Archive for April, 2015

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Fourth Sunday of Easter

April 26, 2015

UNITY, PROTECTION & RELATIONSHIP

This is Good Shepherd Sunday. It is rich with imagery and meaning, and describes the role of the shepherd.

There are three roles of the Good Shepherd in our Gospel:  To unify, protect and relate. Unification and protection concerns our giftedness and generosity (as community and individuals).

But we cannot effectively do this unless we are willing to be changed by this relationship and be held accountable to each other for the possibilities – the choices we make to bring the quality of the Gospel more intensely into our lives.

CLICK HERE for the readings for 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 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)