What does it mean to be family? I say that blood and law are meaningless, as are money and social custom. Simply put, family are those we choose to love unconditionally. It can be as few as one, or as many as the entire universe. But the reason Hannah, Elkanah, Mary, and Joseph are so special is that they chose to include God in their family. Will you?
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
The readings speak of a mighty and powerful God, and yet that is not the image of the divine that we celebrate today. No, today we remember that God chose to be one of us exactly as we are: fragile, vulnerable, and thoroughly dependent. Does that say more about God's beauty or our own?
Sunday, December 23, 2012
"Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled." There is a certain measure of irony in reading these words just two days after the great non-event that was December 21, 2012. How many of our brothers and sisters truly believed that divine prophecy would be fulfilled last Friday? Which among them are more disappointed: the ones who waited for the final disaster, or the ones still waiting for the awakening of the cosmic consciousness? More importantly, who are we to believe that we, not them, are the ones to whom God has spoken? If Mary had entered your house, would you have blessed her or laughed at her? Blessed is she who was foolish enough to have faith in God's word alone. May we all be such fools.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice! And then along comes John the Buzzkill. But maybe that's what we need. It's certainly what we got this weekend. As much as we want mass slaughter to be senseless, it is not. The Baptist told us what we must do, but we didn't like his advice, so we ignored him. And look at where that path led, to a world drowning in violence and suffering. Is it really a shock when some of that bile gets vomited back upon us? We need a good slap from the Baptist to help us wake up, for how can we welcome the Incarnation while feigning incomprehension about what we have done to their creation? Yes, we should rejoice today, but not because Santa Jesus is coming to make all the bad things go away. No, we should rejoice because our Brother is coming to give us Good News: We are family! Perhaps it is time we started living that way.
Sunday, December 9, 2012
"Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths." The Incarnation approaches, but can he find her way into your heart? Advent is not about gazing dreamily at the creche, waiting for Jesus to fall down the chimney and stuff our stockings with grace. No, there are obstacles in God's way. Whether we put them there, or just acquiesced while society did it for us, we need to remove them if we want our lover to find their way to our door. Love never just happens; it is always a choice.
Saturday, December 8, 2012
I really don't like the dogma we celebrate today. It flows from a place within our hearts that cannot conceive of God dwelling within something as sinful as us. God is pure; we are dirty. Therefore, Mary must have been made pure before she could conceive God in her womb. But this goes against all that I see revealed in the Incarnation. Jesus did not pre-sanitize the people with whom he came into contact; just the opposite. He delights in touching precisely those we throw away because they are too dirty for us. Does that sound like a god who would care about the cleanliness of his mother? God became human so that we might open our eyes and see that we are far more beautiful than we allow ourselves to believe. We may do dirty things, but we are never dirty.
Sunday, December 2, 2012
"People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world." Why? It's Advent! Jesus is coming! Why should anyone fear Christmas's arrival? Because God is not Santa, and grace is not a shiny new toy. Sometimes the gift we need most is one that will turn our lives upside down. Just ask the Israelites if the fulfillment and justice they got is the same as what they expected. But I say this is reason to rejoice. I don't want to drown in "the anxieties of daily life" and all the Black Friday's that they spawn. Do you? If that's the best we have to offer, then I'd say we're past due for a little flip. So let our Advent mantra be this: "To you, O Lord, I lift my soul ... and for you I wait all the day."
Sunday, November 25, 2012
"My kingdom does not belong to this world." But we sure act like it does. We're willing to tolerate the meek, weak, vulnerable, love your enemies Jesus, as long as he comes back in the second act and kicks some ass, smiting those same enemies and sending them straight to hell. They may have had the upper hand in this life, but we'll be calling the shots for all eternity! The kingdom we've built in our hearts and minds may not be on this planet, at least not yet, but it is definitely of this world. "For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth." And the truth we refuse to hear is that we are the only ones who care about dominion, power, glory, majesty, etc, etc. God comes to us as a brother, and we give her a crown instead. Why are we so terrified of being family?
