Jesus has already appeared to his disciples twice. Today, he appears a third time in the Gospel of John 21:1-14 as the disciples were fishing and catching nothing. Jesus is standing on the shore and asks if they have caught anything to eat. They answer no. Jesus tells them to cast their nets on the right side of the boat and they will find something.
I want to stop here and think of an analogy that would make sense to me. I am not a fisherman but the boat is in shallow water and I do not think that professional fishermen are supposed to cast their nets over the right side of the boat so Jesus’ plan should have had 2 strikes against the fishermen. Since I am a sports loving guy, I picture a basketball player who has missed all 15 of his shots in the game. Jesus yells to him, go out to the half court line where no one is guarding you, close your eyes and shoot.
In the Gospel, the disciples dragged their net ashore with 153 large fish. That is pretty amazing considering they stayed out all night until dawn and caught nothing. Since this is my analogy, the basketball player did as Jesus told him and with no time on the clock and trailing by 2 points, the ball swishes through the net giving the team a one point win and the State Championship.
The moral of the Gospel story for me today is that when Jesus speaks, I need to listen. The disciples did not hesitate to cast their nets on the right side of the boat. Remember the T.V. slogan, “When E.F. Hutton speaks, people listen?” My slogan will be, “When Jesus Christ speaks, if you have ears, you ought to listen!” Thank you Jesus, your Holy Will be done. Amen.
Mike Burke; Friday, April 1, 2016
The Gospel of Luke 24:35-48 today tells me a little about my own faith in Jesus. The disciples were gathered together talking about yesterday’s Gospel story of Jesus on the road to Emmaus with 2 of his disciples. As they were discussing this, Jesus stood in their midst. He says, “Peace be with you.” But there was no peace as the disciples thought they were seeing a ghost. Jesus asks them why are they troubled, shows them his hands and feet, invites them to touch him because no ghosts have flesh and bones and then asks for food and eats the food in front of them.
So my imagination is wandering and I wonder how I would react if BOOM, Jesus appears to me right now in my room as I am writing. Would I be in shock? Would I get on my knees? Would I speak? Could I speak? Would I cling to his feet? Would I cry? Would I listen? Would I be afraid? As I think right now, this is God in my presence!!! I am just not sure how I would react.
How strong is my faith? Today, I stopped by the church chapel to pray for almost 2 hours before the Blessed Sacrament. If I truly believe and I do, Jesus was fully present before me, His Body, His Blood, His Soul and His Divinity. I knelt down before him. I sat before him. I stood before him. We talked and conversed. I prayed. I listened. I was distracted at times but I was filled with an awesome love for Jesus, my friend, my Lord, my Savior, my God. I was at peace. I was in the presence of God!
Hopefully, if Jesus were to suddenly appear to me as he did in today’s Gospel to his disciples, I would revere him as I do each time I visit the chapel and each time I receive him at mass. I hope to always hear his voice saying, “Peace be with you.” Today, I am filled with his peace. I pray that you are too. God bless us all!
Mike Burke; Thursday, March 31, 2016
In today’s scripture passage from Acts 3, a crippled man from birth was begging for silver and gold. The apostles Peter and John tell the man to look at them. He thinks he is going to receive what he is begging for but he is going to receive a whole lot more. Peter said to him, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.”
It is a very amazing story! The passage continues, “Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong. He leaped up, stood, and walked around, and went into the temple with them, walking and jumping and praising God.” So much for the silver and gold!
This is a great reminder to me of not only the power of God through others but that God, in his infinite love, knows what is best for me in spite of what I think is best. It’s a reminder that I must put my faith and trust in God and his Spirit living in me.
Oh Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me. Tell me what I should do. Give me your orders. I promise to submit myself to all that you desire of me and to accept all that you permit to happen to me. Let me only know your will. Amen.
Now comes the harder part, faith and trust in God and not in me!
Mike Burke; Wednesday, March 30, 2016
This Easter “thing” is pretty special. Christ conquered death and was raised from the dead. It is very interesting to meditate on the Gospel and on the Acts of the Apostles passages after the resurrection. I can see myself in the people of Jesus’ time as well as our nation and people of the world. We are so similar in many ways.
In Acts 2 today, Peter talks to the Jewish people again that God made Jesus Lord and Christ and that they crucified him. Have you ever revisited or maybe are going through the pain of really hurting someone or causing a terrible situation? The relationship or the situation may appear that you are doomed. For me, I am going through the suffering of a situation that I caused many years ago. The Jewish people said to Peter and the other Apostles; “What are we to do, my brothers?” It’s a simple question I ask myself when my back is against the wall. Peter’s answer, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38-39)
The Lord has called me and I would surmise that if you are reading this or any Christian blog that he is calling you. Most of us have been baptized but there is always a need for constant repentance. We are sinners and there is no doubt about it. The passage continues with Peter exhorting them to “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Does anyone besides me think that we are living in a corrupt generation? Our answer is not in the world but in the one who created the world.
Speaking for myself, I repent often because I am a terrible sinner. I hurt because I offend my God but I also believe in his promise of mercy for those who do repent. My situation has not improved much. I have had to learn that by striving to love Jesus with all my heart, soul, mind and strength doesn’t mean that he will “fix” all my problems. He does promise that I will have peace in my suffering and I do. Thanks be to God!
Mike Burke; Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices, my body, too, abides in confidence; Because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world, nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption. (Psalm 16:9-10)
As I finish the joy of the celebration of Easter Sunday, today’s Responsorial Psalm 16 gives me great hope in my own resurrection. But even more importantly, the foundress of EWTN, Mother Angelica, went to her eternal rest on Easter Sunday. I envision her with Jesus and Mother Mary whom she loved so much along with thousands of Saints whom she talked with and about often. I loved Mother Angelica. She was such a great inspiration to me and such a big part of my faith formation.
I look at Mother Angelica’s passing with great joy. She lived her life for this moment and has taught me to do the same, not to fear death but to live for life eternally. And to reiterate the Psalm, “my heart is glad and my soul rejoices, my body, too, abides in confidence.” Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory! Amen.
Mike Burke; Monday, March 28, 2016
For me, Saturday night is drawing to a close as I reflect. Tomorrow I arise early to prepare for Easter Sunday Mass at 9:10am where I am again blessed to play music with my group to celebrate the Risen Jesus. But it is still Holy Saturday and I read a reflection from Fr. Vincent Nagle, F.S.C.B. based on Luke 24:1-12. I would like to share it with you.
A young Jewish woman destroyed by her sense of guilt contacted me. She had been living with her brother, who had gotten ill and could not live alone. One weekend she had planned to go away with friends and though her brother had pleaded with her not to leave him alone, she had left anyway. Upon returning to the house she had discovered his dead and cold body.
She had not been able to find her footing after that. People kept telling her, “It wasn’t your fault. You couldn’t have saved him had you been there. Leave it behind!” But she couldn’t. She was guilty
I said to her, “Your self-condemnation has become the final word for you. His death is irrevocable, and that makes it seem as if your condemnation is as well. But might not there be a word of forgiveness greater than death itself?” I suggested to her, “Get together with those who do works of mercy, and perhaps you may hear an even more final word from the God of mercy.”
Death had always been the final word for us. It was the news of the empty tomb that first opened up Peter to suspect a merciful word greater than death. May this news open us up to meet a word of forgiveness that has overcome death itself.
Let not death keep me imprisoned, O God our Father, but may your Son’s victory give me freedom!
Have a beautiful Easter celebration my family and friends! He has risen!
Mike Burke; Holy Saturday, March 26, 2016