Fr. Mike Paraniuk
Fr. Mike Paraniuk
By Fr. Mike Paraniuk
St. Mary Catholic Church and
St. Benignus Catholic Church

A teacher asked her students what was something good that they did today.

The first child says, "I gave money to a homeless man."

The second child says, "I helped my mom with the chores."

The third child says, "I helped an old lady cross the street."

The teacher was very impressed and had high hopes for the fourth child.

The fourth child then say, "I prevented the murder of my brother."

Amazed, the teacher asked how did you do that?

He replies, "A lot of self-control."

Jesus compares himself to a Good Shepherd who will lay down His life to protect the sheep.

I love his attitude. Jesus knows He will soon die, a righteous man who will be murdered to save the sheep. The passage from John 10:18 shows the total control Jesus had over the situation: “I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again.”

The word “power” in Greek is “exousia” which means in today's language, “I got this. No problem.”

Jesus is throwing shade to the devil, who thinks he pulled one over Jesus. I am reminded of the fat child Cartman in South Park, who when he was made a patrol cop, stopped a speeding driver. The driver looks down at him and says, “You’re just a kid.”

Cartman looks up at him and yells, “Respect ma authoritah!”

From the cross, Jesus looked down at Satan. It’s as if Jesus was telling the devil. “You’re nothing. You have no power over Me. I died freely for my people. I planned this all along. Obey My power. Now go away. You bother Me.”

When Jesus arose from the dead, He gave to all who believe in Him the same power over Satan. It is called “Resurrection Power.” By this power, I can overcome Satan’s temptations to choose fear, despair and helplessness. There is even a song by that name. One verse reads, “Now I have resurrection power. Living on the inside. I’m no longer bound by sin and darkness. Living in the light of your goodness.”

With resurrection power, we can overcome all the difficult moments in life. Jesus makes us victors in all situations. That’s why St. Paul could write, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4; 6-7.)

Resurrection power enables you to have joy which brings a calming peace. This is not the same as happiness. Happiness is a feeling based on external events. For example, I am happy to have lost 50 pounds or I am happy my boss gave me a raise. Joy is a deep spiritual power that lifts me up when life tries to knock me down.

I just experienced one of the most painful physical experiences of my life – a total hip replacement. The doctor had to go in from the side, which meant many of my leg muscles were cut. Then I went to rehab at Heartland. At first, I felt down – more time away from home. I was not only separated from my church family, but from my kitties who were growing despondent that I was gone.

Then I thought to myself, “God wants me here to get well. Bring Christ’s joy to the people while I’m here.” I hung around the nursing station. I made them laugh. Life is hard caring for the elderly. By lifting up their spirits, my own spirits were raised. I mingled with the other patients. I was humbled by their joy in adversity. Some had not seen home in years.

The highlight of the weekend was bingo. It was cutthroat. When I won a coverall, the two ladies with me said, “You’re new here. You have to pay us table rent.” I had to fork over 50 cents to each one. When I was discharged after five days, the administrator and staff nurses came outside to say goodbye.

One nurse asked me, “Where do you get all this joy?” I replied, “From Jesus.”

Though I am still struggling for complete healing, resurrection power sustains me with hope that brings peace. So does the tremendous love from my church family. I burned up a lot of hours on the phone.

I close with a line from the song:

I'm dressed in Your royalty
Your Holy Spirit lives in me
And I see my past has been redeemed
The new has come.

Happy Easter!