Saturday, April 3, 2010
The focus of the first and second readings is not the amazement of Jesus' resurrection, it is the reality that we must be people of action. It says in Acts of the Apostles, we must “testify that He is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead.” We must say that Jesus is the one that the prophets speak of and “that everyone who believes in Him will receive forgiveness of sins through His name.”
Mary Magdalene was the first person spurned to action by the risen Lord. She saw His body was missing from the tomb and ran to tell the others. Mary Magdalene is very important to the Order of Preachers (aka Dominicans) because she was the first who preached the gospel of the risen Lord. In pictures she is often painted with a rainbow. The rainbow is the symbol of the covenant between God and Noah. It signifies that God would no longer destroy the earth, but protect it and the people who followed Him.
The cross is also a symbol of God's protection. While the cross was a symbol of death to the people of Israel, to us it is a symbol of life. Without the cross, there could be no resurrection. Without His death and resurrection, Jesus would be an extraordinary man, but not the Son of God. Who can die and rise from the dead? No human person can do that of their own will, but the Son of God can. Jesus is the one that the prophets spoke about. He came to create a new Kingdom, not here on earth, but in heaven above. We should take comfort in the cross and resurrection. We should also take to heart our new responsibility. The Psalm lays it out so clearly for us when it proclaims, “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.”
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Sins have a way of making one weary and could easily become a trap of doubt and despair. Every week at mass, we are reminded that we have a Savior who loves us and who wants us to return to Him. When Jesus died on the cross, it wasn’t just for all of the people alive at that time; it was for you - today. It was for us - now. He died on the cross to free us from sin by offering us forgiveness. Like the thieves who hung beside Him, we have two paths to take. We can refuse His sacrifice and deny what He offers us. Or we can realize who He is, what He has done for us and ask for forgiveness.
Asking for forgiveness is difficult for many people; however our Church has designed a way to help us. This way has three common names in English: confession, penance, and reconciliation. It is called confession because we confess the things that shame us, and to how we have hurt God, our neighbor and ourselves. It is also called penance which is a deep desire to be forgiven. Don’t we all desire to be forgiven and reunited with the ones we love? It is also called reconciliation because that is what we want most, to be reconciled to God, our neighbor, and ourselves.
In our church Jesus hangs on the cross above the altar. His arms are open. His arms are waiting to embrace us. Jesus was and is always willing to forgive us. Will His gift go unopened? Aren’t we tired of carrying around our sin? Jesus had words for the weary. Will we hear them? He has given us such a marvelous gift by his death and resurrection. Will we be like the bad thief on the cross and deny this gift or will we be like the good thief and open it?
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, today's second reading, tells us what that love is able to do for us. God's love has the power to heal and transform. He has reconciled us to Him. He does not want us to be lost and wandering in the desert like the Israelites in last week's readings. He does not want us to squander our lives, and live apart from Him, like this week's prodigal son. He, like the father in the gospel, stands at the gate, day after day, waiting for us.
The power of God's love is transformative. He makes all things new. St. Paul tells us, “Whoever is in Christ is a new creation.” When we seek God, not only do we we seek a new way of life, we are able to find it. Like the father in the gospel, God is always there waiting for us. When He sees us on the horizon, He runs to us, and embraces us. He desires to have us as His own, to bring us into His love, and to change our lives. Like the son in the gospel, we sometimes feel we must grovel our way back. It is much simpler to remember that God is love, and He waits for our return.