Archive for June, 2014

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Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

June 29, 2014

STRUCTURE AND MISSION

Who do you say that I am? It is the question isn’t it? Notice that he didn’t ask what do I teach or what do you think of my ideas? Jesus didn’t ask anything about what he said or did – he asked his disciples about himself.

Unlike other great teachers of the world, Jesus demands that we love – not a set of teachings or ideas – but him. Thus, our faith is not simply about a set of doctrines or ideas, but about who YOU confess that Jesus is – for you?

Perhaps he is a historical figure? Perhaps a Sunday companion? Perhaps he is the one you go to when you are in need? Perhaps an inspiring teacher or activist? Perhaps a healer? Whatever you say, the question demands an answer – and it is worth reflection on.

Both Peter and Paul have their own answers. For Peter, Jesus is the Messiah. For Paul, Jesus is the fulfillment of the law. Today we are blessed to celebrate these two men who represent the two archetypes of the church: structure and mission.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul (Acts 12:1-11; Psalm 34; 2 Timothy 4:4-8, 17-18; Matthew 16:13-19).

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Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)

June 22, 2014

THAT WHICH UNIFIES

Last October, I offered a sermon series on the Eucharist to all those who come for daily Mass. You might recall that I based it on Our One Great Act of Fidelity by Ronald Rolheiser.

As a priest, I have obviously given a fair amount of thought to the Eucharist and having been quite inspired by Rolheiser’s book, I set out to teach those in the Congregation what I knew and what I had learned. I was naïve.

I have given A LOT of presentations and more homilies than I could count, but those five days were some of the most challenging I have ever given. I simply didn’t understand how personal the Eucharist is. And I certainly didn’t appreciate its power to bring unity from so much diversity.

There is no single theology of the Eucharist – not anywhere – not in scripture or in our tradition. But Christians argue a lot about it. What does it mean? How often should it be celebrated? Who should be allowed to participate?

Today, we are unified in what we cannot understand – nor can we ever really understand.  We are unified not by what we know – but by who we encounter.

CLICK HERE for the readings for Corpus Christi (Deuteronomy 8:2-3,14-16, Psalm 147; 1 Corinthians 10-16-17; John 6:51-58).

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Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

June 14, 2014

A MODEL OF RELATIONSHIP

To understand the nature of God is to understand our own nature. So what do we know about the nature of God?

When Benedict XVI was Ratzinger, he said that the Trinity states the absoluteness of the relative.  That is to say that relationship belongs to the very nature of God.

We are told through the scriptures that God is love. God is a verb – not a person or a thing – not a noun or an adjective. God is a VERB. God is love; thus God’s nature is the dynamic between a lover, a beloved and the love between them.

Thus God is a relationship – more like a community or a family.  On this Father’s Day, it is not a bad analogy.

Today’s Solemnity reminds us that the best relationships are the ones that don’t simply fulfill ourselves, but more important draw us out of ourselves.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Trinity (Exodus 34:4-6,8-9; Deuteronomy 3:52-56; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; John 3:16-18).

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The Solemnity of Pentecost

June 8, 2014

UNCOMFORTABLE RECEPTION

Today we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit, but how do we receive it?  It happens when we lose.  It is born in anxiety and fear, because only then are we ready to receive help – when we are no longer capable of the task on our own accord.  That IS what happens in the upper room is it not – what we hear about in our readings today?

And this is uncomfortable.  We prefer self-reliance and independence.  We want to believe we can win, be in control.  But the fact that we are wearing red reminds us that we are not.

Pentecost celebrates the birth of the Church, which means that our existence comes out of our ability to receive what we do not have.

CLICK HERE for the readings for Pentecost (Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 104; 1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13; John 20:19-23).

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The Ascension of the Lord

June 1, 2014

THE COMMISSIONING 

For the past six weeks, we have been listening to Jesus speak about the resurrection – about how much God loves us. Implicit in these many discourses on love is trust. Today, we celebrate just how much Jesus trusts us.

Through his Ascension, he leaves us to continue the work that he began. We hear the final lines of Matthew’s Gospel – called the great commission – the command to go out and Baptize all nations.

For this reason, we celebrate as a Universal Church, World Communications Day. Pope Francis’ message for today speaks about the need to create an authentic culture of encounter. He asks,  In spite of our own limitations and sinfulness, how do we draw truly close to one another?”

This command of proclaiming the Gospel to everyone is too big for just a few people and too important to be ignored by anyone.  So how do we draw close to one another?  How do we draw both ourselves and others to God?

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Ascension of the Lord (Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47; Ephesians 1:17-23; Matthew 28:16-20).