Sunday, September 27, 2009

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Numbers 11: 25-29; Psalm 19: 8-9a, 10, 11-14
The guardians of authority do not control the Holy Spirit. She speaks through whomever she chooses. Do not judge Truth based upon some official seal of approval. Rather listen closely and observe, for "the precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

James 2: 14-18; Mark 8: 27-35
Pretty simple today: faith is lived, not just contemplated. We must act on what we believe, or we are as good as dead. Yes, this will most likely require sacrifice, but this plane of existence we occupy is only a temporary pit stop on our way to something more wonderful than we can imagine. So what do we have to lose?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

James 2: 1-5
Is God the parent of all, or only some? If we have but one creator, then are we not all brothers and sisters? So why do we treat some as if they are more equal than the rest? Why do we only listen to the rich and beautiful? Why do we tolerate a culture that makes us "judges with evil designs"?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 7: 1-8, 14-15, 21-23
"You disregard God's commandment but cling to human tradition." Are these words for us today? Surely our traditions are more essential than "the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds", or are they? Our Parent's commandment is to love. Is that what our rituals, doctrines, and institutions are about? Or do they arise from our fear of "the things that come out from within"? We have become just as paranoid of our own pollution as the Pharisees were, if not worse, as the source of our contamination is not food or drink, but our own hearts and minds. So "hear me, all of you, and understand", the Spirit is the judge of all that arises "from within people, from their hearts", not tradition. And tradition must be obedient to the Spirit, not the other way around. Listen to the Spirit, especially you "elders" of the Church, for she will tell you that God's love is a living thing, constantly growing and developing, and so our own love must be the same, if we are to truly follow our Parent's commandment.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ephesians 5: 21-32; John 6: 60-69
Our pastors had a choice today. They could say "wives should be subordinate to their husbands", or not. Who among them were bold enough to poke this hornet's nest? But the real tragedy is that whether or not those words were spoken, the words that come before them were most likely lost: "Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ." How much angst was spent in either defending or explaining away the former statement, and how little in truly exploring the latter one? In a delightful bit of irony, the gospel begins with "Many of Jesus' disciples who were listening said, 'This saying is hard; who can accept it?'" Who indeed? But which saying is truly hard? We should easily be able to strip the cultural anachronisms from Paul's marital advice and see the divine wisdom within. After all, this advice is premised on a more basic statement: "Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ." Clearly this saying is hard to accept, for we see all around us the evidence of our failure to heed its truth: homelessness, starvation, disease; all brought on because we believe in a world where it is acceptable for some to have any toy they can dream of, while others lack even the most basic necessities. If we have truly accepted Jesus as the Bread of Life, such a reality should be intolerable. So today, let us put aside the petty politics of modern America, gender conflicts or otherwise, and strive to be people who live for others, all of them.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

John 6: 51-58
Here are such clear and obvious commands to partake of the Eucharist. And yet, is Jesus really saying that all we are required to do to obtain "eternal life" is eat the bread and drink the wine? What does it truly mean to "eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood"? What intention, purpose, and desire are necessary for the sacrament to come alive in our soul? Call me crazy, but when Jesus says "the one who feeds on me will have life because of me", I think he is talking about something a little more involved than standing in line for a cracker.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

John 6: 41-51
How often have we encountered God, only to pass on by because we didn't recognize her? We expect the Divine to have a certain grandeur and mystique. But the reality is that the Father is rather ordinary after all. How could we truly get to know him if she wasn't?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

John 6: 24-35
Once again, the crowd demands signs, and once again, Jesus refuses to give them: "Do not work for food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life." Recent news items have included updates on the Shroud of Turin and the visitations at Medjugorje. As tantalizing as these things are, all "proofs" and "evidence" eventually perish. They can only take us to the edge of the chasm, not provide a bridge over it. Eventually faith comes down to a choice, we either leap across the void or we do not. Do you believe that Jesus is the Bread of Life, or not?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