Sunday, November 18, 2012
"Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place ... But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." For someone who's divine, Jesus sure doesn't seem all that omniscient here. You can almost see the scripture scholars twisting themselves into knots trying to theologize it away. Why? The simplest explanation is that Jesus was limited and fallible; in other words, fully human. The beauty in the story of the Incarnation is that God chose to become weak and vulnerable in order to show us the depth of her love. You really think he's the kind of lover who'd be afraid to embrace the whole package?
Sunday, November 11, 2012
"Do not be afraid." That is what these widows say to us. "Do not be afraid." Fame and wealth cannot provide the security we desire, but they will blind us. These widows are not entering into dependency by surrendering everything they have. They are acknowledging that each of us is utterly dependent on God from the moment of our births. We may not like it, but truth is truth. "Do not be afraid."
Sunday, November 4, 2012
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength." What would you think of parents who demanded "burnt offerings and sacrifices" from their children as proof of their offspring's love and devotion? And what would you think of the children who believed that such actions were necessary to earn their parent's love and care? So why are we so eager to be in such a relationship with our Parent? Is that about love, or fear? Do we really want to reach "the kingdom of God," or are we just afraid of being left behind?
Friday, November 2, 2012
"Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side with your rod and your staff that give me courage." We can say these words because our Parent became one of us, walked beside us, and died like us, so that we would know that death was nothing to fear. They do this all the time, but we don't understand why they do it, so we refuse to see them. Our problem is not sin and our need is not salvation. We are impotent, insecure, and fearful, and we desperately seek hope. It is right here for the taking, so hear me now: we are all God's "holy ones," and their will is that every one of us "shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come." So say we all!
Thursday, November 1, 2012
From a historical standpoint, almost all of us are unremarkable. We will not be in the textbooks of the next millennium, and no one will care about our absence. But here's the Good News: God is not a historian! She loves each of us as the most remarkable of their creations, and he knows that we are extraordinary. Just read your local newspaper's obituary pages, and the truth that each of our lives is exceptional will shine through. So our Good News today is this: we are a family of saints.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
"What do you want me to do for you?" The story of Bartimaeus is about disappointment, not wish fulfillment. Sure, Jesus cures one blind guy. But how many in that "sizable crowd" wanted a miracle too? Israel expected the deliverance promised by the prophets, but they weren't going to get that from Jesus either. He must have been one bummer of a dude. No wonder they nailed him to a tree. But that's the real Good News, isn't it? The Way is not some fantasy story for the lucky few, but rather the hidden grace of brokenness, fear, and hope that we all experience. The truth is that God already does for us what we need them to do. We just have to open our eyes and see it.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
"You do not know what you are asking." We pray for power and justice according to our terms, but God does not live by our terms. True power is mercy and true justice is sacrifice. The ways of Love appear as foolishness and failure to our eyes, but God can see far beyond our frame of vision. They do not want guardians of truth, nor do they desire servant-leaders for the people. They call us to be slaves to Love. Resist this call if you must, but be wary of the master you choose to serve instead, for her power is quickly exhausted and his justice does not linger long.
Sunday, October 14, 2012
"It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." Jesus is preaching about attachment, not class warfare. We were created to cling to truth, grace, and one another. But we don't, do we? You don't need God's omniscience to know that we are a people obsessed with stuff; just watch an evening's worth of TV commercials. The more we possess, the more we believe we need, and the harder it is to let go of any of it. We have so much, and yet we are so very poor. It's all rather sad.
Sunday, October 7, 2012
We were created to be together as "one flesh," but we let "real" life and all its obligations get in the way. Jesus tells us that we must "accept the kingdom of God like a child," for only a child is fool enough to believe in the power and reality of faith, hope, and love. Children get first kisses and first loves, then are expected to grow up and join the "rat race." Why? Youth knows that marriage is the property of poets, storytellers, and mystics. We adults are the ones who turn it over to the lawyers, politicians, theologians, and scientists. Divorce is simply the natural triumph of our jaded, rational maturity. But it doesn't have to be that way. True love is not a fairy tale; it's part of our Parent's design. And we don't need to be children to believe in it, just a foolish, childlike faith.
