Image from http://www.otherood-devos.com/2015/04/believe.html
‘He reproached them for their obstinacy and incredulity because they had refused to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.’
There is a strong temptation in me not to believe good news until it is proved to me beyond doubt. Perhaps, somehow, experience has taught me that it’s less of a trauma to be proved wrong by good news than to hope for good news and be let down by bad.
The challenge I take from Jesus’ reproach is this: can I praise and thank God for His goodness to me before seeing the desired outcome to my prayers? What if I don’t see the results I hoped for? If I believe God is the Lord of my whole life and is all good and directs everything for my good then I should be able to praise Him whatever happens in my life. But the temptation is always to wait and see God’s goodness proved on my terms before I will trust Him.
I feel God is currently asking me to take up the challenge of the advance ‘thank You’. Can I offer God right now the unseen outcome of all my intentions, and thank and praise Him in advance? I pray for the grace of the Holy Spirit to move me, like the eleven disciples, from a default state of disbelief towards the astonishing ‘assurance’ shown by Peter and John in proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:13-21).
Image from: http://fatherkevinestabrook.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/homily-easter-friday-2016.html
‘None of the disciples was bold enough to ask, “Who are you?”
I was wondering why such a question would even arise? Didn’t the disciples know what Jesus looked like after going around with him for three years?
Then it occurred to me that perhaps Jesus’ appearance was different after the Resurrection. After all, the disciples on the road to Emmaus did not recognise Him either. It was only Jesus’ familiar actions – breaking bread, feeding and caring for them, creating miracles of abundance that gave Him away.
The lesson from this for the disciples is that, from now on, the Christ will be recognised not by an individual physical appearance but by what he does. That is why He asks Peter to feed and care for the people of God, continuing His ministry. It applies to us, His followers, who continue His mission today. People should be able to recognise Christ in us by our actions: breaking bread in the Eucharist, feeding and caring for people, trusting in the Father’s providence for our needs.
I ask God to keep reminding me that my actions should always be those of Jesus, to witness that He is alive in the world today.
Amen – alleluia!
Image from: http://theproclaimedword.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/disbelieving-and-wondering-luke-2436-48.html
… While I was still with you…
Luke 24:35-48 ”
So if He was no longer with them, saying those words, … where was He? Two of the disciples, just returned from Emmaus, were sharing their memories of meeting Jesus.
This was when they became aware of Him ‘among them’.
It does not say He walked in or even ‘appeared’ so we don’t know how long He had been there, but while they were talking about Him, He stood among them. Perhaps Jesus’ reference to being ‘with you’ in the past tense, implied a different mode of presence from that the disciples were experiencing, post-Resurrection. Jesus, having entrusted Himself to His friends in His words and in the breaking of bread, would now be present ‘among them’ in the sharing of His memory and His love.
On the road to Emmaus, Jesus walked beside the disciples as they were discussing their memories of Him. He explained to them how to find Him in the Scriptures. Then He brought them to recognise Him in the breaking of bread. When they finally realised that He had been present as they shared His memory on the road, in the sharing of Scripture and in the sharing of bread, Jesus disappeared. Why?
Perhaps He had only appeared to their eyes in order to teach them how He would be present to them from now on. He would not need to walk physically ‘with’ them as a man because His life had been completely shared ‘among them’ and entrusted to them for the spreading of His Kingdom.
Image from: https://www.lds.org/bible-videos/videos/peter-and-john-heal-a-man-crippled-since-birth?lang=eng
Acts 3: 1- 10; Luke 24: 13 – 35.
In today’s Gospel reading, we see two of Jesus’ disciples running away in fear and disappointment. Even when Jesus met them on the way, out of fear, they did not recognize him until the breaking of bread. In our lives when we face disappointment, do we run away in fear like these two disciples on their way to Emmaus or do we face our disappointment with courage, seeking the face of God through prayer?
In the first reading, Peter and John, filled with the power of the Resurrection, were going to the Temple to pray. They were met with a challenging situation at the Beautiful Gate. But they did not run away or ignore the man who was begging and, who “turned to them expectantly, hoping to get something from them”. They looked at him with mercy and said, by the power that raised Jesus from the dead, “stand and walk”. This man received the best gift ever in his life. He was walking around praising God.
How do I respond to people on my way who look to me expectantly with the hope of receiving something from me or who ask me questions? We may not heal as Peter and John did, but we can offer a kind word, a listening ear, a kind smile. We all are poor in our own way and God has given us all something to offer to each other.. So, let us not walk away in fear from the poor person on the street.
May God fill us with the power of His Resurrection. Amen.
Image from http://www.metrovoice.net/2009/0409_stlweb/0409_articles/crushing_weight_of_the_gethsemane.html
Jesus, in order to redeem the world, had to go through a trial – a period in which he had to give up his life. Christ almost wanted to avoid it, but he surrendered to the will of his Father, I would say there was a time in my life I didn’t want to continue living. I told God “that is it, I have had enough.” Often, I pray “let the will of God be done” but sometimes the will of God is not always as sweet or simple as I would wish it.
I was having difficulty singing – not that I didn’t have a good voice to sing, but I found that in the middle of the singing my voice would change completely. The most painful thing was, I was always reminded of how my voice affected everyone. My last option was to stop singing.
