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Second Sunday in Lent

March 1, 2015

THE MOUNTAINS

Biblically speaking, mountains have always been a place where we go to find God. It is not hard to understand why – for they offer a view of the world that is often unobstructed and pristine.

While I imagine most of us have visited mountain tops in our own lives, unless you have climbed up and down one, you cannot completely understand it as the apostles did. It takes a lot of energy and endurance to climb and the more you carry, the harder you have to work.

The same can be said of our lives. The journey to God is also difficult and the less baggage you carry with you, the easier your ascent will be. We must learn to live in the moment and be prepared, but not worry to much about the path ahead.

CLICK HERE for the readings for Second Sunday of Lent (Genesis 22:1-2, 9-13, 15-18; Psalm 116; Romans 8:31-34; Mark 9:2-10)

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First Sunday of Lent

February 22, 2015

COMMUNION WITH THE COVENANT

I think it is significant that we begin Lent with a recollection of the covenant that God has established with us AND all of creation, just as we hear about Christ’s temptations in the desert.

For how many of our temptations concern our own belief that I do affects only me? How often do we see ourselves independent of the rest of the world? But today we are reminded that what we do and think and feel is connected. . .to just about everything.

Lent is a time when try to break free of our addictions and temptations. This season of spiritual discipline demands that we acknowledge our weaknesses, repent, and try to strengthen them.

I don’t know about you, but a weakness of mine is that I can too easily think that am more self-reliant and independent than I think I am. I forget about the implications of a covenant with God – and even more so – with the natural world.

CLICK HERE for the readings for First Sunday of Lent (Genesis 9:8-15; Psalm 25; 1 Peter 3:18-22; Mark 1:12-15)

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Ash Wednesday

February 18, 2015

FROM DEATH TO LIFE

Today we hear that we are to return to God – with fasting, weeping and mourning. Because of our sins, it is a day of self-imposed suffering as an offering to God – not that God needs it – but rather; because we do.

We need to remember that life is not possible without death, lest we take it for granted. We don’t like to think about it very much – but all of creation is quite used to the idea that there will be death and suffering – quite grotesque at times – as part of the privilege of life.

The only way to embrace life is to experience death. That is why we wear ashes today – not simply to remind ourselves that we are mortal, but that by embracing our mortality, we open our mind to know our immortality.

The Lenten season, this parish is going to experience the death and resurrection of Christ in the context of creation itself. We are not just going to understand the cross as God’s embrace of suffering humanity, but of the whole of creation, which suffers in its own right – often as a result of our own mismanagement of the gifts we have been offered.

CLICK HERE for the readings for Ash Wednesday (Joel 2:12-18; Psalm 51; 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18)

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Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

February 14, 2015

PERSON AND PERFORMANCE

Our theme from last week continues this week, and so it seems necessary to review what we already know. If you recall, we left Jesus off in a deserted place just before the Apostles found him. “Everyone was searching for him” So he got up and went with them to proclaim his message to the neighboring towns and synagogues.

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.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46; Psalm 32; 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1; Mark 1:40-45.

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Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

February 8, 2015

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.

I wonder if in the back of our minds we accept our sufferings as punishment for our weakness? Sometimes it is the only consolation we can find for why such difficulties befall upon us. And we pray that our faith will save us. That God will have mercy.   That our seemingly feeble attempts – the prayers we pray, coming here today, will be enough to wipe away our guilt. But there is this voice in the back of our minds that questions whether any amount of prayer or Masses will ever be enough? We live in fear of being judged. . .

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Job 7:1-4, 6-7; Psalm 147; 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23; Mark 1:29-39).

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Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

February 1, 2015

TO KNOW HIM MORE

Two weeks ago, we began Ordinary Time with a question: What are you looking for? 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.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Psalm 95; 1 Corinthians 7:32-35; Mark 1:21-28).

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Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

January 25, 2015

A KINGDOM OF FORGIVENESS

What does the Kingdom of God look like?  It is when we allow ourselves to be forgiven. Not when God forgives us, but when we allow God to forgive us. When we forgive ourselves.

Can you imagine what the world would look like if everyone lived with forgiveness? Now we understand why it is called the Kingdom of God.

But forgiveness is a difficult thing. Most of us are so comfortable carrying our guilt and shame that it has become a part of our identity.  Have you ever been in a relationship and confessed something that you considered to be a stumbling block only to have the person to whom you are confessing tell you that it isn’t a stumbling block for them?  It is much the same with God.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time (Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Psalm 25; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; Mark 1:14-20).

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