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We Need Jesus

April 15, 2018

A reflection for the 3rd Sunday, Easter, Year B. The readings are Acts 3:13-15, 17-19; Psalm 4, 1 John 2:1-5a and Luke 24:35-48.

We have three readings and I have three words for you: Three readings and three words: Ignorance, Knowledge and Understanding.

But first, I have a few questions. We’ll start with the bonus question so you have time to think about it: Who, this past week, said, “Oh, we need Jesus”? Think about that and we’ll get back to that later.

Next question: When is the Feast of the Annunciation?

If you said March 25th you are correct. 100 points. But do you know what day was March 25th this year? If you said, Palm Sunday, you are correct again. 200 points. So we didn’t celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation on Palm Sunday. For 500 points, do you know when it was celebrated? If you said last Monday, April 9, correct once again. Now for the big one, 1000 points, on April 9th, Feast of the Annunciation, Pope Francis released a document: What is it called? If you said Gaudete et Exsultate, you are correct yet again!

If you are an adult Catholic, who’s been going to Mass most Sundays of your life and you don’t know that there is a feast called the Feast of the Annunciation and that it’s celebrated on March 25, you probably need a bit more Catholic influences in your life other than just Sunday Mass. If you didn’t at least, in the course of the day on Monday, find out that the Feast of the Annunciation was being celebrated that day, you probably need some daily connection with the Church. Get an app or something. And, if you didn’t know that the Pope released an Apostolic Exhortation called Gaudete et Exsultate about holiness in today’s world, you definitely need to have at least some sort of Catholic news or information service to follow.

Because we can’t be ignorant of our Faith.

That’s the first word I have for you today: IGNORANCE. We can’t be ignorant of our Faith. In today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, Peter and John have just healed a paralytic and so a crowd gathers around and Peter tells them about Jesus Christ, whom they crucified. But then he says, “but you did it out of ignorance.” That’s what happens when we are ignorant: bad things happen. Criminals, terrorists, people who do bad things, likely do them because they are ignorant about the Truth. Jesus was crucified by people who didn’t know what they were doing – He said so from the Cross: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” But most of us are not criminals or terrorists who do bad things. Still we can do very bad things because of ignorance. If you are having difficulties in your marriage, maybe it’s because you went into marriage ignorant about what marriage is. Maybe you were ignorant about the other person. When problems began, you ignored them – that’s what makes us ignorant. And it leads to problems. Ignorance leads to bad things happening. We can’t be ignorant about the important things in life. We can’t be ignorant of our Faith. We can’t be ignorance of Scripture. Ignorance of Scripture, says St. Ambrose, is ignorance of Christ.

And the way to fight ignorance is to learn, to study, to research, to ask questions… to have knowledge. And how do we know we have knowledge? We behave a certain way. Our actions show that we know something.

That’s what John says in today’s second reading: “We show that we know Jesus when we do what He asked us to do.” That’s what happens when we have knowledge; it changes our behaviour.

We spend so many hours, so much money and resources preparing for a career, studying in university or learning a trade. But for the most important thing we will ever do, be a husband, be a wife, be a parent… how much time do we spend studying for that? And for the most important thing we will ever do in life, which is get to Heaven, we do nothing.

We spend one hour a week in Church. That’s 52 hours a year. The average person spends 4 to 5 hours a day watching TV! How do we show we love Jesus Christ, that we follow Him? By learning about him, studying scripture and learning about our Faith.

Our second word today is KNOWLEDGE. We have to have knowledge about our faith. Knowledge of Scripture, is knowledge of Christ. Knowledge of the Church, which is the Body of Christ, is knowledge of Christ.

In my parish we have so many ways to help our parishioners learn about our Faith. We have the Alpha program – it’s a great way to learn about our faith and about our walk as Christians. But if you can’t commit to 12 weeks of something like Alpha, in our parish we also have the Run With It Program. This is once a month and we look at topics based on questions that our parishioners have asked. If you have children, this Summer again, we have a Vacation Bible School – it’s great for the kids, but it’s also great for the adults that help run it. We need people to help with that, so I hope you can sign up.

Lastly, the best kept secret in our parish. If you look at the first page in our bulletin, you’ll see that it says something about a program called FORMED. Formed is a web-based resource with all kinds of articles, videos, reflections, prayers – everything you need to help nourish your Faith life. And what’s best is that because you are parishioners here, it’s free. Our parish has subscribed and pays the subscription so you can access all these great resources.

We can’t be Ignorant and we have to Know our Faith.

But we also have to pray our Faith. Ultimately all this is about having a relationship with Jesus Christ. We want to know about Him and about what He taught, but we also want to know Him. And He wants to know us. When Jesus appears to the disciples in the Upper Room in today’s Gospel, He explains things to them. He opens their minds so they can understand. We can study all we want, but if we don’t do it with Jesus, in prayer, we may never understand. Jesus opens our minds and helps us understand.

That’s our third word today: UNDERSTANDING.

You may feel completely overwhelmed with all this Church stuff. And now you have one more thing to do. You’re busy. Some of you work seven days a week. Maybe you’re having difficulties in your marriage; maybe you’ve made mistakes. Maybe you have problems at work. Maybe you have family members who are difficult to live with. But you know, when Jesus appeared to those disciples in the Upper Room, they didn’t have anything. But that was the Church. They were scared, tired, confused. They felt lost. That was the Church. They had no prayer book, no official Teaching. There was no song book and no mission statement or pastoral plan. They had nothing.

Except one thing.

They had was the Risen Christ.

And that’s all we need.

“Oh, we need Jesus.” Do you know who said that this past week? It was broadcast on CBC last Sunday night all over the country. It was in many newspapers the next day. Do you know who it was? It was Humboldt Broncos team pastor Sean Brandow at vigil in Saskatchewan last Sunday.

He said,

“How do we know that God is with us in our suffering? Because Jesus was here, Jesus went through every bit of suffering before we ever did. We have someone that has gone ahead of us and before us into the heavenly realms and who now sits and intercedes on our behalf — we talk to Jesus, we commune with Jesus, we cry out to Jesus. And it’s in this time that we need a shepherd who has walked through this valley before, who can guide us.

Oh we need Jesus. We need to hear from God.

He then said,

“…You need Jesus, he’s walked here, he’s walked it first and death couldn’t hold him. Death couldn’t hold him. He’s alive. And he sits at the right hand of God on the throne and he’s in control. It doesn’t feel like it, but he is…”

It’s Jesus whom we can’t be ignorant about. It’s Jesus who we need to know. And when you get to know Him and allow Him to know you, it’s Jesus who brings us understanding and peace.

From → English, Reflections

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