Friday, December 30, 2011

Sunday Snippets III - Review of 2011


2011 - The Year That Was
There is a frequent saying, "It is what it is." I will just say that this was the year that was. There is a reason I haven't posted in a while. 2011 has been a very difficult year for me, but through it all, I was reminded that we only grow when we are stretched past our comfort zones.


A Shoulder to Lean On
I had surgery in May to repair a torn rotator cuff. I spent 6 weeks in a sling. It was during that time that I was struggling with the fact that my oldest son's marriage was breaking apart. I felt helpless. I was helpless. My grandchildren are helpless. It was my reminder that the only shoulder I can always lean on is Christ's. Trust is all I have left when I am helpless to change something. "Jesus, I trust in You!"


Coasting in the Spiritual Life
In August, I went on a 5 day Caribbean cruise with my husband. I am reminded that I must always be actively pursuing Christ. How often do we sit back and coast in our spiritual life when things are going well? It is so easy to do that when life is moving along without any bumps, but we should never just coast. "I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." ~ Philippians 3:13-14 


A Death in the Family
My elderly father passed away at the end of August. He was a great learner. That also made him a great teacher. Before moving into nursing care, my dad had a balcony garden in the assisted living center where he grew tomato plants and flowers. He also grew 6 lemon trees from the seeds of the lemons in his iced tea from lunch. His lesson to us was to turn negative events into something positive. "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." If we focus on the positive, we will recognize the work of God in our lives.

Henry Ole Martinsen
b. 2-4-1917     d. 8-27-2011


A Close Call
In September, my niece was hospitalized three times for blood clots in the brain. She suffered two strokes that affected the right side of her brain where visual centers are affected. She could not spell and she recognized people by their voice rather than what they looked like. By the Grace of God, she enjoyed a complete recovery from the strokes. She is now on medications to thin the blood. It was a close call for her and a lesson for all of us that we could be taken at any moment from this life - no matter what our age.


Divine Providence
My son and his wife gave birth to their first child - a beautiful little girl - in mid-October. Her due date was January 7, 2012. Doctors tried to stop my daughter-in-law's labor, but after 3 days, her water broke and birth was immanent. Thankfully, she was given two doses of steroids to help my granddaughter's lungs develop. Because she was so early, my son and his wife had not yet learned lamaze to help her through her labor. My husband and I arrived home after a two week vacation just in time. I was able to help my daughter-in-law get through the contractions and I was present for the birth of my granddaughter. She weighed in at 2 lb 9 oz. Just after her birth, the doctor showed me a knot in the umbilical cord. So many times, babies are stillborn when there is a knot in the cord. I truly believe that God provided for my granddaughter. He has a special plan for her life.


Our Future and Our Hope
My oldest son broke the news to us in May that he and his wife are getting a divorce. They have two beautiful children. Their marriage didn't last but 5 years. My son is a better father since the separation. By the Grace of God, children are our future and our hope in this world.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sunday Snippets II


Mid-life Crisis

I saw a movie this week with my husband. Gosh! We haven't been to see a movie together in a very long time. Our taste in movies isn't always the same, but we both liked this one. "Larry Crowne" is a film about a man with a mid-life crisis. He is tossed out of his comfort zone into a sink or swim situation that will test his ability to succeed. This 8-time employee of the month at a local store is fired and decides that the road to success is education. He enrolls at a local community college, taking a public speaking course and economics. He aces both courses. Building on his previous experience - 20 years of cooking in the Navy and retail work - his new experience in education expands his horizons and changes not only his life, but also those who know him. The highlight of the film is Larry Crowne's final exam in his public speaking class. Larry ties topics given to the other students (pasta, potatoes, Australia, and Disraeli) with his own - "geography show" - his mis-read of "George Bernard Shaw". Larry concludes his speech with a quote from Shaw in education that may be interpreted as the message of the film.
A fool's brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. Hence University education.
"Larry Crowne" is rated PG-13 for sexual content and brief strong language. A minor character is shown looking at pornography on the internet. There are also kissing scenes between the two main characters, one of whom is married.