One day, I thought: “what if I ask God to sing in me?” At that moment, I decided to hand over the situation to God, to lead the way.
My singing pattern changed. I became happy with myself. Only through God and in God can I/we achieve that which seems impossible in the eyes of men and women.
We are celebrating today the resurrection of Christ because Christ relied on and believed in his Father’s ability to see him through his agony. So it shall be for all of us who believe and trust in God. We shall be victorious no matter what challenge we face in our life’s journey.
Image from http://breakopenword.blogspot.co.uk/
“Do not be afraid…Go and tell…”
These are usually God’s instructions to the prophets. Jesus is giving the women a mission as the first prophets of the Resurrection. These women looked after him in Galilee and followed him to Judea to continue caring for him. They were the ones who stayed closest to Jesus in His darkest hour and even prepared him for burial. Now, by God’s design, they are the first to see Jesus after his Resurrection.
In the Garden of Eden, the serpent taught the woman a lesson that she passed on to the man – to trust her own will more than her Creator. That message caused both man and woman to separate themselves from God. So, from Genesis onward, generations of people blamed woman for the Fall of humanity. She was treated as inferior to man, who dominated her.
In the garden of the Resurrection, God entrusts to women a message for men that will save all humans and reunite us with our Creator: Jesus has undone death and is coming to be with you again.
Later, Jesus will have to reproach the apostles for refusing to believe his chosen messengers.
I pray that I, like those women, may remain faithful to Jesus, trusting in his will and eager to carry it out.
Image from http://www.swordofthespirit.net/bulwark/april2013p3.htm
Easter Sunday Morning Year A
John 20: 1-9
‘…linen cloths on the ground.’
When a person has conquered the fear of death, there is nothing left to fear in life. He/she has complete freedom of soul and peace of mind. Fear and death both come into the world in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve, feeling shame for the first time, cover their bodies and hide from the Lord.
In the garden of the Resurrection, Jesus, having conquered death and fear, leaves his covering behind in the tomb and comes out into the open, fearless and naked as a new-born human.
St. Francis intuits what it means to be freed from fear by Christ’s Resurrection. When he comes out of hiding from his earthly father and openly claims his Father in heaven, he also sheds all his clothes, facing his new life with the fearless innocence Christ has won for him. Now that he can even look on death as a sister and a blessing, he no longer finds any enemies in God’s creation – only sisters and brothers.
Father, may we, in union with Christ, be unbound from all our fears and claim our true created nature in the power of his Resurrection. Amen.
Sister Clare Knowles is one of our writers – one of the FMSL team, on the extreme right below. The ‘L’ in FMSL stands for Littlehampton, which is close to Worthing, a seaside town where the Christian Churches have come together to tackle homelessness. You can read more about that project here: http://www.wchp.org.uk/
Clare has found a down-to-earth way of raising money for the project: jumping out of a plane (with parachute and mentor attached).
Please sponsor her and help get people in off the streets and fulfilling their potential in life.
Here is the link to make donations: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/clareknowles1
Thank you for your generous support.
Left to right: Sisters Susan, Esther, Elizabeth, Marcellina, Patricia and Clare FMSL
I have a friend whom I have not seen or heard from for quite a long time now. Every day, I prayed and hoped that one day we should be re-united. How I longed that this day would come! I had imagined how happy and excited I would be if I eventually had contact with her.
Waiting for the coming of Christ is another big event for me. Out of his love for me, Christ humbled himself to be born as a little baby among us. He shed every glory he had with his father to come and identify with you and me. This event, like welcoming a dear friend, should spur me to an eager preparation. How am I preparing to welcome Christ the Son of God made man?
In the process of evaluating my preparation, I discover I have not measured up very well in my Christian calling. I have not loved unconditionally, not been kind enough and sometimes have judged others without mercy. I realise I still have much work to do, to enable Christ to enter into my heart. In order to feel that joy and excitement I desire when Christ comes, I need to get rid of all kinds of anger, pride, jealousy or hatred that tend to occupy my heart.
Let us look deep into our hearts to see where God is calling us to change. God is willing and always ready to come and dine with us if we invite him.
Isaiah the prophet challenges us today in the first reading to ‘have a care for justice and keep away from evil’.
Listening to what is happening in world today, it seems there is no justice anywhere and everywhere is full of different kinds of evil. There are so many wars, hunger, illnesses, killings, displacement etc being faced by many people. Every created thing seeks for justice and fairness. I often wonder where God is in all this. When I reflect on various areas in which injustices are being perpetuated in our world, I weep and feel powerless.
When I consider further, I tell myself I can make a difference in whatever little way is possible for me. I can speak out for those who are unjustly mistreated. I can write to MPs supporting proposals that promote fair treatment for all. I can stand up for the truth no matter what it will cost me. I can also pray for a change of heart for those who no longer seek for God’s justice but rather for punishment without mercy. If I see injustice around me, I can try to be, by following Jesus’ example, a light that shines for all to see.
I pray that in my everyday activities, I will do my best to detach myself from anything that does not promote goodness. I ask God to help me make sure that people and other creatures are treated with fairness, and never trample on them because I have the power and resources to do so.
Come Lord Jesus, Sun of Justice!