Season of Joy
Today's Season of Joy reflection on John 14:6-14 is by Deacon Ron Yurkus.
Deacon Ron, ordained a permanent deacon for the Diocese of Joliet, follows in the footsteps of St. Stephen and Francis of Assisi. In addition to ministering at St. Petronille Church, Ron was employed as hospice chaplain, volunteer state police chaplain and occasionally served as a parish mission and retreat director.
Can I Really Believe?
John 14:6-14 (excerpt)
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.
To read the full scripture passage, please visit: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/
"This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."
It's one of my favorite passages from the scriptures. This day that I have now is a gift from God and I really want to rejoice today.
Even though it's been a strange kind of a journey we've had the last couple of months, I asked myself, "Where was I in that journey?"
I wasn't there two thousand years ago when Jesus gave his life on the cross that we might have eternal life. But I think about here I am—two thousand years later—and I'm still involved with his life.
My life is because of what he did for me. So I want to reflect a little bit on that journey today, that "This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."
I amazed some of my friends when I would say on Good Friday, "Happy Good Friday," because how could you be happy about that?
But yet, if we didn't have our Jesus willing to suffer for us on the cross, we wouldn't have our salvation in order. So think about it as we go. Where am I at on the journey? Where are we going?
For the last couple months, first of all, we had that period called Lent: 40 days where people were either fasting, praying more, giving alms.
What was I doing? Was I like those who just want to give up candy, sweets, liquor, or other things? Or was I doing something more positive?
Was I giving a time more in prayer? Or what about helping the poor, especially with all the things going on in Ukraine and other places?
We need to think about, "What are we doing on the journey during that 40 days of Lent preparing for Easter?" I think about Holy Week though—just seven days that started with Palm Sunday going to Easter.
How on Palm Sunday the first thing we did was have a joyful reading about Jesus coming into Jerusalem and people waving their palms and Jesus riding on his donkey and so forth. It was a time of joy, but within that same liturgy, we went to the reading of the Passion—seven days of unbelievable events.
So I think, then, after those seven days were over, I was ready to go into the Easter season. During that seven day period,—after reading the Passion on Palm Sunday—on Thursday we had the Last Supper where we reflected on the love that Jesus wanted to be with us always so what did he do? He gave us the gift of the Eucharist.
He inspired the men that were there—they would be like our first priests—and so we think about those parts of the journey. We think about the foot washing. He told us, 'just as he served them, we are to serve one another too.'
Am I fulfilling what Jesus really intended for me?
I think about Good Friday. Jesus didn't have to die, but he really became like one of us—he was truly a human person. He was in Mary's womb for that normal 9 months. We think about all the life that he led as a little boy and so forth; a very human person, just like us. That's why we have that phrase: "Jesus became like one of us, so we might become more like him."
And Jesus grew. And then when he reached that age of about 30, he started his public ministry, and he did all kinds of things for us.
So we go from the Holy Week into the end of it where we read the passion one more time on Friday. Just realizing, Jesus didn't have to die for us, but the Father so loved us—"The Father so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him will not perish, but will have everlasting life."
Now on this feast day for Philip and Thomas, where do I fit into the picture? Am I like a doubting Thomas? That's not in the scripture that we're using at the services today, but when I think of doubting Thomas, he just couldn't believe; had to see it for himself.
But Philip, he kind of had his own doubts and frustrations. He wanted to know who the Father was, but Jesus, if you just show us the Father, it would, it would, make it all fine.
Part of faith life is believing just what Jesus told us.
And so we need to reflect on God's love for us, what he did for us, and are we willing to listen to him?
As we continue then on our Easter journey, we can see and experience Jesus with his Father along with the Spirit.
Will we continue to be concerned or doubtful? Or can we really believe?
That's why I want to ask myself: Can I believe that I may see the Father, the Son and the Spirit in the people that I meet today?
It could be a family member, a friend, a stranger. Someone in the hospital, or a nursing home; a person in jail or a homeless person.
Is my faith strong enough that I can experience Jesus today?
Even though he was put to death two thousand years ago, he was really here just like one of us. They say that there's 500 witnesses that he really became alive. Even though I wasn't chosen to be among those witnesses, can I really believe that Jesus was there for us?
Can I believe that Jesus became like one of us, so we might become more like him?
I pray that he will continue to be with all of us on the journey. Amen.
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