Sunday, November 30, 2008

First Sunday of Advent

Mark 13: 33-37
"Be watchful! Be alert!" During this season, we prepare not only for the coming of our Brother at Christmas, but for his approach throughout our lives. We never know when Jesus will present himself to us, or in what disguise. Every person, every moment offers the possibility of encountering God. Will we be ready, or will we be asleep? "Be watchful! Be alert!"

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day

Sirach 50: 22-24; 1 Corinthians 1: 3-9; Luke 17: 11-19
On this day, let us acknowledge that all we have comes from God. Whatever blessings we have obtained in life are gifts from our Father's bounty. We did nothing to deserve them, so we lose nothing by sharing them. Our true wealth and poverty lies not in material things, but in the strength of our faith in our Brother Jesus. This is a treasure that cannot be stolen, foreclosed upon, or repossessed. So on this day, let us give thanks to a God who loves us beyond measure, and who eagerly awaits our return home. Have a happy and joyous Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King

Matthew 25: 31-46
The simplicity of this passage is almost as stunning as our failure to listen to it. The Kingdom of Jesus is based not on power and wealth, but upon love, most especially love of those without power or wealth. He turns our notions of royalty on their head, so we ignore him. Look at the world we have created! We serve Lord Greed and Prince Fame, not our Brother the King. The hungry, the thirsty, the strangers, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned: they are all Jesus in disguise, asking us who we serve? How can we continue to allow any of our brothers and sisters to go without, when we have so much? Let us find a way to stop being blinded by our false notions of celebrity, and embrace the one, true Celebrity who is Lord of All.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 25: 14-30
Another parable about the cruel side of God, or is it? Our Master has indeed given each of us a share of his wealth. How will we use it? Do we strive to increase love in the world? Do we share God's wealth with others? Do we try to bring our brothers and sisters into our Master's House? Or is our concern only for our own well-being, our own salvation? Do we fear using the wealth entrusted to us, afraid of risking its loss, afraid of our Master's punishment? Our soul does not belong to us, but to God. We must use it to increase his harvest. We must not hide it away in a desperate attempt to preserve it. For if we do so, we will lose it anyway.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome

1 Corinthians 3: 9c-11, 16-17; John 2: 13-22
Oh, the irony. Today we celebrate a cathedral, a building, a physical temple to God and Church. Yet what does our Scripture speak of? A cathedral of a different sort: "Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" How easy it is for us to imagine God dwelling in things of grandeur: a magnificent basilica, a mighty institution. And yet look where our Brother chose to be born, where the temple of his body first graced our little world. Even in the Eucharist, we are not satisfied with the simplicity of the gift Jesus left for us: bread and wine. We have to puff them up, shroud them in gold and jewels, build lofty structures to house them. Why is it so hard to see that our Father cares not for appearances?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls)

Wisdom 3: 1-9; Romans 6: 3-9; John 6: 37-40
Death is not really death. Our Father desires eternal life for all of her children. That is the "Good News" that Jesus came not just to tell us, but to truly give us. "This is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day." Our Father gave Jesus the task of not losing a single one of us. Can we not trust that our Eternal Brother will make good on this task? On this day of all others, let us say "Amen!"

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Solemnity of All Saints

Revelation 7: 2-4, 9-14; 1 John 3: 1-3; Matthew 5: 1-12a
The Communion of Saints is one of our hidden treasures. As a concept it reminds us that we are a family first and last. As a reality is tells us that we are children of God, not metaphorically or symbolically, but really and truly. This is powerful stuff: we are God's family. There are a lot of ways we could take this, and in our history we have taken it down some very dark roads. We did that because we weren't truly listening to what Jesus was telling us in the Beatitudes. He was not telling us how to be, but how we already are. He was our Brother telling his siblings the beauty he sees in every one of us. We are God's children! We are blessed! But these blessings are not ours alone: "Love your neighbor as yourself." We have been given these blessings to share. We are not an exclusive family, but one who welcomes everyone into its midst. That kind of family is truly a communion of saints.