The Lord Is Risen! Happy Easter!
I want to take this opportunity to thank all of our partners and supporters during this Holy Week and Easter Season!
We live in a time where there is so much bad news. It's great to hear the good news of the gospel in Jesus Christ! So many of us need encouragement to face the many setbacks that could easily become opportunities for discouragement and even despair. This Easter we remember that the Lord is risen! All things are possible with God! Good news always overcomes bad news in the end when viewed with the eyes of faith, hope, and love in Christ.
We have many resurrection stories to share with you. The All Things Are Possible TV series is off to a great start, and the JMT Itinerary Ministry is going full steam across America and internationally. I am so grateful to be still active in ministry at this stage in my life. We also see resurrection signs budding forth with new vocations in the Monastic and Domestic expressions of The Brothers and Sisters of Charity. And we cannot fail to mention with some homespun excitement that the Little Portion Bakery with Viola's Granola and the Hermit Cookies is starting to create quite a buzz of excitement. So we are genuinely excited about the resurrection we see in our community and ministries!
We live in a time when perhaps more than ever before in our lifetime our culture needs to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ again! We need Catholic revival! Our entire nation needs revival in Christ! All things are possible with God, so this dream is not unfounded. Faith is the “substance" (Greek: hypostisis), or “personification" of things hoped for, things not yet seen. Faith brings into the now the things that we only hope for in the future. We walk by faith in these things, and not merely by the sight of current setbacks, challenges, or even failures. Let's all dare to have faith that true revival in Jesus Christ can happen in our day and time, in this culture, right now! This is the message of Easter this year for me. And I hope it is for you too!
We know that you who support us and partner with us so beautifully also face your own challenges, setbacks, and opportunities for greater faith. This Easter season reminds us that Love always conquers self of session and hatred, forgiveness always conquers judgment, justice always conquers vengeance, kindness always conquers cruelty, and humility and meekness always conquer ego and pride. Jesus is risen! Jesus is the victor! He is the life that conquers death, The light that conquers darkness, the hope that conquers despair, and the love that conquers the self obsession and eventual hatred that is so prevalent throughout our world today.
So I want to say with great enthusiasm: Happy Easter! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
I love you guys, and pray for you every day. I am so grateful to have you as partners in this exciting ministry at this point in history of our nation, and at this time in our life and in our world. Thank you so much.
John Michael Talbot
Founder, Minister General, and Spiritual Father
The Complete JMT Easter Blessing 2013
He Is Risen: Nothing Is Impossible With God!
Jesus Is Risen! It is medically impossible to bring someone back to new life after death, but that is what happened with Jesus! He Is Risen! Nothing is impossible with God!
This has special significance this year. We live in a time of great fear and discouragement. But we also see signs of great hope. Much simply seems impossible, but nothing is impossible with God!
In the West, the economy continues to sputter with starts and stops. This creates an environment of subtle, and not so subtle, hesitation and fear underlying everything that we do. Promiscuity and the devaluation of human life continue to spread morally and with a legal reflection with abortion, and deterioration of traditional marriage. For the first time in our lifetime this is affecting genuine religious freedom even in America that was built on religious freedom. Those who hold traditional religious values are called hatemongers and morally repugnant. The world has seemingly gone mad and been turned upside down regarding anything we once held moral or sacred.
Even the Church is affected. For anyone who reads the news and investigates a bit, the sex scandals are still with us, as are problems with the Roman Curia and the Vatican Bank. The corrupt earlier days of the Borgias and the like do not seem that far removed when we read some of these modern accounts. It is enough to truly sicken any Christian stomach. The Church has taken rather dogged behind the scenes steps to correct these abuses, but they are largely unseen by the public, so many are still discouraged.
But we also live just a week or so after the announcement of a new Pope who is setting the world ablaze by an example of gospel simplicity! From the moment he walked onto the balcony at St. Peter’s dressed in a simple white tunic instead of full vestments, and the name of “Francis,” we knew something was up. Since then his spontaneous walks and prayers among the people, moving from the Papal Apartments at the Vatican Palace to a simple two room suite for clerics, and his celebration of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper in a youth detention facility and washing of prisoner’s feet has shaken both the secular and religious world, and shaken it for the better! He is calling clearly, but simply, for clerical reform. He is showing that simply daring to believe in the cross and resurrection of Jesus and to act on it through the humility and simplicity of God’s love is really enough to shake the world. And shaking the world he is! Literally day by day Pope Francis is shattering the religious and secular mold by simple gospel acts of kindness, humility, and genuine charity. He is filling the often discouraged world with great amazement and hope. It is the amazement and hope that only Jesus can bring. This is a sign of great hope in Christ!