A Princess Remembered

Princess Diana would have been 50 years old this week. I don't know how I remembered that she died in 1997, but I did. It isn't one of those experiences that you remember where you were when you heard the news - like I remember the announcement of the assassination of JFK or the events of 911 - but I still remember this year as the year of her death. So why this one detail? I think it is because, like so many women, we somehow identified with this dysfunctional woman who dreamed of becoming a princess but whose life took one tragic turn after another. There is only 7 years difference in our age. My sons are almost the same age as hers. She was a tragic woman with dreams. It is the story that appeals to the heart. Happy birthday, Princess Diana!


Fair doesn't mean equal

I learned a long time ago that fair doesn't always mean equal. As much as we may try to make things equal, it doesn't make life fair. In thinking about children of divorce, life will rarely be fair. Equal custody can never take the place of having two parents together. Equal custody is much like the story of two women fighting over a child in the story that depicts the wisdom of King Solomon. To determine who the real mother is, King Solomon decides that the child should be divided in half. Thankfully, the true mother makes the decision to let her child live by refusing to allow the child to be cut in two. 

The difference in divorce with equal custody is that the child is always divided because the parents are divided. They may not be cut in two, but their lives are split in two - going back and forth between parents and two places to live. The love of each parent for the child added up is somehow less than if they also experience the love of each parent for one another. Divorce is never fair to the kids - even in the best situation. 


Tweet! Tweet!

Pope Benedict XVI, this week, sent out his first twitter, "The medium is the message." Although the use of modern forms of media is a great thing, how the Church uses the media is what is important. Improperly delivered, the message has little impact. That has been a problem with the Church whose delivery has often buried the message. Will twittering appeal to young people? Absolutely! But how much Truth can you deliver in a tweet? "Jesus Christ is Lord!" is a start.


The Fingerprint of God?

I was browsing on Facebook and came across an interesting post - actually a post with a YouTube video that shows math in nature. I enjoyed it so much I thought I would post it here. Beauty always points to the Creator of all things Who turns chaos into cosmos

It reminded me of another YouTube video I came across some time back that talked about the Fibonacci sequence.

How people cannot see from this fingerprint that there is a God is quite beyond me. "For those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. . ."


Gabriel's Figs

Named after the child of a friend, Gabriel produces very sweet figs. I picked and ate my second fig this week. I was in fig heaven. 


Remaining Neutral

I never realized how important it is for our body to be neutral. I've been in PT for my lower back because of pain when I just stand or walk. The therapist this week taught me how to stand with my body in a neutral position. It is essential to stabilizing the lumbar spine. Then exercises that strengthen weak muscles are added to teach the body how to remain in the neutral position while moving. Evidently, from some things I read on the internet, Pilates is a good way of exercising to get the body stabilized. Gives a whole new meaning to remaining neutral. Maybe this is a sign that I should get into a Pilates class.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Welcome to Sunday Snippets

I thought this week that I would start a weekly Sunday post called "Sunday Snippets". I am actually hoping that it will help me stay focused on my blog a little more, but also help me concentrate on the things that really matter in life. We will see how this pans out - what it will include and how easy it will be to come up with 7 things each week. I actually don't think that will be so hard. Life is a great teacher. We learn valuable lessons each and every day. Some days I may just post a quote or a Bible verse that has a great application. On other days, I will share a lesson I've learned in my personal life. Hopefully, each day will have a snippet of wisdom you can take with you for the journey. Every day will at the very least be a peep-hole into some of life's most precious teaching moments.


My conversations with other Catholic women this week produced this: What matters isn't things but people - relationships.  Relationships are what make up the most important aspects of our lives - on a emotional level, but also spiritually. In our attempts to control everything in our lives, we destroy what is most precious to us - our relationships. Good relationships require trust - in both directions.


It is something we so often take for granted. Give thanks for your health.  For those times when your health is not up to snuff, be thankful for those who accompany you on the journey.  That is reason enough to be thankful today.


We all like to be appreciated. Receiving appreciation is a great motivator. Show someone a little appreciation. You never know the cross another person carries unless they tell you. Try putting yourself in someone else's shoes.


