We are all called by God to live a just life following the Laws of God, and I believe the most important, can be summed up in Love and Forgiveness. The laws of The Commandments; “Thou shall not steal, Thou shall not kill… speak of what not to do, and yes, we need to obey. However, they “don’t move us to love more; they just keep us from failing to love.
True love overtakes us and leads us to do more than we ever thought possible of ourselves. We can develop patience, forgiveness and kindness over and over. It allows us to Forget, truly Forget grudges and past wrongs. What God is asking of us, is no more than he is doing for us and our failings.
What are some small ways we can move forward showing our love especially for our neighbors, or those strangers that cross our path every day for a reason? And how can we show it whether they see it or not?
It is a love with patience for someone who doesn’t get it or is incapable of understanding. It is understanding someone who has a different opinion or perspective than we do. It is that act of kindness like holding the door for someone and smiling at them. A few kind words to someone you pass by, as that maybe the only person they have in their life that day to talk too. A compliment to someone you don’t know to make their day, or just a simple thank you. A kind word of “Keep Smiling” that always evokes a surprise and a smile from them. Hopefully, you have made their day!
An easy scripture to remember that you can carry with you all day is ‘You shall love.” (Romans 13:9) Yes, I fail at times, as there are people I have tried to live with what I have noted above. But in a particular case, I have failed for years with a certain neighbor. But, I am still called to keep trying as these situations ring true to me: “Make us know the shortness of life/that we may gain wisdom of the heart.” (Ps. 90:12)
I recently participated in the Year of Mercy by attending the ceremonies and Mass for the relics of St. Maria Goretti. A very moving time and an overwhelming experience of forgiveness. Learning how to forgive and forget. Many miracles of recent times were shared with those in attendance, and in this special time, it was impossible for anyone to leave and not further embrace Love and Forgiveness.
I am noting some very powerful words that speak to Love below by Etty Hillesum:
“There is a passage in the Bible from which I always draw new strength. I think it goes something like: “He that loveth me, let him forsake his father and mother:” Last night I had to struggle again not to be overwhelmed by the pity I had for my parents, since it would paralyze me if I gave in to it. I know that we must not lose ourselves so completely in grief and concern for our families that we have little thought or love left for our neighbors. More and more I tend toward the idea that love for everyone who may cross my path, love for everyone made in God’s image, must rise above love for blood relatives. Please don’t misunderstand me. It may seem unnatural-and I see that it is still far too difficult for me to write about, though so simple to live.”
(Words by Etty Hillesum from Amsterdam, Holland and put to death in Auschwitz.)
And as the time ended with the ceremony for St. Maria Goretti, the Saint Child who shows us how to forgive, a speaker ended on this powerful and reflecting note. For those who pray the Our Father every day, and does not subscribe to forgiveness as we are asked, the speaker said: “I dare you pray for forgiveness; yes I dare you to pray for forgiveness.” As it goes in the Our Father, “give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespasses again us.”
So how do we ask God for forgiveness, when we are not willing to forgive. We will see.
Find A Way!!
Fathers with Daughters
“A father holds his
daughter’s hand for a
short while, but he
holds her heart forever.
Today a bride,
Tomorrow a wife,
Always your little girl.”
Find A way!
Prayer of Abandonment.
I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures –
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.
Charles de Foucauld
“Find A Way”
We need to take time every day to quiet our many concerns, fears and responsibilities so that we can hear the Spirit’s whisper, oh so gentle in our hearts. “God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather of power and love and self control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
It is easy to be occupied mentally, to busy physically, to have excellent reasons why “now” is not a convenient time. Still, God is inviting you! He’s worth rearranging your schedule for Him, just as you would cancel all your appointments if you were invited to an important dinner or if you had the chance to meet someone, who you had always hoped you would, and now you get the opportunity.
Pray to God to stir your heart to make the changes and find that quiet time you will never stop or give up, once you have heard that whisper in “your quiet” time.
Find a way!
Have you reflected on your life recently to look back, and at the present, and see in honest eyes how you are doing and what you have done? Have you made a difference? Have you tried, changed and improved through your life experiences and maturity? Maybe the help came to you, and not knowing, you think you did it on your own. Have you used all the gifts granted to you or have you been focused on all the gifts and trappings of life for yourself?
