18 APR 2010


The disciples are in a real tough situation here today in our first reading. In just the second week since their leader and teacher and also our leader and teacher was crucified, died and was resurrected, they are arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin to answer trumped up charges of blasphemous behavior. This was the 2nd time they had been arrested and the jealous religious leaders were looking to cut them off from spreading the Gospel message.


The disciples had spent almost three years traveling with Jesus and apparently that is all they did and once he was gone from their midst they were some what lost. Apparently they went back to what they new best and for most of them that would be fishing. Now that Jesus was no longer with them they had to find work to sustain them.


Having been with Jesus they did learn quite a bit about him and the love of his father for them and all the people. They did understand some of the most basic teachings of Jesus but all lot of things just did not click with them at the time that Jesus was with them here on earth. They saw and participated in the miracles that happened.


They understood this man as one who was of a higher authority but sometimes they just did not understand the message. If they only knew then what we think we know now they might have been better of in those weeks after Jesus’ crucifixion, death and resurrection. They new they were empowered to preach and teach in Jesus name and so they went out into the working world as they new it, and they were spreading the Word as they had learned it from Jesus. Peter while standing in front of the high priest was providing an early form of the Christian proclamation of salvation through Jesus. He was preaching right there.


They where strong in their faith and in what they believed and they knew what they were saying was going against what they were allowed to say and consequently they were being punished for preaching the words of Jesus Christ. After they were let go again they celebrated the fact they could still go out and preach as Jesus had taught them, but they still had to work. The Holy Spirit was with them but had not been manifested in the visual signs until the Pentecost, the overwhelming signs at that.


It wasn’t until they were touched and filled with the Holy Spirit on Pentecost that they went into preaching full time through out the world. At that time they were filled with zeal and went joyfully throughout the world spreading the word.


In that period of time between the resurrection and Pentecost it had to be an amazing period of retrospection for them. They must have felt somewhat like we might have felt like after graduating from college or for some of us after being discharged from military service.


For those of us here who are married, remember how you felt after the wedding, the honeymoon? After all that was said and done, we all had to go back to the working world. Of those three examples they all share one thing in common, once we graduated from college, or were discharged from our military service, or after the honeymoon, I would venture to say that we felt or asked what do we do now? We all went and found a job and went to work to support our families and our lifestyles.


Now that Jesus was no longer with them, they took up teaching and preaching where Jesus had left off. It was all new to them but they must have been having an effect because they had certainly upset the Sanhedrin leaders. After following Jesus for three years they new they were called to be something special, but they were just getting warmed up.


In our Gospel reading today Jesus pretty much sets Peter up as the leader of his flock, the pastor of his people. This was the 3rd time Jesus had revealed himself to them since his resurrection and he was still caring for them by feeding them and guiding them as to where to cast their nets.


Since the disciples were mostly preaching on their own and healing they must have been surprised at what they could do, instilled by the power of the Holy Spirit. Can you imagine how they felt when someone was healed by their powers? Last week we heard Jesus say “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven and whose sins you retain are retained.” So now they are out forgiving people of their sins in the name of Jesus Christ.


I recall about 6 months after being ordained as a Permanent Deacon someone asked me to give a group a blessing. I gave the blessing with the sign of the cross and someone asked “can he do that?” I informed him that as ordained ministers, the Deacon can offer Blessings.


The disciples must have answered questions such as this when they went out preaching in the name of Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified, died and was resurrected for doing what they were now doing. They were spreading the Gospel message and were pleased to be released, after a flogging, to go out and continue their ministry. They went out ''rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.''


So against a lot of adversity our first apostles kept on task of helping to grow Jesus’ ministry here on earth into what we now know today as the Catholic Church. We are called to live as Jesus taught and to help spread the word through out our life and most of our lives are spent in the work place. So let us continue to do our part to living as Jesus taught by being loving and caring neighbors and continue to show our faith and share our faith as Jesus did.


To the young people here today making their First Communion, this is a very momentous occasion not only for you and your family but also for all of us here today with you. You will be welcomed into the full community of the Catholic Church, by receiving the Eucharist with us, and we look forward to sharing with you the growing of your faith and understanding of all that we believe here at St. Malachy.

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