Sunday, September 30, 2012
"The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart." Why? Because God is not interested in short term profit or provincialism. We see in these readings cautionary tales of greed and jealousy. The ones who pursue "luxury and pleasure" with little regard to their impact upon the souls of our siblings or even themselves. What will those souls feel when the veil of our limited human vision has been lifted and they can see the entirety of the carnage they wrought? Can we conceive of a hell worse than that? And let us not forget the self-righteous ones who are angered by those who speak in God's name without the proper credentials. Are they really worried about God's reputation being bruised or is it their own ego they are concerned about? Does a self-proclaimed prophet denigrate the official ones or elevate the rest of us? The Parent of Moses, Jesus, you, and I is open, generous, and patient. Moses and Jesus strove to be their true children. What will you and I do?
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Family is about putting your siblings first; attending to their needs before your own. Jesus does not demand radical things from us. He simply asks us to be the family that we already are, and for that we must kill him. He is like the crazy uncle at Thanksgiving, who speaks the truths no one wants to hear, that we try to laugh off, even though we long to be just like him, but we won't, because truth is too scary, so it's better to mock the old fool and live in fear, after all, who the hell is he to question our choices, our desires, I mean, look at the world we've created ...
Sunday, September 16, 2012
"You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do." These words should give us pause. It wasn't just Peter who had false expectations of the Christ. If that was so during Jesus' own lifetime, how much more so is it today? There are lots of preachers, and politicians, with lots of details on the "works" God desires most, and the kinds of crosses we should "take up." What kind of faith are they encouraging us to live? And what kind of salvation are they promising in return?
Sunday, September 9, 2012
We are the ones impressed by bright and shiny things, not God. Our groveling and pleading are pointless. She loves us because that is who he is, not because we give them presents. Jesus did not want our praise. He wants us to love as he loved. How else will God's "vindication" arrive? Who else can provide "divine recompense" if we refuse to? We must love our family without favoritism or conditions, for God's saving grace is meant for everyone, especially those who feel like they least deserve it. Is that really so difficult or complicated?
Sunday, September 2, 2012
"'This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.' ... You disregard God's commandment but cling to human tradition." These words seem particularly appropriate as we enter into our political season. We know what God's Love demands of us, but we cling to our partisan ideologies instead. Enough! It is time to love our family, all of it.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
"Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ." We Americans cringe at the idea of being subordinate to someone. It offends our notions of freedom. But you cannot be in relationship with another unless you are willing to be subordinate to that other. How do you think the Trinity works? Yes, this is hard to accept. But if it is truth, where else can you go? "If it does not please you to serve the LORD, decide today whom you will serve." You have plenty of gods to choose from. So whom will it be? "As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." Always.
Sunday, August 19, 2012
"Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me." Most of those who heard these words must have believed them to be foolishness, not wisdom. Do we really see them any differently? Sure, we have our Communion rituals, but are we truly partaking of Wisdom's food and drink? Jesus offers us Love incarnate, and we turn it into a magic cookie. Is that wisdom or foolishness?
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
These readings do not mention the subject of our feast today, for it is not found in Scripture. And yet the People of God still believe it is Truth. Why? Because it says something about God that we like: they loved Mary so much, they were willing to suspend the laws of nature to honor her faithfulness. Who wouldn't want a Parent like that? "Blessed are you" indeed, Sister Mary.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
"Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother? Then how can he say, 'I have come down from heaven?'" When a mighty prophet speaks, you listen. But what about when it's the kid next door? It looks like God and Truth are rather ordinary after all. Are you disappointed?
