Easter Sunday

What an interesting  time of the year. Such a turmoil of emotions in this week of Easter where we travel with Jesus through his persecution, his sufferings, his last days on earth and his resurrection.

As I sat in Holy Thursday adoration, I looked at the people’s faces around me. I saw emotion, pain and a general sombre expression on most. I felt a great sadness as I knew that the next day (Good Friday) was the day we would be reflecting upon our Lord’s death. Not only his death but re-living his suffering, his sweating drops of blood! Our Saviour being spat on, stripped, whipped, beaten and bloodied, jeered at and mocked until literally his last breath! It would be heartbreaking to hear this happening to anyone but it happened to Jesus. The one we love the most . . . and he did it for us.images

And then all of a sudden we hear of confusion and bewilderment among the disciples. Jesus died? Yes. Jesus was laid in the tomb? Yes. Where is he now? What do we do? Then we hear that Mary Magdalene is informed of his resurrection! Resurrection?!

And now we are rejoicing! Jesus is risen! All that we believe has been assured because what he said would happen has indeed happened.

So these are the emotional highs and lows of Easter.JesusChrist-RISEN

I hope that your faith has risen, I hope you rejoice in the Risen King and I hope that this Easter is filled with nothing but joy for our devoted Saviour!

God bless

Weep No More 

Sister Death

St Francis refers to death as “Sister Death”. He says how “for me she will be the gate of life” and he welcomes her. How contrary this is to the worlds view today of death. We do all we can to resist the fate we all share and can’t bear the thought of death. So for a lot of us we just don’t. We don’t think about death.

Morbid topic, I know, but I was just watching an interview with Sir Paul Holmes on the “Sunday” TV programme here in NZ. Sir Paul Holmes died last Friday and today he will have his funeral in Auckland. The interview I watched is from Sunday 27th January. In the interview Paul speaks about his life. He shares on things that he’s proud of, and things he’s not so proud of. But he also shares about his fear of death and of what might be “over the hill”. Most of the interview is just prying and obtrusive as most are when it comes to the life of someone well known, but in the last 2 minutes or so the talk about eternity happens, not much but there’s something. You can see the full interview here .

‘Something’ after death only becomes a reality for many when death is so near. Everything else is stripped away and we are faced with reality. Life as we know it will be no more and something else will come into view. I heard somewhere that all though we like to think death-bed conversions are common apparently they are not. That is why we need to spread the Good News! That there is no need to fear “Sister Death”. She is a welcome guest who leads us to Paradise and who leads us to our Maker and that it is only through Christ that we can reach this glorious destination. I pray with a sincere heart for Sir Paul Holmes and ask you to join, that he made peace with God as he desired and will enjoy eternal life in Him.

Blessings!

Habemus Papam!

The Gift of Men

Though I’m still (in my opinion!) a dashing young man, I’ve been reflecting lately on death. It’s something which Christianity seems to have a fascination with.

Hindus declare that God is gloriously unknowable; Buddhists claim that God, rather than being an individual being, is a presence discovered in everything; Islam believes in a God who is so eternal and powerful that he doesn’t resemble anything in creation and is ‘unimaginable’; faithful Jews share with the world a God who is a creator beyond all constructs of time and space.
And Christians? “We preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.” – 1 Corinthians 1:23

We are saying to the world: God died.

crucifixion

And what a ‘stumbling block’ that appears to be! For death is the greatest fear of mankind. We rush through our lives, hoping to achieve all our dreams before our life, our short and fragile life, is taken from us! It seems so unnatural and contrary to our deepest desires. And so we rebel against it. We are desperately trying to squeeze every last moment of life out of our tired bodies, staving off disease and searching for the secret to immortality. Out of a fear of death through over-population and other unfounded theories, we kill our children and sterilise our families.
Why would Jesus Christ enter into this horrible finality?

Because this ‘stumbling block’ is in fact just the preface to an even greater claim: God rose from the dead and “because of Christ, Christian death has a positive meaning” – CCC 1010. We weren’t made for death! Death entered the world through sin, and Jesus Christ came to give us hope of life after death.

