Reflection for the 3rd Sunday of Easter 2015

20 April 2015 - By

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One order of fish
for Jesus.

Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them.

Things were happening fast. The stories of Jesus’ appearances were coming back to the apostles. They had found the tomb empty. The apostles and disciples may have recalled Jesus’ words, that He would be raised on the third day, but could it really be true? Could they really have been traveling, praying, working with, and eating with God’s Son? Then He is standing there.

We can imagine the scene, it must have been almost a panic – disbelief coupled with worry and joy. If He was really there they had been following with and living with God’s Son.

Jesus starts slow, look at Me. I’m really here. Look at My wounds, they are real. Touch me, I am warm, living, the future of glorified humanity in flesh and bone. By the way, I’d like an order of fish. We read of Jesus’ love of fish during the Easter season when He prepares a seaside fish fry for the apostles: Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, When the [apostles] landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”

These are great moments and we can imagine being there. What is the deeper meaning of these encounters? Was Jesus just looking for a good order of fish?

We are meant to know that Jesus’ resurrection is a real event. He wasn’t a ghost or a group hallucination. He was there. People saw Him on multiple occasions and in different contexts and settings. These witnesses testified to the reality of their encounter with the risen Jesus.

Jesus’ resurrection tells us that God lives among us and that He shared our life experience – from joy to sorrow, from birth to death to the resurrection we will all experience. He gets us.

Jesus’ resurrection opened His life to us and is our invitation to share in His life. He gave us a very specific model of life we are to follow. We are to live a spiritual and communal life, not an individualistic and earthly one. We are to make His name known, to be His witnesses. We are to cast His nets rather than our own, witness to His reality, and get one more order of fish for Jesus.

Reflection for Low Sunday 2015

16 April 2015 - By

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We have true
victory in Jesus.

For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith. Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Who is the winner? That is a frequent question in our world. It is also a great worry. We see greater and greater disparity between the rich and the poor. We see working people’s wages remaining the same year-after-year while the very few get more and more. Many may feel like David did at his darkest hour. He recounts in Psalm 13:

How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? 
How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
Having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?

Jesus knew His followers might feel the world winning, evil overcoming good, especially at His trial and crucifixion. That is why in the hours before His arrest He reclined with them at table and taught them. He said: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” He wanted us to share the peace His victory would win.

John echoes the words he heard Jesus speak at the Last Supper telling us that we are now God’s children, begotten and adopted in the blood of Jesus and fellow conquerors by our faith in Him. We have the strongest of affirmations, that no other person is the conqueror of the world but Jesus. We fully share in that victory by faith. No sports star relying solely on his or her physical abilities is a true conqueror; no rich man or woman relying on their skills and abilities in worldly things alone is a true winner. Wealth, wins, being in the 1% is not mark of real victory, only belief that Jesus is the Son of God and trusting in Him as the only source of life, righteousness, and salvation. The world with its allures and false promises for victory has been overcome.

Today, Heather and Alyson make a decision to believe in and trust in Jesus, to be on the winning team, to be victors in Jesus Christ. Because of this decision they will be regenerated, will be born again and made new in the image of Jesus. They will share in His life and by living in a constancy of faith they will overcome death and conquer the world. They, like Thomas, will say before the world that Jesus is their Lord and God and in reply will hear the words Jesus spoke in today’s gospel being applied to them as it is to us: “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Blessed and victorious!

Reflection for the Solemnity of the Resurrection 2015

5 April 2015 - By

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There is but one
answer and hope.

On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe, and they were utterly amazed. He said to them, “Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Behold the place where they laid him.

A quick check of Google, the Internet Search Engine, points to over 534 million websites that discuss the how, where, why, and when of ‘finding the answer.’ Finding the answer is important to us. Now in those 534 million answers about ‘finding the answer’ there is plenty of information about recipes, fixing things around the house, self-improvement, relationships, job strategies, raising children, and planning for retirement among those about faith, the Bible, and Jesus.

We long for answers to many ordinary things. We long even more for the answer and hope that will save us. What is the answer and hope we can rely on? What can we offer those searching?

Mary Magdalene, the Apostles, the disciples on the Road to Emmaus were all seeking answers and hope. The reign of God, the Kingdom seemed to be so close. It was almost in their grasp while Jesus was with them. Now He was gone, dead. What would happen to them? Where should they turn for the answer now? What hope was left?

They had duties to perform before they moved on or went back. The Body of Jesus needed to be anointed. So off the women went. The tomb is empty – and only more questions, no ready answers. Hope remained elusive.