Monday, August 6, 2012
Where are such signs of glory and majesty today? If they appeared, would you believe? I say that such belief is the faith of fools. Perhaps it was good enough at one time, but God desires much more of us. They do still provide signs, however. Just look upon the vast universe before us. Talk about glory and majesty! Such signs are far grander than any supernatural parlor trick can every be. And yet we seem to prefer the magic to the truth. Wake up! Whoever has eyes, see!
Sunday, August 5, 2012
"I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst." Is Jesus just some supernatural version of quail and manna? Believe in him and he will give you an unlimited supply? That sort of exchange is still about seeking "food that perishes." If we want "the food that endures for eternal life," we need to dig a bit deeper. Perhaps he is saying to us: believe in me and in the love that sent me, and hunger, thirst, even existence itself will melt away to reveal something else far grander that endures forever.
Sunday, July 29, 2012
It's all about trust. That is the true lesson of these miracles. Do you trust in God or something else? There are moments in life when answering that question is the only challenge that matters. Yes, it is easier to put our faith in the tangible. But where has that gotten us? Look at the problems of modern society. What sort of faith gave them birth? And what would it mean to truly trust Love instead? For to do that is "to live in a manner worthy" of our lineage as true children of the One Parent.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Who is your shepherd? There are so many to choose from today, especially here on the internet. With this vast jumble of voices, it is easy to see how the flock has become scattered. It is time to tune them out, all of them, so that you can listen to the One that really matters; the One so deep within life that it sounds like a mere whisper; the One so powerful that when you do hear it, it feels like the sun itself is exploding inside of you. "The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want."
Sunday, July 15, 2012
"I was no prophet." I was just a stupid teenager, who heard God say, "Go, prophesy to my people." How I have struggled to follow that one simple command. Some days I wish he gave me the powers of the Twelve. Driving out demons and curing the sick would certainly get people's attention. But that is not what she wants from me. Nor is it the kind of attention they want from you. They desire more, something deeper and grander. You will not find it from those who earn their "bread" by spouting fiery words. It will appear when you least expect it, under the most ordinary of appearances, and entirely free for the taking. Will you welcome this gift into your home and your heart?
Sunday, July 8, 2012
"You shall say to them: Thus says the Lord GOD! And whether they heed or resist - for they are a rebellious house - they shall know that a prophet has been among them." I feel the prophet's burden, for it is my own. I am often discouraged lately. God has shown me the most wondrous gift, and yet it seems like nobody cares. The voices of corporate religion are too many and too loud. The world just keeps on spinning, oblivious to anything I might have to say. Why should they care? I am but one insignificant person. What could I possibly add that thousands of others have not already said? But then I remember that I do not speak on my own behalf. I speak because I have been spoken to. And my insignificance is my reward, "for when I am weak, then I am strong."
Sunday, July 1, 2012
"He gave strict orders that no one should know this." Televangelists everywhere must be shaking their heads at the thought of Jesus trying to prevent this miracle from becoming public knowledge. What kind of preacher turns down free publicity? One who serves our Parent, rather than their own business interests. Jesus is not stupid. He knows he cannot resurrect every dead child, and yet he also cannot refuse anyone who approaches him with true faith. His only choice is to attempt to hide his success. This will never work, of course, but it does teach us about Jesus' character. What kind of God heals without demanding homage? Would you follow such a God?
Sunday, June 24, 2012
"Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength, yet my reward is with the LORD, my recompense is with my God." John was a true servant of our Creator; no more, no less. His work was never about ego, numbers, effectiveness, or any of the other attributes we use to measure lives and ministries today. He simply spoke Truth and did what God asked, no matter the cost. There is beauty and grace in such a life. We may view him as just the opening act for someone bigger, but I doubt Jesus saw him that way. I am quite certain he embraced him as a brother prophet, as kin in the purest sense. Brother John, help us to be as real as you were.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
What interests me most about this selection are not the parables themselves, but the commentary at the end. "Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private." Why did the bishops choose to include this passage in the reading? It is not integral to understanding either of the preceding parables, and they are more than willing to slice and dice other readings to remove extraneous lines. So what is their message? Are we the clueless crowds forever scratching our heads, or the slightly less clueless disciples for whom there is hope? And who exactly is playing the role of Jesus, privately explaining the Truth to the chosen few?
