What follows is something I wrote in the fall of 2020, when things were still very bleak around the world because of Covid and accompanying protocols our governments thought were prudent. Hundreds of thousands were lost in our country, millions around the world, my own father included. And now we have the horrors in Ukraine that are an instance among many over the decades that illustrate the inhumanity the human race is still capable of inflicting. It’s beyond description and there are no words for the surviving victims right now that will bring them any comfort. It’s best to remain silent, but maybe in time, something like I’ve written here will make sense. Right now Christ is just weeping with them in their pain and disbelief. But I like to imagine the many who’ve perished are receiving His promises now, as well. And about a great reunion some glorious day in the future (who knows when?). But we who live safely and in comfort should give what we can and pray for the victims. And, in our prayers for grace and peace to sustain the survivors and the refugees, and the wounded and mourning, and those continuing to fight for freedom, we must always stand up for the oppressed and the ones who are in need of compassion and our material support, as well as spiritual. We do get to ask God “Why?” It’s all over the psalms and other books of the Old Testament. And we can be angry with God for allowing such atrocities, too. But one day, after some time (who knows how much?) we as believers can recall the words of Matt Maher’s song and find comfort there. Resurrection is coming! It always will. Too many Good Fridays, too much suffering and too many willing to inflict it seem to be part of this life, too. God help us. Lord have mercy upon us. He has. He does. He always will. We look forward to the day when, as Scripture declares, “every tear will be wiped away.” Another question asked in Old Testament Scripture is “How long, O Lord?” How long must we wait for justice and peace? Only God knows the answer. But it’s our deepest hope that Jesus stands with us now and we will see Him face to face on that Day of Days.
Today’s Gospel reading is from Luke, (LK 9:18-22). It includes Simon Peter’s declaration, inspired by the Holy Spirit, (see Matthew 16:17), that Jesus is “the Christ of God.” Christ means Messiah, the anointed One. He is the One that Israel has been waiting for, He will liberate the people from slavery and oppression. But, of course, Christians believe that the slavery we’re delivered from is sin and death. And we believe that the liberation is the freedom to seek the supreme good, the will of the Father.
Jesus perfectly exemplifies this for us in His crucifixion, in His total surrender to the will of His Father in the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, in His passion and death. And in His Resurrection. That last event is the Best part, to put it extremely mildly. Jesus is all about doing as His Father desires for the…
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