It's something we so often take for granted.  We talk about freedom in our country and yet so often that very freedom is taken as license to do or say things at the expense of another.  Remember that freedom focused on self isn't freedom at all, but attachment to our own desires. It is indeed a form of slavery.


Discovering the best and worst in people
This whole thing with Fr. Corapi has brought out both the best and worst in people. I've heard some people deride him in self-righteous judgment as they hold onto the beam in their eye. I've heard fan-atics who follow the messenger rather than the message encourage him to leave the Church. But I have also heard people encourage him and pray for him in his trials. The Body of Christ is made up of all kinds - both saints and sinners. But as I said before, we never know what cross another person carries. We can't walk in another person's shoes for them. May God bless this man in his trials. By his fruits we shall know him. I personally believe that God is at work in all of this. He will not abandon us.


Just thinking about people's commitment or lack thereof.  It reflects how much we are willing to sacrifice of our time and our gifts -  even our money - for something we believe in.  What do I truly believe in outside of myself?  Is it something that gives back to me the more I give to it?  Do my commitments enhance my relationships or sap them of life?  How about my commitment in my relationships?  How much am I willing to give to make someone else happy?


We all need boundaries. Without them, we either become a doormat or we rule someone else's life. Neither is healthy. In the Trinity we have a model - to be one with each other in mind and heart and yet still be who we are. The Trinity is the model of all relationships.

Corpus Christi

Today, in the United States, is the feast of Corpus Christi - the Body of Christ. The feast was established by Papal Bull in 1264 by Pope Urban IV to be celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. In the United States, it is celebrated on the Sunday following Trinity Sunday. Without surprise, the Gospel reading is from the sixth chapter of the John – in the Bread of Life discourse.

John 6:51-58
Jesus said to the Jewish crowds:
"I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give
is my flesh for the life of the world."
The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
"How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"
Jesus said to them,
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,
you do not have life within you.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day.
For my flesh is true food,
and my blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me
will have life because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever."

What does Jesus mean by these words? Is he speaking symbolically? How can He be more clear? He says, “I am the living bread” and ". . . my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink." Three times in chapter six, Jesus says that He is bread and life. Three is the number of perfection and is intimately related to the Trinity.
  1. John 6:35 - Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst. 
  2. John 6:48 - "I am the bread of life." 
  3. John 6:51 - "I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh."

And where does Jesus say He is from? Jesus says that He comes “down from heaven.” Why? Because He wants us to know Who He is and that we are made for heaven. John 6 tells us seven times that Jesus has come "down from heaven".  

  1. John 6:33 - For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world."
  2. John 6:38 - For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me;
  3. John 6:41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, "I am the bread which came down from heaven."
  4. 4.   John 6:42 - They said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, 'I have come down from heaven'?"
  5.  John 6:50 - This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die.
  6.  John 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh."
  7. John 6:58 - This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever."
Why seven times?: Because that His Body and Blood is the sign of God's New Covenant with man in Jesus Christ. Once again, God is swearing a covenant oath to give us life if we only believe and receive Him. Three times, John tells us that we must eat His flesh and drink His blood
  1. John 6:53 - So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;
  2. John 6:54 - he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day;
  3. John 6:56 - He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.

Why must we do this? It is how we receive His threefold promise:
  • -      To have life within us
  • -      To be raised up on the last day
  • -      To abide in Him and He in us.

Jesus' clarity is not the only way we know that He means exactly what He says. Later in John 6, when unbelievers walk away, Jesus does not call them back to explain or retract His words. His sign of multiplying the loaves and fishes was not enough for them. He even asks them if they would believe if He ascended back into heaven, but they were hardened of heart. It made no difference to them who He was or where He was from. To them, he was merely the son of a carpenter from Nazareth. He was a miracle worker, but they could not stomach what He said. They could not look beyond what they could see in front of them. They had neither eyes to see nor ears to hear. 

I find it interesting that the verse which says many drew back and no longer went about with Him is John 6:66. Is unbelief the mark of the beast described in the book of Revelation? 666 is the number of the beast – the Father of Lies and Prince of Darkness. Although man was created on the sixth day, he was made for the seventh day – for covenant relationship – because he was created in God’s image and likeness.

