theROCK

in Faith

Until the End of the World

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If you have ever experienced the death of a loved one, you can appreciate what the apostles went through during Jesus’s crucifixion and death.

There you are, watching your dearest friend suffer the most horrific of deaths. You see his body taken down from the cross, all mangled, bloody, and cold, and placed in the arms of his mother. You watch as they wrap the body loosely in cloth, binding the body separate from the head, and place it in a tomb. You say your farewells quickly as the Sabbath is approaching and watch as the tomb is closed.

And then it begins – the sorrow, the ache, the emptiness. You go and seek the solace from the others. You share stories. You cry. You wonder what you will do now. You do this for three days.

Then one day, when you are all together, you all hear of this amazing news that a woman from the group has seen Jesus, you are held in disbelief. Disbelief until He is there before you. The rapture! The joy! The glory! You touch Him, you hug Him, you talk with Him, you eat with Him, you have time with Him.

For 40 days you get bonus time with Him, He whom you thought was dead! He encourages you to go out and tell the story. All the while, He is reminding you that one day He will ascend to the right hand of the Father. When Jesus does ascend into heaven, he says the following:

Full authority has been given to me both in heaven and on earth; go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you. And know that I am with you always, until the end of the world.” (Mk 28:18-20)

So know that Jesus does not ever leave. He is with us always. He is there loving you, encouraging you, and guiding you. You need only engage it to reap the graces from it.

Didymus

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I love Doubting Thomas! He’s one of my favorite saints, because he’s just so relatable. We often use his title as a negative thing, perhaps calling someone a “Doubting Thomas.” Really, he is just like you and me. Thomas put his heart and soul into Jesus, followed Him for three years, and gave away everything to be His disciple. Then what happened? Jesus was killed and laid dead in the tomb. Thomas’s heart was shattered.

So many events happen in our lives that shatter our hearts and which cause us to put up walls to protect ourselves. Like if we burn our hand on a hot stove—we make sure to be more careful the next time. Thomas got burned once, so he was not going to blindly believe and get burned again.  However, when Jesus appeared to him and showed Thomas his hands, feet, and side, what was his response? Thomas fell to the ground and cried out “My Lord and my God!” He simply believed.

Jesus says, blessed are those who believe and have not seen. True, we have not seen him like the disciples did in the upper room. However, we have seen the risen Jesus in many ways. In particular, we receive Jesus in the Eucharist.  Every time Jesus is placed in our hands, we should be filled with joy and be reminded of just how much Jesus loves each one of us.

What Time is Your Sunrise?

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On April 1, 2019, the sun rose in Milwaukee at 6:34 AM. At the end of April, the sun is projected to rise at 5:47 AM. This simple fact made me stop and reflect in awe.

Now I certainly know that the sunrise and sunset are constantly changing (we all learned that at a very young age), but I was surprised as to how much it changed— that’s a difference of 47 minutes in one month. That’s how fast the world is spinning and changing.  

What about you? How much have you changed from the beginning of Lent on March 6 until this very moment? Do you feel different? Do you have a deeper understanding of who you are? How have the past few weeks influenced your daily faith practices? Is your personal sunrise happening earlier in the day? Or are you still 47 minutes behind?

We are all giving the gift of 1440 minutes in a day. What we choose to do with these minutes is a personal decision. We still have time until we celebrate Easter. We still have time for prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We can still make a commitment to change.

Time waits for no one, but that doesn’t mean we can’t embrace it and use it to help shape us into the best person we can possibly be.

Posted by Dan Herda