In death, God calls man to himself. Therefore the Christian can experience a desire for death life St. Paul’s: “My desire is to depart and be with Christ.” He can transform his own death into an act of obedience and love towards the Father, after the example of Christ.
- CCC 1011

In JRR Tolkien’s epic fantasy world, encompassing The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and less-known works such as The Silmarillion, death is the ‘Gift of Men’. Among Elves, Dwarves, Ents, and even Hobbits, Men are the most short-lived. “The length of our days is seventy years–or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.” -Psalm 90:10. Yet this death is still a gift, for Men are the only race whose soul passes out of the world until the End of Time when “the spirits of Men shall be included in this even greater theme, when all of the players will know and understand their part and its relation to the whole, and be tributary to its beauty and glory.” Read more about Tolkien’s ‘Gift of Men’ here.

Because of Jesus Christ, death is no longer the fear which hangs over our lives. Yes, there is still suffering – Christ’s death showed that clearly – but it is by our suffering in this world and eventually by our death that we can be admitted entrance to the New Heaven and New Earth.

 

God bless you all,
lukechapter12

If you were to die…

I’m stuck for ideas this week. Usually I have my blog planned days early, but I’ve had a bad week. And unfortunately, it’s all my fault.

You see, I stopped praying. I stopped reading Scripture. I stopped even thinking of the Lord. A few things brought this on – late nights, distractions, excuses, lack of structure. Then, of course, because I wasn’t praying I starting sinning more… which made me pray less… which made me sin more… and so on. It sucked.

But then the night before last I was lying in bed, about to go to sleep, and the thought came to me: I may die tonight. Maybe earthquake, heart attack, knife to the skull, explosion, or some other way I haven’t thought of – I may die tonight. I may die separated from the one who loves me.

Suddenly, I was awake! I begged the Lord that I would not only live (which, thankfully, I did!) but also that I would be granted the grace to live for Him. Yesterday I woke up and made the sign of the cross. I then went down on my knees and offered my day to the Lord. I went to Mass and Reconciliation; I prayed a Rosary; I read Scripture. Now (hopefully) I’m close to the Lord again – and I plan to stay this way.

So what about you? If you died tonight, today, right now, would you be happy? Would you be a saint? Would the Father say to you “Well done, my good and faithful servant”? If not, then change right now. Trust me, it’s worth it.

 

God bless you all,

lukechapter12

Sexual Healing

I found this cool rapper on Youtube today – Lecrae. He’s a Christian rapper with some sweet lyrics, rapping about everything from being anger management to trusting in God.

One song in particular that really hit me is Killa:

Have a look at the lyrics to this rap. There’s many interpretations to these lyrics (eg ‘she’ is Pride) but I listened to it from the point of view of sexuality.

“Sippin’ on seduction while we eatin‘ on some secret sin” – our sexuality so often becomes something which we keep behind closed doors. This is so, so dangerous because the Trinity is not secretive – our God is totally open, unified and loving. It is Satan who loves secrets, who wants us to keep our sins locked away so that they eat away at our holiness. So find a couple of close friends who you feel comfortable to share with – whether you struggle with pornography, masturbation, temptation, or anything else.

“… assassination… take your life away… murdered…” – all through the song, Lecrae talks about death because sin kills us. Sexual sin kills not only ourselves but our view of true sexuality, respect for the opposite sex, true love. It is so dangerous because “the silky smooth seduction just manipulates my mind” and you suddenly forget why it’s so bad for you.

On a final, quick note, I want to make it clear that sexual sin isn’t a ‘man only’ issue.  The media often presents it that way, but look at things like Desperate Housewives which clearly objectify men for the enjoyment of the women! Anyone’s sexuality can be assaulted by Satan.

There’s loads more to be read into that song and I encourage you to meditate on those lyrics and ask Jesus to show you where you may need some healing from sexual sin.

God bless you

Woman at the Well