When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist properly disposed, we immediately have His Life within us. This life is a communion in which we dwell in Christ and He dwells in us. When we receive Him we also have the promise of resurrection on the last day.

So let us be believers. Let us abide in Him who repeatedly tells us Who He is in John 6. The Son of God gives us His very flesh to eat and blood to drink. Our bodies don't just assimilate Him. He doesn't become us. Instead, we become what we eat – the Body of Christ so that we may be Christ for others. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Until It Is Over and Beyond

Ever since Fr. John Corapi's announcement on Saturday, that he is now the Black Sheep Dog, I have watched as fellow members of the Church have churned over it like spicy chile being stirred in a pot on a hot stove.. I have heard and read people on both sides of the spectrum. Some would write him off as damaged goods or even talk like he's returned to a life of addiction to cocaine. (The latter accuser later posted an apology for that statement. Thanks be to God!) Others who have a deep love for Fr. Corapi - dare I say an attachment to him rather than his message - are fully behind him in what he is doing. But it is not the messenger we are called to follow. It is the message. The message is Truth and those of us who know Fr. Corapi can clearly hear his resounding voice in our heads saying, "The Truth is not a something. It is a Somebody. And that Somebody is Jesus Christ."

I have debated over the last several days as to whether or not to get into the fray beyond offering my prayers for this wonderful priest whose ministry has brought so many lost souls to the Lord and into the Body of Christ. My statements on Facebook asking others to pray for him seemed to get lost among all the others. 

Fr. Corapi is undergoing his greatest trial as a priest. Maybe this is the greatest trial of his entire life - and as we know those have been many. But this fray is, in some ways separating the sheep from the goats. Oh! How easy is is to judge someone when you haven't walked in their shoes, especially when you assume you have all the facts - which we do not. None of us has walked in Fr. Corapi's shoes. We can only walk in our own shoes! But I also know that we are not to judge. One of the readings this week, from Matthew's Sermon on the Mount, was about this very thing. 

Matthew 7:1-5"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. "Why do you look at th especk of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocurte, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

We don't really know what Fr. Corapi is going through, do we?

When we have a  friend who is going through a difficult time, we don't beat them when they are down - if we are a REAL friend. We are simply called to be there to encourage, not judge. Like the Good Samaritan, we are called to stop and render aid when a friend is down. 

Luke 10:25-34, 36-37

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read?" And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." And he said to him, "You have answered right, do this, and you will live." But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. so likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. but a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn and took care of him. . . . Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed mercy on him." And Jesus said to him. "Go and do likewise."
Walking past like the Levite and the priest who doesn't want to make himself unclean doesn't prove us as his neighbor, does it? In fact, we prove ourselves to be like the one we consider reprehensible. Instead, let us by like the neighbor of which Jesus speaks. Let us show mercy.

At this point, we can only speculate and conjecture about the entire chain of events. Neither does us any good. As Fr. Corapi would say, "It isn't over until it's over." If we do not judge and we pray for Fr. Corapi while hanging onto the Truth he passed on to us for 20 years, then we are truly free - until it is over and beyond. Perhaps, a fellow member of my parish said it best in her blog, Conversion Diary. Fr. Corapi guided her 
"toward the only thing that matters — the truth of Jesus Christ. . . . No matter what happens, I will always respect his talent for capturing the truth, and will eternally owe him a debt of gratitude for highlighting its beauty so well. . . . My love of the doctrines of the Faith will remain unscathed, . . . I pray that Fr. Corapi feels similarly liberated to take whatever time he needs to pray, pause, and seek the still, small voice of God, knowing that it is not his burden alone to pass on the Faith. God has given us the truth through a system that is outside of and above any one man. And because of that, we are all free."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

What is wrong with a culture that ignores beauty and discards children into a trash bin? This morning, as I perused through postings on Facebook, both scenarios jumped off my computer screen and stared me in the face. This isn't an isolated incidence either. I see this almost every day. So, what made me stop and decide to write a blog post? I think it just gets to be more than I can pass by. Though I am only one person, I still have a voice. Sometimes it seems that I am a voice crying in the wilderness, but nevertheless, it cries to be heard.

