Sunday, August 31, 2008

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 16: 21-27
Jesus has just given Peter the keys to heaven and declared him to be the foundation of the Church. And then Jesus calls Peter "Satan" and an "obstacle" to his plans. What are we to make of this stunning reversal? Did Jesus change his mind? Or was he telling us something of his expectations for community and discipleship? "You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do." Let that truly sink in: we are called to unity with the mind of the Divine. What does that mean when we think of power, authority, responsibility, judgment, mercy, love? Can we abandon our own needs and desires to embrace the will of Our Father? God loves each of her children and wishes all of them to return to his embrace, but do we believe this? Perhaps one of our crosses to bear is the relinquisment of our need to be unique and special, and to instead put on the garment of the simple human who is already unique and special enough in the eyes of God. For what will it profit us to gain the mantle of the extraordinary if the cost is to lose our place as an ordinary child of our Creator.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 16: 13-20
When Jesus gave "the keys to the kingdom of heaven" to Peter, was he giving the Church the power and authority of God? Or was he perhaps inviting us to share in the mind and love of God? When he declared that whatever Peter bound and loosed on earth would also be bound and loosed in heaven, was he giving the Church the power and authority over our eternal destination? Or was he perhaps inviting us to assume the responsibility of seeing, judging, and loving one another as God does? Whose desires does our Church reflect: ours or God's? Whose needs does our Church serve: ours or God's? Do we truly embody the love and mercy of the Father who sacrificed his only Son on our behalf? Or are we the greedy little child who is given the key to the candy store and gorges himself until he is sick? Do we plead the case of each and every one of our brothers and sisters before the Divine Judge? Or are we the spoiled brat who is given the job of doorkeeper to the party and delights in keeping more people out than he lets in?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Isaiah 56: 1, 6-7
We do not worship the Christian God, but God. She is the creator of all peoples, not just those that believe in him. She hears and calls out to everyone. He loves everyone. We must always remember that we are not an exclusive tribe, but simply messengers of the one family of the one God.

Matthew 15: 21-28
How should we understand Jesus calling the Canaanite woman a dog? Most would dismiss it as a test of her faith: "He didn't really mean it." I say that he meant every word he spoke, testimony from his own lips to the fullness of his humanity. Jesus chose to be one of us, with all our tribal tendencies. It is not pretty to us, not what we expect of our God, but God's will does not follow our expectations or desires. He has her own plan and we should expect it to be confounding most of the time. Our notions of imperfection may be anything but to the author of perfection itself.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Luke 1: 39-56
Who was Mary? Why was she so special? Was she superhuman or just the one who actually said "yes" to God? What might our own lives be like if we had the same courage and faith to say "yes" to God? What might God accomplish through us if we truly believe that what was spoken to us by Jesus will be fulfilled?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

1 Kings 19: 9a, 11-13a
God is not at all what we expect. To know God, we must shed all our images and be open to seeing whatever it chooses to show us. Most of the time, she likes to appear exactly where we assume he is not present. Nothing is off limits to God. We may be left uncomfortable, confused, and uncertain, but God is there as well. Do we desire to admire God or know God? What will it be? Seek with bold humility and you shall find a well deeper than the universe.

Matthew 14: 22-33
Jesus became human not only that we might truly know God, but also to share with us his own divinity. We are called to join in his divine love, to truly become children of the Father. To have faith in such things seems impossible, but God's desires know no boundaries. Just as Jesus called Peter to rise out of the boat and walk across the water to meet him, so too are we called to rise up out of our fear and walk across the chasm of doubt to where he stands ready to greet us with joy and open arms. How he longs to embrace us with his love, and whisper in our ear: "Truly, you are a child of God."

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

Matthew 17: 1-9
Jesus became human to tell us "do not be afraid" to gaze into the face and heart of God. He is not something to be feared. She is "Our Father", our eternal parent that desires nothing more than love. We exist to live that love as best we can, fully knowing that we will fail. And yet the Incarnation assures us that we will ultimately hear these words: "You are my beloved child, with whom I am well pleased."