait for the dawn,
let Israel wait for the Lord.
For with the Lord is kindness and
with him is plenteous redemption;
and he will redeem Israel from all their iniquities.
- Published in Church Reflections
FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT, March 19, 2023
1SAMUEL 16:1B, 6-7, 10-13A | EPHESIANS 5:8-14 | JOHN 9:1-41
What a wonderful and powerful message Paul gives us today. “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of the light.” Let’s keep this tucked in our minds as we reflect on the story of the man born blind.
John’s account of the cure of the blind man is a story about faith, the ability to see the truth, and a meditation on the cost of discipleship. This man was literally born blind, but, like all of us, he was born spiritually blind, too. What spiritual sight he may have had probably came from his parents who raised him in their Jewish tradition. For his parents it was difficult enough to raise a blind child. But they carried an even heavier burden. It was the popular belief that a child’s chronic illness was a punishment for sins committed by the parents.
In addition, when Jesus cured this man, it was a tense time. The threat had come out from the religious authorities that those who followed Jesus could be excommunicated from the synagogue. This was frightening in two ways. It meant the they would be excluded from Jewish life and, this is very important to note, they would forfeit the Jewish indult that freed them from the yearly civic act of worshiping the Roman Emperor, an indult gained after much suffering. Refusal to perform this act was considered treason by Rome.
As the account attests, when this man gained his sight and believed in Jesus he forfeited his ties to his Jewish community. Even his parents abandoned him for fear of repercussions from the authorities.
In this account John is warning us that faith in Jesus does not come without cost. To follow him means to be different, even countercultural. True, committed faith in Jesus, can exclude us from family, friends and even nation. John may be teaching us that suffering is part of discipleship. Imagine what it costs to be a Christian in China, Russia, India, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Unites Arab Emirates, Syria, North Korea, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria……
“You were once darkness,
but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light.”
Lord, I believe in you.
Give me the strength and courage
to let your light of truth shine in me and through me.”
- Published in Church Reflections