Wednesday in the Octave of Easter (March 30th, 2016)

In today’s scripture from the Book of Acts, Peter and John manifest the power of Christ by doing what Christ did- in this case, healing a man of an affliction that prevented him from walking.

The man’s disability not only prevented him from walking, but from walking into the holy temple, and once he is healed, he walks into the temple, praising God for the gift he has received from Christ through Peter and John.

The lesson in this text is that the disciples of Christ should act like Christ and though this might mean for some, becoming the means through which Christ will work miracles, it will mean for all us that we act like Christ by loving what he loves and serving what he serves.

Becoming Christ-like is what Christian spirituality is about. Holiness for the Christian is not a matter of appearing pious or fulfilling regulations, but of becoming ever more Christ-like in what we say and in what we do.

There is another aspect of this text that is worthy of our consideration- the Apostles offer healing, healing is received, and this healing enables a person to enter into worship, to enter into the temple.

The healing the Church imparts through her ministers, is not simply a matter of the body, but of the soul. We are all soul-sick and the Church has been given Christ’s healing power for our soul-sickness through the ministry of the forgiveness of our sin. Once forgiven, we are able to participate in worship, enter the Church’s temple, which we experience in the Mass. The worship of the Church is not simply a matter of custom or entertainment, but it is an expression of our relationship with Christ. If we have little or no relationship with Christ, or we have resisted Christ through a willful disregard of his commandments, then our worship will become truncated and frustrating. Thus, the ministry of forgiveness is offered to us so that we might be reconciled to Christ and once reconciled, be made ready for worship.

Rarely or never seeking the healing power of Christ in the Sacrament of Reconciliation is the equivalent of never having recourse to a doctor for medical care. Even if we are feeling healthy, we should occasionally visit the physicians who care for our bodies. Our soul needs this kind of attention as well, and if we don’t we might find that we have become seriously soul-sick and spiritually disabled.

The worship of the Church is the heart of the matter in Christ’s Gospel for today.

Again, we have another account of eyewitness testimony to the resurrection of the Lord. Christ presents himself as alive to people who believed him to be dead.

The culmination of this encounter is that Christ presents himself to these people in the Eucharist, it is in the Eucharist that they come to know for certain that it is truly Christ the Lord who has revealed himself to them, and that he is alive, not dead.

Christ is alive, not dead, and our encounter with him may not be to see him now in the body of his Incarnation, but he gives himself to us in the Blessed Sacrament. The Blessed Sacrament is not merely a custom or a symbol, but it is an encounter with the Lord Jesus himself, who makes himself as really and truly present to us as he did to those who were privileged to be witnesses to his resurrection.

The manner in which Christ presents himself to us is different, but it is Christ who makes himself present in the Eucharist and it is the living Christ that we encounter, adore and receive.

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Monday in the Octave of Easter (March 28th, 2016)

Today’s first scripture is an excerpt from the New Testament book entitled Acts of the Apostles. The Book of Acts continues the story of the Lord Jesus, but presents him as living and present in his Church. Remember, the Church is not simply an institution, but it is mystically and mysteriously the Body of Christ- the extension of his Incarnation in space and time.

The excerpt from the Book of Acts we heard today records a speech given by the Apostle Peter. In this speech Peter gives testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus as a real event that has changed Israel and has changed the world.

God has proved in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus that all the claims he made about himself were true, and now not only the Israelites, but all the peoples of the world are faced with a decision- will they accept Christ for who claimed to be- God, Lord and King.

We Christians profess that Christ is God, Lord and King, but many of us pay lip service to these claims, rather than applying what we are saying about Christ to our own lives. If we say Christ is God, that means we don’t worship other gods (like wealth, pleasure, power and honors) and that we serve him, not our own ego-driven needs, and that we accept that he is in charge of our lives. Bottom line- this all means that our lives are not about us, but him, and are about fulfilling the demand of love in what we say and what we do.

In his Gospel for today we hear an eyewitness account of Christ’s resurrection. Certain women who witnessed his death and burial encountered the Lord Jesus alive. It seems that the guards placed at Christ’s tomb were coerced and bribed so as not to reveal details about what they themselves saw, and a plot is contrived which accuses the disciples of Jesus of stealing his body.

In both scriptures, Peter’s testimony and the testimony of the Gospel, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus is presented as an event that really and truly happened and is about the physical body of the Lord Jesus.

The resurrection of the Lord Jesus is not presented in the Gospel as one would present a myth, but as a fact of history- and this is why it is so strange and unnerving.

The resurrection should continue to disturb us, upset us, for it manifests that what the Lord Jesus said about himself is true and and as such, we must make a decision- will we believe in him or not? Will we follow him or not? Will we serve him or not?

We can’t evade or equivocate when confronted with the testimony to the resurrection. We have to make a decision.

Resurrection