Archive for April, 2012

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Fourth Sunday of Easter

April 30, 2012

THE GATHERER

Today is often called “Good Shepherd Sunday”.  It is a hard idea for us to wrap our minds around because we don’t usually encounter too many shepherds today.  But it is also World Day of Prayer for Vocations – that we know much more about.  There is this idea that our priests are our shepherds and perhaps through them we learn a bit more about Jesus.

In our first reading, Peter defends Jesus as the Good Shepherd who healed the crippled while stretching their understanding about what was acceptable.  Of course, Peter reminds us that those actions were rejected by them, but not by God.

He is the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.

And John tells us that as children of the cornerstone, what we shall be has not yet been revealed.

That is to say we are all called to be shepherds in our own right – a person who we hear in the Gospel will lay down their life for their sheep.   A person who hears the voice of God.

CLICK HERE for the Readings for the Fourth Sunday of Easter: (Acts 4:8-12; Psalm 118; 1 John 3:1-2; John 10:11-18)

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Third Sunday of Easter

April 23, 2012

THE JOY OF THE RESURRECTION

All of our readings today make a very clear connection between the resurrection of Christ and the forgiveness of sins.

St. Paul makes the point abundantly clear:  The author of life, you put to death.  In other words, you killed God.  You are the worst of sinners.

But then Paul tells them, but God raised him from the dead.  That is, God has undone what you have done.  God has brought life from what you thought was death.

And so we repent and our sins are wiped away.  But here is my difficulty:  often us church-folk speak more of sin than we do forgiveness.  We forget that we celebrate are people of the resurrection, not the crucifixion.

I cannot tell you how many Catholics I meet who live in this life feeling so unworthy, so penitent, so sorry because they feel they can never measure up, but that is not what we are to profess.  In gratitude for all that God has done, we profess forgiveness much more often than sinfulness.

CLICK HERE for the Readings for the Third Sunday of Easter: (Acts 4:13-15,17-79; Psalm 4; 1 John 2:1-5; Luke 24:35-48)

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Second Sunday of Easter

April 16, 2012

THE HEALING TOUCH

Jesus appears to them and says, “Peace be with you. (and then he showed them his wounds) Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

We cannot know peace and forgiveness until we touch our own pain.

The person of Thomas has long been associated with those who do not believe, but I think he is actually much like all of us who struggle with forgiveness. In this way, Thomas asks the questions for us: What do we do when something to which we have committed ourselves is destroyed before our very eyes? What do we do when people disappoint us and fail us?

Thomas reminds us that we must first touch the wounds – first within ourselves and then within others and then, by the grace of the Holy Spirit – a strength we usually did not think we had – we let the pain out of the wound.

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

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Easter Sunday 2012

April 8, 2012

A HEAVENLY DRESS REHEARSAL

I have always felt like today, more than most days of the year, is as close as we get to a dry run through for Heaven. Easter Sunday feels like a dress rehearsal for our first day in the Heavenly Jerusalem.

The music is triumphant and joyful; everyone is dressed in their best dresses and suits and I am always happy to see lots of faces I don’t get to always see on Sunday – yes, for lots of reasons, Easter feels Heaven.

And if you are thinking how great it would be if every Sunday felt like Easter – well, I have some good news – that is how it is supposed to be, at least according to the Church.

But then life happens and it is hard to find the time and energy to celebrate every Sunday throughout the year with the same fervor with which we celebrate Easter. Soon the kids will ask why they have to go to Church? Some members of our own families find a way out of it, while others go faithfully. Some neighbors go and others sleep in or work out in the yard.

So the question is: why IS going to church so necessary? Why is it so important to belong to a religion and a regular faith community? And is it really all that bad to be “spiritual and not religious?”

Tune in to find out. . .

CLICK HERE for the Readings for Easter Sunday: (Acts 10:34a,37-43; Psalm 118; Colossians 3:1-4; John 20:1-9)