Third Sunday of Easter – 2017

Third Sunday of Easter – 2017


Acts of the Apostles 2:14, 22-33.  These Acts of the Apostles are a record or history of the very early days of the Church.  Peter here proclaims the truth of Jesus the Nazorean. (Jesus the Nazorean is the full human name by which the man, i. e., the citizen of Israel Jesus is known.)  God worked mighty deeds through Jesus the man.  God raised up Jesus from the dead.  Peter sees this resurrection of Jesus as predicted by David in Psalm 16.  Now Jesus sits at the right hand of God, from which seat of authority Jesus poured forth the Spirit upon his chosen followers.

Luke 24:13-35.  Luke relates this treasured event of Jesus’ appearance to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.  It helps to understand how devastated the disciples of Jesus were at his death, seeing in it the apparent termination of their hopes in the redemption of Israel.  They were bewildered by the stories of the vision of angels and the empty tomb. They were on their way out of Jerusalem because, despite those stories, they still had no hope.  Jesus said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are!  How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!”  Their hearts and minds could not get passed what was commonly held by the ordinary people of their time and place.  This same thing happens to all of us. Only by rereading the Scriptures year after year does the Holy Spirit have a chance develop in us an ongoing understanding of what God wants us to know and so help mature us in holiness.   The disciples said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” What joy there is in growing in the Lord, in mind, heart and soul!  They return to Jerusalem to learn of Jesus’ appearance to Peter and to share their experience of Jesus’ appearance to them.  How important it is to have the eyes of faith so to experience the presence of Jesus not only in the breaking of the bread, the Mass, but also in so many times and in so many ways in our daily lives.

1 Peter 1:17-21.  “Beloved: If you invoke as Father him who judges impartially according to each one’s works, conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning, realizing that you were ransomed from your futile conduct.”  Nothing from our past, except for “the precious blood of Christ” releases us from our sins.  In the Gospel reading, the phrase ‘on the way’ and the word ‘walk’ appear a number of times.  In this reading the word ‘sojourning’ is used.  The Church in its wisdom in the funeral liturgies uses the concept of life as a journey to the Lord and death as a transitioning to our destination, if, of course, we were on the right road.  “Jesus said (to Thomas), I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.’”   (John 14:6)  Jesus himself is the right road.  In the Gospel with the death of Jesus on the cross the hope of the disciples in Jesus died or was close to death.  Peter makes it clear at the end of his epistle that, if our faith and hope are in God, our faith and hope has been resurrected and so we have life for eternity.

2nd Sunday of Easter – April 16, 2023

East2A23.   Acts of the Apostles.    2:42-47.   The early followers of the resurrected Jesus boldly met together in the temple area but celebrated the ‘breaking bread’ or Mass in their homes.  “All who believed were together and had all things in common,” expecting that Jesus would be coming soon to take them up to heaven.  “Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.”

John 20:19-31.   The disciples were in fear that the Jewish authorities might do to them what they had done to Jesus on the cross.  However, Jesus assures them as he says, “Peace be with you.”  Preparing them to continue his work, since he would be ascending into heaven, Jesus says, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”  They are to enable people to believe in Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit, uniting themselves to Jesus as a holy people with forgiveness of their sins.  Believing in Jesus so that he was their life, they would “have life in his name,” the salvation of their souls.    By being in the physical presence of the resurrected Jesus, the Apostles knew that he was the Messiah.  It was the miracle beyond all miracles.  In our times, Jesus calls us to have the faith or belief that he is the Son of God by living in his spiritual presence without having any physical assurances.  Living in the faith that does not see, yet believes, is our being tested by fire, in a world that rejects belief in what is not seen.

1 Peter 1:3-9.  “Although you have not seen him, you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”  Jesus is our joy, daily giving a heavenly life to an otherwise worldly existence.



