7th Sunday of Easter

7th Sunday in Easter, Year C
Acts 7:55-60
Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20
John 17:20-26
May 12, 2013

The standard to be a disciple is set pretty high.  First, there is Jesus himself who literally gives his life up for us and calls us to do the same.

Today we hear about Stephen, one of the first deacons in the church and identified as the first martyr.  He is stoned for his faith.  As he is being stoned, does he lose his faith?  No.  In fact, he “imitates” Jesus.  First, handing his spirit over like Jesus did to His Father but then asking our Lord to “not hold this sin” against those who stoned him.  What a powerful image of forgiveness he offers.

Would you be willing to do the same?  If persecuted and your life is threatened would you abandon our faith?  If someone takes your life, would your dying words be words of forgiveness?

Something to ponder ….

Of course, in our country we are not likely to have our lives threatened because of our faith but there are still parts of the world where people are thrown simply for believing in Jesus.

We might not face physical life or death decisions about our faith in the United States but what about spiritual life and death decisions?

Spiritual life and death….

I’m willing to beat most of us don’t talk about our faith much.  I’m not talking here about going door to door here.  I’m more concerned here about how we avoid talking about our faith.  If you want to avoid an argument, people say don’t talk about religion or politics.

Why don’t we talk about our faith?

Are we avoiding confrontation?  Are we afraid to speak up?  Why?  Living here, we probably don’t have to worry about losing our physical lives.

How about our spiritual lives?

If we never talk about our faith, is it really that important to us?  By not talking about our faith, are we saying it isn’t important?

Do we go so far as to give up our spiritual lives, seeking a simple (non-confrontational) life?  In doing so, are we giving up on our faith, dying a spiritual death?

I don’t think that is our intent.  We don’t want to give up on our faith but do we accept the challenge of living our faith?

What are you willing to give up for love?

If we only think in terms of ‘giving up’ something, we forget to see what we gain.

For instance, I think there are people who think of parenthood in terms of what they must give up in their life to be a parent.  They don’t want to give up the ‘fun life.’  Children are an inconvenience to them, something to be avoided.

Thank God that not many people think like that.  Life is a gift.  Parents need to be willing to make sacrifices.  Yes, life changes when children are born but children are not an inconvenience but a gift.

Today, of course, is Mother’s Day.  It is a day we honor our mothers for all they do for us.  We might give gifts as expressions of our thanks and love.  It is a day to tell our mothers we love them and to thank them for what they do for us.

Giving up our lives isn’t something we do in a life and death way for our faith but we give up some of our lives, seeking something greater.

In parenthood, in motherhood, we can find fulfillment, we can find what we are created for.

Today, Jesus speaks about unity.  Finding unity with God, we find love.  To find this unity, means giving up earthly things and lifestyles.

Mothers are important.  If they won’t, Jesus’ final words on the Cross won’t have included his Mother.



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