Like Jews and Muslims, Christians believe in one God. However, Christians are unique in believe that God is a Trinity of persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Although they are three distinct persons, there is no division among them: they are perfectly united. The unity of the Trinity teaches us that although there are many differences between people, we don’t have to be divided. Instead, we can be united in love.
After he rose from the dead, the disciples saw Jesus ascended into Heaven. Although Jesus is in Heaven right now, He is still with us here on earth and He is already reigning as king of this world. I can point to three signs that Jesus is lives: Pope Francis’ recent meeting with Patriarch Bartholomew I, Pope Francis inviting Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas to the Vatican, and the ordination of two new priests, because priests continue Christ’s priestly power in the world. These are three signs in the world that Jesus lives, but every Christian is called to be a sign that Jesus lives. We must be signs in our homes, shops and businesses.
On the happiest day of human history, two disciples are walking to Emmaus and they are downcast. They are downcast because they do not realize that Jesus has risen from the dead. In the middle of their sadness, Jesus walks with them and begins to show them that He had to suffer in order to enter into His glory. Jesus walks with as as we go through life, and He helps us carry our burdens. Just as Jesus had to suffer in order to enter into His glory, so we also have to suffer before we are ready for Heaven.
The Gospel reading for the second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday) teaches us something surprising: Jesus still has His wounds. Although the other marks of His passion have healed, Jesus still carries the wounds because they are a sign of God’s great love for us, and of the price paid for our redemption. Holy Communion is the most precious thing we will ever hold in our hands, because of how much it cost Jesus to give that gift to us – His whole life. The second most precious thing we will ever hold in our hands is another person. We should hold Holy Communion with the same reverence we would hold a baby, because we truly are holding the Body of Christ.
In September there was a story about a man who died after jumping into his septic tank. His son, Joseph, had fallen into the tank and the man jumped in to save his son. Falling into a septic tank is a perfect image for what our sins do to us. On Good Friday, we remember that Jesus jumped into the darkness of sin in order to push us out.
Jesus comes into the city of Jerusalem on a donkey. He does not come in power to conquer the city, but He comes in humility and allows the people the freedom to choose whether they will accept Him or not. We need to walk with Jesus, not only when He is being praised by the crowd, but also when He is being hated and rejected. True friends are with one another in bad times as well as in good times, and we need to be true friends of Jesus. Jesus is a true friend of us; He is not only with us in the good times but He is especially close to us in our sufferings.
Lent is a training camp and spiritual retreat for the whole Church, and it always begins with the same two lessons. On the first Sunday of Lent, we have the scene of the temptation of Jesus in the desert. This story teaches the first lesson: we must worship God alone and obey only His word. The second Sunday of Lent always brings us to the Transfiguration, which teaches the whole church lesson two: Jesus is the beloved Son of God, and we should listen to Him. During the rest of Lent, we will be sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to His word.
Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the Temple because He was Mary’s first-born Son. At the same time, God is showing His Son to some of God’s friends: Simeon and Anna are people of prayer and they are some of God’s friends. God also uses Simeon to talk to Mary and Joseph about who Jesus will be, and how she will have to suffer. Mary, however, would say that all the suffering was worth it!
The Sacred Heart shows us how Jesus’ heart burns with love for us. When we are baptized, our hearts are lit with the light of faith. When we pray, and go to church, and do good things, the flame of faith in our hearts grows bigger. When we don’t pray, and don’t go to church, the faith in our hearts gets smaller. We need to keep our faith burning brightly and light others with the light of faith.
The moment when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan river (Matthew 4:13-17) reveals to us that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who is exactly like His Father in all things. Jesus is not the son of a violent or fighting god, but the Son of a gentle and peaceful God. In our baptism, we have been adopted as sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. As Jesus reveals Himself during His ministry, He also challenges us to become more like Him in our thoughts, in our words, and in our actions.
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