Thursday, April 8, 2021

Do We Get a Pass?

 

I was reflecting on Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 3, under the verses titled “Peter’s Speech.” These passages, of course, come after the death and resurrection of Jesus and the Coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, which is described in Acts 2.

Anyway, in Peter’s speech, as he was proclaiming what God has done (the Kerygma), it struck me that it was through the sins of man that Jesus was crucified, yet Jesus stayed faithful to the Father and allowed himself to be crucified, for their sake.

Do you see how remarkable that is?

Scripture doesn’t tell us that Jesus died for them because they were repentant, or after they had turned away from their sins and sought forgiveness.

No, Jesus died for them, even though they had sinned, in the midst of their sin, because clearly, they needed it—as do we. (See Luke 5:32, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.”)

Peter tells the crowd they were ignorant, just like their leaders.  Even the smart guys got it wrong, blinded as they were, by their disappointment that Jesus wasn’t the sort of military hero they were expecting, and fearful of the political chaos he could cause.

Now in hindsight, we should be able to appreciate the depth of God’s love for us—that he was willing to die for each of us, on that cross, even when he was ignored, rejected and tortured.

Yet, still, even today, we often ignore the call for repentance.  We ignore and reject the Gospel, and Jesus himself, even though we know that turning away from sin is foundational to our entry into heaven.

Why?

Do we not realize that the salvation that Jesus brought by his death on the cross still holds true for us?  Do we not desire it?

Perhaps those who crucified Jesus can get a bit of a pass since, as Peter said, they were ignorant, but can we also make that same claim after hearing it preached, so many times, as in Acts Chapter 3, Verse 19, when Peter says:

“Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.”

The time has come for us to take this call to repentance seriously, and pay attention to the second part of that as well.

We need to be converted.  Our lives need to change.  As Christians in an increasingly non-Christian culture, the proclamation of the Gospel is greatly needed. 

The voice of Jesus, his message, must not be quieted.

Our lives, and those around us, depend on it.

Jesus died out of love for us, and his mercy continues to flow abundantly upon us, but we can no longer claim ignorance and live our lives as if his death and resurrection had no meaning.

It was—is—our only path to salvation.

Janet Cassidy
janetcassidy.blogspot.com

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Have you had a Disappointing Lent?


 

I was reading Fr. Joe Krupp’s article (In the Know with Father Joe) in the March issue of FAITH magazine.  He was giving advice to someone who felt they had missed the boat on making a good practice of Lent.  While we complete the season of Lent this week, I think the advice he shared is timeless.

Father Joe quoted Canadian Bishop Scott McCaig:

“Ask the Lord where you are most vulnerable to the enemy – your greatest vice.  Then identify the opposing virtue and embrace a discipline that will strengthen it.  God doesn’t want your chocolate . . . He wants you.  He wants your heart.  He loves you!”

Isn’t that great?  I love the simplicity of it.

Where are you most vulnerable?  Where do you most easily give in to temptation?

I think this is a good, holy, work that we can do anytime, especially when we feel like our not-so-good habits are getting a bit out of control.

Praise God as we look forward to Easter!

Janet Cassidy
janetcassidy.blogspot.com

 

Monday, March 29, 2021

Passing the Word Along

 

My husband was out walking one day and stopped to talk to a neighbor.  He mentioned that we were looking for a quality contractor to do some work for us in our basement.  The neighbor gave us the name of someone she had used and was happy with their work.

When my husband told me about it, my response was “Yes, of course, we should call them!” because we knew what the neighbor had just been through with their own house and we knew how thorough she was in getting her work done.

As I was thinking about this, it occurred to me that this is how it should be for us, in faith.  We can be confident in the character of the apostles and those early disciples of Jesus who not only gave witness to him, but truthfully—and accurately—passed on the message of salvation.

We can trust their word.

You might say it is easier for me to believe in the neighbor I can see than Jesus who I cannot, but that shouldn’t be the case.  There are many things we believe based on what we have heard without our having firsthand knowledge of the person or events.

We can trust the biblical accounts.

When it comes to believing in Jesus, we rely on the accounts we read in scripture and that have been passed on to us through sacred Tradition.  This is the foundation of our faith—belief in the humanity and divinity of Jesus—and if doubts begin to take hold, everything begins to crumble.

Be steadfast in faith and hold tight to the reality of Jesus.  Trust in the Father with whom Jesus is one, and pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit to lead you.

Janet Cassidy
janetcassidy.blogspot.com