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Thursday, April 8, 2021

Reflection 2021-04-09 Friday in the Octave of Easter

Acts 4:1-12; Psalm 118; John 21:1-14
As we approach the end of the Octave, we slowly see the kind of Messiah Jesus is. It is through his name, we will be healed, it is through his name, our sins are forgiven and today, Peter said There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved. This Messiah has to suffer and die. But God raised the Messiah and he now lives with the Father I heaven. Yet, his name has power because at the resurrection, all power and authority has been given to him by the Father. In every testimony Peter gave, the following are mentioned:
  1. Jesus was a man who performed many miracles.
  2. Jesus was crucified.
  3. Jesus was raised from the dead.
  4. It is through his name, healing, forgiveness of sin and salvation is attained. This is possible when we reject wicked ways.
This is the basic message of the Gospel or what is called the kerygma. Before anything else, the kerygma has to be proclaimed because this is what people have to hear. While there is merit to teach about social justice and life issues, we need to proclaim the kerygma so people can know who they are believing. Our faith is not a set of doctrine or practices. It is belief, trust and obedience to Jesus, the Son of God who became man.
This is why in the Gospel today, Peter and his companions did not catch anything until Jesus told them to cast the net to the right side of the boat. We do not know why Peter wanted to go fishing, but six of his companions went with him. When John told Peter it is the Lord, Peter jumped out of the boat to meet Jesus. For Peter, the great catch did not matter, what matters is Jesus himself. The interesting thing about this passage is what St John wrote: none of the disciples dared to ask him “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. There was certainty the man before them is Jesus, but they did not recognize him. This is the attribute of the Risen Jesus. We will not recognize him but we will know it is him.
Our faith in the Risen Christ is not based on certainty of the what we see or what will happen. It is based on the Person of Jesus himself. We trust when we are with him we are safe. In the midst of this pandemic, many people have made gods of government officials, proclaiming them infallible in their order to lockdown the province or country. Many look to the vaccine as the silver bullet that will solve this pandemic. Yet, the truth is, our government officials have feet of clay. They are not infallible. The vaccine is not the silver bullet that will save us. It is worth repeating what Peter said There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved. People are afraid of dying because of the virus, yet the more important thing is to be afraid of dying in the state of sin. It is a sad thing that in a society that pushes for abortion and the murder of the elderly, and of the dignity of the human person, people are afraid to die from COVID. Yet if people look after the eternal salvation of their souls, it will benefit them far more than being saved from the virus.
Lord, I trust that you know all things and you have the best planned for me. Let me trust that you alone can save me. Let me not look at people or things to save me, but may I choose to look after my salvation.

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