Part 1 of Father Harris' Easter season homily series, “Arise: Experiencing Life in Christ.” Believing in the Risen Lord raises our expectations about what Jesus Christ can accomplish within us as we cooperate with Him. When we arise with faith in God, we trust that God will do what He has promised. We can cooperate with the Risen Lord by practicing the virtues of faith, hope, and love. God gave them to us through Holy Baptism. When we arise with faith in God, we trust in what God can do for Himself (i.e., rise from the dead), through His Church, and through each disciple. (Note: At one point, Father Harris had to address a major distraction in the church while he was preaching.)
When the “Holy Myrhhbearers” came to the tomb on the third day after His death, they expected Him to be dead. Other disciples had the same expectation, even though the Lord had taught otherwise. Easter is a reminder to allow the Risen Lord to raise our expectations about what He can accomplish in our lives with our cooperation.
Nicodemus believed that the signs that Jesus had performed showed that Jesus had come from God (cf. John 3:2). In the incarnation of Jesus, the only Son of God, God provides the remedy for our wounds of sin and death. The great sign that He will show is the offering of Himself being "lifted up" in His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension (cf. John 3:14-16). After Nicodemus sees Jesus lifted up in His crucifixion, he responds in love, living according to the truth (cf. John 19:38-42; John 3:21a)). Nicodemus put his faith to work. It was "clearly seen as done in God" (John 3:21b).
Part 2 of Father Harris’ Lenten homily series, “Beloved of God: A Redemptive Relationship.” To allow God to reign over us, we need a repentant mind, desiring what God desires for us. We need a regulated mind, guided by the Gospel of Christ as interpreted by His Church. As God enables us to do that, we will have a renewed mind. We also need a resolute mind. God refused to abandon us to sin and death because God loves us. God is resolved to offer salivation to us. We receive this gift through our resolution to allow God to save us, to set us free by the cross and resurrection of Christ. This is the lesson that the Apostle Petter must learn.
Part 1 of Father Harris’ Lenten homily series, “Beloved of God: A Redemptive Relationship.” Trust is at the heart of every loving relationship. Sin and death wounded the human condition when distrusting God led to disobeying God. The enemy of our souls continues to tempt us to distrust God. In the Gospel reading, the Lord Jesus invites us to have the right mindset to let God reign over our lives. Beloved children of God have minds that are: (1) repentant, (2) regulated by God's directions for fruitful living, and (3) renewed by God’s grace. These are not lofty goals that cannot be attained. We must not declare impossible what God makes possible through the gift of His life and love dwelling within us. Trusting in God with patience are expressions of loving God.
We commend ourselves and others to the Lord when we are sick. We believe in the Lord’s power to heal. The Gospel accounts of the healing miracles of the Lord inspire us not to place any limitations on God. This includes the way God chooses to heal. The experience of physical healing as an answer to prayer strengthens our faith. However, our faith can also be strengthened when we are not physically healed.
The Lord Jesus Christ is continuing to proclaim the Gospel of God and to build the Church of God. He invites people to live in fellowship with Him, following His teaching and example. The Lord intends for His Gospel to be applied to the concrete circumstances of life. In the Gospel reading, it is happened during a Sabbath Service at the Capernaum synagogue. The Lord teaches His disciples about the power of His Word to confront the oppression of evil and to overcome it.
The Gospel of God is the One who proclaims it and the content of His message. The message is comforting and challenging. The Lord Jesus Christ proclaims the Gospel of God and is building the Church of God by making disciples. Disciples are formed by the teaching and example of Jesus. They strive to accept the entirety of the Gospel. Our response to the Gospel of God is lived out in concrete ways. This is the context in which Jesus is making disciples who make disciples.
Getting back to the basics of Christian discipleship means to: (1) stay with Jesus; (2 ) see what Jesus does; and (3) serve in union with Jesus. We are representatives of the Lord in this world, inviting others to join us in being reconciled to God. We will continue to help our communities to recognize, respect, and protect, the inherent dignity of human life, body and soul.