Archive for April, 2016

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Fifth Sunday of Easter

April 24, 2016

LOVE & DISCERNMENT

Our Gospel today reminds us that we are called to love one another. If you have been paying really close attention, you will find this command is part of the great theme of the Easter season.

Love leads us, we said a few weeks ago. Love expands with use.

The experience of the resurrection is not something that we can comprehend – that we can understand; it is something that we experience – that is felt at our core. Belief is stronger than knowledge – not that it contradicts it – but it does transcend it. Belief starts what we know and meets us where we are at, and then takes us to the place in our soul where hope and joy dwell.

As we have been discussing over the past few weeks, the Apostles and early Christian experience of the resurrection required a courageous choice to forget the pain of their loss – to return to the lives they once knew – to return to fishing or walk back to Emmaus. Or to be lead by love . . . and become creators – to dare to think and do something that has never been done before. To become cultivators – who nourish the best of what people before them have done.

“Do you love me?” Jesus asked Peter. Then feed my sheep and tend my lambs. Then don’t just speak to the Jews, but feed everyone – the Gentiles and eventually everyone to then ends of the Earth.

Love leads us – it gives us the courage to stretch out our hands and be led to that place which we would rather not go, but how do we know we are going the right way?  This is what discernment is all about.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Fifth Sunday of Easter (Acts 14:21-27; Psalm 145; Revelations 21:1-5; John 13:31-35)

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Fourth Sunday of Easter

April 17, 2016

CULTURE SHIFTS

Our first reading today marks a cultural shift in early Christianity. For centuries, the Jews have been told they would be a light to the nations; that all people would come to Jerusalem for instruction and salvation.

However, these words were never truly realized. Many Jews remained exclusive, defensive and protective – admittedly for good reason. Generations of persecution gave way to fear and skepticism.

But the Holy Spirit always finds a way. . . If there is anything I have learned, its that God’s will has about 1000 different ways it can be accomplished.

Its tempting to focus on the jealously of this Jewish minority, but this reading is not about what the Jews tried to limit; rather, it is about what the Gentiles added.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Fourth Sunday of Easter (Acts 13:14, 43-52; Psalm 100; Revelations 7:9, 14-17; John 10:27-30)

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Third Sunday of Easter

April 10, 2016

DO YOU LOVE ME?

I always love the readings right after Easter, because they describe the stories that occurred just after the resurrection. Though the Apostles did not see it this way, what they are doing is living out the earliest days of the Christian Church.   And today’s Gospel is one of my favourite stories for it is not only very instructive, but also very real.

It begins with Peter. Peter who confessed Jesus as the Messiah only to deny him. Peter, who ran to the tomb only to walk back confused. Peter, who was with Jesus on the mountain, was pulled from the sea, witnessed miracle after miracle – now, unsure what to do, goes back to what he was doing before he met Jesus: fishing.

Can you imagine? After witnessing all of that? Just to go back to what you did before?   Well, of course you can, because we do it all the time!

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Third Sunday of Easter (Acts 15:27-32, 40-41; Psalm 30; Revelations 5:11-14; John 21:1-19)

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Second Sunday of Easter

April 3, 2016

INDIVIDUALS & INSTITUTIONS

Last week, we spoke about the importance of experience – that the resurrection is not something that is known with our head, until it has first been known with our heart.

In these early days after the resurrection, the apostles bring this idea into focus – Thomas perhaps most famously so. He needed the experience of his senses to believe. . . . We are not that different. . . . for what could we know about Jesus without the sacramental life? What would we know without all of this? Who could believe the resurrection without the testimony of the church? Without the witnesses and traditions that have come before us?

And yet, we live in a world that seems to put more trust in the individual rather than the institution. These days, it seems a blogger is just as credible as a journalist. Society seems to root for the start-up but demonize the established.   And we all know many people who believe in God, but they have lost their faith in the church.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Second Sunday of Easter (Acts 5:12-16; Psalm 118; Revelations 1:9-13, 17-19; John 20:19-31)