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Showing posts from June 27, 2021

A Large Catch Of Fish, and Jesus Comes To Breakfast (John 21:1-14)

 It's possible the apostles didn't believe what they had already seen, so Jesus comes again to reveal himself. It might've been a kind of hangover for the apostles, because they had such joy when they saw Jesus again, and then they had to go back to regular life. Or so they thought. Several of them went fishing, including St. Peter. They didn't catch anything. It reminds me of when Jesus said, "Apart from me, you can do nothing." They thought they saw a man on the beach, and they didn't know it was Jesus. Whether Jesus prevented them from knowing it was him, or whether they couldn't see them because they were a long way off, Jesus wanted to wait until the right moment to let them know it was him. As it turned out, Jesus decided to let the miracle do the talking. They cast their nets on the right side of the boat. St. Peter probably thought he was just being nice to a guy trying to give him advice on fishing. He is a fisherman; I would hope Peter knows

I'm Not A Reluctant Christian

 I don't know how to do anything halfway, unless--let's be honest--I start something, get distracted, and start something else. All of my people with ADHD, where you at? Anyway, there comes a point in the Christian life where we don't have to obey with gritted teeth. Our obedience doesn't come with apologies to the watching world; it just comes quickly, and without struggle. This is joy, and this is the possession of virtue. I'm not saying this to tell you what a great man I am, but to say that, at least as an intellectual matter, I don't ask why things are the way they are. We all slip up sometimes, and it doesn't mean that we never believed in God, or wanted to do His will. And we do need to give grace to one another, for the times when we fail. That's easy for some of us, and harder for others, or harder in particular situations. Human sexuality is a topic that is coming up a lot, not only among Christians, but obviously with everyone. Many people say

St. John, Why Did You Write This? (John 20:30-32)

 St. John tells us that he could tell us a lot more stories about the things Jesus said and did, but these are written so that we might believe in Jesus, and that by believing, we may have (eternal) life in his name. St. John's purpose to convince us about Jesus explains why the book does not tell the stories in exact chronological order. St. Matthew, St. Mark, and St. Luke tell us different details, but the theme is the same: Jesus is Lord and God. I suppose St. John could have ended it right here, but God is a God who reconciles, and there is a very important person who needs to be reconciled. If we need to be reconciled, we share it with him.

Jesus and "Doubting Thomas" (John 20:24-29)

 When Jesus came to the apostles, St. Thomas wasn't there. He gets a bad rap here, for wanting proof. If faith is not reasonable, then the God who gives faith as a gift is also not reasonable. On the other hand, there does come a point when questions are not helpful, or sincere from any one person. Jesus is saying that faith is a gift, and the vast majority of us--since we are not apostles--believe because of the testimony of the apostles, not because we have any first-hand proof. Sometimes, people ask for scientific proof of this or that miracle, but remember that even people who witnessed miracles found a way to deny that they were real. We must remember that our faith is a gift of grace, and that by believing, we are blessed. Even though it is easy to be a little rough on "Doubting Thomas," pious tradition holds that he made it all the way to India, and established some of the earliest churches known to exist. Sometimes we might think that we are crazy to have faith in

Jesus Comes to the Apostles (John 20:19-23)

 The apostles weren't necessarily courageous at this time. Hiding behind locked doors is not what we think of when we think of bold leadership. Jesus appears, and gives them his peace. When he was there with them, he showed them his wounds from the crucifixion. A few of them probably would have thought that they were hallucinating. When they saw Jesus, wounded and somehow victorious, they knew they were not imagining things. Jesus sends the apostles out to preach his message of forgiveness of sins through faith in his name. They receive the Holy Spirit when Jesus breathes on them, and they become true ministers of Jesus and his grace. There is something about the forgiveness of sins in Jesus that needs to be accepted, not only once, but all the time, and throughout life. For the apostles to be able to forgive sins, they must be in some sense Christ Himself. These verses here are very similar to the verses in Matthew 16:18-19. There, Jesus promises to honor the decision of the Churc

Jesus Comes To Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18)

 Whatever the apostles knew, or thought they understood, they didn't share any of it with Mary Magdalene. So for all she knew, Jesus was still dead, and somebody took his body. It's unclear whether she recognized the two men she saw as angels at the time, but St. John is telling us that they were angels. This is another one of those times where St. John and the rest of the disciples understood this better after it happened. When the angels speak to her, you can almost hear the voice of Jesus. Usually, when someone says, "Woman…" in the Scriptures, what follows is an important moment. (See again John 2:1-12) Mary Magdalene still thinks that someone has taken the body of Jesus. She turns and actually sees him standing there, but she doesn't recognize him. I think Jesus kept himself hidden until the right moment, just as he had done with the two disciples walking along the road to Emmaus, as recorded by St. Luke (see Luke 24:13-35). Although scholars rightly call the

The Resurrection Of Jesus (John 20:1-10)

 I suppose Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early Sunday while it was dark to make sure everything was alright. Or at least as good as it could be, considering your Teacher and friend was dead. Or so she thought. She saw that the stone was rolled away, and she figured quite reasonably that someone must have stolen the body. So she goes and tells St. Peter, and St. John was also there. Those two guys ran to the tomb, and St. John got there first. At a human level, he might be bragging, but considering that this is the word of God, there must be a reason why we are being told that St. John got there first, but he did not go in. He waited for St. Peter, and he let him go in first. Many Church Fathers and teachers see in this a deference to Peter's office as the head of the apostles. Pious tradition holds that a woman named Veronica gave Our Lord the face cloth that St. John finds neatly folded, next to the linens that Jesus was wearing. St. John says that he "saw and believed.&quo