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Readings: April 30, 2017, 3rd Sunday of Easter

All readings from the Message Bible (© 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson)

  • Acts 2:14-36

        Peter Speaks Up

Peter stood up and, backed by the other eleven, spoke out with bold urgency: “Fellow Jews, all of you who are visiting Jerusalem, listen carefully and get this story straight. Fellow Israelites, listen carefully to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man thoroughly accredited by God to you—the miracles and wonders and signs that God did through him are common knowledge—this Jesus, following the deliberate and well-thought-out plan of God, was betrayed by men who took the law into their own hands, and was handed over to you. And you pinned him to a cross and killed him. But God untied the death ropes and raised him up. Death was no match for him. David said it all:

I saw God before me for all time. Nothing can shake me; he’s right by my side. I’m glad from the inside out, ecstatic;

I’ve pitched my tent in the land of hope. I know you’ll never dump me in Hades; I’ll never even smell the stench of death.

You’ve got my feet on the life-path, with your face shining sun-joy all around.

“Dear friends, let me be completely frank with you. Our ancestor David is dead and buried—his tomb is in plain sight today. But being also a prophet and knowing that God had solemnly sworn that a descendant of his would rule his kingdom, seeing far ahead, he talked of the resurrection of the Messiah—‘no trip to Hades, no stench of death.’ This Jesus, God raised up. And every one of us here is a witness to it. Then, raised to the heights at the right hand of God and receiving the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, he poured out the Spirit he had just received. That is what you see and hear. For David himself did not ascend to heaven, but he did say,

God said to my Master, “Sit at my right hand Until I make your enemies a stool for resting your feet.”

“All Israel, then, know this: There’s no longer room for doubt—God made him Master and Messiah, this Jesus whom you killed on a cross.”

  • 1 Peter 1:17-21

You call out to God for help and he helps—he’s a good Father that way. But don’t forget, he’s also a responsible Father, and won’t let you get by with sloppy living.

Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. And this was no afterthought. Even though it has only lately—at the end of the ages—become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you. It’s because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God.

  • Luke 24:13-35

        The Road to Emmaus

That same day two of them were walking to the village Emmaus, about seven miles out of Jerusalem. They were deep in conversation, going over all these things that had happened. In the middle of their talk and questions, Jesus came up and walked along with them. But they were not able to recognize who he was.

He asked, “What’s this you’re discussing so intently as you walk along?”

They just stood there, long-faced, like they had lost their best friend. Then one of them, his name was Cleopas, said, “Are you the only one in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard what’s happened during the last few days?”

He said, “What has happened?”

They said, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene. He was a man of God, a prophet, dynamic in work and word, blessed by both God and all the people. Then our high priests and leaders betrayed him, got him sentenced to death, and crucified him. And we had our hopes up that he was the One, the One about to deliver Israel. And it is now the third day since it happened. But now some of our women have completely confused us. Early this morning they were at the tomb and couldn’t find his body. They came back with the story that they had seen a vision of angels who said he was alive. Some of our friends went off to the tomb to check and found it empty just as the women said, but they didn’t see Jesus.”

Then he said to them, “So thick-headed! So slow-hearted! Why can’t you simply believe all that the prophets said? Don’t you see that these things had to happen, that the Messiah had to suffer and only then enter into his glory?” Then he started at the beginning, with the Books of Moses, and went on through all the Prophets, pointing out everything in the Scriptures that referred to him.

They came to the edge of the village where they were headed. He acted as if he were going on but they pressed him: “Stay and have supper with us. It’s nearly evening; the day is done.” So he went in with them. And here is what happened: He sat down at the table with them. Taking the bread, he blessed and broke and gave it to them. At that moment, open-eyed, wide-eyed, they recognized him. And then he disappeared.

Back and forth they talked. “Didn’t we feel on fire as he conversed with us on the road, as he opened up the Scriptures for us?”

     A Ghost Doesn’t Have Muscle and Bone

They didn’t waste a minute. They were up and on their way back to Jerusalem. They found the Eleven and their friends gathered together, talking away: “It’s really happened! The Master has been raised up—Simon saw him!”

Then the two went over everything that happened on the road and how they recognized him when he broke the bread.

Reflection from Fr. Taylor: April 30, 2017, 3rd Sunday of Easter

Acts 2:14,22-33   1 Peter 1:17-21   Luke 24:13-35

On this 3rd Sunday of Easter we read of faith restored in Luke’s Gospel recognizing Jesus in the Resurrection Appearances.

In our readings today we hear of many different images of our Lord, the long awaited Messiah, the lamb who shed his life for our sake.  In the book of Acts, Peter says that Jesus was delivered up by the set plan or knowledge of God to suffer and then rise from the dead.  In the Gospel we see a compassionate and loving Jesus walking with two of His sad Disciples as they described their state of mind in the events of the past days.

Jesus accepts them exactly for who they are and He is willing to give them time to come to faith.  This is exactly what is needed for us.  There is a difference between resurrection and Easter Faith.  We know that Jesus rose from the dead, but Easter Faith is something that evolves day after day.   Jesus’ great love for the two disciples shines forth in His patience and understanding.

Patience and understanding is also given to us as Jesus shows the  willingness to walk with us on the Journey of Life, knowing that we are weak and sinful and that we need His help.  In Christ’s’ Passion Death and Resurrection we are saved and redeemed and we’re given the promise and hope of eternal life.