2nd Sunday of Easter – 2020

East2A20.  Acts of the Apostles 2:42-47.   The newly established community of Christians “devoted themselves to the teaching of the Apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.”  “They would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each’s needs.” Their intense focus on being wholly and thoroughly devoted to cultivating their spiritual life in Christ seems to me to offer the paragon, the ideal of Christian life for all ages to come.  However, there has been some controversy as to whether or not they were expecting Jesus to come quite soon and so they deposed themselves of only the material things  they needed up to the time that Jesus would take them to heaven.  What is known is that Paul often appealed to his converts (Acts of the Apostles 24:14; Romans 15:25-28; 1 Corinthians 16:1-3; 2 Corinthians 8:1-15; 2 Corinthians 9:11-13) “to make some contribution for the poor among the holy ones in Jerusalem.” (Romans 16:26b)

John 20:1-9.   Fear is the natural reaction to the perceived threat of danger.  In this earthly life we are always in danger of spiritual harm.  When we live each day in the almighty Lord there can be no reason for fear because he is always saying to us, “Peace be with you.”

Then he says to his disciples, “Receive the Holy Spirit,” who helps them to mature in holiness themselves as well as to enable others to be holy.  In Matthew 5:48, Jesus says, “So be perfect (holy), just as your heavenly Father is perfect (holy).”  In the synoptic parallel to that verse Jesus says in Luke 6:36, “Be merciful (loving), just as [also] your Father is merciful (loving).”  Jesus enables his disciples to be instruments of the Spirit in the Spirit’s task to bring holiness to those who live by the life of the Holy Spirit within them by giving his disciples the merciful power to forgive sins.  However, to those who reject the life of the Spirit, the disciples can retain their sins, since they have rejected the mercy of God.    In John 14:1a Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. “ (Be at peace)  Then in John 14:4 Jesus said, “Where [I] am going you know the way.” Thomas, forever the everyday day realist of this down-to-earth world, said in John 14:5, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?”  Jesus was speaking of the spiritual way and not of an earthly road trip.  In today’s gospel Thomas thinks as any ordinary down-to-earth person thinks, ‘When you’re dead, you’re dead.  That’s all there is and there is nothing else.  When the once-dead Jesus and now-alive Jesus tells Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands and bring your hand and put it into my side,” Thomas’ rock hard earthliness comes crashing down.  In this stunningly quick turn of events, he has learned that the spiritual is more real than the material.  In 2 Corinthians 4:18b Paul said, “For what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.”  We ourselves can learn from an inner spiritual life that the Holy Spirit gives us that what is more vibrant and fulfilling is not what is seen in the outward visible world.  We can come to the realization that what feels real in the outer world will soon fade away and disappear  but what is real and true forever comes from our relationship with the invisible Christ.   “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

1 Peter 1:3-9.   From Christ we have “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith, to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time.”  “Although you have not seen him, you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you will rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”


2nd Sunday of Easter – 2017

E2A.  Acts of the Apostles 2:42-47.  This Epistle reading begins with the word ‘they’ who, from the verses preceding this Sunday Epistle, were the three thousand converted to faith in Jesus by Peter’s sermon.  The Apostles continued to teach them as they all lived together sharing all their physical resources, meeting together in the temple area and “breaking bread together in their homes.”  They were meeting the temple area because at that early time they still thought of themselves as Jews.  It would appear that ‘breaking bread together’, what we call now the Mass, was done in the context of the family meal without a priest/presbyter.  There is the conjecture that the lifestyle of having all things in common arose of their commonly held assumption that Christ’s second coming, when the universe would come to an end, was near and so there was no need to provide for the future but simply use up the physical things they already had.  Later Paul would collect money from the people to whom he preached for the poor Christians in Jerusalem who were living in poverty because of the practice of not providing for the future. (Romans 15:25-28; 1 Corinthians 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8 & 9; Galatians 2:10)  They lived in an idyllic joy.  “Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.”  God kept enriching his Church with many miracles which made the Church very attractive to the people of Jerusalem.  “And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.”

