Archive for April, 2017

Living in Real Faith

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

Thursday of the Easter Week

Acts 3:11-26; Lk 24: 35-48

Dc. Larry Brockman

How strong is your faith?  Do you really believe all the church teaches about Jesus Christ?  Do you believe that God the Father sent His only Son to share our human condition, to be fully human and fully divine?  And do you believe that Jesus, although God, endured the incredible suffering and humility of the Cross?  Do you believe deep down in the Resurrection of the body and life everlasting for each one of us?  You know, all of what I just asked is part of our creed, isn’t it.  And on Easter, we were all asked to reaffirm our belief.  So do you really believe?   

Or do you hold back in reserve and kind of doubt some or all of the creed?  Before you answer too quickly, consider this.  Does doubt surface when you are confronted with your own mortality?  When you think about dying, do you wonder whether this is really all there is to life.  Or do you relish the idea of life in the Kingdom of God.  Chances are, when you think about dying, even the most faithful of us have twinges of doubt.  Maybe it is just fear of the unknown, but it might also be some doubt.  So, just how do we “cast out all fear” and embrace the unknown with real, genuine faith?   

You know, when you come right down to it the Apostles were incredible teachers on the matter of real faith.  They truly acted as all of us do- with doubt in the background.  During his lifetime, Jesus told the Apostles about the coming Kingdom of God; and he shared with them three times that the Son of Man would have to suffer horribly and die at the hands of evil men, only to rise on the third day.  But the Apostles didn’t get it; they were confused and Peter even tried to admonish Jesus not to say such things.  It just didn’t make sense that the Messiah would have to suffer.  Yes, the Apostles, the folks chosen by Jesus to spread the faith, had lots of problems exhibiting real faith.   

And right at the beginning of the Easter season, as our readings tell us the story of the Resurrection, even there we see doubt from the Apostles.  The Emmaus brothers tell the rest of the Apostles about their encounter with Jesus.  Jesus reenacts the Last Supper with them, offering bread and wine- his own flesh and blood.  And then breaks down the scriptures that predicted all that had happened to him.  It was only then that they recognized Him.  Jesus had just presided over the first Mass after the Resurrection.   

But the Apostles were incredulous- how could this be.  And then, Jesus is miraculously standing amongst them.  Jesus can read their minds, their body language, their doubt, and so he challenges them to touch him and see for themselves.  Then he eats a piece of fish- something a ghost cannot do.  Yes, it is the risen Jesus; he is a real, living person.  And Jesus then commissions the Apostles to be his witnesses to spread the good news of the gospel to everyone- everyone.   

And so, it finally begins to dawn on them.  The whole thing is really true- all of it; the incarnation, the call to repentance, the coming of the Kingdom, the suffering and death, the resurrection of the Body, salvation offered to all, and life everlasting.  It took a whole lot of convincing, but they all finally got it.  God so loved man that he sacrificed his son, and if we follow after him and take up our crosses, we will die physically, but only to be raised from the dead and live forever in the Kingdom of God.  They finally came to believe.   

That brings us to the first reading today.  Apparently the crippled man came to believe as well.  And the Apostles, now fully convinced and living in faith, were able to bring him to health through Jesus power.  And then they proclaimed that:   “God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways.”   

So, if you really believe, then you will turn from whatever evil is in your life, mend your ways, and follow after Jesus.  You don’t have to understand everything; you just need to believe in it because there is so much more to life than what this world offers.  There is life everlasting in the Kingdom of God.  And that is all that matters.