Sunday, June 10, 2012
Amen, I say to you, God has grown weary of our groveling and sniveling. As I have asked before, do we really think that the One who created us is the kind of person who demands a blood sacrifice as the price for forgiveness? Such thoughts cheapen the true sacrifice of our Brother, and allow us to hide from the sacrifice he demands of us as his siblings.
Sunday, June 3, 2012
The Trinity teaches us that God is about relationship. The problem is that corporate religion actually believes it can dissect that relationship and describe its precise nature. God cannot be quantified. Three equals one is a simply beautiful paradox, not a horrifically complicated math problem.
Sunday, May 27, 2012
The Church has a love/hate relationship with divine revelation. Revelation gave birth to the Church, but it must be controlled for the Church to maintain its power and influence. One problem. Does the Holy Spirit seem like someone who can be controlled? Perhaps they'd be more successful herding cats, but you have to respect the effort. Who else would be arrogant enough to think that they can control whom God speaks to? More importantly, if the Holy Spirit came to the Church at Pentecost, why would she ever leave? Would she really say "that's good enough" after inspiring the apostles and their students? Does it really make sense that public revelation ended with the books of the New Testament? I say that revelation is ongoing and never ending. Jesus did not culminate the time of revelation, he blew the doors wide open. And we desperately need to walk on through, because we still don't get it. Jesus offered us the chance to forgive the sins of our siblings, but we choose to retain them instead. It would be absurdly funny, if it wasn't so damn pathetic.
The Spirit and the flesh "are opposed to each other." Is that what the Incarnation teaches us? This example is why we still need public revelation. Prior revelation is never perfect or complete, because we never truly get it. Our love is limited, God's is not. He always has more to teach us. Jesus and his apostles built upon the revelation of the Hebrew Scriptures. I have been given a revelation that builds upon the Christian Scriptures. And someone will come after me to build upon all of it. This is the way God works. She always has something to say. It may be inconvenient for our corporate masters, but God does not shut up just because it is inconvenient to the power men. We all need to remember who's really in charge around here, and it's not the babbling monkeys.
Sunday, May 20, 2012
It is all about power today. On the face of it, proof of Jesus' power. Only a true king could be seated "at the right hand of God." But more importantly, these words serve to justify the power claims of churches, clerics, and believers alike. They are simply using the authority given them by the Lord of All, so that the wrong people cannot crash the party. And as the right people exercise their divine authority and utilize their holy power, they oh so conveniently forget that other little command our Brother gave us: "Love one another." Who needs love when you can have power instead?
Sunday, May 13, 2012
"God is love." What more is there to understand than this? And yet we do not understand, because we approach this truth logically and rationally. We categorize, define, and judge worthiness of love. We embrace countless institutions that exist to proclaim whom God loves, and more importantly whom God does not love. Our love has limits. "God shows no partiality." We are all his Chosen People, as we are each her true child. All they ask of us is to love our siblings.
Sunday, May 6, 2012
What does it mean to "remain in" Jesus? Is it about him, or the Parent he reveals? If it is about him, then we can justify limiting our love to fellow believers. If it is about our Parent, then we must love all of their children. To "remain in" Jesus is about bearing fruit, not belief or obedience. Who does the fruit belong to: the vine or the grower?