John 20:19-31.  John’s gospel has a different timeline than the Synoptics’.  This gospel begins, “On the evening of the first day of the week,” which is our Easter day.  However, shortly after his greeting to the Apostles, it relates, “He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”  For John Pentecost occurs on Easter day.  With the Spirit the Apostles receive the power to forgive sins, which the Jews had reserved to only God Himself.  Of course, we believe that both the Spirit and the power to forgive sins are given to the Church because the Apostles represent the Church, the new Israel, God’s new people.  The joy of the Apostles upon seeing Jesus alive and well was very great.  On this occasion, Jesus says, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”  Jesus commissions the Apostles and also the whole Church to go forth and bring all people to accept Jesus as their Christ and God.  What is written in these Scriptures is not so much a record of the past as a message to the future calling upon us to be likewise believers as those followers of the Christ in the past.

Thomas whose personality is revealed here and in other places in the Scriptures represents the down-to-earth show-me types who have a very hard time moving past the ordinary everyday material world.  He says, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, etc., I will not believe.”  In other words I will not put my trust in what I cannot physically see, especially of a man who I know is dead.  When Jesus does show himself to Thomas, Thomas recognizes in the risen Jesus not only someone human but even more importantly someone divine, “My Lord and my God!”  The belief that is the entrusting of our lives to someone goes beyond just knowing that something is true because there is something there that is a physical reality.  The faith or belief that is the entrusting of our lives to someone requires that we see in that person a quality that is greater than anything that the merely physical can reveal.  The lesson that Jesus gives us for all times is: “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

John seems to end his gospel twice: here in John 20:30-31 and in John 21:24-25, recognizing that it is impossible to get down everything in the written word of what Jesus did or said, nor is it necessary.  What is written is not written to say it all but “that you may [come to] believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of god, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.”

1 Peter 1:3-9.

“Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet you believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious faith, the salvation of your souls.”  Once again the theme of not seeing but believing is repeated.  “As we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)  “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)  To know is to see; I do not need to believe in what I see, since my eyes tell me I know it is right in front of me.  Belief or trust is to recognize something as true even though I cannot physically verify it by seeing it to be so.  The resurrection of Christ requires faith; the redemption gained for us by Jesus to eternal life requires faith, “for we walk by faith, not by sight.”

Easter – April 9, 2023

East1A23.  Originally this speech was addressed to the Roman centurion, his relatives and close friends.   The Church has placed it here to address all the People of God so to give us a narrative background for Easter Sunday.  What Jesus did on Good Friday was to offer us who receive him as our Savior the opportunity to live now and forever as faithful sons and daughters of God our Father.

John 20:1-9.  I imagine that Mary Magdalene was drawn to the tomb when it was so early that Sunday morning though it was still dark since Jesus was everything to her, even though she could only expect that the stone over the tomb would still be in place.  However, Mary, seeing the stone removed from the tomb, did not even think to peek inside, imagining that the tomb could well have been robbed; but immediately ran to tell the disciples.  She said to them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.”  The disciples saw that the tomb was empty but apparently did not comprehend what had come to pass, “for they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.”   Believing, even we do not yet understand, is the way of faith.

Colossians 3:1-4.  The traditional symbolism of baptism is to be immersed in the water as a sign of being buried and dying to our sinfulness so then to rise to our new life in Christ Jesus.  Paul wrote in Romans 6:5: “For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection.”  While we live physically in this world, this world easily becomes what life is all about for us.  To live in Christ is to live passively to this world but interiorly active to the God who is really our life.  Life in Christ demands that we draw upon his love as our life in complete submission to his will.  God, and God alone, is life.  Everything else is passing.

Easter – 2020

Easter1A20.   Acts of the Apostles 10:34a, 37-43.  “God appointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power.  He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.  We are witnesses of all that he did.”  Peter goes on to say,   “He commissioned us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead.” Peter and the Apostles are proclaiming that Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior from God himself.   As Isaiah 42:1a & b proclaims, “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit.”

