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Third Sunday of Easter

April 15, 2015

PEACE & MINDFULNESS

Today’s Gospel is much like last weeks. Once again the Apostles are troubled and fearful. Once again, Jesus offers them peace. And once again, he shows them his wounds.

I read this past week that Jesus show us his wounds, so that we can show him ours. Because until we do, we will not know peace. . . .and I am not talking about the kind of peace where everything feels great. I am talking about sacred peace – the kind that reminds us that our troubles are not going get the best of us. Because, if you think about peace usually comes about from some sort of compromise.

The peace that Christ offers does not mean we get all that we want; rather, it requires that we give up our expectations and learn to accept what is.

CLICK HERE for the readings for Third Sunday of Easter (Acts 3:13-15,17-19; Psalm 4; 1 John 2:1-5; Luke 24:35-48)

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Second Sunday of Easter

April 12, 2015

HEALING COMMUNITY

When I was in seminary, I was required to take philosophy. For the most part, those particular studies hurt my head, but there were a few things I learned. One class in particular was entitled: epistemology. It concerns the study of knowledge itself. How do we know anything? And what can we say we know?

The answer: practically nothing. Our lives are built upon beliefs – many of which we take for granted: you go to bed assuming you will get up, but you may not. You flip a switch assuming the lights will come on, but it may not. You turn the faucet assuming water will come on, but it may not. In a city like ours, the level of belief is even higher because we expect certain behaviours from people and infrastructure in order for each of us to get along and function so highly in such a small space.

So you see, I don’t think faith is an issue for our society. As you will find, I think it is forgiveness. We live with a lot of faith – we just don’t call it that. We like to think we are in control, but control is probably the greatest illusion of our age.

I think this is why the Church places the doubt of Thomas in the Gospel against the idea of community in our first reading. Community saves us from the belief that we are in control. It saves us from our doubt. It saves us from ourselves.

CLICK HERE for the readings for Second Sunday of Easter (Acts 4:32-35; Psalm 118; 1 John 5:1-6; John 20:19-31)

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The Resurrection of the Lord (Easter Sunday)

April 4, 2015

FROM FEAR TO BELIEF

We need others around us to share in our belief. In the encyclical Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis writes, “Faith is necessarily ecclesial; it is professed from within the body of Christ [the church] as a concrete communion of believers. It is against this ecclesial backdrop that faith opens the individual Christian towards all others.”

There are two great lessons in our Gospel today:  We need a personal experience with Christ if any of this is going to make sense; and we cannot have a true experience of the resurrection in isolation. We need the church to help us understand – to create the opportunity for an encounter with the Risen Christ. And so the two lessons connect to each other.

CLICK HERE for the readings for Easter Sunday (Acts 10:34, 37-43; Psalm 118; Colossians 3:1-4; Mark 16:1-7)

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Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion

April 3, 2015

WHY DO WE CALL TODAY GOOD?

To many people, today is a paradox. Not simply because we call today “good” and then mourn the death of our messiah. But at a fundamental level, a disturbing question is presented on this day: why does an all-knowing, all powerful God create a species with the capacity for this? Could not God have created us without the ability to destroy ourselves? Could their not have been another plan? Why was this necessary?

It is a good question, and believe it or not, the answer is rather simple: love. Because love doesn’t limit the potential of another. Thus God as love does what love can only do: it creates – it creates without limits. God created us in God’s own image and likeness – to be co-creators with God.

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 (Holy Thursday)

April 3, 2015

SERVICE & SACRIFICE

There are three great elements to this solemnity: The Eucharist, Service and Memory – specifically ritualistic memory.

As many of you know, while the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) have explicit references to the Last Supper and the command to “do this in memory of me” – John’s Gospel replaces that text with the passage we hear tonight about washing the feet of the disciples.

Thus, the Gospel of John, which is considered to be the most theologically advanced of all the Gospels, is telling us something very important: the Eucharist is not simply meant for consumption or adoration or devotion; it is meant press us into service.

But this is not just any kind of service – it service rooted in memory. Not only do we recall what Jesus did for his disciples, but Jesus recalls what God has done for God’s people as he gathers to celebrate the Passover.

CLICK HERE for the readings for Holy Thursday (Exodus 12:1-8,11-14; Psalm 116; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-15)

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Palm Sunday & Earth Hour

March 29, 2015

WITH ALL OF CREATION

This year, the beginning of Holy Week coincides with Earth Hour – the hour long observance of creation and dimming of lights around the world.

There are two brief reflections contained in this sound file:  the first was delivered on the vigil of Palm Sunday about what we have heard during these past 40 days; the second was delivered during a special Taizé prayer service during Earth Hour.

May we not forget that this week, we are not just united with Christians around the world; we are united with all of creation.

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Fifth Sunday in Lent

March 22, 2015

WAITING FOR JESUS

It really is a very strange story, isn’t it? Not for the reasons the Pharisees would claim – the fact that a man was brought back to life, but because of how Jesus first responded.

When Jesus heard that Lazarus, this man that he loved was ill, he did not rush off to him – he waited for two days.

When he arrived, Martha came to him and confronted him on his delay. Jesus rather matter-of-factly assured her that Lazarus would live. And then Mary comes out and again confronts him about his delay – and she started to cry.

Then Jesus also begins to cry.

We read that it wasn’t because Lazarus died that Jesus cried, but because Mary cried. Clearly, Jesus did not mean to bring such angst upon Mary, but she did not understand what he knew.

Every single one of us here has experienced the delay or seemingly unresponsiveness of God.  This is a story about how we deal with waiting for Jesus.

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

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