Posts By: Fr. Alfonse
John 13:16-17 Be Careful
Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter
(Click here for readings)

When Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, he said to them:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master
nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.
If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.
I don’t understand Jesus’s dictum most of the time. I wonder how many of my friends may have gotten into a “better” college than I did. I feel a little  insecure about people who do better than me, and a little superior to people are doing “worse” than me (in quotes because no one does “worse” than anyone else, only differently). And if we’re being honest with ourselves, most of us feel a little insecure when we know a colleague might be up for a big promotion, when a friend moves on to a bigger, better, job, when a friend’s child is accepted to an Ivy League school and ours is rejected from a state university. But it’s okay. Jesus tells us in this Gospel that it’s all going to be okay because no person is greater than anyone else. Despite the decisions that we make, despite any mistakes or awards, despite any promotions or positions, we are all equal in God’s eyes, if not in the eyes of the world.
The next time you look at someone sideways, with narrowed eyes because they seem to be doing “better” than you, remember that we are all equal. Even the saints are on the same footing with us, and they’re considered some of the holiest people…but only by us. If we attain heaven, we are all “saints” in God’s eyes.  But God knows that there’s a capacity in each of us for greatness and a capacity for doing bad things, and it is up to us to choose. We all have an equal ability to choose right and wrong, but even if we choose wrong, our decisions to not make us “less” in God’s eyes. And those are the only eyes that matter.
John 8: 10-11 Prayer is Power
Woman, where are they?
Has no one condemned you?”
She replied, “No one, sir.”
Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you.
Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”
It’s really easy to condemn others. There’s always someone “worse” than yourself–someone who does less work than you at the office but gets more praise, someone who is an alcoholic or cheats on her husband, or someone in school who’s on drugs. It’s really easy to sit back in your chair, look heavenwards, and say “Well, she’s not going to Heaven.”
Well, are we?
All sin is sin. Although some sins seem worse than others, each sin hurts Jesus’s heart, some just hurt him more. It’s really easy to judge others without looking at ourselves, to think about every  single thing that someone else has done while forgiving ourselves for anything wrong we have done. But we should forgive not only ourselves, but others, because Jesus is able to forgive us. For everything.
Let’s put everything in perspective and view everyone as our comrades in getting to Heaven. Even though some are farther down the ladder to Heaven than others, we can always pull them up. Picture everyone you know, in armor made of light, fighting to get to Heaven but constantly being pushed down by temptation. Reach up for Jesus’s hand, reach down for someone else’s, and pull them up. You can do this in a few ways. If someone goes to you for advice, just listen. Don’t say anything. Just listen, and think about their problem. THey might even work it out when speaking to you. Then, before you say anything, ask the intercession of the Holy Spirit. Say “Come, Holy Spirit.” Then, speaking slowly, offer your advice. And then pray for them whether or not they choose to accept it.
Make a prayer list for specific prayers. Pray for your kids or your parents or your priest. Pray for Jude Cobler, who is a fourth grader who recently got cancer for the second time. Pray for the persecuted Christians in the Middle East, but also for the persecuted people of all faiths and none the world over. And whenever you see someone who might need a little divine help, close your eyes and just say a little prayer. And then, if there’s any action that you can do to help that person, do it. Faith and actions are the most powerful together.

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