Who we are and what makes us our own individual self, is all a gift from God. He expects us to use what has been given and to make a difference, and that comes in many shapes and forms. Can you name the gifts you have been given in this life, and how you are using them? The bigger question though, God has given you so much to make you who you are, so the question to you, what are you going to give back to God for those gifts given to you?
Depending on your belief system, there are different perspectives on end of life. More specifically though, is how are you going to meet judgment day? There are three areas I’d offer you to reflect on:
• Judgment – Our Lord asks you what you have done. Lord I did everything for you. I was honest, did not steal, was a good spouse and raised my kids to know you.” Our Lord asks again, what have you done for me/others? Lord I followed your commandments, made church every week. Again Our Lord asks, “What have you done for me?” I have been faithful to my spouse, never cursed or gossiped. “Yes I understand , but I have given you gifts to help the least of your brethren. Did you feed the hungry? Did you visit the sick and those in need? Did you help the elderly, the poor with their needs, the lonely? Did you not see me there with them? Did you not see me when you looked in their eyes? Did you not only love Me with your heart, mind and soul, but did you not love your neighbor as you would love me? “Those that are given much, more will be given.”
• Freedom – Were you not given your freedom? Did you not have a free will to do as you please? How was that used for others, but also for me? Did I not knock on your front door and you just said no to me. Did I not knock on your door and you just let me in the foyer? Did I knock on your door and you let me in the living room, but not the rest of the house? Is that how you did that to Me as I tried to be in your heart and be with you? Why did you not allow me to be totally in you, be with you always, day and night, and not just on a Sunday for an hour? Yes, I gave you freedom, but why did you lock me out?
• Grace – Did I not give you my grace to help you? Remember those times in need, those dark hours how you yelled out to me? Did I not get you through to the other side? Wasn’t I there when you were not interested in me, ignored me, and in fact forgot about me? Was that a yes? And yes, how about those times you hid things from friends and family, because you knew it was wrong and you felt ashamed. Did I not forgive you? Haven’t I always been there waiting for you? Haven’t I always been waiting to love you? Yes, love you and bring peace and happiness to you. Make you right. Make you a full person, a person you could be proud of and thankful? Make you an image of Me?
What is your answer after reflecting? Me too! Maybe not the time to pray to Him, but speak to Him, all by yourself from the heart. Yes, from the heart! No need to be afraid being alone with Him. God is the one that loves you and is always waiting on you. Always remeber, God Loves You!
Find A Way!
Questions and Love
What comes from thanksgiving and blessings? What about the healing power of love and mercy? And yes, how does this apply to me?
Have I wronged a friend or treated someone unfairly? Been Disrespectful? Have I failed to show compassion and mercy because I was so full of pride? So full of me! Was I unkind to a family member, a neighbor or a work associate? Am I always thinking of myself and totally not seeing others? And I different now than I used to be? I wonder; do people see me differently?
Probably yes to most of these questions, and possibly to all of them. I cannot see the change, but I sense from my friends that they are starting to distance themselves, and others, well; they are pretending to be my friend.
“A friend loves at all times; and a brother is born to adversity.”
How can I change? Yes, you and I need to make changes. It starts with a hello, a wave, not turning one’s back on another, the famous “pretending” not to see someone, giving a ear to listen to someone who may not have another person in their life today to talk too, a smile of warmth, holding a door with a smile, “Pardon me or please forgive me” instead of I am sorry. Hugh difference when you ask them to make the decision.
The most important change for you and I is a silent prayer to God thanking Him for all our blessings and telling Him you love Him. Yes, tell Him you love Him and ask for His strength and mercy we so need. You should always pray and ask for God’s mercy, as you should show mercy to those you love. You cannot ask for more than mercy from those who care for you; as a merciful person will share in your misfortune and suffering, and do whatever it takes to help you. And yes, this is what God’s mercy is for us.
For whatever reason, if a prayer is not possible right now, God would love just to hear your own words. Make it your own words and feelings your prayer to Him. Just open up and tell Him. Don’t hold back. Just talk from the heart!
Express your love to Him and ask Him to share it with all those in, as well as those, not in your life today.
“………………………………..the heart reflects the person.!!!!”
Find A Way!!
“As a face is reflected in water,
so the heart reflects the person.”