2 Kings 4: 42-44; Ephesians 4: 1-6; John 6: 1-15
What does it mean to be generous? Of all the explanations of the "Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes", the one that rings most true would likely be dismissed as not being a "real" miracle: that the people were moved to generosity by Jesus' actions and simply shared the food they already had. Perhaps the "miracle" is that Jesus trusted in them at all. One does not need to look far to see that mistrust and divisiveness are all around us in society and Church. We can probably infer from Paul's writing that it has always been this way. But that does not stop Jesus or Paul from calling us to a different lifestyle, one only possible if we truly believe that we are "one body and one Spirit", that there is "one God and Father of all". If this is true, how can I not look upon both my neighbor and my enemy as good and honorable people, deserving of my generosity, trust, and love? Think of the "miracles" such an attitude might spawn.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jeremiah 23: 1-6; Psalm 23: 1-6; Mark 6: 30-34
The metaphors of sheep and shepherd can be helpful in understanding our nature, and that of our relationship with the Divine. We are creatures whose knowledge is limited. We can lose our way easily, and are always in need of guidance. The idea that God, and most especially Jesus, is the "Good Shepherd" leading us to paradise is so powerful, because it resonates in the core of our being. How could we get there without them? But there is danger in these metaphors as well. They can give us a sort of permission to abandon free will, and let others dictate our thoughts and actions. We must always evaluate potential shepherds with Jeremiah's words in mind, no matter their credentials. Where will they lead us? Never forget that metaphors are not reality. We are not sheep, but human beings, created in the image of our Divine Parent. Let us never aspire to be anything less.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Amos 7: 12-15
It's taken me a bit longer than planned to resume writing, but here I am. And this passage seemed appropriate for a new beginning. This blog, and everything else I've ever written, is not and never will be about me. God has given me something to say, and told me to say it. And no matter how much of a pain in the ass this task is, I just cannot say "no" to my creator.

Ephesians 1: 3-14; Mark 6: 7-13
There is a theme here that Jesus shares with us the power and love of God, a relationship not possible before his arrival. But if we are a creation of our Father, were we not always her children? The Prodigal Son was always his father's child, even if he misunderstood or rejected that relationship. Likewise, we do not need to be "adopted" by God, we are his already. But in our sin, frailty, and insecurity, we tell ourselves that such a reality should not and cannot be ours. We think we need Jesus to give us a share of his inheritance, because surely we do not possess one of our own. Nonsense I say! Jesus came to awaken, not give.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Divine Mercy Sunday

Acts 4: 32-35; John 20: 19-31
Today we celebrate the infinite mercy of God. It should also be a day for reflecting upon the ways in which we have succeeded and failed in mirroring that mercy. Do our families and communities resemble that of the early Christians? Do we even want them to? Do we strive to be as forgiving of sin as our Creator? Do we delight in retaining the sin of those we dislike or misunderstand? Let us all show the kind of mercy we hope to be shown ourselves.

Obviously, this is my first post in about a month. I suppose you could say that I took to heart my own Lenten challenge: to build a lifestyle of truth. My great struggle with this blog is challenging myself to write what I truly believe and not "clean things up" to make them more "acceptable" and/or "Catholic". To that end, I will be taking another, more deliberate break to reflect on what the Spirit is calling me to say through this site. I plan to resume posting on Pentecost Sunday (May 31st). It seems a fitting day to begin again the work of sharing all that has been given to me.

P.S. If anyone's out there actually reading this, I'd love to hear from you. My e-mail address is listed on my profile. Thanks!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Fourth Sunday of Lent

2 Chronicles 36: 14-16, 19-23; Ephesians 2: 4-10; John 3: 14-21
Admission to the Kingdom cannot be bought or earned. The Father's love is her gift to us, completely free and unconditional. But like any gift, it is ours to accept or reject. What will your answer be?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Third Sunday of Lent

Exodus 20: 1-17; 1 Corinthians 1: 22-25; John 2: 13-25
"Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified." In other words, most people approach Truth by searching for proof, physical or intellectual. (Just look at the response to Jesus by the people of Jerusalem in today's Gospel.) But those who truly follow the Way proclaim a love that is not subject to proof; it simply is what it is. We make Truth out to be more complex than it is, because we assume it must be that way. But life is so much simpler than it appears. We needed the Old Law, but its time passed away. Jesus gave us the New Law, but now its time has passed as well. The truth of both is simply this: Love. That is all God, Jesus, and the prophets have ever desired of us. Love. Infinitely complex and yet amazingly simple. Love. Stop trying to understand and codify it; just do it. Love.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Second Sunday of Lent

Genesis 22: 1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18; Mark 9: 2-10
We belong to our Creator, not ourselves. Nothing we have, including our bodies, is truly our own. It is all on lease from the Landlord. From this perspective, there can be no burden in following God's will, because we have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I am yours Father, say the word and I shall follow.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

