Friday, April 28, 2017

Ephesians

Brothers and sisters:God, who is rich in mercy,
because of the great love he had for us,
even when we were dead in our transgressions,
brought us to life with Christ -by grace you have been saved-,
raised us up with him,
and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus,
that in the ages to come
He might show the immeasurable riches of his grace
in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith,
and this is not from you; it is the gift of God;
it is not from works, so no one may boast.
For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works
that God has prepared in advance,
that we should live in them.

Ephesians 4:2-10

It is clear from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians that God wants the divine light to bounce off us, instead of bend around us. Paul says that “God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ."

So we are “clothed” with Christ, writes Paul, and we “put on” the Lord Jesus Christ — this is what it means to be a properly dressed disciple of Christ. Jesus becomes for us a Visibility Cloak, one that reflects the light of God and makes us visible to the world.

For our purpose, reflecting light and being visible is good.

It’s all about putting on Jesus.

All we have to do is wrap ourselves up in Him.

God’s not interested in hiding us, and he certainly doesn’t want his light to bend around us. Instead, he clothes us with Christ so that we will be visible signs of his presence in the world. By grace, God moves us from darkness to light, from invisibility to visibility, from an undercover existence to an elevated seat in the heavenly places. He takes pleasure in showing us off, as signs of how loving and powerful and creative he is.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Operation Fiat

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Operation Fiat at the Chaminade-Mineola Community this evening.

As the first disciple of Christ, Mary can teach us what it means to pick up our daily cross and follow her Son.

In her many moments of sorrow, we can imagine the pondering, confusion, pain, and hurt that Mary experienced during the final hours of Christ, yet we always find her contemplating their deeper meaning and purpose with God. In every moment of suffering and pain, Mary is drawn deeper into relationship with God through Jesus Christ and is strengthened in Christ's own faith, hope, and love through the gift of the Holy Spirit. In response, Mary takes the step of saying “yes” to God’s will, trusting that God cares for her, has a plan for good in her life and for her people, and that He intends good even if she encounters suffering and hardship along the way.

Listening – pondering like Mary – to what the Spirit of God is telling us deep within our hearts, we can begin to understand the very next step that God wants us to take. We may not understand how that one step fits into the whole plan, but we trust that God wants good for us and that he loves and supports us in our vocations.

This evening young men will gather for our Operation Fiat in the Chaminade-Mineola Community. Together we may experience the beginning of their call to serve Him and His people in that love. God’s love saved us in a moment of gratuitous love. Out of that love, we can now offer that gratuitous love to others with a “yes” reminiscent of Mary’s own fiat to her call to bring Christ - to bring love - into the world.

Monday, April 24, 2017

EASTER JOY: Do you love me?

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After the Resurrection and just before Jesus left this earth, He instructed Peter to care for the object of His love—His sheep. How could anyone care for them as Jesus cares? Only out of love for Him. There is no other way.

Three times Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Do you love Me?” And Peter answered, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” Each time, Jesus answered, “Feed My sheep.”

Was Jesus unaware of Peter’s love? No! His threefold question was not for Himself, but for Peter. He asked His questions to underscore the essential truth that only love for Christ would sustain Peter in the work that lay ahead—that arduous, demanding work of caring for people’s souls—perhaps the hardest work of all.

Jesus did not ask Peter if he loved His sheep, but if he loved Him. Affection for God’s people in itself will not sustain us. His sheep can be unresponsive, unappreciative, and critical of our efforts to love and to serve them. In the end, we will find ourselves defeated and discouraged.

The “love of Christ”—our love for Him—is the only sufficient motivation that will enable us to stay the course, to continue to feed the flock of God. Thus Christ asks you and me, “Do you love Me? Feed My sheep.”

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