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Judas and Peter

There have been dark times in my life, when I could not see a future; when I was so tired that I just wanted to go away.

Hope came in unexpected ways.


In all of our lives, we have or will have decisions to make.  And for us as Christians, we wish that decisions have God the Father’s approval or affirmation.    Jesus has such a decision, and like us, the answer, the approval is not always easily heard.

Jesus, in the garden, is such a powerful episode.  Here Jesus is confronted by his future; a future in which for the short run is filled with pain, agony, death.  He is confronted by his emotions.  He is scared of what will happen, and rightly so.  Yet, he knows that he came to do the will of the Father, he wants to do the will of the Father.
The will of the Father is not necessarily about particulars, e.g. the color of which shirt we are to wear, which bread we eat.  The will of the Father, in which we pray, be done on earth as it is in heaven, is that all may be one.  Unity is the will of the Father.


As it is with Jesus, this Unity, this will is to be the guiding principle for our decision.  When we have important decisions to make, and we are confused by our emotions, and we are looking to God for the answer….the answer has already been give.  Unity.

It may mean that we will have to endure short term pain and sacrifice; we too may be scared.  However, when we keep that long term goal, that desire for Unity ahead of us, the Holy Spirit is with us, empowering us, so that we can make the correct decision.

Emotions are real and they are very important, but we cannot base our decision purely on those emotions.  So when we are at an important part of our lives, when we are faced with a decision, go back to the scene of Jesus in the garden.  Pray over what he faced and what he chose to do, and why.

20130320-073727.jpgAnd we too will have our answer.

The Truth is that God loves us.  God loves me.  Divine love says that I and all, we are much more than our past, more than our present, more than our mistakes and smallness.  We are potential.  I am potential.

Jesus Came to SAVE us.

Salvation = Freedom.   Freedom=desire to give of self for the good of all.

Slavery, Sin = selfishness.

I am a good sinner.  But, in Christ, I am finding more and more freedom.

The Resurrection future and it is now.  The resurrection living right now, and if now, then certainly in the future.

Life right now is to be connected beyond ourselves with others; with God father son and Holy Spirit and with all people.  We are created in the image of the holy Trinity and a community three persons.  A community so united in love, they are one.

This is what it means to be alive!  Connection, Connection, connection


So then to be dead now is wrong.  Death is equal to selfishness. That is when we live only for ourselves, for our own needs, and by our own needs.  It is as the Saint Paul said, “living in the flesh.”  When we live only for ourselves, our own needs, own wants, our own hurts, we do not, and will not connect with others.


We can think of this type of death as something typical as with greed, egotism, sensualism, everything that we call sinful.

What we also need to consider are the subtle sins, that keep us too focused inward, which prevent us from loving others.  We are not always aware of these, and yet, I think they are the real source of our brokenness, the real source of everything that we do tend to call “sin.”

One of these is fear!  We can  be so scared of others, scared of being hurt, scared of hurting others, scared of what others may think of us; scared of change.  The problem is that we let the fear dominate us and it becomes our guiding principle. It becomes a form of egotism.  And we do not give of ourselves; we do not give to others. We only try to protect ourselves. We do what we can to please others. Etc. and so we do not live authentically,  who we truly are.  We lie to protect ourselves, we avoid people.

We become dead because we lack true intimacy, we lack true connections.


Another example is despair or grief.  We lose hope. We think that there is nothing that can be done so we stop doing anything to help. We just stay in our own grief, our own bitterness, our own resentment. This to is death.


And of course there is wrath.  We hold onto our hurt and anger, we choose to not forgive and to not let go! Every slight becomes amplified and it builds up and it builds up and our lives are poisoned. Our lives become full of contempt and bitterness. We fail to see you the good in anyone. And of course this means death.

So how do we know we are dead or dying? Well, when we have very little joy in our lives! That is what Pope Francis has been saying.  When we are  unhappy all the time; who complain all the time; grouchy all the time; lonely; isolated.  We are either dead or dying spiritually.

Christ is here now!  Saying to us come out!, Out of it tomb!  In Christ is found the path to true life.

Maybe it will be miraculous as it was with Lazarus!  But mostly it is a process, a journey each day to follow the way of Christ.

The way of faith, trust, love and hope which conquers fear!  So that we know that we are scared but with faith we go beyond the scare.  Look at Jesus in the garden. He was scared. But he trusted in the father’s love. And was able to move beyond the scare and do what we good.  Look at Jesus talking with Martha and Mary; they are scared at the death of their brother.  Jesus wants them to trust in him, he wanted them to believe in him and they eventually do.

We follow the way of compassion and generosity which conquers the sins of despair and grief. This way pulls us out of our narrow view of life, to force us to see the beauty, to see that there is good beyond our own pain.

We walk the way of forgiveness mercy and humility.  This defeats the power of wrath; it heals us of the anger, it helps us to see that we are not in control of the universe. It helps us to to see that there is goodness in this world: there is goodness in others.  Again look at Jesus is very words from the cross father forgive them.

This is the path that we are called to: to find life and to live!  It will bring joy! It brings joy because we will experience true freedom.  And when we had that experience we will want to share it: it will be witnessed by others! In other words we will evangelize, which is what we are all about anyway.

And it is never too late to come back to life!  Lazarus was already rotting in the grave and he was restored.  It is never too late for any of us for any human person to be changed.  It does mean that we must die to all the old ways that made us dead, so that we can find July in Christ.  And when we experience life in Christ, in the here and now, then it will only be natural to experience to life in the eternal.

And this is not just about us as individual persons, this is us as parish & church too.  We must as a community keep ourselves alive in Christ!    We must keep our parishes, our diocese joyful; places of hope, love and trust; sites of compassion and generosity.  We  must be a community that follows the way of Christ, and allow ourselves to be constantly renewed in Christ; otherwise we run the risk of becoming dead, non-relevant.  Even now there are efforts in our diocese to help us be renewed in Christ; so take advantages of these.


Be alive! Start to live, today!




And so whenever it becomes about my ego; whenever my works are about me and my pure needs and desires, the Father will not testify.  The Holy Spirit will call me back to the right path.

Stephen Mattson

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