Thursday, April 7, 2016

Bible & Brew: First Cup

What would it have been like to walk in an Apostle's Sandals? 

In the matter of just three years time 12 men were selected by Jesus Himself, who was said to be a stranger of the lands, to become His elite group, the Apostles. Can you imagine the faith that these men must have had? Seriously, though! These men had nothing but their faith to trust in that Jesus was who He said He was! The chosen men, literally left their homes and everything they owned behind to become Jesus' Apostles. After these men had been sent out on foot, walking all over preaching the Good News they were soon finding themselves watching Jesus being persecuted. They were witnesses to Jesus' passion, death and resurrection. This of course is just a precursor to today's readings. In order to understand scripture it is important to consider the historical context, this is why I prompted you to think about what it would be like to be an apostle of Jesus. When studying scripture, one should also consider the passages surrounding the one you are examining, thus let us look at the passage prior to going any further.  

In the passages leading up to today's reading we find that the Apostles have been arrested and put in jail and while the Apostles were in jail an angel of the Lord came to them and opened the door directing them to leave and go to the Temple Area to continue their mission (Acts 5:17-22). Today's reading picks up with the Apostles being before the Sanhedrin (Acts 5:27-33). The Sanhedrin is furious that the Apostles continue to preach the name of Jesus. In the very next passage, Acts 5:34-42, the Sanhedrin threatens to have the apostles to be put to death. Luckily for the apostles an elder leader talks the others down and they order for the apostles to be flogged instead and then released. 


Like the apostles we too are called. We must continue to speak in the name of Jesus at whatever the cost. How can we call ourselves disciples of Christ otherwise? The Church offers us hope as well as models of the faith, i.e. the saints. Think about how many saints have been martyred for their faith. Right away I think of Dorothy Day and Mother Teresa. Dorothy Day has a very touching conversion story which the Church as well as Pope John Paul II has referenced. Prior to her conversion Dorothy was living a sinful life without Christ at the center. She got tangled up with a man and she became pregnant and aborted her unborn child. Follow this she had a spiritual awakening and had a conversion. She then became a social activist. Alongside her good friend Peter Maurin they established the Catholic Worker Movement which was a non-violent group that gave direct aid to the poor and homeless. Dorothy was arrested many times for civil disobedience. Certainly it's not just me that is making the connection, right? Similarly we can name Mother Teresa who left her own religious community to start a new one in Calcutta, India because she wanted to serve the poorest of the poor. It is so easy for us to read about other holy men and women and think to ourselves that we are not good enough--that is the problem. We cannot measure or compare ourselves to others. What we can do is look to them as good leaders or even models because we are all called to be Christ-like.

Mother Teresa is a particularly fantastic example of being Christ-like. As she cared for the poorest of the poor she did it out of pure love. In today's Gospel, John 3:31-36, we are called to not ration our love. We do not ration our love because the Father does not ration his love for us. Through and through this is message Jesus and the apostles were conveying to the people. After all Jesus was sent by His Father, Our Father, to save the world from sin so that we may receive everlasting life. All we have to do is believe and trust in Him.


Reflect on your life and be honest with yourself. Figure out where or when you have rationed your love rather than allowing your love to pour out of your hearts. Think about how you can be like the holy men and women who have gone before us. Remember, the key word here is "like." What verse speaks to your heart? What is Jesus telling you?

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