Lived Victory!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading,

Thank you for joining today as we continue in our Easter joy. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

In our Epistle today we hear St. Peter speaking of our new birth, our living hope, and our inheritance that is eternal and indestructible. These words are wonderful, and they mark out how we are set apart.

Consider how last Sunday, on the Solemnity of the Resurrection, we saw Peter and John running to the tomb, encountering the victory of Jesus over death, and a bit confused. Remember that we heard the words: they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.

Now the tone has changed, there is confidence, a surety that this wonderful thing God accomplished was not just for Jesus, but for all of us. The disciples encounter with Jesus gave us a new perspective and  a wonderful possession – eternal life that we celebrate today.

Our confidence does not come from mere speculation or wishful thinking. It does not come from the fantasy visions of some religious person. It comes from a lived encounter with the resurrected Jesus.

When Jesus entered the place where the disciples were He offered the simple statement: “Peace be with you.” He established that peace by offering His disciples and us confidence – that as His followers we have entered a new Kingdom reality.

The living Jesus, the victor over death left us something precious, the community of faith described in today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles.

We often speak of our Holy Church as the full expression of the Pristine Catholic faith. 

The truth of that statement lies not just in the way we administer the Church, our democratic tradition (All who believed were together and had all things in common). It lies most importantly in the fact that we receive and live – really live – the teaching of the apostles, the communal life, the breaking of bread, and prayers.

Jesus did not want the disciples to go separate ways,  to abandon hope or to doubt and have no confidence. So, He left us powerful grace for our assurance, a communal life centered on Him, and His abiding presence. That allows us to live the resurrected promise of Jesus with vigorous faith because we have nothing to fear, we have nothing to doubt.

Let us then embrace confidence and live the victory we possess in perpetual Easter joy knowing that we fully share in living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Made whole.

He will not break off a bent reed, nor put out a flickering lamp. He will persist until he causes justice to triumph.

Jesus came to fulfill what Isaiah had written about centuries before. Isaiah writes about a ‘bruised reed.’ and a ‘smoldering wick.’ Jesus came, not to destroy the reed or put out the wick, but to take brokenness and the smoldering away. Jesus has healed and re-ignited us. Jesus has brought us into the Kingdom, into lives vastly different.

As we journey through this Lenten season, we reflect and act on our call to be true citizens of the Kingdom, to live up to our call. We look at our inward selves and our outward actions and reform them through more ardent prayer, sacrifice, study, worship, and giving. We come to really connect with the fact that those in the Kingdom live like that year-round, not just during Lent.

One day a Rabbi walked into a classroom full of Jewish religious students. The class was full of excitement. Rabbi, Rabbi, they said in unison, the Messiah has come. The Rabbi walked past the students and went to the window. He turned around, went to his desk, and told his students to sit. He said: The world looks no different; therefore, the Messiah has not yet come.

This is a powerful statement.  We know the Messiah; the Christ has come. We know that He is Jesus, the Son of God. Yet the world looks little different with its wars, obscenities, angers, covetousness, and all the other evils that surround us. What has changed?

One hundred twenty-five years ago a group of people looked about them and said the very same thing. They were immigrants, faithful and hardworking, but their lives were not getting any better. They were persecuted and called names. Their pastors continually castigated them. How could they have a Messiah if nothing changed?

They joined together and in a great act of faith and trust in Jesus and organized the Polish National Catholic Church. It would be faithful to the teachings and structures of the pristine undivided Church. It would have the passion of the first Christians who not only believed but acted on the fact that they had been healed and ignited by the Messiah. It would be the Kingdom Church Jesus had established, where they, their descendants, and anyone seeking the Kingdom could fully live out the Kingdom life, be the change Jesus called us to carry out, where life is indeed different, holy, loving, giving, and self-sacrificing.

So here we are in this body called the Church, with all necessary to live the Kingdom life fully, to bring about justice, to live in dignity together as Jesus’ body. So let us continue in prayer, sacrifice, study, worship, and giving. Let us continue to be different and call others to be saved, to share in life that is vastly different because of Jesus.

About the

“These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

It is often said that it is all about the timing. It is about being there when our ship comes in. Well. today the ship has really come in. Three special celebrations all in one day. We, of course, celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday. We also honor our Blessed Mother, Mary, in a special way today crowning her with our admiration and love. Finally, we celebrate Mother’s Day. While these celebrations may seem somewhat disparate, there is a central theme that runs throughout. It is the theme of motherhood, of deep caring. About mom getting us to when.

As we consider the concept of motherhood, let us look at it from the angle of our mom’s, our Blessed Mother, and what the Good Shepherd left us, our Holy Mother, the Church.

