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The Resurrection of the Lord (Easter Sunday)

April 20, 2014

JUST THE BEGINNING

It is tempting to think of Easter as the completion of a journey – our journey through 40 days of Lent; our journey through Holy week – Christ’s passion, death and now resurrection. For some, it may feel like the completion of a past year, or perhaps even a past lifetime.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Isaiah 42:16: “I will lead the blind on a journey; by paths unknown I will guide them. I will turn their darkness into light before them, and will make their crooked ways straight. These things I will do for them and I will not forsake them.”

But this is NOT the end of your journey – it is only the beginning. The story does end with Christ’s resurrection; rather it is the moment when everything begins again! Have you ever noticed how every account of the resurrection is rather open ended? It leaves us hanging. It leaves us wondering what comes next?

CLICK HERE for the readings for Easter Sunday (Acts 10:34, 37-43; Psalm 118; 1 Corinthians 5:6-8; John 20:1-9).

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The Passion of Our Lord (Good Friday)

April 18, 2014

BEHOLD THIS WOOD

I think I first thought about this homily back in February, which is a bit unusual for me as I am generally a resurrection kind of person. But this year, I have been profoundly aware of the cross – perhaps because of the prayer intentions that we have had at the back of the church this Lenten season – because through them I am more aware of how many crosses we ALL carry.

Perhaps I am aware of the cross because as much as I want to free you from those burdens, I am also aware that there is only one savior – and I’m not him. Like you, I am limited and sinful. I carry my own crosses, just as you carry yours.

If you were present last night, you will recall that I spoke about the difficulty of service, in part because it begins with listening. It is how we are vulnerable to one another; and because of this, it is most likely how we will be saved from ourselves.

CLICK HERE for the readings for Good Friday (Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Psalm 31; Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9; John 18:1-19:42).

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Mass of the Lord’s Supper

April 18, 2014

SERVICE THAT SAVES OUR SOUL

Why has Jesus commanded us to do as he did? To “wash one another’s feet”? Because at the heart of our Christian life is service. The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve; There is no greater love than to lay down your life for another. Jesus’ entire life is at the service of others – of the Father – of us.

But service is really a difficult thing, isn’t it? It is so easy for our own pride to sway our thoughts and actions. This IS what happens to Judas, is it not? His own desire for wealth and power? The concern for his own person more than others? Its what happened to Peter. And it is what happens to so many of us.

Of course, it is possible to get it all right, but listen in and you will find it is never so easy.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Mass of Our Lord’s Supper (Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14; Psalm 116; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-15).

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Fifth Sunday of Lent

April 6, 2014

A PIVOTAL STORY

Todays readings represent some of the most dramatic stories in scripture:  Ezekiel’s vision of dry bones revived by the breath of God and Lazarus raised from the dead – two miraculous events that contain a great lesson:  death is a part of life, but it is not the end – and it is not removed from God’s awareness.

John’s account is beautiful in every detail, but there are three pivotal moments in the Lazarus story that I would like to draw your attention to:

  • “Lord, if you would have been there, my brother would not have died.”
  • “Jesus wept.”
  • “Untie him and let him go.”

As we look at the full implications of each moment, we are reminded that John places it just before Jesus enters Jerusalem.  It is the last great event before Jesus begins his final journey to the cross.  From death comes life.  Suffering cannot be avoided.  It is part of humanity.  God does not prevent it; rather God is there with us. . . until we are ready to truly live.

CLICK HERE for the readings of the Fifth Sunday of Lent (Ezekiel 37:12-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8:8-11; John 11:1-45).

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Fourth Sunday of Lent

March 30, 2014

PREVENTING OUR OWN BLINDNESS

The Gospel story of the Blind Man is another remarkable masterpiece from John.  It is rich is symbolism and meaning, which we will break out in today’s homily; but it is also a story that causes us to question our own blindness – not because of the Blind Man himself, but because of the Pharisees, to whom many of us relate.

The Pharisees reject the man just as they would reject Jesus.  The temptation is to see them as evil or cynical or in some other poor manner, but you have heard me say enough times now – they are us. If this story was written in today’s terms, the Pharisees would be Christians who go to church every Sunday and pray on a regular basis.

So rather than just write the Pharisees off as “out-of-touch”, I would prefer we ask ourselves why they could not see the miracle in front of them? And in doing so, we will ask ourselves what must we do so that we do not become blind – not as the man was, but as the Pharisees clearly are.

CLICK HERE for the readings of the Fourth Sunday of Lent (1 Samuel 16:1, 6-7, 10-13; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41).

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Third Sunday of Lent

March 23, 2014

LIVING WITH OUR THIRST

For what do we thirst?

A people in the desert thirst for the presence of God; the samaritian women in the Gospel thirsts for living water – the water of eternal life; and the Romans thirst for hope that does not disappoint.

For what do you thirst?  For what do you long?

An end to your fear?  Forgiveness from a friend?  The feelings of love and intimacy that have now faded?  Perhaps you long for community – an end to the loneliness?  The recovery of your dignity?  Perhaps just a moment of peace and comfort? 

And so just as the woman comes to the well, we come here.  Just like the woman, we often feel like a foreigner to God.  But we are not so far from God as we may believe, for all we must do is open our hearts and ask.  But do we know what we asking for?  This is the question.

CLICK HERE for the readings of the Third Sunday of Lent (Exodus 17:3-7; Psalm 95; Romans 5:1-2,5-8; John 4:5-42).

The Poem adapted in today’s homily comes from “Let Us Be Women Who Love” by Idelette McVicker.

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Second Sunday of Lent

March 16, 2014

WHO ARE YOU?

EE Cummings once wrote, “It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are.”

At the heart of our readings today is the answer to that great question:  who are you?  We are told in our first reading that we are a great nation because God has blessed us.  And because we have been blessed, we are a blessing to others.  And because of this, you are great.

I wonder if you believe this?  That you are a blessing.  Can we comprehend what that means for others?  For us?

Paul tells us through his words to Timothy that we are called to be holy – not because of what we have done or what we do – but because of who we are and because of the grace we have received through Christ.

CLICK HERE for the readings of the Second Sunday of Lent (Genesis 12:1-4; Psalm 33; 2 Timothy 1:8-10; Matthew 17:1-9).

The book referenced in this homily is entitled, “Jesus Feminist” by Sarah Bessey (Howard Books, 2013)

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