Monday, April 28, 2014

Pay Attention to Peter

As we proceed through the Easter season as Church I urge you to pay attention to Peter. In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles you will see a different Peter than we encounter in the Gospels. Even better, pick up a Bible and read the first two chapters of Acts and compare it to chapter 18 of John’s Gospel. The Peter of the gospels, while fiercely loyal to Jesus is rash, impulsive, weak, and to be quite frank a little thick. The Rock seems a little unstable.

In Acts, we see a Peter that truly is the Rock. He leads the meeting to select Matthias to replace Judas. He preaches to the bewildered and skeptical crowd immediately following the descent of the Holy Spirit. He cures crippled man and stands up to the authorities when told not to preach in Jesus’ name.

Why? Why is Peter so different? What changed?


Peter has seen and knows the Risen Jesus. (He has also received the gift of the Holy Spirit, but that is for a different discussion.) Peter is as changed as a man can get this side of eternity. Everything that wasn’t quite clear before is now crystal. Every doubt is shattered. The one who was a little shaky is now rock solid. This is what an encounter with the Risen Jesus does.

We can be changed too. We can encounter the Risen Jesus.  We encounter Him first and foremost in the Eucharist, but also in prayer, in reading Scripture, in service to others especially the poor. When we learn to see the presence of Jesus in everyone we meet (something I have to constantly work on) our knowledge of the Risen Jesus becomes even stronger. They more we know him, the more we love and imitate him. We find ourselves less shaky.

How will you encounter the Risen Jesus this Easter season?
Will you spend more time with the Word?
Will you spend some time with the Blessed Sacrament?
Will you make more of an effort at Mass?
Will you look at your neighbors and co-workers differently?
Will you serve the poor?

Pay attention to Peter this Easter and watch him change. Experience the Risen Jesus for yourself and see yourself change.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lord, You Will Never Wash my Feet

It’s an attitude too many of us have too often.  We just don’t want anyone’s help—even God’s.

Normally, when I think about John’s account of the washing of the feet (13:1-15) I usually think of it as a reminder that we need to serve others. I especially think of my vocation of husband and father and how I need to put the wants and needs of my wife and children ahead of my own. As a teacher, I need to put the wants and need of my students ahead of my own. In either situation, I’m just not that good at it.

This story has another lesson. We need to allow God to help us. I’m not that good at that either. I don’t like asking for help. When I don’t ask for help I think I am doing the person I am not asking a favor by not asking them. I’m trying to assume a state of “betterness” by not asking. Like Peter, “Lord, you will never wash my feet,” I’m trying to be the good and obedient one by not inconveniencing anyone else. I sense in Peter and in myself a sense of egotism or stubbornness.

Jesus tells us we need to be the least. We tend to think of that on the giving end. Sometimes we need to remember that being the least can mean being on the receiving end of help.

Having and living our faith is not about being better than anyone else. It’s not about following bunch of rules. It’s about allowing ourselves to be loved by the One who is Love and sharing that love with others. This begins with the humility to let Him love us and help us. If the number one way we love God is by loving others then the number one way we let God love us must be to let others love and help us.

What’s keeping you from letting God love you?