4th Sunday of Easter

Isn’t it amazing how the scriptures, written thousands of years ago, can be so relevant today?  Today’s readings are a perfect example.  In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, Peter tells the crowd, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”

Granted, every generation has had its share of corruption, but you’d have to look long and hard to find one any more corrupt than the one we live in today.  I don’t have to tell you that sin is rampant in our society.  All you have to do is pick up a newspaper or turn on the television to see it.  As Al Gore once said, “Everything’s down that should be up and everything’s up that should be down.”

Dick Van Dyke was on the Tonight Show this week.  He mentioned that when The Dick Van Dyke Show was on television in the early sixties, married couples had to be shown sleeping in twin beds.  Turn on the TV today and married couples and unmarried couples are sharing the same bed.

I remember when models in bra commercials wore the sponsor’s product OVER a sweater.  Today, in Victoria’s Secret commercials on prime time television, nothing is left to the imagination.  Adds for birth control products, both male and female, make it seem that procreation is a dirty world.  Just use this device or take this pill and everything will be perfect.

I think most of us are old enough to remember when there were “special” book stores that sold dirty magazines, usually in the back room.  Now much more graphic magazines are on the shelves at Borders and Barnes and Noble, out on the racks where everyone could see them.

In the early eighties, when home video recorders first hit the market, some video stores had a back room where they kept their “dirty movies”.  Nowadays our kids can search Google for anything they want to see on their computer, right in their own room.

Somehow we Christians, still the majority of the American population, are treated as second-class citizens while our tax money is being spent to provide special accommodations for Muslim students in our public schools.  They’ve taken the Ten Commandments out of our courthouses and they’ve taken prayer out of our schools.  Non-Christians mock us for our beliefs.

It’s no wonder the Ten Commandments have been taken out of the public square, most Americans, even those who call themselves Christian, consider them no more than “ten suggestions.”  Remember “Thou shall not commit adultery”?  Today it’s a rarity if a couple presents themselves to be married in the Church and they’re not living together.  Even the test we give couples preparing for marriage has a special section for cohabitating couples.  We’re definitely living in a corrupt generation.

So, what are we supposed to do?  Peter answers that question too, in the second reading.  “Beloved:  If you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good, this is a grace before God.  For to this have you been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.”  In business they say that problems are actually opportunities.  Peter seems to be saying the same thing.  If we suffer for doing good, it’s a grace from God.  Doing whatever we can to live a moral life amidst all the chaos and corruption means we’re following in Jesus’ footsteps.  “He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness.” 

 

Live for righteousness.  That’s our calling.  Don’t be tempted by sin.  Don’t let Satan win.  Jesus says in our Gospel, “I am the gate.”  You can’t get into heaven except through Him.  Somehow a lot of people have gotten the idea that they can sneak into heaven, but they’re going to be very disappointed.  You can’t tunnel in.  You can’t sneak in the back door.  You can’t climb over the wall.  You have to go in through the gate.  You have to go in through Jesus.  There’s just no other way.

Sin comes in many forms.  But one thing all sin has in common is that it disguises itself as something good.  Remember last week when the disciples on the road to Ameus had their eyes opened.  That’s what Jesus does.  He opens our eyes.  He will always lead us to the truth.  And the truth is that no matter how cleverly the evil one disguises sin, Jesus will always open our eyes to see the truth.  And the truth will set us free.

So……three readings; three lessons.

  1. We’re living in a corrupt generation.
  2. We have an opportunity.  We’ve been called to endure our sufferings in this life to earn a place in eternal life.  And,
  3. Jesus is the gate.  He’s the only way into heaven.  By His cross and resurrection He’s paid the price for our sins and by following Him, we can live in paradise forever.
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