John 20:1-9.   Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark.  Mary did not understand that Jesus had arisen; she was in the dark.  She ran to the men, assuming as had often happened that grave robbers had stolen Jesus’ body.  When Peter and John arrived and saw that the linens were still there; and, if the grave robbers had been there, that is what they would have stolen because of its worth to them, the Holy Spirit helped John to remember that Jesus had  spoken of his resurrection.  “He saw and believed;” even though “they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.”  The earthly vault, the tomb, was powerless to keep Jesus locked into death.

Colossians 3:1-4.  “Think of what is above, not what is on earth.”  We also are able to break out of earth’s tomb of worldly human ways of thinking so to be joined by the power of the Holy Spirit into Christ’s resurrection into heaven.

1 Corinthians 5:6b-8.  This world leavens our lives “with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness.”  Leave that buried in the tomb of the death of this world to come alive to God’s living spirit of sincerity and truth.


Easter – 2017

Easter17.   Acts of the Apostles 10:34a, 37-43.  Peter, appointed by Jesus to lead the Church, speaks, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power.” “This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible, not to all the people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance.”  Here Luke, traditionally accepted as the author of the Acts of the Apostles, seems to see Jesus as man empowered by God but not God in himself.   Apparently for Luke that would be a later development.  The Apostles are witnesses to all he did while he walked this earth, to his resurrection to full life again, able to eat and drink.  Peter goes on to say: “he commissioned us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead.  To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”  Both the Apostles and the prophets are witnesses to believing in him will bring one eternal salvation.

John 20:1-9.  Jesus had foretold at various times that he was to suffer, be put to death and then arise.  It appears that no one, not even Mary of Magdala nor the Apostles, took him at his word. The last line of this Gospel says, “For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.” One commentary states that the Greek from which this gospel was translated indicates that it appeared that Jesus miraculously slipped out of burial cloths, leaving them empty of the body that had been in them, with the cloth that had covered his head, removed and placed in a separate place.  The word tomb is mentioned in this gospel seven times, I believe, to indicate the empty tomb with the stone rolled back is a physical witness to the resurrection of Jesus.  Peter’s authority and leadership is clearly accepted by John, since he waited for Peter, more important than he, to enter first.  John goes into the tomb “and he saw and believed” that the tomb was empty.

Colossians 3:1-4.  “Seek what is above,” “Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”  After Jesus had told his disciples that he had to suffer and die and then Peter rebuked Jesus for thinking that way, then Jesus in turn rebuked Peter saying, “You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” (Matthew 16:18)  We are people who live in this world, not in heaven.  This world can, and easily does, drown us in its way of thinking, feeling and acting.  The Holy Spirit, who is far more powerful than our good intentions and will power, can enable us to have Jesus as our life.  With Christ as our life, one day he will share his glory with us.

1 Corinthians 5:6b-8.  “Let us celebrate the feast, not with old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”  Yeast could be symbolically thought of as an evil, corrupting force; whereas being unleavened was thought of as growing in the purity of the “sincerity and truth” of Christ.  If we dine on the lamb, that is the paschal lamb that is Christ, the bread of our meal must be unleavened, i.e. pure, not corrupted by the evil of this world (Exodus 12:1-15).  We ought not to mix the sinful ways of this world with holy ways of God.


Palm Sunday – April 2, 2023

PalmA23.  Isaiah 50:4-7.    The Lord chose Isaiah to announce to the Hebrews what he knew that they needed to hear, but they did not want to hear it.  So the Hebrews physically attacked Isaiah.  “I gave my back to those who beat me.” “My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting.”  However, that did not stop Isaiah from doing what the Lord wanted of him.  Isaiah prefigures or shows in advance what Jesus was to encounter.

