Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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2nd Sunday of Easter

April 23, 2017

THE PEACE OF COMMUNITY

This is one of those Gospels that gets painted with broad strokes, but the context and details are very, very important.

It is the evening of the Resurrection.  The Apostles are in the upper room, hiding out of fear that their association with Jesus would result in their own crucifixion.  Then, Jesus appears to them offering them peace.

Peace is one of those tricky words – a lot like love.  Peace doesn’t mean no conflict – peace means that we will not lose our ground should conflict occur.  Peace does not mean clear sailing or an easy path; the peace of Christ means that though bad things may happen, we trust that all will be as it needs to be, allowing our heart and mind to be at ease.

Then Jesus breathed to Holy Spirit into them.  And why did he do this?  (So that they may forgive one another).

In other words, in community, we find our peace.  In community we receive that which is necessary to forgive.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Second Sunday of Easter (Acts 2:42-47; Psalm 118; 1 Peter 1:3-9; John 20:19-31)

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Easter Sunday 2017

April 16, 2017

FEAR AND LOVE

“And they went quickly from the tomb – fearful yet overjoyed.”

Yesterday, I said that love does not just conquer death; rather, it is in itself death – the death of total surrender.  Love kills our illusions of self-reliance and independence.  Love, when it is true, strips us down and exposes our own ego to ourselves.  And when this happens, it usually takes time for us to find our bearings.  If you have ever been in love, you know this to be true.  Love stops us in our tracks; it dis and re-orients us, and for a moment we have no choice to stand in the silent stillness of our own heart while our head catches up.  In love, I think we are very much like Jesus in the tomb.

But then something happens:  new life.  The service out of love on Thursday leads to the surrender of love in the garden brought to the sacrifice in love of the cross leads us through the silent stillness to love anew and completely.   And to this we react like Mary:  fearful and overjoyed.

CLICK HERE for the readings for Easter Sunday (Acts 10:34, 37-43; Psalm 118; Colossians 3:1-4; Matthew 28:1-10)

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Good Friday

April 14, 2017

WHAT LOVE LOOKS LIKE

For those of you who were here last night, you know that I do not believe it is helpful for us to see today simply as a demonstration of divine love.  To do so, immunizes ourselves to love as a path to our own transformation and holiness.

THIS is how much Jesus loves.  Love is what Jesus lived into, and life, our human life, is what Jesus lived into love.  Jesus didn’t do this for us – Jesus didn’t know us.  God did this for us.  Jesus did this for his friends because he knew his friends needed to know God.

Why was this the way?  If this is all about love, surely there are other ways to show it?

Because love always hurts when it decides to create rather than consume.  Because love always hurts because of the sacrifice it requires.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the 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 14, 2017

HUMAN HOLINESS

Thomas Merton once wrote that Holiness is not becoming less human, but more so.  With that in mind, I would like us to begin by refocusing our thoughts from our typical notions of “Holy Week”, to the most dramatic and fullest expression of a “human week”.  Because these past few weeks, I wonder if we have lost some of the meaning of Jesus’ example for us because we have focused too much on the divinity rather than the humanity of these moments?

I wonder, if we acknowledge the humanity of Jesus, what happens to our own call to love, serve, surrender and sacrifice?   I wonder if we acknowledge the humanity of Jesus, especially over the next few days, if we do not by consequence, acknowledge our own divine potential?

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)

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5th Sunday of Lent

April 2, 2017

RAISING MEANING

Let me begin by placing this story in its context:  John places the raising of Lazerus just before Jesus enters Jerusalem.  It is the last great event before Jesus begins his final journey to the cross.  Not even Jesus could escape suffering . .  . nor can we.

You have heard me say it many times before:  there is no resurrection without a crucifixion.  The lesson of Jesus and Lazarus is that death DOES come.   Suffering cannot be avoided.  It is part of humanity.  God does not prevent it; rather God is there with us. . . until we are ready to truly live.

And God is there with us, which is the second great lesson of our story.  In our Gospel today, we hear the infamous shortest line of the Bible:  Jesus wept.  No elaboration is necessary.  Nothing more needs to be said.  Jesus felt the pain of his dear friends Mary and Martha.  He felt their suffering.  In two simple words, we learn that God is not absent from our sorrows, difficulties and loss.  Though it may seem God is far away, God enters into our most difficult moments and FEELS – right there with us.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the 5th Sunday in Lent (Ezekiel 37:12-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8:8-11; John 11:1-45)

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4th Sunday of Lent

March 26, 2017

MIRACLES IN MOTION

We began Lent this year with an invitation to a “spiritual amnesia” – a moment to forget everything we think we think we know about God and Catholicism for a moment, so that we may return to God with our whole heart – so that we may return to our Faith free from all of the baggage we have accumulated over the years.

That invitation gave us an opportunity to rediscover why we fast, give alms and pray.  And now that we have done that, the Gospel invites us to consider what or who we are blind to?  Four weeks into Lent, what continues to keep us from returning to God with our whole heart?

Though the Gospel focuses on the healing of the blind man, I think the real focus for many of us are the actions of the Pharisees – not to say that we would be so callous, but we are women and men who stand before miracles on a daily basis . . . and yet how often do they reshape our consciousness?

CLICK HERE for the readings for the 4th Sunday in Lent (1 Samuel 16:1, 6-7, 10-13; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41)

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3rd Sunday of Lent

March 19, 2017

FACING OUR PAIN

“Bear your share of hardship with the strength that comes from God for God has called us into a holy life, not according to OUR works, but according to God’s Grace.”

A holy life, we said is to live in love with the Love (God) who has loved us first.  Love, when lived with a pure heart, allows us to let go of everything else so that only God remains.  And while God is that love, the way we love is unique to each of us.

But it would be niave to think that a holy life is a life filled with the ecstasy of God’s love.  So many of the saints speak of the “dark night”, even Pope Francis spoke of this about a week ago as he reflected on his own life.  In our first reading the Israelites revolted against Moses and God because of the difficulties that did not seem to stop even after their “deliverance”.

So how do we respond when the darkness falls?  Do we fall victim to fear?  Do we harden our hearts so that they are protected from the pain?    Or can we live with the hope of St. Paul – the kind that does not disappoint?  Can we live with a hope that will allow us to be lead into new places . . . rather than simply veil our own fear and cynicism?

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