Jesus came to them and made His resurrection apparent. He helped them to understand that He was the one answer and the fulfillment of all hope. By their witness we have inherited that answer and that hope.

The answer and hope all seek is rooted in the glory of this day. He has been raised. In Jesus’ death we have been reconciled with God. Everything that could possibly separate us from God has been removed. No wall, no curtain, no failing can keep us from God. When we fall the answer and hope is in Him. In Jesus’ resurrection we have a new hope. We too shall rise like Him. We will not just come back from the dead to mortal existence. We, like Jesus, will pass beyond death into everlasting life in God. Death has no claim over us. Like Jesus we have entered into an entirely new existence; an immortal existence in Jesus. Our story is no longer birth, life, death, and corruption. It is now birth, life, death and eternal life.

We have the one answer to every question and perfect hope. It is the resurrected Jesus. Christ is risen! Alleluia!

Reflection for Palm Sunday 2015

29 March 2015 - By

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Let us be poured
out for Him.

When he was in Bethany reclining at table in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfumed oil, costly genuine spikenard. She broke the alabaster jar and poured it on his head. There were some who were indignant. “Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil? It could have been sold for more than three hundred days’ wages and the money given to the poor.” They were infuriated with her. Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you make trouble for her? She has done a good thing for me.”

Twelve days after Christmas we celebrate the visit of the Magi, the Kings, the Wise men. They came to pour out their gifts for Jesus – gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. So too they poured out the time (almost a year), effort, and treasure it took to make the journey. Their gifts were poured out with joy in recognition of Jesus’ kingship and were also poured out in preparation for His burial.

Jesus comes to Jerusalem, well aware of what was to occur. As He enters the city the people pour out praise. They acclaim Him King, the One who comes in the Name of the Lord.

Today a woman comes and pours out costly perfume for Jesus. Mark notes that she anoints His head. John says she anointed His feet and washed them with her tears. In either case, she pours out her time, treasure, and tears for Jesus. She stands up to ridicule and pours out an embarrassing amount of love for Jesus, her Savior.

In Good Friday’s reading of the Passion we hear of Joseph of Arimathe’a and Nicode’mus who will come, risking their lives before Pilate and those who plotted against Jesus, asking for His body. Nicode’mus pours out a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds’ weight.

Throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry people came to Him. They poured out their sins, needs, troubles and tears. They poured out their expectations and their love. They poured out hatred and mistrust as well. For thousands of years since people have continued to do the same.

For all that humanity has poured out, Jesus came to pour out far more. He did not limit His ministry to what was being poured out to Him, but rather poured Himself out to take all darkness away. Through His pouring out we have been freed. Even what we fear to pour out is taken away. The deepest and darkest recesses of our lives – the places were sin and evil have taken root – Jesus came to take those away. Psalm 116 asks: What shall I return to the LORD for all his goodness to me? Let us pour out faithfulness, love, praise, worship and thanksgiving to Jesus who poured Himself out for us.

Ś+P Rt. Rev. Anthony Rysz

22 March 2015 - By

From the Scranton Times-Tribune: Bishop Anthony M. Rysz, 90, died Friday, March 20, in Geisinger Community Medical Center emergency room after being stricken ill at home. His wife of 46 years is the former Marie Bednash Rysz. Bishop Rysz was the son of the late Aniela Szmyd Rysz and Joseph Rysz. Born in Old Forge, he was educated in local schools and attended the University of Scranton. During the Second World War, he served [...]Read More

Reflection for Passion Sunday 2015

22 March 2015 - By

The tide is rolling in.

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD. I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer will they have need to teach their friends and relatives how to know the LORD. All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says [...]Read More

Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Lent 2015

15 March 2015 - By

What is from God?

In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD inspired King Cyrus of Persia to issue this proclamation throughout his kingdom, both by word of mouth and in writing: “Thus says Cyrus, king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD, the God of heaven, has given to me, and he has also charged me [...]Read More

Reflection for the Solemnity of the Institution of the Polish National Catholic Church – 2015

8 March 2015 - By

And they will be amazed.

Then the righteous man will stand with great confidence in the presence of those who have afflicted him, and those who make light of his labors. When they see him, they will be shaken with dreadful fear, and they will be amazed at his unexpected salvation. They will speak to one another in repentance, and in anguish of spirit they will groan, and say, "This is the man whom we [...]Read More

Reflection for the Second Sunday of Lent 2015

1 March 2015 - By

Sometimes the test is almost impossible.

God put Abraham to the test. He called to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am!” he replied. Then God said: “Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you.”
Over recent weeks it seems that the number of troubles among those I know [...]Read More

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