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Father George Inspirational

Easter 6, May 17, 2020

Easter 6, 2020

The readings for this Sunday offer a rich variety of material.  We have Paul preaching at the Areopagus in Athens telling his listeners that the “Unknown God” they have been worshiping is really the One who created the heavens and earth and gave his only Son for us.  Peter reminds us that it is our baptism which seals our salvation.  The Gospel reading takes us back to the last supper when Jesus is saying “goodbye” to his disciples.

Our Gospel reading for today continues with that part of John’s Gospel known as the “Farewell Discourse” (John 13 – 16).  Although the words are spoken on the night he was handed over to suffering and death, they only begin to make sense when we listen to them in the context of the Easter Season.  Jesus is physically leaving us for the final time.  Ascension Day is next Thursday, May 21st.  So, Jesus is preparing us for his visible departure from us.

One of the things Jesus does to prepare us for his leave-taking is the promise of an Advocate who will be present with us always, who will remind us of Jesus’ teaching, and serve as a resource for our conscience – both individually and collectively.  This promised Advocate is the Holy Spirit who will be given to us on the feast of Pentecost just two weeks from now (May 31st this year).  The Holy Spirit is the outward sign that Jesus is still present with us in our thoughts and actions, as well as in our prayers – he reminds us that we are never truly alone, even in the midst of our loneliness.

This is one of the underlying gifts given to us in baptism.  Baptism is the outward and visible sign that we belong to Christ – a relationship that is absolute and eternal.  It’s more indelible than any tattoo, but it marks us as Christ’s own forever.  It is through baptism that we, and the world, know that we have accepted Jesus the Christ as our Savior and have promised to follow him as our Lord. 

Another gift given to us by the Holy Spirit is an awareness of God’s presence in what might seem to be the oddest places.  Paul uses something he has noticed – the altar to the “Unknown God” as a segue into proclaiming the Good News to his listeners.  Think of those moments when an apparently ordinary event or occurrence gave a flash of insight into God’s love and gracious presence.

All of this together offer us some of the tools we will need when Jesus takes his leave of us on Ascension Day with a promise to return and take us to himself. Amen.

Categories
Church News Inspirational

Mediator in the news

The Living Church website (livingchurch.org) posted a nice article about Church of the Mediator and its doings during the pandemic. Below is the link to the story.

https://livingchurch.org/2020/04/23/rural-florida-church-waits-in-faith-hope-love/

Categories
Father George Inspirational

2nd Sunday of Easter

FROM FATHER GEORGE:

Second Sunday of Easter, a.k.a. St. Thomas’ Sunday or “Low Sunday”

 Our journey through the Great Fifty Days of Easter continues with a story we hear every year on this Sunday – St. Thomas’ story.  We all know the story; you can read it at the following link: www.lectionarypage.net/YearA_RCL/Easter/AEaster2_RCL.html

John 20:19-31  When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

The importance of Thomas’ story is that it speaks directly to our faith stories.  Thomas was the first of the “second-generation Christians” – those who learned the Good News from another person without being a personal witness.  You and I are all second-generation Christians, because we know the story from hearing it from another person.  Just as the Good News was told to us by another, hopefully we will tell others about Jesus.

Who told you the Good News?  During this another week of staying at home, I invite you to think about those who told you about Jesus and his resurrection  As you recall them, gave thanks for their willingness to tell the story to yet another generation.