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13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 28, 2015

HEALING OUR HUMANITY

In our Gospel today, we hear of two instances of Jesus healing where doctors could not.

The healing Jesus offered was too fold: first he cured the physical ailments; but second, (and most importantly), he always reconnected them back to the community. For Jesus, healing was the restoration of meaning in people’s lives.

I think many of us have the same need: it is not so much the physical condition that causes us pain, it is the consequence of that condition – that we can no longer do the things we used to do – we can no longer connect with a community the way we used to.  Illness causes us to look for new definitions of meaning – and this usually means defining ourselves by who we are more than what we can or cannot do.

It means that our belonging to a community is not based on our contribution, but on our dignity as a human. Thus, our contributions are not what we do to earn our place in the kingdom of God; rather, they are how we show our gratitude.

CLICK HERE for the readings for 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Wisdom 1:13-15, 2:23-24; Psalm 30; 2 Corinthians 8:7,9,13-15; Mark 5:21-43)

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12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 21, 2015

TRUST IN THE STORM

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

As I read the readings for this Sunday, this verse quickly came to mind, for it is the best summary of our message today. A message that concerns trust and the unknown.

If you recall, last week I spoke of wonder – wonder at the ability of a mustard seed – so small and seemingly lifeless – to grow into this great bush. That wonder however, needs time to grow, and if we give it time, then it will break through the darkness – the inhibitors that keep us from living as God intended us to live.

But in that moment when wonder finally breaks though – when the seed of contemplation gives life to action – something else also happens. And this is where our readings today offer us guidance, for wonder almost always takes us out into the unknown.

CLICK HERE for the readings for 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Job 38:1,8-11; Psalm 107; 2 Corinthians 5:14-17; Mark 4:35-41)

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11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 14, 2015

THE FRUIT OF WONDER

Jesus had a way of cultivating wonder. One might argue that this sense of wonder – which we most certainly best see in our children – is humanity’s most compelling trait. It is the seed of innovation and progress; the stimulus of love and relationships; and it is what leads us here – to a place where we can encounter that magnanimity of God in a single piece of bread.

Wonder is where poetry and science meet. Wonder is where activity and contemplation are inseparably blended.

It is why every great university is marked by a church – this one in particular is a better example than most. The pursuit of knowledge would simply not be if it was for the sense of wonder that is in us like a tiny seed wanting to grow into something so great that life can make it home there.

CLICK HERE for the readings for 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Ezekiel 17:22-24; Psalm 92; 2 Corinthians 5:6-10; Mark 4:26-34)

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The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

June 6, 2015

RECEIVE WHAT YOU ARE

Since our gospel today recalls Jesus’ observance of the Passover with the apostles, it seems helpful to recall what instructions did Jews would’ve followed for that particular celebration and the reason for this celebration in the first place.

Chapter 12 of Exodus provides the instructions of the ritual Jesus would have observed. It states, “each family must obtain one lamb for each household. If a family is too small for one Lamb it shall join to another household – the lamb must be a one-year-old male without blemish. Blood shall be applied to the doorpost and the lamb’s roasted flesh shall be eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Eat it with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and staff in hand. You shall eat like those who are on a journey.

There is an importance placed on the community – on coming together. The meal is not leisurely; rather it is for a purpose.   That’s it is not hard to see why it is the precursor for our own celebration of the Eucharist.

CLICK HERE for the readings for Corpus Christi Sunday (Exodus 24:3-8; Psalm 116; Hebrews 9:11-15; Mark 14:12-16, 22-26)

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The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

May 31, 2015

THE DESIRE OF OUR RELATIONSHIP

Based on the number of conversations I have had this week, it seems I should pick up today’s homily with the question that has caused so much discussion – the question I asked at Pentecost.

How are we going to be when we gather together? Is this a gathering of consumers or citizens? That is to ask, are we here to receive something very important, but then leave with little impact on our own identity? Or is our identity very much connected to this community or parish or gathering?

And if I am supposed to do something more, then what is that? What is the next step from going to Mass on Sundays?

The answer: the answer is found in our tradition, which is based on the Gospel. Last Sunday was Pentecost – the outpouring of the Holy Spirit – the power to go out and bear witness. What we are bearing witness to . . .we are remind by today’s Solemnity so that we don’t lose sight of it: the Holy Trinity. God.

CLICK HERE for the readings for Trinity Sunday (Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40; Psalm 33; Romans 8:14-17; Matthew 28: 16-20)

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Pentecost Sunday

May 24, 2015

WAITING FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT

“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.” I have always loved this bit of scripture that is our Gospel today. It reminds us – it comforts us – to know that all we need, we already have. Jesus is patient. We cannot bear it all at once, so Jesus will wait until we are ready. This is such good news!

Blessed Peter Faber used to say that “Time is God’s Messenger.” It is a hard lesson to learn, because it demands that learn how to live life without answers – we learn to live in between the spaces rather than in them.

But we have all experienced the difference between pushing and testing the Spirit – of God or of someone else. And the difference lies in our judgment, which often leads to our frustrations and fears. When we are led by the Spirit, our judgment is minimalized, freeing us to heal and compassionately accompany others while they (and we) grow.

CLICK HERE for the readings for Pentecost (Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 104; Galatians 5:16-25; John 15:26-27, 16:12-15)

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Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

May 17, 2015

POWER & GIFTS

In both our first reading and Gospel, we hear that the Apostles saw, but then it took forty days for them to learn. Jesus stayed and retaught them everything. Even still, they looked to him to restore the Kingdom of Israel. They wanted answers, but instead, Jesus gave them power.

They are witness, not to answers, but to the power of the Holy Spirit. It is good for us to remember this. How many times do we look up in the sky, just like they did, wanting answers. Why did this happen? Why won’t you hear my prayers? Why did could he or she not stay? Why won’t they listen? And so on. . .

God gives us power, not answers. But power is not the only thing Jesus gave his apostles. He also gave them each other. Paul reminds the Ephesians of this in our second reading: grace is given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Ascension (Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47; 1 Ephesians 1:4-13; Mark 16:15-20)

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