About Me

My photo
This blog is simply meant to bring God the glory; no more and no less. I'd love to hear from you! Comments, questions, conversation. rebecca.labriola@gmail.com

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter! 2016.

Alleluia! Happy Easter! What a joy to celebrate the risen Christ!  As we prepare to search for Easter eggs and spend time with family, let us take a moment to reflect on the joy of Easter and the invitation that it extends.

The joy of Easter is life; life in Christ Jesus. Three days prior, it seemed as though death was the victor. But that, my friends, is far from the truth. This truth this Easter, and always, is that Jesus Christ conquered death. He is the victor. He destroyed death so that we might have life. Life with Christ is a priceless gift that nothing in the world can compare to.   

The Gospel of John tells the story of the Resurrection of Jesus in this way: Mary of Magdala arrives at the tomb of Jesus and finds the tomb empty. She weeps out of sheer fear and confusion. She knows not what has happened to the body of her Lord. John continues, “She turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?’” [John 20:14-15] We have the upper hand; we know the answers to these questions. We know what happens. We know that Christ has risen from the dead. Alleluia! But these questions, they still burn within our own hearts.

The question, “Whom are you looking for?” touches us to the core. We are always searching. Be it searching for Easter eggs, searching for joy, searching for truth, searching for a place where we belong. We are searchers; just like Mary of Magdala. Pope St. John Paul II gives us insight to our seeking, “It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness”. Mary of Magdala was looking for someone. That someone was Jesus. We are searching just as earnestly. Might we too be searching for Jesus? Maybe without even knowing it?

Whether you found yourself here this Easter by choice or by chance, welcome! Your search may have come to fruition. Maybe you have found whom you have been looking for. It’s possible you have encountered the risen Christ on this glorious Easter. Praise God! Please consider staying awhile. Hopefully, you find your home sweet home within Christ Jesus. Please, come in. Welcome home! 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday.

Good Friday.
The day of Our Lord’s suffering, passion, and death.
There are not words enough to do justice to the pain and suffering and glory of this day.

Barabbas was chosen to be released over Christ.
This choice was so that the Lord’s will would be carried out.
And the passion of Christ begins.
Christ was chained to a post and scourged.
His body brutally beaten with cruel weapons.
Weapons that sliced His sacred skin.
Weapons that when thrown upon His body took a hold of His flesh
and ripped it off of His body.
And He went through this because

A crown of thorns was placed upon His head.
Actually, people believe that it was more of a cap of thorns.
The 2 inch thorns were forced into the sacred head of Our Lord.
Blood ran down His face joining with the rest of the blood that covered His body.
And He tolerated this all because

Jesus carried the cross to Golgotha.
The heavy physical burden.
The wood rubbing against Christ’s skin, irritating it even more.
The dirty wood shoving splinters through Christ’s bloody ripped skin.
He falls on the gravel three times.
The gravel pushing up through the gaping wounds all over His body.
The burden of the cross falling down with our blessed Lord.
He carried His cross all because

When Jesus reached the place called Skull,
He was rudely placed upon the cross.
Nails that are thought to have been 7-9 inches long were hammered to Jesus’ feet and His hands,
just below the wrist.
A block of wood was fastened to the cross under Christ’s feet which left His knees slightly bent.
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
The nails driven through His hand and wrist area did not break a bone
but they are thought to have hit a major nerve that controlled movement
and feeling of the shoulders.
Because of the strain on the nerve,
Jesus lacked the ability to lift up His head to breathe.
To be able to breathe,
Christ had to put force on His feet that were nailed onto the block of wood
so that He could force the rest of His body up to breathe.
He went through this pain because

The soldiers mocked Jesus and made fun of Him.
They told Him that He should save Himself.
And He could have.
He is God.
He can do anything.
But He chose to stay on the cross.
Obedience brought Him to the cross
It was love that kept Him there.
His love for YOU.
Love kept Him on the cross.
Staying on the cross showed extreme humility.
His love brought about humility.
He humbled Himself to death, even death on a cross because

