We are now in the thick of it. Three weeks into the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection and conquering the power of darkness and death, but church we are in the thick of it. As Christians we have a great opportunity ahead of us. The challenges of the dark world we live in are an opportunity to be light. As Jesus rose triumphant from the dead and the dark reign of sin and death ended, we too must live in that same power.
This is a special weekend here at Saint Joseph in St. Petersburg. We gather to invite a special way the Spirit of God to anoint twelve of our parishioners in the Sacrament of Confirmation. It is significant that as we listen to God’s word today we are all being called to be witness to the world of the love and the power of Jesus Christ.
The disciples of Jesus having witnessed His presence in the breaking of the bread return to tell and bear witness to His resurrection and He being truly risen and truly present to them. The presence of the risen Lord is an opportunity not only to be with Him, but to allow Him to form their minds in the truth and reality for the world His resurrection provides. So having listened to Jesus, shared meal with Jesus, they are told that they are to be witnesses to all of the things that have occurred.
What a great opportunity for us in the midst of our bishop and with our confirmation class to re-affirm our own commitment to be a witness for Jesus in a nation and world that has sunk into deep darkness. Again as we see another young man, Daunte Wright, dying due the negligence of a police officer. We cannot simply see this and the so many shootings as just every day happenstance. As we continue to recall those who have died in our own streets these past few weeks. But as the Christian community we must be witnesses for Christ, we must reach deep back into our past of pain and struggle to find the strength the face the challenges today.
The witness to Christ first transforms us. It impacts our lives that we will not be left in darkness, fear and doubt. It is the only way, it is the only option to tap deep into that rich wellspring of our faith and God’s word. ” John in his first letter says: “But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him.” Keeping and remaining in His word is when our struggle for true justice not retaliation can reshape our lives. Bringing a can of soup to throw at police is not remaining in the power of truth, to lie knowing that purpose is to inflict harm on others is not the answer.
Responding to this crisis pouring more violence on top of the fire is not the response. Stop, take a pause, take a knee, and enter into God’s word to allow the Lord to speak to us. We know that as we give witness to the power of God’s overshadowing light of love these dark days will be transformed to light and joy. We must remain tenacious in our focus on first and foremost God’s ability. The thoughts and prayers are meant to move us to right and proper action, and that action is to be ultimately a witness to the power of God to over come evil and hate.
Let us not only congratulate all our members being confirmed but let us encourage them to be and become true witness for Christ and the Kingdom of Justice, love and Peace!