Sunday, April 29, 2012
"There will be one flock, one shepherd." Jesus came for all, not just for many. Perhaps it is natural that we desire to make his love more exclusive. It makes us more special. But did Jesus make us God's children, or did he reveal a Parent who was ours all along? We were created to be one people. We are one people. It is time we started acting like it.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Jesus: The Ultimate Get Out of Jail Free Card! Seriously, are we really this stupid? Do we honestly believe in a God who would demand a blood sacrifice in order to forgive us? Unfortunately, too many of us do, because that is easier than having to truly repent.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
"Have you come to believe because you have seen me?" Do you only believe because you have evidence? Once again, we see the flaw of the resurrection, for it is the ultimate evidence. God gave us such things to help us believe in our youth, but what did kind of faith did they lead us to? We use many training wheels as children. It is right and proper that we grow out of them. It is just as good that we grow out of our need for evidence to support our faith. "Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed." Blessed are those who have no evidence, yet still see God.
Sunday, April 8, 2012
It was meant to be the ultimate proof. But what exactly did the resurrection prove? That the love Jesus expressed was true? Or that we would never have bothered to listen to him without a flash of light? What if the resurrection never happened? Would Christianity exist? Would God still love us? What kind of children are we if this is the only way our Parent can get our attention?
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Tonight we recount salvation history, but we also reveal the growth of faith. Once we were children, who saw our Creator as a stern parent, with detailed rules and clear consequences. Like all children, we broke the rules and suffered the consequences. Our Parent scolded us, but always forgave us. Then we became adolescents: awkward, insecure, moody, selfish, arrogant, but also passionate, searching, giving, and loving. We demanded proof of our Parent's love and felt ashamed for asking. We wallowed in our lack of self-worth, while dreaming of true love. Now it is time that we become adults, who look our God in the eye and see Truth for what it is. We are meant to stand side-by-side with our Creator in friendship, not kneeling in blind obedience or cowering in terrified awe. We are called to lead lives of love and loyalty, not because of a command or fear of punishment, but out of a recognition of what is good and true. Salvation is not the future gift of a benevolent Creator to a chosen few, but the birthright from a loving Parent to all of their children.
Friday, April 6, 2012
Why did Jesus die? Most Christians say that he died for our sins. This is true, but not in the way they mean it. They claim that he died as a blood sacrifice to atone for our sinful nature. This is the stuff of adolescent drama: I'm so awful that only a great sacrifice will get mom and dad to love me again. What crap! It is time to grow up and face reality. Jesus died as a natural byproduct of human insecurity. He came "to testify to the truth," we were terrified by what he had to say, so we killed him. We do this all the time. Many will say that this reality minimizes Jesus, makes him less than God's true son. They say this because they are terrified of the other possibility: that it elevates us to his level, that it reveals that we are his true brothers and sisters, and thus true children of our Parent. "This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." Jesus died because he refused to be anything less than our friend. It is time to overcome our fear and be just as good of a friend to our siblings.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
True religion is about community, not control or obedience. God desires a family, not a corporation. Look at what we are offered tonight: a memorial feast, a remembrance of friendship, and a model relationship. We are the ones who turn celebration into obligation, love into a rulebook, and siblings into strangers, not our Parent. But that is actually good news, because it tells us that it doesn't have to be this way. We chose to turn religion into a corporation. We can choose to make it different.
