Sunday, February 24, 2013

Second Sunday of Lent

Today we shall sing these words, "Your presence, O LORD, I seek. Hide not your face from me." But after we do, how many of us will look around and see that face staring right back at us? Far too few, unfortunately. Some will close their eyes and wait for the miraculous. Others will stare at their shoes and hope that God is not really listening. But a few, far too few, will look and see God right there in our brothers and sisters struggling to love as best they can. We do not need to vacate this planet to become a citizen of heaven. We do not need to wait for the end times to witness God's glory in one another. But we do need to help our family open their eyes and raise their heads.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, Apostle

How fortuitous that we should celebrate this feast as the Church prepares to elect a new occupant for said chair. Today's readings remind us that when Jesus gave "the keys to the Kingdom of heaven" to Peter, he was hiring a shepherd, not a doorman. Peter and his successors are tasked with getting us into heaven, not keeping us out. And not just some of us, but every last one of us. So let us pray for a Church and a pope who will eagerly and kindly serve all of God's flock.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

First Sunday of Lent

We are not strangers to this temptation, for all of these scenes are but one temptation, one we have a more difficult time resisting than our brother Jesus: to bend God's will into a fulfillment of our own desires. God's path is too hard, so we do whatever's necessary to make the journey more luxurious. God's path takes too long, so we cut deals with whomever we can to create the true utopia. God's path is too mysterious, so we walk away from her when he won't prove their love to our satisfaction. Oh, we do all this under the flag of goodness and righteousness, but the problem is that neither our luxuries nor our utopias seem to last very long, so inevitably we're left in the dark and cold struggling to find our way back. There are no shortcuts around God's will, no matter how appealing they be.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday

Today, the Church marks us for all to see. And yet, Jesus tells us in the Gospel that we should not wear our faith on our sleeves, or our foreheads for that matter. The Church picked the readings, so why the double message? Perhaps it is to remind us that these ashes are not for our co-workers, our neighbors, or any of the strangers we meet today. They are for ourselves. They are not meant to be worn on our skin for a few hours. They are supposed to reside in our hearts for the next forty days. So you might as well wash them off quickly, for God knows if they truly stuck.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Isaiah. Paul. Peter. Time after time, God chooses the sinner, not the perfect, to be their prophets. Is she a sucker for a good redemption story? Or maybe he just finds them to be more fun to work with? Perhaps they are the only ones who can see grace in all its glory. Whatever the reason, it certainly looks like preference, not coincidence. And that is good news indeed! For if God chose them, then he could choose us as well. "Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?" Here I am, I say; send me!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

It's all about love. The prophet's job is to speak the Truth of Love. So why then does the prophet face rejection? Because we don't understand love any better than those who drove Jesus out of Nazareth. Do we believe in the kind of love of which Paul speaks, or the fantasy of butterflies, rainbows, and all things sparkly? When we are injured by another, do we follow the path of revenge or redemption? When we are the ones causing harm, do we seek out denial or atonement? When confronted with evil, do we turn away and engage in happy talk or look it squarely in the eye and place our trust in grace? Do we embrace only the likable or even the ugliest of God's children? Does love mean for a few, or for some, or for many, or for every last one of our brothers and sisters? And when we fail to love, do we accept reality or dare to hope? Yes, "Love never fails," because God never fails.