Each of the ‘mom’s’ in our lives exist in time. Each of them has related to us throughout our lives in differing ways. Each of them has left an impact and a past. Each offers potential for the future. Each has been the source of tears and joys leading us to when.

We start with our mom’s. As we reflect on them we consider their experiences of us, and what they prepared for us. As we reflect on such things, we consider those many times mom may wondered about us. We also, and much more frequently, reflect on the happy moments. Those times mom was assured of our love, when she knew her counsel made a difference, when she had assurance of our ok’ness. For her, it is/was about our when, the opportunity of the moment – for us to have everything that really matters.

The same with our Blessed Mother. She holds out her hands to us. She watches over and intercedes for us. She certainly has wondered about us when we were distant from her Son. But there she is, always ready to help us come back. For her, it is about our when, the opportunity of the moment – for us to have everything that really matters.

Our Holy Mother, the Church, works diligently to raise us to the realization of Jesus’ intervention as Good Shepherd. We find Him holding the gate open, leading us, knowing us. For the Shepherd and His Holy Church it is about our when, the opportunity to have everything that really matters.


And they will be

Then the righteous man will stand with great confidence in the presence of those who have afflicted him, and those who make light of his labors. When they see him, they will be shaken with dreadful fear, and they will be amazed at his unexpected salvation. They will speak to one another in repentance, and in anguish of spirit they will groan, and say, “This is the man whom we once held in derision and made a byword of reproach — we fools! We thought that his life was madness and that his end was without honor. Why has he been numbered among the sons of God? And why is his lot among the saints?

The Scripture above from the Book of Wisdom obviously points to Jesus, a man mocked and spurned by His people, thought to be just another mad prophet, and eventually killed in the most horrible of ways even though innocent. He emerges victorious in the end and is recognized to be what He always was, the Holy One of God, the only Son of God, God made man Who now sits at the Father’s right hand.

Beyond this obvious reference to the life of Jesus we should be able to see in ourselves the same experience. As Jesus was mocked and derided by the leaders of the time, so too are we. As Jesus was thought mad, so too are we. As Jesus was mocked, so too are we. As people said: ‘how can this be possible’ of Jesus, so too they say it of us. Yet, in the end, we know we, like Jesus, will emerge victorious.

Is emerging victorious a foregone conclusion for us?

Victory is solely dependent on our likeness to Jesus. The prerequisite for our victory is the same as that exhibited in the earthly life of Jesus Christ. It is by our faith that we will be victorious. That is both the starting point and the reality that must underpin all we do. In approaching our work, joys, struggles, and interactions – in both our interior life and social interactions – we must define ourselves by our life in Jesus.

A life fully lived in faith and likened to Him will result in others being amazed by us. That faith life makes us changed people with the potential of being amazing. That is what regeneration in Jesus is. Because of essential change we become a confusing lot of people in the face of the world. We get up early, worship by faith, work hard, and have a totally different attitude than that of the majority of people. We believe that we can change individual hearts and the wider world. We think that by all this effort will make God’s kingdom a reality. We may face derision, be assessed fools, and might be mocked. Yet we know that by living regenerated lives we will be numbered among the saints and victorious. Be ready to be amazing.

Reflection for the Solemnity of the Baptism of our Lord


Why should I join?
What does it mean?

“He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

It wouldn’t be unusual to wonder about baptism, what it means. We might also wonder why Jesus was baptized.

For us, baptism is membership in the body of Jesus, the Church – we are made part of Jesus by descending into the water, as He descended into death. With this membership we are promised that we, like Jesus, will rise again.

For us, baptism is washing. We are washed of sin. In baptism we recognize that we fall short of the glory of God. As St. Paul wrote to the Romans “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” We know that we are sinful, no one is perfect and without failings. In baptism we acknowledge our sinfulness and our reliance on God, who through Jesus’ sacrifice washes us of our sinfulness, brings us forgiveness, and welcomes us back – always, no matter what.

For us, baptism is proclamation that Jesus is the Son of God, true God and true man. We proclaim the triune nature of God, Jesus’ sacrificial death, resurrection, and ascension. In baptism we proclaim the Creed – stating definitively what we believe by faith. At Jesus’ baptism the heavens were opened. The Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove. The Father’s voice is heard: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” This is God revealed, as He is, plain and simple, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Jesus’ baptism pointed to all these things. At Jesus’ baptism John publicly recognized and declared that Jesus was the One who was awaited, the Messiah, the One who would baptize “with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

Jesus’ baptism also showed that He identified with sinners. His baptism symbolized sinners’ baptism into His righteousness. In addition, Jesus baptism showed His approval of John’s baptism, bearing witness to it, that it was from heaven and approved by God. Later, after His resurrection, He would tell His followers that by baptizing the many they would be made His disciples. In Jesus’ baptism the reality of God was revealed in testimony direct from heaven.