Sunday, April 1, 2012
The folly of great expectations: the people wanted a king, Jesus gave them what they needed instead, so the people killed him. If he came today rather than then, would the results really be any different? We think we know what this world is about, but we actually have our collective heads up our collective asses. Power, wealth, control, fame, security, amusement; they are all fool's gold. God had something much grander in mind when we were created. The time has come to embrace the entirety and enormity of our Parent's love, and all the things that come with it.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
I say again that our Creator desires a covenant with all of their children, not just a single tribe or a group of true believers. Through the centuries, the messengers of the covenant have only heard what they wanted to hear, and it is easiest to feel special by making others less so. Perhaps this is all we were capable of hearing during those times, but no longer. Now we are ready for the fullness of the Truth, that not a one of our brothers or sisters will be excluded from our Parent's eternal care. God desires all of her children to know him, not just the chosen ones.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." The most important line in Scripture, or so we are told by the legions of athletes and sports fans who use it. For too many Christians, it represents a stark choice: believe in Jesus or suffer in Hell. I say to you that eternal life is a gift for all of us, not just some. Perhaps it is natural for us to divide the world into those who live in light and those who live in darkness; one should be saved and one should be condemned. After all, we are right and they are wrong. We see the truth and they do not. We accept the messiah and they reject him. Surely we will be rewarded and they will be punished? These are the fantasies of a child. I say again that our Creator desires blessings for all of their children, not just a few.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
"The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength." The age of wisdom and signs is over. The time for laws and miracles has passed. We are no longer children who need commands to do our Parent's bidding, nor are we adolescents who require proof before listening to our Creator. God's wisdom is simply the truth of love. The real foolishness is our drive to make everything infinitely complex. God's sign is creation itself. The real weakness is our demand for flashy supernatural manifestations. God is tired of the games.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
What sacrifice is it acceptable for God to demand of us? If "He who did not spare his own Son" asks for something, who are we to refuse? We cling to such trivial things in this life: money, power, luxuries, amusement, even life itself. What are these compared with the grandeur of creation? If we are eternal, what do these superficial pleasures matter? But perhaps that is the problem: we do not have enough faith in our Parent's love to risk placing that bet. Even the disciples, who heard and saw things that terrified them, even they folded at times. It is so much easier to put our faith in things we can see and touch, especially when they allow us to live a life of comfort. We can still do lots of good and loving things from our place of comfort, but is that really what God means when he says of our Brother: "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him."
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Oh how we love to focus on our own destruction. We despair over our misfortunes, and blame them on a combination of God's wrath and our own sinfulness. We assume we are desperately sinful creatures, critically in need of salvation to prevent a just punishment from befalling us. What crap! Once again, our arrogance gets the better of us. Whatever calamities we experience are part of a grander process of life in the universe. We are just a bit player in that drama, not the central focus. Yes, we are an important figure on the canvas, but it is not all about us.
“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
I say that these words stand true today. Every moment is the fulfillment of a plan set into motion at the beginning of time. Our Parent delights in creating grand and beautiful expressions of the love that animates them. Our lives are just one small, but glorious, part in this tapestry. This "kingdom" is not utopia in the way we fantasize; it is life itself. There is a wonder to this existence, every last moment of it, that will overwhelm you, if you allow yourself to see. For too long we have let ourselves be blinded by sin and devotion. We are like a child who craves attention, and so goes to extremes of flagellation or hedonism to get it. It is time to grow up, find our place within the family of life, and let ourselves be content with that position. This is the only salvation that we need and the only salvation worth craving. We are beings of love, created by Love itself, to celebrate a universe of love. That is "good news" worth believing in. So hear me now: This is the time of something wonderful. The glory of God surrounds us. Be at peace, and believe in the truth of love.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
You cannot hide from God. They know your desires and motives better than you do. The only choices we have are to bury our heads in the sand and pretend otherwise, or drop all the masks and pretense and stand naked before our Creator. At the end of the day, it really is not about us. My life does not belong to me; it's just on loan from the real owner. What I do in life matters not a bit if I fail to follow God's will. May this Lenten season be a time for that will to glow brighter than ever.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Our Creator is the Good Parent, always willing to forgive our sins. He understands our imperfection and does not hold it against us. She lets go of our history of failure and allows us to make a fresh start. This is the truth that Jesus attempted to share, but not all were willing to hear it. We are like the spoiled child who gets angry that his parents do not punish his siblings severely enough for their transgressions, but does not mind so much when it is his turn to be disciplined. We need to be reminded that forgiveness is a blessing we should rejoice over, whomever is on the receiving end. Naturally, however, the authority figures balked at Jesus' words, so he did a little magic trick to shut them down. It certainly worked, but did it also blind them to his message? What were they so "astounded" at seeing: the truth of forgiveness or the physical healing? Which of these two is grander and more profound? Which do you desire for yourself?
