GREETINGS: Do you think that people can change? Do you think that people with addictions can change? Do you think that bad people can change into good people? Do you think that people who are fearless can become fearful and do you think that people who are fearful can become fearless?
I think that people can change, IF they are motivated by something that is strong enough and powerful enough to overcome their addiction or fear. IF they open their eyes and are willing to see the FACTS!
Think about the Apostles before the Resurrection and after the Resurrection. Before the Resurrection they were insecure, fearful, whiny, doubting, self-centered, cowering and weak. But after the Resurrection they changed. They are amazingly and inexplicably transformed. They have become faith-filled, courageous, outspoken, strong, and fearless!
What changed them? The FACT of the Resurrection! The fact! Notice I said the FACT! Not some warm fuzzy “feeling” about Jesus! Not some poetic myth! They KNEW the Resurrection was an actual, verifiable, eye witnessed, documented FACT! They had seen Jesus, they had talked to Him, they touched Him, they ate with Him. They knew He had been dead, and He was now alive!
If they had been confused, dishonest or deluded about the Resurrection, certainly one or more of the Apostles, at some point, would have admitted and confessed this under the pressure of torture and death. Yet none did! And all were tortured and all, except St. John, were put to death and died very willingly for this FACT! They gave up friends, family, and home because they knew that Eternal Life Jesus promised was a FACT.
Their witness never wavered. They changed their lives because of what they knew as fact. No other explanation is possible to account for this change in their lives, except that they had seen Jesus alive after He had been put to death!
The change, the absolute faith, and the complete confidence of the Apostles is a tremendous witness for us today. Yet to that, we can add the testimony of well over five hundred others, documented, firsthand, eyewitnesses! And to that we can add over 25,000 documents, written in 15 languages, all from within only a few hundred years of the Resurrection of Jesus!!! Add to that over 5,600 manuscripts that still exist, all dating to within only a few years or decades of the Resurrection! This documentary evidence testifying to the fact of the Resurrection is even, in some cases, from hostile and anti-Christian sources!
No other historical event in the ancient world is so well documented and witnessed than the Resurrection! Add to this that Jesus fulfills in His life, exactly, the hundreds of prophecies, made thousands of years before hand, to pinpoint Him as the Messiah, the Savior, the Son of God! God is so good that He actually described Jesus, His life, His actions, His death AND Resurrection for us, thousands of years before they happened, just so that we would be able to recognize Him when He came, without question or doubt, and follow Him with absolute confidence, to Eternal Life.
Add to this the fact that science today is finding more and more proofs to support the existence of God! Astronomers and other scientists are finding that more and more of the facts of creation point to necessity of the existence of an almighty and all-powerful God Who created everything from nothing in an instant!
We can allow our prejudice and bigotry to distort the facts. We can allow our lifestyle to blind us to the facts. We can be lazy and ignore the facts. But the Fact IS – God exists. The Fact is – Jesus exists. The Fact is – Jesus rose from the Dead. The Fact is – that Jesus has proved that He is Who He said He is, and the Fact is – that means that His promises are valid!!!
The Fact is He has promised us Eternal Life and the Fact is that He has the authority and power to fulfill that promise! You and I are the recipients of that promise!!! We, like the Apostles can live with confidence that we will live forever in Eternity! We like the Apostles can be assured that with Jesus and with the Church He gave us, we will get from here to Eternity in peace and joy to perfect peace and joy!
The sad news is that so many actually and willingly chose to ignore Jesus and His Church because of “feelings!” I have seen so many people leave the Church because of a priest, a bishop, a parishioner and complain that “they hurt me, they don’t understand, they are too critical, they are so negative……!” Excuse me….. we are surrounded by weak, fallible human humans…. But I go to Church for Jesus and for His promises!
I go to Church because it is the ONLY place I can receive Jesus! I go to Church because Jesus Himself said that IT is HIS Way, HIS Truth and HIS Life! I go to Church because Jesus wants us to work together to build HIS Kingdom here and into Eternity! I go to Church because Jesus wants us to love one another in spite of our weaknesses, our foibles, our sins, our shortcomings, our negativity, our complaining, our stupidity (need I go on?)!!! If you have been going to church for some priest, bishop or parishioner or any “social” experiences….. get a life….. and get Jesus!!!! Jesus is the Reason…. the ONLY reason for Church and the ONLY way to Heaven!
Bottom line: JESUS ROSE FROM THE DEAD! That proves that Jesus is Who He said He is…..God Almighty…..AND that means all his promises and Eternal Life are true and ours!!!!!! Sooooo if the Apostles could change and become powerful and courageous and faith-filled….. what’s to stop us?!
HAPPY EASTER AND GOD BLESS YOU, FR. CHARLES