Proverbs 27:19 (NLT)
Find a Way!
“Love is not doing. Love is being.”
Find a way!
Matthew’s gospel, (18:1-5, 10, 12-14)
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me… See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”
Is that the sensible thing to do? Leave 99 sheep and look for 1 and put the 99 at risk. In today’s world, do businesses that loses 1% focus on the 1%, or try to maintain and grow the 99% of his business? Many would say the sensible thing to do would be to managed the 99% and forget about the other 1%.
What about the parable of the Prodigal Son who takes his inheritance and squanders it away on fun, foolishness and prostitution? He ends up with nothing, whereby; he has nothing, “not even scraps that dogs get from their Master.” He is forced to go back home to his father and what does the father do? Does he lay in judgment of his lost son, or when he sees his son coming home, throws a celebration, slaughters the fattest calf, gets the finest clothes for him and welcomes him home with no questions, or no judgments of his actions? Is that what most people would do in the same situation?
Is the father acting sensibly? Just as our Lord was not acting sensibly, or doing what we might have done in the same situation, the Prodigal son’s father was not acting sensibly. He was doing what Our Lord expects us to do; to show love and mercy to all under all circumstances. No questions and no judgment of their actions!
God is asking all of us to be childlike; not childish. He is asking us to be humble, loving and trusting in Him, as children do with their parents. God is a God of love and mercy and that is why He had to find the lost sheep. That is why the Prodigal Son was welcomed home with love, mercy and understanding and no judgment of his actions.
How can we stop being sensible with those around us? How can we eliminate an eye for an eye when someone does something to us? That may be sensible or make us feel better getting even with others, but being sensible is not what we are call to do. How can we criticize people, judge people when we ourselves, are not judged by God?
The God of Love and Mercy.
Time for us to work on our changes?
Be Childlike; not childish.
Find a Way!
As I sat in church last week, I happened to look up into the balcony, and then around to the side pews of the church, and it struck me how empty they were this day. My mind immediately drifted off to Christmas when there was standing room only. I have seen this many times before, but then it hit me why I was bothered.
Like most people today, regardless of one’s political beliefs, all are greatly moved by the scenes and stories of the persecutions of Christians and the other minority religious groups in the Mid-East. The genocide started last year in Syria, where 1.2 million Christians have been displaced and 130,000 people have been killed for failing to covert to Islam. Now this violence has spread to Iraq, with the continuation of genocide happening now for Iraq Christians’ and a fairly large religious group called the Yazidis.
The Christians and the Yazidis all have been forced to leave their homes with only what was on their back because of their refusal to convert. The other option facing them if they were unwilling to leave, was death by mass grave killings (either alive or dead), nailed to a cross or beheaded by the sword.
Their churches are being destroyed; papers, books and manuscripts dating back 2000 years are all being burned. Crosses are torned downed and burned, while others are used for crucifixions, while others head’s of those failing to give up their beliefs are paraded around town, photographed and put on the internet for all to see and witness.
Readers of history and those who study the bible could take these current events, and if the time line is unknown to them, could very easily think they were reading something happening 2000 years ago. But no, it is now!
We know how small the world is today, but how does one begin to understand what is happening a plane ride 7-8 hours away? How do we balance those situations with our own situations and our faith and daily lives? How do we reconcile those forced to die, as well as those willing to die for their faith, against the empty pews in church I witnessed last week? Where is the disconnect? Why such an expansive gulf? What don’t we understand, but just as important, what can we do?
“For all those suffering persecution for their faith and the love of you, our hope is in you Lord to find the answers to bring those people to safety and rest in your loving care.
Hear our prayer O Lord.”
Find a Way!
“Strive to enter through the narrow door.”
Striving requires contending with whatever comes our way. Making good out of bad, and becoming a better person. Choosing encouragement instead of criticism. Choosing love rather than disrespect or hatred. We are all challenged with choices, hardships, disappointments, pain and suffering and the weight of our cross. How do we choose to manage this, and what decisions are we making to control all of this in our lives? But also, how do we manage this so we can put the beauty of life in front of our challenges, and enjoy and share the love around us?
It is hard to find those answers when you in the valley rather than on top of the mountain. But being in the valley allows us to get to the mountain as we learn, grow, and develop ourselves by the experiences of the valley. It is in the valley where we learn the important lessons of life.
