What’s next?

“It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,”

We are now celebrating the Sixth Sunday and the start of the Sixth Week of the Easter Season. Is the thrill gone?

In the first few weeks of the Easter Season, we stood in awe with the apostles and disciples as they continually encountered the Risen Lord. We could sense their joy, the celebration and thrill that lifted their hearts and opened their minds to the truth of Jesus’ claims. He was indeed the fulfillment of all contained in the Law and the prophets.

Jesus had spent this time connecting the dots for His followers and so armed them to bear fruit by lived faith, to continue the message of freedom that is the gospel, and to bring people to repentance and membership in His body, the Church. As we heard last week, to graft people onto the True Vine.

We all know how it is. We spent time celebrating, thrilled, but now we have to turn what we learned in the celebration into physical action. We have to move the trill to lived witness to the risen Lord. Today, next Sunday, and for the rest of the year, we reinforce how we should be living.

Looking forward, we know what Jesus’ followers did not quite grasp, that Pentecost was coming, that Jesus’ instruction we will hear this Thursday, to remain and pray, would situate them for the awesomeness and trill of that day. Everything He had been teaching them, all the dots He connected, would in a flash of the Holy Spirit’s coming. pour out of them and into the whole world. Is that power pouring out of us? Is that trill with us or are we bored by Jesus?

In today’s readings and gospel, we see Jesus’s direction, how His followers carried it out, and how we should be doing it; what should be pouring out of us as we remain thrilled to be His followers.

It starts in the great commandment – restated today, This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.

Peter understood it in the house of Cornelius where people he would never associate with became his brothers and sisters in the Lord, who also received the Holy Spirit. He saw the trill they encountered, knowing Jesus changed them completely, and he was again renewed.

John, the disciple Jesus loved, went on to continually proclaim the power of love – for love is a thrill when it is lived genuinely, honestly, and effectively.

We live in the trill of being chosen, being free because of Jesus’ resurrection, sharing in His love for us, and our mutual friendship. We are so free, and love filled, that if called upon we will give our lives for Him and each other.

What’s next for us is what was next for the disciples, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, strong proclamation, a life defined by the gospel. And the everlasting trill of Jesus risen.

Something from
revelation.

Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us, I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down

We see later, in today’s Gospel the next revelation of Jesus, but before that part, taken from Chapter 4 of Luke’s Gospel, we hear from the very first part of Luke’s first chapter.

This interesting placement of parts from two different Chapters helps us to call to mind what must happen in our lives if we are to be Jesus’ disciples, His followers.

Luke is an interesting example of discipleship lived. Luke wrote both a Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. He was likely a gentile and a slave who was trained as a scientist and physician; disciples come from every background. Luke’s gospel shows special focus on evangelizing Gentiles; the message disciples are to bring. Luke loyally stays with Paul when he is imprisoned in Rome. After everyone else deserts Paul, Luke remains; discipleship lived.

Luke’s Gospel speaks to the poor and speaks of social justice – work that is a mark of discipleship. He points to forgiveness and God’s mercy to sinners. Throughout Luke’s gospel, Jesus takes the side of the sinner who wants to return to God’s mercy; the proclamation and work of disciples in reconciling sinners.

Reading Luke’s gospel gives a good idea of his life as a disciple. He loved the poor and outcast, wanted the door to God’s kingdom opened to all, was close to Mary, and saw hope in God’s mercy for everyone. I want to be like that! If we are in the Church, part of the Church, lovers and followers of Jesus – then we must all strive to be that kind of disciple.

Luke starts – I want to tell you all about Jesus. I scientifically analyzed all this so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings.

Jesus again enters the public space, another revelation, this time at the Synagogue in Nazareth. He reads from Isaiah and tells everyone that the prophesy is fulfilled in His listeners’ hearing. I am here. This is real.

We have the revelation of Jesus. Like Luke, let hearing result is action and, disciple.

Was He
serious?

Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us… Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.”

Throughout the Gospels we find Jesus struggling to turn His disciples’ thoughts from human worries to God’s way. The disciples weren’t getting it.

Peter thinks in personal and human ways about Jesus’ prediction of His suffering and death. He wants to stop it. The disciples, as explained last week, did not hear a word of Jesus’ teaching, but rather fought about who was the greatest. Today, John addresses Jesus as “teacher” and immediately demonstrates that he has not heard or integrated a word of Jesus’ teaching. John is exhibiting serious jealousy and a lack of welcome to those who would follow Jesus.

Jesus now cranks up the extreme. He’s trying to get His disciples to have, as some call it today, a ‘Come to Jesus moment.’ He’s being really blunt, trying to break through the disciples closed ears and obstinate ways. If you want to follow me – open your hearts, welcome the poor and the small, protect them, and be prepared to lay everything on the line. Don’t let My word go in one ear and out the next – let them sink in and make it real. Live my Gospel.

Living Jesus’ Gospel is not easy. It is challenging even in the best of circumstances. The people of the Church are supposed to be on the same page – inviting, welcoming, working together – but we know frustrations grow and we go astray. We get perturbed when patient love is most needed. We try to layer our justifications for the why of our personal shortcomings over the truth of the Gospel message.

Jesus calls us to hard and serious discipleship and evangelization. It shall not be one church over the next, but one Church. Work together in my name! Protect and cherish the young – the very young, teens, and young adults – because they need guidance and faithful examples. You harm them – you’re as good as dead. You’re thinking about evil, sin, harm – destroy yourself before you take the first step down that path. Yes, Jesus is serious, and He is driving home His warning in very vivid ways. This, now, is a come to Jesus moment. Seriously!