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04/10/16 Third Sunday of Easter - Dn. Tony

Deacon Tony Conti

Third Sunday of Easter

  • What type of faith do we practice?
  • Is it a “legalistic faith”… a “Quid Pro Quo faith?”…
  • Or is it an “experiential faith” based upon our personal experience of God working in our lives?…
  • A legalistic faith is dependent upon who does what in the relationship…
  • It’s centered upon conditional love… It is in essence a contractual faith
  • If I do these things… then God will reward me by holding up His end of the bargain…
  • An experiential faith believes and honors God’s promises to His people based upon our personal experience of God’s Grace working in our lives…
  • This doesn’t imply that we’re not responsible for our actions in life… We most certainly are
  • What it means is that despite our failures in life – We believe and we live in the promise that God’s love for us is unwavering
  • But how do we find and practice an experiential faith?…
  • Do any of us really believe that we’ve made it this far in life on our own strength?
  • Hard work certainly plays a great role in our lives… but so does providence… and providence is where God’s Grace becomes manifest in our lives
  • Have we ever considered that what we often call Luck or Good Fortune, or Coincidence are really God’s Grace in disguise?
  • Our God is not a “Hands-off” God… God plays an integral role in each of lives, without ever getting in the way or stifling our free will
  • The key to developing an experiential faith is learning to recognize God’s Grace in our lives…
  • From today’s Gospel… “Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus…”
  • That’s often the story of our lives… Jesus standing in our midst… working daily in our lives… but like the disciples… we often fail to recognize Him
  • We need to learn to look below the surface of life… to see beyond the obvious to the subtleties that often go unnoticed
  • Faith gives us the eyes to see these subtleties… Which often, only the heart can see
  • We strengthen our faith by quieting ourselves each day, by making time for reflection, and by becoming more attentive to recognizing God’s Grace in our lives…
  • If we sometimes seem to live in a graceless world… It’s not because God’s Grace isn’t present in the world…
  • It’s because we often fail to make God’s Grace manifest in the world…
  • God’s Grace can’t touch the world around us, unless we touch the world around us
  • God’s plan of salvation is dependent upon each of us
  • St. Teresa of Avila noted: “Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”
  • St. Teresa’s words remind us that we each need to be agents of God’s Grace right where he has placed us, and to those whom He sends us
  • The message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, can be succinctly summarized in a well worn phrase… “Do the right thing.”
  • From a Spiritual standpoint, doing the right thing means being true to the voice of your conscience
  • Being true to your conscience means… Not having to rationalize a decision…
  • It means that our allegiance to what we believe cannot be bought
  • It sometimes means going against the flow of popular opinion
  • In essence it means living a life of uncompromising integrity
  • And it requires us to look deep within ourselves to discern where the Spirit is leading us, and to ask for God’s Grace to do what may not be easy or popular
  • For all of this to come to fruition…
  • We must know: Who we areWhat we believe… and Who we belong to
  • As practicing Christians… as believers in the message of the Gospel… We don’t have the option of leaving our conscience in the Church parking lot as we leave Mass each Sunday…
  • From today’s Gospel Jesus asks Peter: Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?
  • We will never know why Jesus asked Peter this one question three times…
  • Perhaps He wanted Peter to fully appreciate the significance of his answer…
  • To understand what it really means to say that we love God
  • To understand that words require corresponding actions to make them credible…
  • To understand that what we do has far greater impact than what we say
  • Jesus asks each of us this same question every day… Because this single question is fundamental to our Christian faith
  • Our faith isn’t about spouting doctrines
  • It’s not about performing rituals
  • It’s not about earning our salvation
  • Our faith is based upon how we each answer this simple, yet profound question…
    • Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?


  • And we answer Him… by how we live our lives


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