First Sunday of Lent

Mark 1: 12-15
"This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel." I say these words to you today, just as my brother spoke them so long ago. Now is the time for God's Reign to begin. The Kingdom is not some future utopia; it is faith, hope, and love. Embrace these with all your heart, live them as best you can every moment, and you will find yourself there before you know it. Our Father's good news is that her Realm lies within each of us, if we only choose to believe. So let me say it again with my own words: Now is God's time, for something wonderful is upon us, so be at peace, and believe in the truth of love.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-18
Style over substance may be a popular approach to modern life, but it does not work with God. Our Parent sees what is real whether we like it or not. Let this Lent be the birth of a new lifestyle: Truth.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time

Mark 2: 1-12
And still more miracles today. Why? Because some in the crowd could not believe Truth with their own ears. So Jesus gave them a little magic show to prove his authority. Perhaps we were still too childish to listen then, but there is no excuse for such attitudes now. Grow up and stop looking for signs. No amount of proof can take you to the Kingdom; only faith and love will do.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Mark 1: 40-45
Again with the miracles. If they were not done, would it have been "impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly"? If he had simply preached Truth would the response still have been that "people kept coming to him from everywhere"? We all know the sad answer. What will it take for us to choose substance over style? When will we crave the Real, rather than the bright and shiny?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Mark 1: 29-39
Let us be honest with ourselves today. What do we believe in: the Word or the miracles? If Jesus preached, but did not heal, would we have listened? Is not Truth good enough by itself? What proof do you demand from our Parent today? What proof would you demand if the Child of Life was standing in front of you? Can any magic make Love more real than it already is?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Deuteronomy 18: 15-20; 1 Corinthians 7: 32-35; Mark 1: 21-28
For too long our family has been plagued by notions that the spiritual is better than the material, that we must flee the world and the flesh to truly love and serve God. I say to you that such ideas are nonsense. Who do you think created the material? Who do you think created our flesh? We are meant to be together. Celibacy may be of practical necessity in some cases, but it is certainly not a higher calling. Yes, the world and flesh are full of distractions, but it is precisely there that the One is to be found. The Kingdom does not lie in the extraordinary, but in the average and the mundane. There is truly the delight of the Spirit. Time is not passing away, but even if it were, Father would want us to revel in her creation until the very last second. That is "adherence to the Lord." Do not expect miracles to prove that what I say is true. Listen to the authority of the Spirit that dwells within you; she will not lead you astray.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle

Acts 9:1-22; 1 Corinthians 7: 29-31; Mark 16: 15-18
Our brother Paul was a great man. Without him, would our family even exist? But he was still a man, full of passion and imperfection just like us all. Honor him, listen to him, emulate him, but do not be afraid to criticize and disagree with him. He would expect and desire no less of true believers in the Way. He would be the first to say that the Spirit is present in each of us, not just those officially labeled as apostles and saints. And so I say to you that while "the world in its present form" may pass away, time will not run out. The journey of humanity may some day come to an end, but the journey of life never will. Life is the center of the universe, not us, and it is past time that we recognize our place within it.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

1 Samuel 3: 3b-10, 19
I am Samuel. I hear the call and respond, but I have yet to respond to the true caller. I think I am familiar with my Father, but she hasn't really revealed anything to me yet. Glimpses and hints perhaps, but my own will is still blocking the view. So let me be still and peaceful, and wait for my Lord to whisper my name when I am asleep. Speak father, for your servant is listening.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Isaiah 42: 1-4, 6-7; Mark 1: 7-11
This is not the coronation ceremony of Jesus the prince, as some Christians would have you believe. Rather, it is a father, our Father, giving praise to a child for a deed well-done. By accepting baptism, Jesus was acknowledging and embracing the identity and future for which our Father had called him out of creation. This is a call she makes to each one of us. Jesus is not our mighty ruler, but a brother, servant, and mentor, who once and forever is here to lead us, his people, his family, into God's reign of love. Stop denying the truth and accept the baptism of the Spirit in whatever way she appears to you. Then listen closely and you too will hear, "You are my beloved Child; with you I am well pleased."

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord

Matthew 2: 1-12
Love incarnate is not always welcomed by the world. It is too messy for the powerful; it threatens their control. But like the magi, we cannot deny its existence. We must approach it with our gifts and praise God for its presence. The world will fight back in fear, and may even seem to win at times. But know always that love will not be denied its victory.