Matthew 26:14–27:66.  In order to resurrect Lazarus, Jesus had returned to Bethany, which was near Jerusalem, realizing quite clearly that he was in fact delivering himself into the hands of the Jewish authorities who were seeking to kill him.  With the miracle of resurrecting Lazarus, “many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what he had done began to believe in him.” (John 11:45)  Seeing the increasing popularity of Jesus made the Jewish authorities even more resolute to kill Jesus.  By his humble yet glorious entry on a donkey into Jerusalem, Jesus was even further offering himself up to be sacrificed on the cross.  In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said, “My soul is sorrowful even to death,” by which I understand that he meant that his fear at the revulsion of his anticipated suffering seemed to be enough to kill him.  Nonetheless, he said, “My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!”  He also said, “But all this has come to pass that the writings of the prophets may be fulfilled.”  He surrendered himself in an obedience to his Father’s Will that came out of love.

Philippians 2:6-11.  “He humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”  God entered into humanity to offer himself up as a sacrifice so to redeem us from our sins.  How magnificent is the love of Jesus for us!  When we look at the crucifix, we are in awe of how he has and does love us.  May the glorious, heavenly Jesus be the Lord of our lives.

Palm Sunday – 2020

PalmA20.    Isaiah 52:13-53:12.   “Therefore I will give him his portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty, because he surrendered himself to death and was counted among the wicked; and he shall take away the sins of many, and win pardon for their offenses.”  It is unknown whether Isaiah meant this for himself or for another.  However, it seems clear to me that God wrote this through Isaiah to refer to Jesus, since it fits him so perfectly.  We sinners have a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, born into this world to die for us on the cross.

John 18:1 – 19:42.  Jesus the Nazorean is the human name for Jesus.  He answers:  “I AM,” which is to say that not only is he human but also divine.  “When he said to them, “I AM,” they turned away and fell to the ground.  In doing so, unconsciously through the power of God, they recognized for the moment his divinity.  That was only for the moment since from that moment on, they we were to treat him viciously.  Simon   Peter was ready to put up a fight but Jesus , wishing to offer himself willingly, was ready  to be a sacrifice for our sins, saying, “Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?”

Pilate asks Jesus, “What you done?”  Jesus answers that he claims to be a king but not of this world.  Jesus claims to testify to the truth.  I understand Pilate’s response, “What is the truth?” to mean that he believes there is no such thing as truth.  That particular group of Jews that were rabidly intent on killing Jesus was a select group that had much to lose if the ordinary Jewish people were left to follow Jesus and not them.  They pressed Pilate to execute Jesus or else they would make great trouble for Pilate with Caesar.  Pilate, out of fear of them, handed Jesus over to them to be crucified.  By forcing Pilate to acquiesce to the killing of Jesus, although it is out of an evil and vicious intent, they have unknowingly and unwittingly become a part in our redemption.  To those who think only as humans think, they seemed to have won.  However, they only have deceived themselves.  The truth is that the victory belongs to the Redeemer and we who are redeemed.  Because there is a God, in the end evil is always self-destructive.  The victory always belongs to God and to those who live in union with God’s Will.  God is the truth or the only genuine reality.  All else is a lie and will perish in the end.

Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9.  Jesus, the divine Son of God, is at the same time the human Jesus of Nazareth, who, because he is as human as we are, is able to sympathize with our weakness. “So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.”  In his divinity Jesus was all-knowing and therefore was never in need of learning anything, but in his humanity he was as human as we are.  All through his life Jesus knew that that he was born to suffer and die for us on the cross but what we know in our minds needs more time to be accepted by our hearts.  Our human nature is to defend our lives and do our best not to have our lives taken from us. Nevertheless, Jesus learned from his suffering to offer up his life as a sacrifice for us in obedience to his Father’s will.  In Luke 22:42-44, Jesus said, “’Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.’  And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him.  He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground.” “And when he was made perfect, (that is as any human being can become holy as God is holy) he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” Jesus’ obedience on the cross has opened the entrance to heaven for us.  Jesus said in John 10:7a, “I am the gate for the sheep, and in John 10:8, “Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.”

