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.

Be not afraid!

“I am the vine, and you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me.”

So far in Lent we have focused on the change and reform necessary in our lives. We have been focusing on the various Lenten disciplines, the means and methods by which we achieve conversion, change and reform. These disciplines help us become more ardent and faithful livers of Jesus’s gospel way.

The subjects of fasting, sacrifice or giving, and study have been covered thus far. Next week we resume with the consideration of prayer and proclamation.

Our Holy Church pauses today to celebrate. We sense it because today we hear the Gloria and the Alleluia. Lenten purple is put away for this moment and is replaced by joyous white.

We celebrate because this Sunday, one-hundred and twenty-four years ago, a group of oppressed immigrants, people treated disrespectfully by oppressors in their home countries, right here in the United States, and even by their church, people thought little of by their neighbors, took the lessons learned from the Lenten disciplines they faithfully practiced and put them to action. 

This Sunday what they learned from fasting, sacrifice, study, prayer, and the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus, humanity’s Emancipator, bore fruit. They found themselves the branches of the true Vine – alive in Christ. They found themselves freed of the dead old branch pruned away because of its corruption, pruned away because it heeded deceitful spirits and followed men with seared consciences.

These heroic people stood on the side of Jesus and just as proclaimed in Wisdom, He, the Just One, confronted their oppressors with great confidence. Those oppressors stood there in awe and they still do today.

As with every true Christian. from the time of the Acts Church. those faith filled immigrant heroes stood up without fear. They heard Jesus say, Fear not little flock. They inherited and have passed on to us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

We have Christ Jesus. We are His branches. His Father strengthens us and fills us with His good grace. We can face any fear and no longer be debilitated by it. The tender love of God has freed us from terror, from being held down, and from slavery to the opinions of those who do not know the Lord. A disciplined life strengthens us for this. Faithful trust is the fruit of the reform necessary in our lives and the world. Today we celebrate those who trusted and say with them:  In You O Lord I place my trust. Boże, do Ciebie się uciekam!