Jesus’s resurrection on Easter displays once and for all the victory of simplicity over unnecessary religious and secular complications, gospel poverty over the consumerism that consumes, listening obedience over self absorbed individualism that constantly talks without ever really communicating, and the chaste self emptying divine love that fulfills humanity over the sexual promiscuity and perversion that destroys any real humanity. He shows us the way of unity and communion over division, humility over pride, and service over lordship.
In the world our problems seem simply “impossible” to overcome. But the Easter victory of Jesus displays that they are not! Nothing Is Impossible With God!
The word “impossible,” comes from the Greek, “αδυνατοσ, adynatos.” It means “without strength.” The root word, “δυνατοσ, dynatos,” is similar to another Greek word, “δυναμισ, dynamis,” which means “power.” It is where we get the English word, “dynamite!” It is used of the power of the Holy Spirit through Whom we can do seemingly impossible things!
In the cross and resurrection of Jesus love can overcome hatred, forgiveness can overcome our tendency to judgment, and justice can overcome the tendency for vengeance in the name of justice. Gentleness can overcome cruelty, and humility can overcome pride. Sacred silence can overcome the noise of the world, and sacred stillness can overcome the world’s agitations. How? By letting go of the old self through the cross so that we might be raised up a new creation in Christ. It happens in meditation one thought at a time, one breath at a time, and in life one challenge at a time. It is simple and easy, but the journey takes our entire life. But it can be done through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Don’t focus on your failures! Focus on Jesus. If we look to the waves and the storms all around us we will sink. If we look always to Jesus, getting our eyes off of ourselves, and the failings of others, we can truly walk on water!
This Easter let’s dare to believe the “impossible!” Let’s dare to believe that Jesus has risen from the dead! Let’s dare to believe that Jesus brings solutions to the world and even to the Church so wonderfully simple, that many have dared not believe it possible. But it is! Jesus Is Risen! Nothing Is Impossible With God!!
For John Michael’s special Nothing Is Impossible DVD Series: Click HERE
John Michael Talbot
Founder, Spiritual Father, and General Minister
The Brothers and Sisters of Charity
Palm/Passion Sunday; Luke 19:28-40; Luke 23:1-49
We begin Holy Week calling out, "Hosanna," or, "save us now!" But end by calling, "Crucify Him!" We like to think that we would not do this, but the whole point of Holy Week is for each of us to take our own responsibility for the sin that crucified Jesus. Truth be known, there is a little of saint and sinner in each of us, and Holy Week awakens us to it, and offers the ultimate healing from it that only Jesus can bring.
It's easy to follow Jesus when all is going well, and He clearly seems to be according to our idea of what a Messiah might be. However, when things go badly, or Jesus breaks our ideas and agendas of what He should be, we easily turn from Him, or at least to a Messiah of our own making. And there ar plenty of "alternative" Jesus's presented through TV, books, and other media! As St. Paul says, "4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted —you may well put up with it!" (2 Cor.11:4) The word, "heresy," comes from the Greek " αιρεομαι haireomai," and means simply to "choose another." There are many going after "another Jesus," when the real Jesus doesn't meet our expectations. Not much has changed today. Good theology always develops in each era, but also conserves apostolic tradition.
This has some special significance with the recent election of Pope Francis. Right now everyone is calling out, "Hosanna," but already voices are being raised from the extreme right and left in both the Church and the secular world that might soon cry out, "Crucify him!" Some say that his "honeymoon" will be short indeed. He is breaking the mold by his spontaneity and liturgical humility so makes ultra conservatives nervous, and stands firmly for orthodox faith and morality so disappoints far left liberals. Then the normal issues between the gospel and the secular humanist world will inevitably surface once more, and, as we used to sing and dance, "the beat goes on!"
Do we own our own sin, and our part in crucifying Jesus? Do we allow Jesus to heal us daily? Are we fully living members of the Church, building on the apostolic past as we bring the gospel to the modern world, or do we get stuck in the past, or trapped in modern secular humanism? Holy Week is a time to focus on that healing again.
John Michael Talbot