April 7, 2016
(Saint John Baptist de la Salle, Priest)
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,
but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life,
but the wrath of God remains upon him. Jn_3:31-36
The high priest said to Peter and the apostles, “you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and want to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the Apostles said in reply, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins. We are witnesses of these things, as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.” When they heard this, they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death. Acts_5:27-33
The Scripture selections of the last few days, from John’s Gospel and the from the Book of Acts, have been giving us the Revelation of Who Jesus IS, both from the Words of Jesus Himself and from the post-resurrection words of the Apostles.
Today John reveals the connection between God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And then, He points to US as having the free-will choice to believe in Jesus or not. He tells us that no-one can force that belief on anyone else, but that there are consequences to our choices of belief or disbelief.
And we can clearly see those consequences in Luke’s description of the interaction between Peter and the high priest of the Sanhedrin. Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, the same Peter who denied even knowing Jesus, now boldly professes the Truth, as an accusation against that same high priest who, not long before, was shouting “Crucify Him” to Pilate. And today, we have that same high priest – denying any responsibility for having had Jesus killed. It was a lie, as clear as the scowl on his face.
John said that whoever believes in Jesus has Eternal Life; and that a Spirit of Truth and Boldness dwells within them. And yet, he also says, that whoever refuses to believe – will dwell in Wrath. Luke testified that the Sanhedrin were not only infuriated (in wrath) by Peter’s Truth, but they were craving his execution because they believed that their only defense against the Truth – was to kill it. And we know well, even 2000-years later, that the Truth of God can never be killed!
Just a few days ago, I was in Columbus, Ohio. And when I got up on Sunday morning, and looked out the window, I saw a dusting of (April) snow all over our car. You see, I was an eyewitness to that snow. And unless you just happened to be in Columbus at the same time, you have the choice of believing me, or not. But either way, it doesn’t really make a whole lot of difference, unless you mention it to someone else and get into an argument over it.
Today John tells us that Jesus IS the eyewitness to God His Father. And Jesus told us, exactly what God His Father told Him. And there really is no one else who could have ever been in the same place or time as Jesus was with God (save for the Holy Spirit).
So now, we again have the choice to believe, or not. But this time it makes a WORLD of difference!
It’s the difference between – a life of Peace and a life of Wrath.
It’s the difference between Bold Truth and Timid Lies.
It’s the difference between Love and Hatred.
And if all of that – is plainly obvious to us in our world today, then we are clearly believers!
The challenge is, Are we willing to put our Minds, and our Words, and our Hands – where our Hearts are?
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