Archive for March, 2014

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Fourth Sunday of Lent

March 30, 2014

PREVENTING OUR OWN BLINDNESS

The Gospel story of the Blind Man is another remarkable masterpiece from John.  It is rich is symbolism and meaning, which we will break out in today’s homily; but it is also a story that causes us to question our own blindness – not because of the Blind Man himself, but because of the Pharisees, to whom many of us relate.

The Pharisees reject the man just as they would reject Jesus.  The temptation is to see them as evil or cynical or in some other poor manner, but you have heard me say enough times now – they are us. If this story was written in today’s terms, the Pharisees would be Christians who go to church every Sunday and pray on a regular basis.

So rather than just write the Pharisees off as “out-of-touch”, I would prefer we ask ourselves why they could not see the miracle in front of them? And in doing so, we will ask ourselves what must we do so that we do not become blind – not as the man was, but as the Pharisees clearly are.

CLICK HERE for the readings of the Fourth Sunday of Lent (1 Samuel 16:1, 6-7, 10-13; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41).

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Third Sunday of Lent

March 23, 2014

LIVING WITH OUR THIRST

For what do we thirst?

A people in the desert thirst for the presence of God; the samaritian women in the Gospel thirsts for living water – the water of eternal life; and the Romans thirst for hope that does not disappoint.

For what do you thirst?  For what do you long?

An end to your fear?  Forgiveness from a friend?  The feelings of love and intimacy that have now faded?  Perhaps you long for community – an end to the loneliness?  The recovery of your dignity?  Perhaps just a moment of peace and comfort? 

And so just as the woman comes to the well, we come here.  Just like the woman, we often feel like a foreigner to God.  But we are not so far from God as we may believe, for all we must do is open our hearts and ask.  But do we know what we asking for?  This is the question.

CLICK HERE for the readings of the Third Sunday of Lent (Exodus 17:3-7; Psalm 95; Romans 5:1-2,5-8; John 4:5-42).

The Poem adapted in today’s homily comes from “Let Us Be Women Who Love” by Idelette McVicker.

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Second Sunday of Lent

March 16, 2014

WHO ARE YOU?

EE Cummings once wrote, “It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are.”

At the heart of our readings today is the answer to that great question:  who are you?  We are told in our first reading that we are a great nation because God has blessed us.  And because we have been blessed, we are a blessing to others.  And because of this, you are great.

I wonder if you believe this?  That you are a blessing.  Can we comprehend what that means for others?  For us?

Paul tells us through his words to Timothy that we are called to be holy – not because of what we have done or what we do – but because of who we are and because of the grace we have received through Christ.

CLICK HERE for the readings of the Second Sunday of Lent (Genesis 12:1-4; Psalm 33; 2 Timothy 1:8-10; Matthew 17:1-9).

The book referenced in this homily is entitled, “Jesus Feminist” by Sarah Bessey (Howard Books, 2013)

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First Sunday of Lent

March 9, 2014

EXPERIENCE THAT LEADS TO KNOWLEDGE

Last week I spoke of the experience of God.  That our faith is felt before it is understood.  That it is a longing before it is a reason.  Knowledge is incomplete without an experience.  After all, you can study love and human relations all you want, but until you fall in love, you just never really quite get it.

As we begin Lent, we are challenged to experience what we believe we know, so that we many know even more.  We are challenged to feel, we are challenged to long.

So you must ask yourself, what is different for you this Lent?  Which is not the same question as what you are giving up, because sometimes we need to do more rather than less.

CLICK HERE for the readings of the First Sunday of Lent (Genesis 2:7-9, 3:1-7; Psalm 51; Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11).

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Ash Wednesday 2014

March 5, 2014

LET US RETURN

I used to not like Lent too much – it always seemed like such an un-joyous season.  But that has changed, because I now longer understand Lent as a sorrowful, mournful time; but as a joyful one.  I no longer see it as a period of exile, but as the beginning of a return – a return to some of my lost innocence – a return to who I am called to be – a return home.

It means that we cannot understand Lent until we understand our origins.  You cannot understand sin until you understand grace and you cannot understand reconciliation until you understand your own call to holiness.

Return to me with your whole heart, says the Lord.  If we are to do this, it begins with a desire.  How will you remember your original goodness?  What will remind you of that?  How will you remember that you were made holy, from the beginning, and begin to live that way again?

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

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Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

March 2, 2014

LOVE COMES FIRST

Our Gospel today is a continuation of what we have been hearing for the past few weeks:  Jesus’ magnificent sermon from the mount.   Today’s Gospel contains so many memorable one-liners:  “You cannot serve God and Mammon”; “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and the rest will be given”; “Do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will take care of itself”

And at a certain point, I think we all hear this and say:  easier said than done.  Such words make for great poetry, but life is so much more complicated.  It is hard not to notice how Jesus seems to treat life as a series of black and white decisions, when our reality seems to be a series of grey-tones.

But to be clear, Jesus isn’t stating that we are to be concerned with the Kingdom of God at the expense of everything else; rather Jesus is stating that we should put God first and trust that everything else will follow.

CLICK HERE for the readings of the Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Isaiah 49:14-15; Psalm 62; 1 Corinthians 4:1-5; Matthew 6:24-34).