28 April 2006

Takes a beating...

2nd Week of Easter 2006 (F): Acts 5.34-42; John 6.1-15
Fr. Philip N. Powell, OP
St Albert the Great Priory and Church of the Incarnation

Hearing the account of the apostles before the Sanhedrin in Acts this morning, I just couldn’t help thinking of the old Timex watch commericals: “They take a beating and keep on ticking!” If that’s too irreverent for a homily, I apologize. But I just have to think that the apostles, filled to the brim with the joy of the Lord, might chuckle as well, seeing in the dark humor of their predictament—the ripping sting of the scourge—the powerful effects of the Father’s favor. Here, between the Resurrection and the Coming of the Holy Spirit, do we see the powerful effects of the Father’s favor in our lives?

Here we are between Easter and Pentecost and we find ourselves pushed by the elation of the Resurrection and pulled by the expectation of the coming of the Holy Spirit—the joy of Christ’s defeat of death by emptying the tomb and the hope, the sure promise, of the help of God’s Spirit. To be delighted in the Lord and expectant of his coming again seems to me to be the perfecting recipe for holiness, the formula for feeding our growing right-relationship with God. We are at once convinced of his historical resurrection, the actual emptying of his tomb on Easter morning, and we are hopeful, expectant, sure of the coming arrival of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

Living faithfully, flourishing in this between-time, this between-place graces us, gathers us up with Christ, raises us to the Father, offers us to Him in sacrifice, to be made holy and pure, and set aside, preserved to receive his sanctifying Spirit—the Love of the Father and Son for one another, the Love that creates, redeems, and blesses; the Love that washes dirty feet, surrenders to unjust authority, suffers a bloody beating; the Love that carries a cross to the city dump, takes nails in hands and feet, and dies, accepting, willing, freely, and for us; the Love that death cannot contain, cannot corrupt; the Love that returns to the Father—blood returning to the heart, breath to the lungs.

With this love heavy in our hearts, with hearts weighed in the exceeding good will of the Father, we are pushed by the Resurrection and pulled by Pentecost, but do we see the powerful effects of the Father’s favor in our lives? Those eating the barley loaves and the fish with Jesus and his astonished disciples saw the wealth of God’s grace, His limitless favor. The apostles, bloody again from another beating, saw the wealth of God’s grace, the honor done them—to be found worthy to suffer for His name.

What grace astonishes your life? What honor do you receive for His sake? What blessings find their way to your work of perfecting holiness? If your righteousness, your right-relationship with the Father, is a merely human work, a work of your will discordant with the Father’s will for you, your perfection “will destroy itself.” If your work at perfecting holiness accords with the Father’s will, it will be invincible, undefeated even in death.

This time, this place between the Empty Tomb of Easter and the Mighty Rushing Wind of Pentecost is the time and place to ask yourself: do I see the Father’s favor in my life? Have I made my life a constant prayer of gratitude?

Can I take a beating and keep on ticking?


  1. I think "they took a licking, and kept on ticking" :)
    Great reflection, Father, thanks.

  2. Ladyhatton,

    Yea, I know it's "licking" and not "beating," but I just liked the sound of "beating" better. "Licking" sounded too casual given what happened to them.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Fr. Philip

  3. I couldn't believe no one laughed at your joke! I had to resort to extreme meausres to keep from making a fool of myself. Thanks.

  4. Whiskey,

    No accounting for tastes in humor...but I'm glad you found it funny!

    Fr. Philip