Prayer should be part of our daily life, but even more so during those difficult times. Prayer, along with our quiet time with God talking from the heart, is the best way to get to the waiting love, strength and understanding of Our Lord.
Reflect on this, as you deal with all the challenges of the narrow door.
“Find a Way.”
What is prayer? Just something you do once a week at services because you feel an obligation? Is it something you have no interest in at all, and no time to consider because of your schedule? Or maybe you feel you only need to pray when you need something or some tragedy has entered your life?
Or, is it that you do pray occasionally but it has no meaning or purpose in your life? See no results. In fact, the praying you are doing is boring, burdensome and awkward. Almost very discomforting.
Is it maybe you don’t know how to really pray? Would you be surprised to know that sometimes, and over a period of time, praying is sometimes lonely, empty and very dry for those that do pray? And do you know why?
Let me ask, have you in your life ever worked hard at something like a sport, project, an advanced degree, or a skill set you never had, but so desired by you? Maybe to play a musical instrument or being an accomplished public speaker? And you did it by your simple determination, effort and with help along the way. And yes, it did not happen overnight, as it required a lot of effort and commitment on your part. You had to make time for it in order to get something out of it and get where you needed to be.
What a great feeling! And when you have experienced that great feeling, wouldn’t you do anything to get that same feeling again?
There is a saying in the martial arts, whether you’re a white belt or a dedicated black belt that simply says, “You need more practice.” And where does that not apply in our lives?
Know that God loves you and He wants to be with you and be part of your life. He has loved you before you even knew Him, and He can be part of your life. It requires you to “open your heart” to Him and put the above efforts into praying.
Have you heard of the analogy of how you protect what is most important to you? It is explained through rock, sand and water. In a large jar of water, you are asked to put in pebbles, sand, water and also rocks, with rocks being the things most important in your life. Without putting the rocks in first, one will never have the important things in their life.
As I have noted in previous writings, find your corner. Find your spot to pray and make it yours. Start out with 5 minutes, settle down and clear your mind and let it grow from there. As you begin to notice change slowly, experience God’s love and mercy, and you will want to grow that time together. Sometimes prayer is not needed. Just speak from your heart. Settle in His presence, feel nourished and know that you are in His love.
Know, you are never alone.
Find a Way!
It comes from love….”
Find a Way!
The author begins to take us through the days of Holy Week starting with Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday, but we never get there; he asks us not to rush by Good Friday, and, we never leave. He says, “Don’t hurry by the Cross on your way to Easter Joy, for we know the Risen Lord only through Christ and him crucified.” To understand Our Lord, we must begin to understand what Good Friday is, and what it means. What it means to me and to all people of faith, whether they are in love with Jesus or just know him, and to those that have not yet found Him. In order to understand Our Lord, we need to know and understand the sacred ground of Calvary and what really happened that day for all of mankind. As here at the Cross is the real world, the place we need to know, grasp and understand, and most importantly; give thanks to Our Lord for his Cross and sufferings, his crucifixion, and ultimately his death. At Calvary, we need to understand Our Lord’s first words from the cross, “Father Forgive them,” as it speaks to who Jesus is. We need to embrace his real expression of love he has for us, as well as, the forgiveness of those who do not know what they did. Love and Forgiveness. This is where we see ourselves in the life and death of Jesus Christ. This is “Axis Mundi.”
It is here where we see, sadly so, that “Forgiveness Costs.” As the author points out, it is not Forgetfulness. It’s about actions and decisions. It’s how forgiveness has costs and how it impacts our lives, and in many cases, those around us. Whatever it is, something must be done so it is made right. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter. Yes, otherwise it doesn’t matter. This is something that is in everyone’s life at some point, but it is here at Calvary, that we can begin to see and understand the enormity that “Forgiveness Costs.” Whatever and wherever forgiveness is, and to what degree, the Cross and Calvary are at the heart of what “Forgiveness Costs.” With the Cross, we can see the gravity of wrongs and the sins of all. This gravity of wrongs and sins is not just for past sins. Our Lord, died for all sins, both past and present and all future sins of mankind. “Forgiveness Costs.” If not, “the trespass does not matter.”
