Love filled

Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.

We have focused on being checked in and its results from three perspectives. Those are: The peace that comes from being prepared, ready and refusing to give up; Stepping out into the world to announce the kingdom, to proclaim a renewed and joyful life in Jesus. Plugged in people have God’s true joy, a joy that doesn’t leave us; and Hope lived everyday, in every moment – Jesus is near! Peace, joy, and hope, three hallmarks of being checked-in with Jesus.

Peace, joy, and hope – wonderful gifts that are essential elements of our checked-in lives, essential elements of the one thing that wraps them all up together – love.

As we prepare to enter into the Season of Christmas, we are called to take the gifts of peace, joy, and hope and to wrap them together in love and deliver them to the world. This is our charge from Jesus, to take what most consider conceptual and out-of-reach and make it real. More than make it real, show it forth, we are to use God’s grace to get results with those gifts.

Getting real results, love filled results – that is the message of today’s Gospel, that is the message of Jesus first coming, and His anticipated return.

An angel visits Mary, ensconced in her home. She is asked to literally give up everything for love, for the love necessary to bring a child into the world. She is asked to show forth love, and to get real results with her love. Showing forth that love would not gain Mary any love. Her espoused was ready to abandon her. Her community rejected her. Making love real meant ridicule and abandon, yet Mary did it and topped it off with service to her cousin Elizabeth in her need. Mary wrapped the peace of God, joy and hope, in love, stayed checked-in. She made it real to her expected Son and her cousin.

We are recipients of Jesus’ showing forth the fullness of God’s love, and its reality. The results are within us – our sins washed away, our hearts and minds fed by His word, and ready to receive Him. We march forth into the world like Mary with a gift wrapped in love, not to be stored under a tree or on a shelf. Let us never shy away from opening God’s gifts of peace, joy, and hope in love, putting them to work for real love filled results.

Reflection for the Seventh Sunday of Easter

Awesome Moms lead us to see Jesus

For I see…
What do you see?

But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.”

Today, our readings and Gospel look at the present and the future.

As Stephen is about to die he looks up and sees Jesus at the right hand of the Father. He is heading toward Jesus, to His loving embrace. Stephen has Jesus with him in his suffering, and because of that forgives his murders. He is also joyful, even in the midst of the stoning, because He knows what the future holds. Stephen is in a moment so totally now, and in his (and our) future.

John is on the island of Patmos. Jesus is speaking with him once again in terms that can be read as very now, in the present, and for the future. Jesus tells John that He is the Alpha and the Omega – timeless. He also tells John: “Behold, I am coming soon.”

We look at these statements and from them understand that Jesus is ever present, always with us and is also the ultimate goal, our promised future. John knows that Jesus is his present and future. To him Jesus is a joy, better than any other thing the world can offer.

Jesus is delivering His farewell address to His disciples just before the road that will lead Him to Calvary. He is reminding them that they are bound to Him by their knowledge and love, by their unity. They have the reality of God living with and in them, ever present, ever now. They also hear that they have a share in the future reality of God – the kingdom and paradise.

Like Stephen, like John, we need to listen to Jesus and rely on this reality – that He is with us in this moment, in the present, and is not just as a goal or someone we will meet in the future. Also, that we have a share in a wonderful future that surpasses any suffering or difficulty.

Our mothers have seen what Stephen and John saw. They brought us into the Holy Church so that we would see these things, so that we might listen to Jesus and understand a moment so totally now, and a vision for our future.

Because of their faith and the instruction they provided for us we were given an opportunity. When asked, ‘What do you see?’ how will we answer? If we took mom’s lessons to heart we can say: “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.” Saying that we can offer this vision to others. We can let them know about Jesus who is with us now and is our future.