Let us all focus on appreciating more of this as God’s gift in His Resurrection.  We imitate this most by service to God and neighbor as every day gives us many opportunities to serve one another.  Let us always avail ourselves of them.  May God continue to bless you during this Easter Season to bring others to Christ.

Bulletin: April 30, 2017, 3rd Sunday of Easter

In Memoriam: Elizabeth “Betty” Norlander

Elizabeth Norlander

d. March 6, 2017 at 99 years of age

May she rest in peace.

 

Readings: April 23, 2017, 2nd Sunday of Easter

All readings from the Message Bible (© 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson)

  • Acts 2:42-47

They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.  Everyone around was in awe—all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met.

They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved.

  • 1 Peter 1:3-9

        A New Life

What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole.

I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of His victory.

You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don’t see him, yet you trust him—with laughter and singing. Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to: total salvation.

  • John 20:19-31

        To Believe

Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” Then he showed them his hands and side. The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant. Jesus repeated his greeting: “Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you.”

Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. “Receive the Holy Spirit,” he said. “If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good. If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?”

But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We saw the Master.”

But he said, “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.”

Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.”

Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.”

Thomas said, “My Master! My God!”

Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.”

Jesus provided far more God-revealing signs than are written down in this book. These are written down so you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and in the act of believing, have real and eternal life in the way he personally revealed it.

Reflection from Fr. Taylor: April 23, 2017, 2nd Sunday of Easter

Acts 2:42-47   1 Peter 1:3-9   John 20:19-31

The theme of the second Sunday of Easter is all about faith and trust in God.  Throughout the  Lenten Season we were lead to believe just how important it is to put our faith in God.

As we have followed Jesus from His life to His death and resurrection we know that the early church had to be able to come to terms with the reality of all of this.  Believing is a matter of faith.  Faith is reality that includes taking something on the word of another.  As the Gospel writer says “Blessed are those who have not seen but have believed.”

At Easter time we celebrate Jesus’  Resurrection, His victory over sin and death.  It is at the very heart of our faith.  But you know faith is very risky because it is always based upon trust.  But if we really look upon our lives so much of what we do and accomplish is based upon the trust and care of others.  If we play it too safe we could miss a lot of good opportunities in life.

We are called to take risks on behalf of our brothers and sisters and today we the church, celebrate faith, faith in God, faith in Christ, faith in life and each other.  Faith in ourselves is so important because we know that we have been bought with the Blood of Christ who will never betray our trust.

This is Easter beyond any shadow of a doubt.  May you continue to have a most blessed and peace-filled Easter Season.

 

Second Sunday of Easter, April 23, 2017

In Memoriam: James G. (Jim) Halloran

James G. (Jim) Halloran

d. April 18, 2017

May he rest in peace.

Funeral will be at St. James on Saturday, April 22, 2017, at 10 am.

Readings: April 16, 2017, Easter Sunday

All readings from The Message Bible © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

  • Acts of the Apostles 10:34a, 37-43

Peter fairly exploded with his good news: “It’s God’s own truth, nothing could be plainer: God plays no favorites!

You know the story of what happened in Judea. It began in Galilee after John preached a total life-change. Then Jesus arrived from Nazareth, anointed by God with the Holy Spirit, ready for action. He went through the country helping people and healing everyone who was beaten down by the Devil. He was able to do all this because God was with him.

“And we saw it, saw it all, everything he did in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem where they killed him, hung him from a cross. But in three days God had him up, alive, and out where he could be seen. Not everyone saw him—he wasn’t put on public display. Witnesses had been carefully handpicked by God beforehand—us! We were the ones, there to eat and drink with him after he came back from the dead. He commissioned us to announce this in public, to bear solemn witness that he is in fact the One whom God destined as Judge of the living and dead. But we’re not alone in this. Our witness that he is the means to forgiveness of sins is backed up by the witness of all the prophets.”

  • Colossians 3:1-4

He Is Your Life

So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.

Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.

  • John 20:1-9

Resurrection!

Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance. She ran at once to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, breathlessly panting, “They took the Master from the tomb. We don’t know where they’ve put him.”

3-10 Peter and the other disciple left immediately for the tomb. They ran, neck and neck. The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter. Stooping to look in, he saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in. Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself. Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed. No one yet knew from the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.

 

 

 

Reflection from Fr. Taylor: April 16, 2017, Easter Sunday

Acts of the Apostles 10:34a, 37-43   Colossians 3:1-4   John 20:1-9

Today, Easter Sunday we look around and there are beautiful signs of life all around us. Spring is here. Our churches are decorated beautifully. All nature is waiting to burst forth into new life. For Christ is Risen, He lives again and we all feel more alive. Isn’t it true that Easter is an affirmation of life in the face of death. It’s always a message of hope in the face of despair.

God knows that we need this because so much of life is under assault today. So much tragedy evil and bigotry effects our society and in many ways our lives. The Easter Season reminds us that we will not let this continue and we will not be people of doom.

We have come too far by faith to give up now. Good Friday told us that while death and the cross are there it is never the last word. This morning there is living proof of that, and the proof of it is that you and I are here to testify to it.

As we go throughout the Easter Season let us continue to rededicate ourselves to all the positive things that we can accomplish. As Jesus has arisen from death let us arise from our old and sinful ways. We know that God is with us on this tremendous journey.

May you all have a blessed and peace-filled Easter Season.