All the glorious truth of the mercy of God found in Jesus Christ is on display at His baptism. We join ourselves to that glory and truth in our baptism.

In the dynamics of baptism we join ourselves to all the truth of Jesus. We proclaim that God has freed us by His grace and our acceptance of that grace. We declare with all the faith that we have – we are members of His body, and that He is our Lord and God. We are His members – and it means this: That we receive His mercy and glory.

Reflection for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

I’m locking up Jesus.
Hey, wait a minute…

“John said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, we saw someone forcing demons out of a person by using the power and authority of your name. We tried to stop him because he was not one of us.’”

We meet someone, and find out that they are doing amazing things in Jesus’ name what do we think. Maybe they are drawing dozens of people into their Church. Maybe they are really effective at serving others, helping them find God’s forgiveness and healing through their words and actions. Maybe they are a really great preacher. What’s is our reaction especially if they are not members of our parish or our Holy Church?

Today’s gospel shows us that the disciples’ reaction is jealousy, anger, and a desire to stop that person. Better yet, they want to use the power of God (that’s Jesus) to stop them. It sort of reminds us of how petty the disciples could be at times.

Remember, in Luke 9, after a town had rejected Jesus the very same disciple, John, came to Jesus and asked if he could call down fire from heaven to destroy the town.

Jesus tells us today that our reaction to our brothers and sisters who bear His name should be one of joy, happiness, thankfulness, and fellowship. The person the disciples saw, and the people we find, doing great things in Jesus’ name all belong to Him. Jesus isn’t claiming exclusivity for His followers, or creating one human boss over all.

Jesus did not create one human boss over all because He well knew human weakness. If the disciples couldn’t rejoice in the wonderful things being done in His name, if their first reaction to anyone who didn’t get Jesus was to destroy them, how could He trust any one of them to be the “one over all?”

It is sad and unfortunate when one Church claims such things. It makes all Christians look bad because those that do not know Jesus see a sign that says Church is a closed community – a gated community with Jesus locked up inside. It speaks of exclusivity rather than openness.

Jesus left us a sacred and holy way of life. He gave us His word. He provided us with the nourishment of His sacraments. He showed us love and welcome. He expects all that follow Him to do just that – follow Him as the “One in charge.”

When we get the urge to lock Jesus up in a gated community, to claim Him exclusively, remember today’s example. He says: You cannot lock me up. There is no “one in charge” but rather “One in charge.” All who follow the “One in charge” are blessed and welcome.

Convo 2012: Confirmed to Walk on Water

The Buffalo-Pittsburgh Diocese of the PNCC will be hosting Convo 2012: Confirmed to Walk on Water from July 23rd-27th, 2012 at Niagara University in Niagara Falls, NY. As we hit the one year count-down to Convo 2012, keep all of the youth of the PNCC in your collective prayers.

For more information, visit the Convo website on Facebook or the Convo 2012 website.

114th Anniversary of the Organization of the PNCC

The Confession of Faith of the P.N.C.C.
(accepted at the Second Synod ofthe Church in 1907 and confirmed at every Synod hence)

I believe in one God, the Father, the cause of all
existence, Eternal truth, Love and Justice.

I believe in Jesus Christ, the Savior and
Spiritual Regenerator of the world, who was the
Emissary of God, of one substance with Him; and as
to humanity born of the humble woman Mary.

I believe that this Nazarene Master through His
Divine Life, Work, Teaching and Sacrificial Death,
became the glowing ember of a new life of
humankind, taking its beginning and deriving its
strength and fullness in knowing God, loving Him
and fulfilling His Holy Will.

I believe that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God
rules the universe, that from the Holy Spirit flows
grace, which brings it to pass that, when one
cooperates with it in life, eternal joy in God shall be

I believe in the Holy Church of Christ,
Apostolic and Universal.
I believe that this Church is the
true teacher, both of the individual and humankind,
that it is a steward of Divine graces and a light in our
temporal pilgrimage to God and salvation.

I believe in the necessity of hearing the Word
of God and the receiving of the Holy Sacraments.

I believe that all people, as children of God are
equal in themselves. I believe that all people have
equal rights to existence, but also sacred
obligations toward God, themselves, their nation,
and all of human society.

I believe in the ultimate justice of God, life
beyond the grave, immortality and eternal bliss in
union with God of all people, generations and times.