“Stay for awhile. Don’t rush to Easter Sunday,” as I was there too. My sins, both large and small, brought me there with Our Lord. The times of where we put ourselves ahead of others. The times we lose our patience, and forget about kindness towards those that need help and gentleness, for those that are bruised and hurt, and the times where we don’t make a difference, as our time is all too important. Yes, I was there, and I like to think I was at the foot of the Cross with Our Blessed Mother to the end, as I made the time and wanted to grieve for my God. But on the other side of the Cross, I want to thank him for what he just did for me and what now awaits me, because I am looking at and grieving about Our Lord’s death right now. From here moving forward, it’s up to me. It is here where I need to pick up my Cross and start down my path and continue to give my thanks.
Sins are serious. We see the consequences as we remain in Calvary. “In the Cross, we see the rendering of the verdict on the gravity of sin.” As humans, we make sins insignificant and smaller than they are. We alter their seriousness in our minds; thus in our actions. We change the truths of them, the definitional changes of what is good or evil, or what is right or wrong. We redefine the meaning and what is acceptable, thus changing the outcomes. Things now look the way I want them. We set up the rules of judging ourselves. However, “the truth is that we do not judge the truth; the truth judges us.” The judgment that matters is the judgment of God who alone judges justly. He defines the good and what is right, as there is a line in everyone’s heart that divides good from bad and evil. There is no changing that, and there is no changing our struggles with good and evil.
St Paul says it best for me. “I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want, is what I do.” So the struggles continue. How is it corrected? How are all sins are justified, from the husband cheating on his wife, to “everybody is doing it,” and to the sins that reflect so poorly on the human race? The killing times of Auschwitz and all the others camps, to murder, rape and hunger throughout Africa, and the atrocious of Kosovo. Let us not forget the killing fields of Cambodia and current state of affairs in Syria and the slaughtering of innocent men, women and children around the world. It is something we can read about in history, but is also something we can see today all around us. And in fifty (50) years, these events may just be a footnote in history books, rather than the story.
“Stay for awhile. Don’t rush to Easter Sunday.”
Man has found ways to justify his actions. Man has found ways to blame it on God and ask where God is? “How could he let this happen?” Man has found “God guilty” again! So again we have to ask the question, how is this going to be corrected? What must we do? Yes, “Forgiveness Costs.” But are we capable of correcting our own sins? The simple answer is no. That is why God accepted His Cross and our guilty verdict. He took up the Cross to correct what man has done, because man is not capable of correcting his own sins. Sins are serious. It had to be corrected and God did it, at a great cost and out of love for us.
Stay for awhile. Don’t rush to Easter Sunday.”
As Adam came to his senses, and the prodigal Son came to his senses, I have come to my senses here at the Cross on Calvary. I weep on one side of the Cross, for what has happened to him by me, and I thank Jesus on the other side on where I can go now.
“Here, through the Cross, we have come home, home to the truth about ourselves, home to the truth about what God has done, about what we have done. And now we know, or begin to know, why this awful, awe-filled Friday is called Good.
Thank You God.
I love You.
On this day, as we dedicate our thoughts and prayers to those that have gone before us, in many if not all cases, we still carry those pains and heart aches. It is all so very tender that feeling of loss, but it is important to think of our loved ones in a place we all aspire to attain. Even as we never completely get over their absence, however, getting through it can give us peace remembering that for our loved ones; life is changed not ended. “The souls of the just are in the hands of God” (Wisdom 3:13).
Maybe on days past we’ve had those times when we felt so very close to them. It may be a place, a particular song or a smell, or maybe we found something that was theirs. Coincidence? And yes, it might be the closeness, out of nowhere, that you feel them with you. Their presence is so strong you don’t know where to look or what to say. Whatever it is, you know they are there and it is real. Yes, we all have those reminders they are still with us and looking after us on our journey.
We are all connected.
These times hopefully help us understand our need to look to God and ask for his continued help and guidance. Thanking Him for all He has done for us and making Him part of our life every day; even in just some small way. It may be a kind and helpful act towards others, sharing our love with those we encounter, or a quiet moment of prayer alone or just silence, alone; just with Him.
“Lord, shine your everlasting light on all my departed loved ones.
May they find rest in your loving arms.
Thank you for giving so that we can live
forever with you in heaven!”
Learn to love God as He loves you.
Find a way.
