Humbly submit your will to God (Thy Will be done) and consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through Mary and Joseph.
Peter proceeded to speak and said:
“You know what has happened all over Judea,
beginning in Galilee after the baptism
that John preached,
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Spirit and power.
He went about doing good
and healing all those oppressed by the devil,
for God was with him.
We are witnesses of all that he did
both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem.
They put him to death by hanging him on a tree.
This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible,
not to all the people, but to us,
the witnesses chosen by God in advance,
who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
He commissioned us to preach to the people
and testify that he is the one appointed by God
as judge of the living and the dead.
To him all the prophets bear witness,
that everyone who believes in him
will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.” Acts of the Apostles 10:34, 37-43
On the first day of the week,
Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.
For they did not yet understand the Scripture
that he had to rise from the dead. JN 20:1-9
It’s been a 40 day journey to get to today. If your fasting, prayer, and almsgiving has been anything like mine it has been all over the place. Some days I did great and was inspired and motivated; other days I did terrible. It takes a lot of failing to be successful, but the most important thing I have learned is that fasting, praying, and giving alms makes me spiritually stronger. I have learned that losing makes me stronger. It reminds me to dust myself off and get up again. It made me come back to the foot of the cross and ask Jesus for help. It made me humble. It reminded me of where I came from and where I am going. It reminded me that I am weak and broken and I need a Savior. It reminded me that it is hard to be spiritually strong. It taught me to fight for what is right. It reminded me that I am in control of myself and that God gave me a free will to love Him and others. It reminded me to establish good habits in my life; this makes it easier to control my fallen human nature/desires. Reflecting on the Passion renewed my passion to sin less, be unselfish, and complain less. It helped motivate me to love God with my whole heart, soul, mind, and strength, to love others and myself. I remember that God’s grace is a free gift and I can fight as hard as I can, but only God’s grace will help me do the impossible.
Now comes the hard part. What am I going to do now that Lent is over. The easy thing is to go back to my old self, but God has asked us to make stronger resolutions. He wants us to draw closer to Him and use the experience of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving to stay closer to Him.
Good people don’t go to heaven and bad people go to hell. Good people sin and bad people can repent and change their life and be forgiven by God at any time. Jesus taught us that those who believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ by faith (meaning that our human reasoning will take us only so far) will be saved. We must be baptized and repent. Baptism gives us God’s sanctifying grace and takes away Original Sin, repentance is a daily battle overcoming our fallen human nature (desires/concupiscence/addictions) fighting the Devil, and loving. When we are baptized we die with Christ and we are given new life. A life full of God’s grace, if we choose it. We must come to the gifts that Jesus set up while on earth to give us grace and win these battles-the Sacraments. An encounter with the living God transforms us which goes way beyond living a good moral life.
Jesus taught us to pray and pray unceasingly starting with the “Lord’s Prayer”. We cannot worship someone we do not know. We must talk to Jesus and learn from Him at the foot of the cross daily. If we are to be forgiven, we must forgive. It is impossible to be at peace and have joy without forgiveness. We do not stand a chance on judgement day without forgiveness from God, through Jesus Christ, our savior, through our priests. Last, Jesus brought compassion to the stone cold tablets (10 commandments). We must suffer with Him and others. We must be the hands, heart, and feet of Christ in the world today, starting in our homes. Jesus said at the Last Supper, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” JN 13:35
We have no scientific proof that Jesus Christ resurrected. We have 500 witnesses He appeared to after He rose from the dead. There are many stories of what could have happened to His body, but Jesus already told us what we must have if we want to enter into His heavenly glory with Him, we must believe without seeing. We must have faith! Do you really believe? There is a yearning in our heart to seek out the Truth. God has given us plenty of evidence and revealed everything we need to support our faith. The Apostles handed down the Truths which Christ revealed which we hold as Sacred Tradition. Just a few days ago John, the Apostle, gave his testimony as a witness to what Jesus did so that we may come to believe. The Apostles and Paul inspired by the Holy Spirit have handed down to us Divine Revelation, the Sacred Scriptures, which God is the Author. We have a faith with a history which we can still visit today in Israel. We have witnesses to the faith in every time period. There have been more martyrs in the last 100 years than all of the other 1900 combined; mostly in the Middle East. More importantly, we have them in our homes, schools, and communities.
So, the question remains after all of these events and all of this evidence. Are you willing to lose your life, so Jesus can transform it? He wants you to give yourself up for others. Are you willing to make prayer a habit in the same time and the same place each day to get to know your Creator and Savior? In every part of your day, are you ready to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance with the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary? Most importantly, Jesus wants to have a personal relationship with you. He died because you are worth it. You are very important to your Creator! You have a Savior that loves you more than you love yourself and He died to prove it! God’s love is the most powerful thing in the world. “We killed God with our sins and He came back with love and forgiveness!” -Bishop Barron
Our God has a radical love that never ceases and He is always ready to forgive (Prodigal Son). He is love and love always wills the good of the other. God ALWAYS wills our good. This is the single hardest question you must answer during your life. Do you believe in Jesus and everything He revealed? Are you willing to give up your life like He did for you?
Today’s challenge: Believe! Never allow the Devil or anyone else to steal your joy-Jesus resurrected and desires nothing else but to have us with Him for eternity. “All pain and suffering on earth are nothing but a cough due cold compared to the joy of heaven” -Peter Kreeft
Be a servant, become a saint!