April 23, 2017

Reading 1 Acts 2:42-47

They devoted themselves
to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life,
to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.
Awe came upon everyone,
and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
All who believed were together and had all things in common;
they would sell their property and possessions
and divide them among all according to each one’s need.
Every day they devoted themselves
to meeting together in the temple area
and to breaking bread in their homes.
They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart,
praising God and enjoying favor with all the people.
And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

I think this reading is so beautiful because it reminds me of how simple life can be when we just devote ourselves fully to God.  When we pray, join together in worship, and actually put faith as the number 1 priority in our lives, life is serene.  I crave that peace these people must have had with God as their main Focus.  Materialism and selfishness did not take over, and God saved souls through them.  It leads me to think how many more people I could bring to the Lord if I stepped back and really let go of everything obstructing my path to Him.  It would not take so much effort to make me happy because time praising and thanking God is pure bliss.  We may not believe we can wonders an signs like the Apostles, but that is not true.  Through us, God can perform miracles and accomplish many deeds that can change people’s hearts and souls.  We just have to believe and fully grasp that word devoted.  I feel as though my commitment level can always increase, and I can become even more dedicated to God.  I just think how much time do we spend chasing checks, boys, that summer body, A’s…..

Reading 2 1 Pt 1:3-9

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who in His great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading,
kept in heaven for you
who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith,
to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time.
In this you rejoice, although now for a little while
you may have to suffer through various trials,
so that the genuineness of your faith,
more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire,
may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor
at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Although you have not seen Him you love Him;
even though you do not see Him now yet believe in Him,
you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,
as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Because of Jesus’ Resurrection, we have a new birth and hope.  We are reborn and are of a new creation.  We do not have to be the same sinful people that we were, and we have an inheritance to look toward.  One that is safeguarded and unchanging because Jesus opened the way for us that was once locked.  Although life comes with a package of trials and sufferings, it is this hope and faith that gets us through.  The fact that we know our reward will be sweet makes the pain less harsh and bitter.  We have something amazing and glorious to look forward to, and we should forever be rejoicing.  Our faith needs to be genuine though otherwise it becomes robotic.  You feel as if it is a job and something you have to work at to make work meanwhile it should be the most natural thin in your life.  This is what is saving our souls, and that should not be taken lightly.

Loving and believing in something without seeing it takes courage and effort because we might be wrong.  The difference is that with Jesus, our love and beliefs are not wrong.  We have this love and belief without seeing Him, yet it is so strong.  We know this is true, and that is so powerful, beyond words.  The fact that Jesus’ story carries on after 2,000 years is unfathomable and shows there is strength in His Name.

Gospel Jn 20:19-31

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When He had said this, He showed them His Hands and His Side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent Me, so I send you.”
And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
But he said to them,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in His Hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into His Side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later His disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see My Hands,
and bring your hand and put it into My Side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen Me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples
that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may come to believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in His Name.

Do you doubt God?  We have questioned Him and where He was and why things were happening and when we don’t feel His Presence, but why don’t we more easily trust and believe?  We should not be like Thomas, but we should take Jesus’ advice and be believing.  It may be hard in those moments of pain and despair, but this story is a prime example that God is always doing and working for our benefit even when we do not see it.  There is so much more than meets the eye.  We are so finite, and God is so infinite that there is no need to fret and worry.  Worry is sinful, not holy.  The only fear we should have is not being as close to God as we possibly can.  The first step is to let down our guard and let Him into all spaces where there may be darkness.  Honesty and opening up in prayer comes next because once you see God’s Presence more in your life, the doubt subsides and things begin to make sense.  Let the Holy Spirit come into your soul, and you will have a change of heart.

 

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