May I help you?, kindness, I’m sorry, please, thank you, excuse me, take this; I want you to have it, there’s more, what can I get for you?, let me help you, this hug is for you, kisses, a smile, a look, a touch, a glance, holding hands, a tap, a pat, offering up, doing without, making it work, an overflowing heart, prayer, that walk, that call, that note, that picture, that drawing, that song, that silence, being together, thinking of you, missing you, sitting next to you, remembering you, wishes for you, the best for you, telling others of you, caring, visiting, listening, waiting, hoping, wishing, patience, sharing, seeing, watching, helping, changing, trying, not doing it again, choosing my words, always, forever, understand, don’t worry, I’m here for you, trust me, support, got your back, friendship, partners, because, cheering you on, sacrifices, best friend, encouragement, excitement, helping hand, reach out, important to me, apple of my eye, without condemnation, unwavering, understanding, another hug, love you, the way,…….
Life of Christ Essay
There are volumes of letters and gospels, both from the Old Testament and New Testament that talk about the Messiah, Coming of a King, Coming of a Prophet and the Son of David. But with all these volumes of information on the life and works of Jesus Christ, what can we consider the pillars of faith that define Christianity? For me personally, they are the Birth of Christ, his crucifixion and death on the cross, and finally his Resurrection. These three, non-negotiable precepts, demonstrate the fulfillment of scriptures, provide a means of salvation to all and explains how Jesus has saved us from sin, and through his death, has made us children of God. These examples promote opposition and dissent, but because they are pillars, one can accept that; but one also has the responsibility to explain it. I’ve decided to use Matthew to that end, as Matthew links the Old Testament, Jewish Tradition and Jesus Christ together in terms and writings we can understand.
In Matthew (1: 1), he literally starts out from the beginning telling us “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, and the son of Abraham” that the writings from the Old Testament are fulfilled, because the Messiah would be a descendant of King David. Matthew continues on (1: 18-25) saying “it is through the holy spirit that this child has been conceived in her,” “and they shall name him Emmanuel.” This is critical as we are faced with many divisions in faith today, mainly from our roots in Judaism, which fails to accept the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, as God. God is one with Jesus Christ, and only through him can we become one with God the Father. And for this reason, this pillar is contested in many religions, but essential to our belief in Christianity.
Matthews begins describing the start of the ministry of Jesus by his Baptism by John. In Matthew (3: 13), “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.” After Jesus was baptized, “the heavens were opened and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” Matthew (3: 16-17). This occasion marks our Lord, as the Son of God, but now also with the Holy Spirit as he begins his public ministry. This also is our mark to begin our faith with Jesus. Another important aspect of his ministry is something we also covered in Christology, and that is the Call of the Disciples. In Matthew (4: 19-20), “He said to them, come after me, and I will make you fishers of men. At once they left their nets and followed him.” This then sets the stage through Baptism and the Call to the Disciples as the start of Jesus’ public ministry of miracles, healings of Demoniacs and Paralytics and the preaching to all throughout Israel.
The second non-negotiable for me is the Crucifixtion and death of Jesus. As Jesus begins to prepare his disciples for this part of his mission, Matthew notes the first prediction of the Passion, (MT 16: 22-23), “Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him; He turned and said to Peter, Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” Jesus knows what is to come and forewarns his disciplines, as Jesus is preparing on fulfilling his promise to God. This gets to the second pillar, and a so important part of our journey with God, and what we are asked to do for him. The cross is our connection with Jesus, and it is our way to be with him every day in our prayers, conversations and reflections. It’s up to us, for with the acceptance of the way of the cross, the cross becomes a symbol of our victory to all. Jesus has delivered life to us. This is where our faith does not ask specifically, but where we should thank the Lord for giving us the gift of the inheritance to life.
The final pillar, and a sense of full circle, we have the resurrection of our Lord. Matthew notes, (Mt 28: 5-6), “Then the angel said to the women in reply, Do not be afraid! I know you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.”
I’ve noted what I consider the pillars of the faith and the life and ministry of Jesus, but there are critical keys points to be made that are the essence of his life, and more specifically, the essence of Jesus himself. Throughout his life and his teachings, we see Jesus as love, forgiveness and salvation itself. What I’m really saying is Jesus is love; Jesus is forgiveness and Jesus is salvation.