Homily for Saturday, 4th Week of Easter (May 2nd, 2015)

The Apostolic Faith insists that the Christ fulfills the messianic hopes and expectations of the Israelite prophets. The Lord Jesus is the Messiah, and not only is he the Messiah, but he is the God of Israel, who has become the Messiah in the flesh.

The revelation of the Lord Jesus as the Messiah is the revelation that God has become the Messiah.

The Israelite prophets testified that the Messiah would reveal himself through signs- these signs would be the restoration of the Kingdom of David, the restoration of the Temple, the gathering of the tribes, the defeat of the enemies of Israel, and dominion over the nations.

The Apostles understood that Christ the Lord had manifested himself in these signs in extraordinary and unexpected ways. The Gospels are all testimony to how Jesus Christ manifests himself in the signs of the Messiah.

Today’s excerpt from the Acts of the Apostles indicates that the signs of Christ’s Messianic identity and mission continue to be manifested in the Church, in particular in the gathering of the Gentiles into communion with Christ, the God of Israel. In the gathering of the Gentiles into communion with Christ, the Lordship or dominion of Christ the Messiah over the nations in being signified.

The Church continues the Messianic mission of the Lord Jesus.

Not all in Israel accepted the apostolic testimony to the Lord Jesus’ identity as Messiah, and we learn today that so of the strongest opposition came from some of the Israelites. Much is at stake in believing in what the Church testifies to be true about the Lord Jesus. If the apostolic testimony is accepted as true, everything about your life changes.

At times those who oppose Christ can be more perceptive than those who support him concerning what is at stake in believing in him. If you feel little discomfort with the Lord Jesus, you are likely missing the point of his revelation. Jesus Christ insists that we change and that makes most people uncomfortable. It also compels us to make decisions about our lives that will inevitably upset the status quo.

Changing one’s life is not easy and that is precisely what authentic faith in the Lord Jesus will do to us- insist that we change, and that change will be manifested by our willing surrender of our lives in his service- learning to love what he loves and serve what he serves.

The apostles did not seek to oppose people, but they knew that what they had to say about the Lord Jesus and the manner in which they lived in relationship with him would engender opposition. The Lord Jesus had assured them of this, and his cross was ample evidence of inevitability of the opposition they would have to face. They were willing to take this risk because they believed that what the Lord Jesus revealed was the truth.

This truth was that the Lord Jesus is God and he is Messiah and if you believe this, then your life, indeed the world is forever changed for the better. This is why the proclamation of the truth of the Lord Jesus’ identity and mission gave them joy, even when they were opposed.

In today’s Gospel the Lord Jesus attempts to help his disciples understand his mysterious relationship with his Heavenly Father.

We might be conditioned to think as many modern people do that the revelation of the Lord Jesus is simply about ethics and little else. But the revelation of the Lord Jesus is not just about how we should behave, but the mystery of who God really and truly is. The one, true God is the Trinity and Christ’s revelation is discloses God as the Trinity.

This revelation confounded Christ’s earliest disciples, who found the revelation of God in Christ, not just hard to understand, but difficult to believe. God was not who they expected him to be. Some might have come to the Lord Jesus thinking that they had or could figure God out or solve God in the manner that one solves a math problem.

Of course, those who came to Christ resolute in their certitudes were challenged to change. God is not a problem that we solve, but a living, divine person who offers us a relationship with him, and who does so, not so that we can figure him out or control him, but so that he could love us. Love engenders mystery and mystery resists all our attempts to control.

The one, true God reveals his love for us in Christ and in Christ shows us that not only does he love us, but that he is Love- a mysterious relationship, a communion best described as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

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