The first FB entry was a video. As a sociology experiment, the noted violinist, Joshua Bell, was videotaped in the DC metro and a subsequent article written in the Washington Post. Few people stopped to listen to his beautiful music. Our culture has become so busy and we have no time to stop and smell the roses in the midst of our day. Actually, we make no time to take in the beauty of what is around us.

The second FB entry was a link to a newspaper article by PRO-LIFE ROCKS!!! They were posting an article from the crime section of the New York Daily News about a young mother whose full-term baby died after she dumped it in the trash can in the emergency room restroom of Elmhurst Hospital. What possesses a young mother to dispose of her child like a dirty diaper? She claims that fear of her mother finding out about her pregnancy made her do it. I propose that it goes far beyond fear of her mother's reaction. She could have left her baby at any city hospital or fire house within five days of her birth with no questions asked. Some would say she obviously didn't know she could have done that. Sometimes the obvious stares us in the face - like Joshua Bell in the subway - and we simply ignore it.
Dawa Lama - a young woman produced by the Culture of Death?

On the same page of the internet article was a survey on better programs for young mothers. It might seem that the obvious solution is to provide young women with help with unwanted pregnancies. To me, the results of the poll are just as disturbing as the article.

Poll Results
Thank you for voting.Does NYC need to improve its programs for young mothers to prevent situations like this?
Yes, the city needs to figure out new ways to help young women with unwanted pregnancies.55%
No, the city is doing enough for unwanted pregnancies.39%
I'm not sure.6%

ONLY 55% say that the solution to the problem is to help these young women! As long as even one baby is thrown away in a trash can, I would say we are never doing enough.

There was actually a third FB post that disturbed me this morning. Again, we don't see what is if front of our noses. What is Notre Dame doing with a woman on the Board of Trustees of the University who gives large sums of money to Pro-Abort causes? Can a Catholic University not recognize what they are doing to contribute to the mess? You can't tell me that this woman has no impact on the university with regard to her donations. 

Roxeanne Martino
Sin is a disease of the soul that infects everything around it because we are all interconnected. Just because we don't act interconnected doesn't mean that sin doesn't affect us. Just the opposite! It's part of the disease.

What are you doing to stop the spread of the disease? Will you be a voice crying in the wilderness? Only with enough voices, can we be heard.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Letting Jesus into Your Life

After having a very difficult Lent keeping my promise to fast between meals, I was so happy to hear Fr. Jonathan's homily this morning. But his homily went far beyond shattered resolutions to the crux of the matter and that is my trust in God. Below is much of his homily with some scriptural additions to sort of flesh it out. The content in blue is from Fr. Jonathan's homily.

Jesus Christ is Risen! Alleluia!!!

The Resurrection is, indeed, the greatest event of all time! Everything - EVERYTHING else is pointless without it. There is something deeply important about the Resurrection that is Good News for us and for everything that truly matters in our lives. 

The Sin of Adam and Eve

In the beginning, after the sin of Adam, we no longer walked with God. And ever since, we become separated from God through our personal sin. We repeatedly turn our back on God - the God Who created us out of love. What did it get us - this turning away from God? It brought us death - a death predicted by God Himself.
~ Genesis 2:16-17 ~ "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, 'You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.'" 
God gave the command to Adam before Eve was ever created. Adam then communicated it to Eve. Somehow, it lost something in the translation for Eve added things when she was being enticed by Satan.
~ Genesis 3:2-3 ~ "And the woman said to the serpent, 'We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but God said, '"You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die."'" 
Here the command was not to eat from one tree but the temptation to see God as being unfair came from the serpent who convinced Eve that the fruit of the tree was good and that God was deceiving them.
~ Genesis 3:4-6 ~ "But the serpent said to the woman, 'You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.' So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate."
Adam and Eve listened to the serpent. That was their big mistake. They judged the tree's fruit from appearances and the temptation by the serpent to be wise like God. But their judgment was faulty. God had forbidden the fruit knowing what would happen and they failed to trust God. This is how they missed the mark: they failed to trust God. And so, God sent Adam and Eve out of the garden. He banished them so they were not able to also eat of the Tree of Life which was also in the midst of the garden. 
~ Genesis 2:9 ~ "And out of the ground the LORD God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." 
Why did God banish them? It seems harsh, but in fact, God was being merciful. He did not want them to eat from the Tree of Life. If they had eaten of the Tree of Life, their death would have been permanent. "But isn't death our permanent condition?" you might ask. The answer is no and here is why.

