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1st Sunday of Lent

February 19, 2018

WHAT WE LET GO OF

Last week we spoke about healing – that it comes from the community.  That through relationship we are healed and ultimately saved.  But we also recognized how we can struggle in our relationships because we are not comfortable with our own version of crazy or understand how to be safely vulnerable.

And so God gives us Lent.  A time to return to the love that loved us first.  A time to strip away all the excess and all the distractions.  A time to walk out into the desert with Jesus where the usual comforts and things we enjoy no longer belong.

Lent however, is not a sad time.  It is a season of adventure and of risk.  It is season to do something different. . . because after all, it is only a season.  What you decide to try can end only a few weeks from now, or it just might be the springboard into something new.

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6th Sunday of Ordinary Time

February 12, 2018

HEALED BY COMMUNITY

Today’s readings offer a contrast between the Law of Moses and its fulfillment in Christ.  According to the Law of Moses, what happened to a person with leprosy?

But how did Jesus respond?

It happens a lot in the beginning of his ministry. . . Jesus healing people but not want them to say anything.  Doesn’t it seems counter-intuitive?  Doesn’t Jesus want people to know he who he is?  Isn’t this the whole idea?

But there is a difference between loving the person and loving the performance.  How many great love stories begin with a person of great importance (a prince or princess; a celebrity or wealthy person) pretending to be a normal person in order to find true love?  Who you love, we seem to understand, is about who the person is, not what they can do.

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5th Sunday of Ordinary Time

February 4, 2018

THE HEALER OF THE BROKENHEARTED

One of the great lessons of Job is that there is no link between pain and punishment.  Just before our excerpt today, Job states clearly that he knows he has done no wrong.  That he is a good man – a man who has done nothing to deserve such a fate.

He also recognizes that HE IS a sinner, but repents for his transgressions.  Eventually his frustrations build and he questions why God seems so unresponsive to his pleas?

This question is perhaps the most timeless of all, is it not?  The story of Job is as relevant today as it was then.  We do all that we can to live a good life and still suffering occurs.   We know that we are not perfect, but we are sorry.   Our conscious is riddled with guilt for the things we have done that we wished we wouldn’t have done.

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4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

January 29, 2018

MEETING JESUS FOR THE FIRST TIME

You may have noticed that there is a theme to our readings over these last few weeks:  That of responding to an invitation.  Our readings have been focused on our common search for purpose, though specifically in relationship to God.  “What are you looking for?” we are asked.   Last week, we heard about the Kingdom of God.  Today, we hear that Jesus is the prophet we asked for – the one who speaks the voice of God – the one who speaks with Divine authority.

It is as if we are journeying with our ancestors these past few weeks.  We are reliving their moment of discovery; the fulfillment of the promise to send a Messiah in the person of Jesus Christ.

It is hard for us, I think, to see with the faith that was required of them.  The story of Jesus is so well known to us, but if we can step outside of our own knowledge and consider what it would have been like to meet Jesus for the first time, then His voice my open our hearts a little wider today.

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3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

January 22, 2018

A CALL TO LET GO

What do we know about the Kingdom of God?  (perhaps we need to re-read the Gospel?)

  1. It requires us to let go and to forgive
  2. It is connected to a purpose

The Kingdom of God requires us to let go or to leave so that we can be where we currently are not.  So that we can be who we currently are not.  And should we have the courage to do this, we will find fulfillment and meaning to our life.

So the question is what do you need to let go of?

Referenced in this homily:  

 

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Second Sunday of Advent

December 11, 2017

NEWNESS IN THE DESERT

Years ago, I was assigned to the deserts of Southern New Mexico.  Only after living there for a time, did I understand why it was often in the desert where our ancestors encountered God.

The desert is a place of simplicity and poverty – a place where all the distractions go away.  I would often go out for long runs through the desert in the cool of the morning.  In the beginning, it was almost unnerving because I felt so exposed.   The desert requires a unique balance of confidence and humility.  Because too much confidence got your in trouble and too much humility would keep you inside all day long.

Not only are there no distractions – no building on the horizon, no clouds in the sky, not hustle and bustle, but there is nothing to be attached to.

The people whom I met in New Mexico were often from this part of the world.  The went to reinvent themselves, many of whom are now artists, writers, farmers, and artisans.  But only discovered the art in them after a period of time.

You see, we need silence and stillness in order to hear our inner voice – the voice of God.  It is the same reason John went out into the desert – so that his voice could be heard clearly.  Of course, the people who went to see him couldn’t just drop in, they went out to see him.

And that is the thing about the desert – you don’t understand it in five minutes.  You have to dwell in it for a period of time before the simplicity allows you to see yourself for who you really are and who you really want to be.

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Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

December 9, 2017

THE IMPOSSIBLE

In our first reading, we hear that after eating from the tree of knowledge – Adam realized he was naked.

Now, as many of you know – knowledge wasn’t the problem, it was power – the desire to be AS God. . .which is quite different than trying to be LIKE God.  That thirst for power left Adam feeling exposed.  The lesson is one many people only learn the hard way:  if you take power for yourself – it can (and most likely will) be taken from you. However, if you allow power to be bestowed upon you, then it will be yours – precisely because you will realize it was never really yours in the first place.

And thus the contrast with Eve and Mary.  With the fall and the redemption.

When we take power – we fall; when receive power, we are redeemed.

Mary’s grace was that she accepted what she did not want for herself.  Her grace was that she believed God could do the impossible.