Jesus was crucified between two criminals.
One on His right.
One on His left.
One criminal joined in with the soldiers in mocking Jesus.
The other one repented of His sins and asked for Christ’s forgiveness.
Right there.
On the Cross.
“Amen, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
He instituted the sacrament of confession and is gracious enough to forgive us of our sin because

Mary standing at the foot of the cross.
Her pain inexpressible.
Her motherly desire to reach out and help her son was a desire like no other.
But She could do nothing.
It was in this moment that Her fiat was required to be a silent one.
Her yes had to be quiet.
She could only pray.
And then listen to Her son when He said,
“Woman, behold your son.”
He would not leave His mother alone.
He will not leave us alone simply because

At about ,
The hour of mercy, in Jesus’ great pain and agony,
He cried out to His father,
“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
Jesus then proceeded knowing that His time was almost finished and said,
“I thirst.”
He was given some wine on a sprig of hyssop.
This completed the fourth cup of the Passover from the night before and Jesus said,
“It is finished.”
Thus, that line has many meanings.
The Passover was now finished.
Christ’s time on earth was almost finished.
The suffering on the cross was almost finished.
Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
“Father into Your hands I commend My spirit.”
Jesus bowed His head and died.
The earth quaked and people came to believe.
“Truly this was the Son of God!”
“This man was innocent beyond doubt.”
This man was innocent.
Yet He was obedient to the point of death on a cross so that we might live.
Truly He loved us.
Truly He loves us.
And truly He always will.
He gave His life for us.
The least we can do is live our lives for Him because 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Psalm 51:12. Wednesday, March 9. 2016.

The “honeymoon phase” of relationships is so fun and so easy.
All the good feelings and emotions take precedence over any negative at all. 
But the reality is, that phase ends.
The good feelings and emotions neutralize,
we come back down to earth,
and reality sets in.

Sometimes the truth is,
the outline above describes our relationship with Christ.

We are so in love!
We can’t imagine life without Christ!
We won’t ever sin again!
Prayer is something we just can’t get enough of!
We can’t find enough ministries to belong to!
We can’t get through the Bible fast enough!
The Rosary seems like the best time of our day!
And, and, and.

And then
the “honeymoon phase” ends.
For whatever reason.
Emotions fade.
Feelings wane.
Time gets the best of us.

This is reality, unfortunately.

We go through these dry spells.
These times of questioning.
Of being captivated by the world.
The prayer that we once held so dear
is now a well run dry.

We might consider this shameful or embarrassing
but the thing is,
we are not alone in this.

See, the psalmist, David, felt these feelings too.
Thousands of year ago.
He wrote a Psalm about it.
Psalm 51.

“A clean heart create for me, God;
renew within me a steadfast spirit.”
Psalms 51:12

And thousands of year after David first expressed these feelings,
a modern Christian artist expressed the same feelings.

Jon Foreman wrote a song called White as Snow in which he sings:

“Would You create in me a clean heart, oh God.
Restore in me the joy of Your salvation.”

Both men crying out for forgiveness.
Asking if the Lord could possibly forgive their wandering,
their faulty choices,
their flighty emotions,
and make their hearts clean, once again.

Not only did they ask for a clean heart,
but they also asked that the Lord give them a reason to be joyful again.
A way to possibly extend that “honeymoon phase”.
Interestingly enough,
that requested joy had nothing to do with the things of the world.
Quite the opposite.

Lord, let us find joy in your salvation.

These men, realized that there was not joy to be found in the things of the world.
The true joy was to be found in salvation.
In the opportunity of eternal life with Christ
because He took on death so that we didn’t have to.

Brothers and sisters, you see, there is always joy to be found.
Even in the dark, dull moments of our faith.
Even in the doubt and questioning.
Even when our emotions decide to take off in another direction.

It isn’t necessarily easy to find that joy.
Maybe we aren’t really sure how to.
But we might be able to take some advice from some incredible Christians and simply pray:

“Would You create in me a clean heart, oh God.
Restore in me the joy of Your salvation.”