God's Plan All Along

Dying was unacceptable to God. Death was not His plan for us although He knew that Adam and Eve would disobey. And so, at the appointed time, God came to do for us what we ourselves could NOT do. In the Exultet on Holy Saturday, we hear the words proclaimed, "Oh Happy Fault! Oh necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!" God's plan all along was to send His only begotten Son.
~ Galatians 4:4-5 ~ "But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons." 
You see, something very powerful happens when God dies. When God dies, death is defeated.
~ I Corinthians 15:55-57 "'O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
 The Way Things Appear Is Not the Way Things Are.

And so the Resurrection gives us hope. The way things appear is not the way things are. God created a new way. When God, Who is Love, enters into death, death becomes a passage to new life. We must allow the power of the Risen Christ to help us - to change us from the inside out. The Resurrection means that NOTHING can keep us from God. 
~ Romans 8:38-39 ~ "I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Christ, our Hope, has risen! And so we have a new pathway to God.

Judas and Peter both turned against Jesus. In some ways, Peter's sin was greater because he denied Jesus three times. But Peter's actions afterward were different from Judas. Judas' repentance was motivated by his desire to undo what he had done. But only Jesus could do that and so he was unsuccessful, he despaired. While it appears that Peter did nothing but weep and run away, we have to understand that he also returned to the tomb and had faith that Jesus would somehow fix things. Later, on the shore of the sea of Gallilee, Jesus asks, "Do you love me? . . . Do you love me? . . . Do you love me? . . ." Peter's answer is a resounding "YES". It was Peter's sin of triple denial of Jesus ("I AM not.") that needed healing by the Risen Lord. 

This reminds me of a poem I wrote almost 20 years ago.

 Oh, Peter, weathered fisherman!
 How much we are the same!
 So clumsy in our love for Christ
So uncertain of our name.
You stood beside the charcoal fire
To warm your doubtful heart.
Hiding from yourself,
You stood denying who you are.
"I am not," you sadly said.
In fear you turned away,
Rejecting Jesus and yourself until the light of day.                                                          
But, Peter, I remember
There's another charcoal fire
That Jesus built upon the beach
To quench your fierce desire.
And now, when questioned by the Lord, upon the morning shore,
You said, "You know I love you" like saying "I am yours."          
And that is who we really are
In him we are set free.
His love and mercy tell us who we are to be!
The first denial, "I am not"
Is transformed by his death.
And in his rising,"I am yours" is acceptance in every breath.
If we’re open to His mercy
He will set our hearts aflame.
Then when He asks us, “Do you love me?”
We can answer without shame,“I am yours.”

Where We Need Jesus Most

The place where we are most ashamed - where we are hurting the most - is where we need Jesus most. It may be that we have committed some sin that we think is unforgivable. It may be the relationship in our family that is most difficult. These are the places where Jesus wants to give us new life. 

In Baptism, Jesus made us part of what He did. It begins there but continues each Sunday so that we can continue to have the power of Jesus Christ within us. This is Jesus' triumph over death that we celebrate in the Sacraments. Jesus, the New Adam undid what Adam and Eve did in the garden and He wants to free us from the shame and guilt that resulted.
~ Genesis 3:8 ~ "And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden." 
Where have I turned away from God? 

Where am I ashamed to walk with God in the cool of the evening?

Where do I hide in the darkness that keeps me in slavery?

Where to I allow sin to have power over me?

That is where He wants to bring healing. It is where He wants to come - where He wants to come NOW! Let Jesus into your life! AMEN!

Letting Jesus Into Your Life

As Fr. Jonathan says, "The Church is not a hotel for saints; it is a hospital for sinners." Letting Jesus into Your Life takes a firm and resolved "yes". It doesn't mean we will not fall. It simply means that when we fall, we will get up and try again.