Palm Sunday – 2017

PalmA.  Isaiah 50:4-7.  Here Isaiah prefigures Jesus.  “I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting.  The Lord God is my help.”  We speak of Jesus’ Passion because he was passive to the abuse and horrors others poured out on him for the sake of offering himself up as a sacrifice to redeem us from our sins.  It was God the Father’s will that he did this.  There is no shame in pleasing God.

Matthew 26:14 – 27:66.  Judas Iscariot, chosen by Jesus to be an Apostle, sells Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.  Jesus could have stopped this treachery easily but instead freely delivers himself to be offered as a once-and-for-all oblation for our redemption.  At the celebration of the Passover meal with his apostles, he offers himself up liturgically as a ritual sacrifice, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”  He gave the cup to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is the blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.”  Even though he himself was standing there, it was his  very own body and blood for the sacrifice for our redemption.  How is bread and wine his body and blood?  It is so because he, God, said so!

Rather they put gall in my food, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. (Psalm 69:22)  At the Last Supper, Jesus says, “I tell you, from now on I shall not drink this fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father.” (Matthew 26: 29)  The cup of wine at the Last Supper is a cup of Jesus’ life and love for us.  The wine mixed with gall given Jesus on the cross is the wine of hatred and envy.  The cup of Jesus’ prayer in his agony in the garden is a cup of pain and extreme sorrow.  “Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again, ‘My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done.’” (Matthew 26:42)  The very reason for Jesus’ coming into this world was our redemption through his passion and death.  Jesus in his humanity, recoiling at the approaching excruciating horror that he was to suffer, had made his prayer but was always willing to submit himself to his Father’s will .  Because of his own humanness, he recognized the reason for the Apostles’ failure to stay awake, by previously saying, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”(Matthew 26:41b)

There is a something of a parallel between Peter and Judas, in that both betray Jesus out of a faith in themselves and not God.  The difference is that, when Judas recognized that he had betrayed innocent blood, he despaired and hung himself because he, who was the basis of his own life, had failed and he did not have a spiritual life by which he could turn to God for forgiveness.  Peter, weeping bitterly, was open to having a merciful God that enabled him to find his way back to that same God.

The Jewish authorities first needed to convict him by their own law.  Jesus, saying, “From now on you will see ‘the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power’ and ‘coming on the clouds of heaven,’” offers them ample evidence of his claim to divinity and so they convict him of blasphemy.  However, at the same time they reject ample evidence of his claim to divinity in the multitude of miracles he worked and for which they tried to convict him by working some of those miracles on a Sabbath.

The Jewish authorities handed Jesus over to Pilate the governor, appointed by Rome to rule over the Jewish people of Jerusalem because the Romans had taken away from the Jewish authorities the power to execute anyone.  Pilate, knowing that his authority from Rome rested on his ability to keep the peace, “seeing that a riot was breaking out,” handed him over to be crucified by the Roman soldiers.  The soldiers tortured and belittled Jesus, taking great sadistic pleasure seeing him suffer at their hands.  Likewise, everyone who came by Jesus on the cross reviled and mocked him, acting as though he were helpless; when in reality he was willing offering himself up as a sacrifice.

Philippians 2:6-11.  The footnotes from The New American Bible, With Revised New Testament(1987), p1340, states: “Perhaps an early Christian hymn quoted here by Paul.  The short rhythmic lines fall into two parts, vv6-8 where the subject of every verb is Christ, and vv9-11 where the subject is God.  The general pattern is thus of Christ’s humiliation and then exaltation.” The footnote on v6 states: “Either a reference to Christ’s preexistence and those aspects of divinity that he was willing to give up in order to serve in human form, or to what the man Jesus refused to grasp at to attain divinity.”  The rest of the notes are worth consulting, especially that of v10 (”every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth”): “a reference to the three levels  in the universe, according to ancient thought, heaven, earth, under the earth.”