Excerpt from Take Time For Him: Some More
by Angela M Jendro
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3rd Sunday of Easter
Christ’s parting words summon every disciple to be a witness of their encounter with Him, repentance for sin, and God’s merciful love.
In our frenzied culture many people vacillate from anxious stress to temporary escape through superficial pleasures. In contrast, disciples of Christ rest in His Peace and rejoice in all circumstances (I Thessalonians 5:18). When others wonder if anything can be true or lasting, Christians make decisions with confidence knowing that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and that He has a plan for their lives. Although choices may not be easy, Christ’s disciples can look to His teachings, His Church, and to the Holy Spirit to guide them, Who “opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45).
Worried about the future or how to find meaning in life, many turn to psychics, gurus, ideologies, pop culture, or other general spiritualities. In contrast, Christians encounter Jesus – who is alive and real, and therefore has the power to truly act in their lives on their behalf. They know that everything will be okay, because Jesus has conquered death and made them adopted children of the Father. They experience the deepest kind of meaning in their lives because they believe that every act of love and kindness will reverberate into eternity. Wealth, status, beauty, health, fame, and honor can all be taken away in a moment against one’s will. Faith, hope, love, goodness, joy, and peace cannot – as so many martyrs and persecuted Christians have witnessed in the past and continue to do so today.
Our witness requires speaking about our faith at times. We need to “always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you” as St. Peter instructed (I Peter 3:15). This means immersing ourselves in Scriptures and prayer and making an effort to keep learning more about our faith. In this way, we can then pass on our faith to our children and stand up for the truth in society.
Our encounter with Christ is also witnessed in our silence. I once had the opportunity to attend a private Mass at the Vatican with Pope St. John Paul II in 2001 along with about 20 other people. When we entered the chapel, he was already there kneeling before the Lord intense in prayer. His silent conversation with Christ was so real it was palpable. When Moses returned from Mount Sinai the people knew he had encountered God because “the skin of his face had become radiant while he spoke with the Lord” (Exodus 34:29 NAB). People often say of new mothers or new couples in love, that they are “glowing”. Love has a way of doing that. When we spend time with Christ in prayer, when we walk with him throughout the day, we too glow with His love. Imaginary myths or wishful thinking cannot produce this kind of radiance.
Finally, Christ becomes visible to others through His work from within us. If I came home and the house were a mess, I wouldn’t believe my husband if he said that he had hired a maid for us. If, however, when I returned home all the dishes were done, the floors vacuumed, laundry washed, and surfaces dusted, I would believe his word without even having met the person – their work would be evidence of their existence. In the same way, if we tell others of Christ’s redeeming grace but remain the same mess of sin and confusion, it may be hard for them to believe. However, when we tell them of how Christ transformed us, and they see our anger replaced with love, envy replaced with gratitude and contentment, and selfishness replaced with loving relationship, His grace will be evident to them in a real way.
In the Beatitudes, Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). God is here. He is real. We struggle to see because we are blinded by things – pleasure, over-ambition, anxiety, fear, anger, greed, and other distractions. The more we cooperate with Christ to remove these obstacles the more easily we will see God, and the more easily others will see Him in us.
- Who do you know that seems to “glow” with love for Christ? Who seems to radiate His peace?
- When have you experienced the peace of Christ?
- When have you found Jesus’ words to be true?
- How might you become more pure in heart? What obstacles blur your vision? How might you grow your love for the Lord?
- Try to keep Christ present in your heart throughout the day. Spend 10 minutes in prayer every morning, pause for a prayer midday, and close with 5 minutes of prayer in the evening.
- Learn more about the faith by joining a bible study, attending Faith Formation at your parish, or reading a book about the faith with a group of Christian friends.
All Rights Reserved © 2020 Angela M Jendro