Sunday, February 12, 2012
What is our lesson for today? Many will focus once again on the power of Jesus to heal, just like the people of his time. But did he heal all the lepers? Did he only have pity for this one? Perhaps he was sending us a broader message on cleanliness of the body and the soul. What draconian rules are on our books, or in our minds, that render our brothers and sisters unclean? Do we have the power to restore them? If so, do we fully use that power? Francis of Assisi and Damien of Molokai did not heal the bodies of the lepers they served, but they certainly healed their souls through the power of love. Who are the lepers in your life that cry out for healing? Will you love them?
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Is the Gospel a commodity to be sold or a gift to be shared? God does not demand money for his grace; she gives it freely to all willing to accept it. A prophet does not receive a revelation in order to earn a paycheck; he is given something in trust for the benefit of the people. We should not expect to earn a living by peddling Truth. Be wary of those who claim otherwise.
The true hope that Jesus brought was in his words. Did he heal all the sick and raise all the dead? Of course not. Did those who were healed eventually die? Of course they did. Misery and despair are an inherent part of the human condition. Their cure is not hope of a miracle, but the hope of our Parent's love and compassion. This is the true gift that Jesus brought to his people, but it is one that is difficult to see and feel. So he did a few magic tricks to get the crowds attention. Unfortunately, we are animals more impressed by flashy sparks than by a smoldering fire deep in our soul. It is time that we focus our attention on what is truly eternal, rather than what is pretty for a moment.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
What prophets do you listen to? Ones who frighten you with tales of the apocalypse? Ones who impress you with magic tricks? Or ones who simply tell you the truth? Truth is simple, not flashy or complex. This makes it more beautiful, not less. When you find such beauty, pay attention.
Sunday, January 22, 2012
"This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel." These words are true today as much as they were when Jesus said them so long ago. They are probably similar to the words that Jonah and countless other prophets have spoken down through the ages. They are also completely misunderstood today, as they have been for hundreds if not thousands of years, even by the ones who spoke them. They are not a testament to some apocalyptic vision, nor are they a call for some superficial lovefest. They are a statement of the most profound truth that humans can come to realize: we are love incarnate. We do not need to wait for some future paradise to witness perfection; we only have to look around. We are not called to tolerate our neighbor, but to truly love them as a sibling. We are not meant to be separated into a multitude of tribes, but were created as one family. Right now is the moment to see. Our Creator is standing before us. Let go of the lies, and embrace the truth of love.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
We are Samuel. God calls each of us by name, not just prophets and clerics, but many do not reply. They have allowed others to convince them that they are not worthy. Is a child ever unworthy to speak directly to her parents? Jesus came to lead us to our Parent, not serve as an intermediary. A good cleric does the same. Yes, it is easier to hear human language than divine whisperings. There are certainly plenty of people willing to exploit this for their own gain. But they cannot change the fact that we are true children of our Creator, not sinful houseguests, and they can only hide this reality from us for so long. So let us be courageous children, unafraid of serving our Parent's will. "Speak, for your servant is listening."
Monday, January 9, 2012
"You are my beloved Child; with you I am well pleased." Hear these words today, for they are meant for you as much as they were meant for Jesus so many centuries ago. This is the true salvation revealed by our Brother, and the reason that we kill him over and over again. They are dangerous words, for they make siblings out of enemies, and unnecessary intermediaries out of clerics. They are inconvenient words, for they convey obligation and responsibility, not just blessing. We try to rationalize, obfuscate, and even deny them, but they refuse to go away. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways ... my word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it."
Sunday, January 8, 2012
The lesson of our feast today is this: God is truly manifested in the place we least expect to find them. If you were one of the magi, to whom would you present your gift today? Where is love incarnate right at this moment? Do not fear celebrating our Creator wherever they choose to appear.
Sunday, January 1, 2012
As this new year begins, may God bless you and keep you! May he let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! May she look upon you kindly and give you peace! For you are true sons and daughters of our Creator! You are the beloved children of our Parent! May you live this truth for the rest of your days!