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Thought for the weekend


By Fr Patrick McCafferty

The encounters between the Lord Jesus and His disciples, in the days immediately after His resurrection, have three common traits: grief, fear and ordinariness.

The Risen Lord meets the grieving Mary Magdalen and removes the cause of her sorrowful tears (John 20:11-18). He enters the room where His disciples in fear have barricaded themselves in and He breathes His peace upon them dispersing their terror (John 20:19-23).

And then there is the ordinariness of two friends on a journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus when Jesus catches up with them (Luke 24:13-35).

Or the encounter many will hear about gathered for worship this weekend (John 21:1-14), when He meets the disciples early in the morning when they are out fishing and cooks them breakfast.

These meetings with Christ are liberating, healing and transformative. They have a dynamic effect upon the disciples. Slow learners that they have been, that is all about to be changed by the promised Spirit. Now, they will mature quickly as their hearts, collectively and individually, are inflamed (Luke 24:32); and all that the Lord had been teaching them will become clear as the day.

The encounters with the Risen Jesus and the receiving from Him the Gift of the Holy Spirit makes courageous witnesses of men and women who were deeply traumatised by horrifying events and paralysed by fear and uncertainty.

The Fire of the Holy Spirit, kindled by the Lord's glorification and His defeat of Death, has spread from the apostles and early disciples across the earth and the centuries, to touch and illuminate our hearts and lives today.

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The Lord Jesus also meets us today, in 2019, in the ordinary events of daily life. In circumstances of grief, fear and anxiety, He comes to us. He journeys alongside us. He causes our hearts to burn within us as we walk the streets of Belfast, Dublin, Ballymena, Cork or wherever it is we find our lives to be unfolding.

Flames of the Bright Glory of Heaven are lit everywhere upon the earth and cannot be extinguished in the hearts of God's People. He who is Peace instils peace (Ephesians 2:14). We receive from Him the Gift of that very Spirit who raised Him from the dead (Romans 8:11) and who will make us, with Him, also victorious, despite every obstacle in our path and all that militates against us.

Belfast Telegraph


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