Sunday, February 22, 2015

First Sunday of Lent

Yes, "this is the time of fulfillment." And yes, "the kingdom of God is at hand." There has not been a single day, since before the dawn of creation, that our Parent has failed to deliver on their promise to shower us with love and truth. And the greatest of all their gifts is our brothers and sisters, who form a realm more dazzling than all the stars in the sky. But so many of us find this news too good to be true. We feel surrounded by hate and lies, and constantly mistake siblings for enemies or strangers. Which is why we need forty days in the desert; forty days to be stripped of anger and fear; forty days for the scales to fall from our hearts and souls; forty days to see life through divine eyes. And at the end of these days, when we finally emerge from the wilderness, perhaps then, we will believe.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ash Wednesday

"Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned." Yes, we have sinned. I have sinned. For these forty days, let us take a reprieve from marching and shouting and agitating about our neighbors' sins, no matter how horrendous they may be. And let us instead expend our outrage on our own sins, no matter how minuscule they seem. Let us dive deep into remorse and be overly generous with our amends. And then perhaps at the end of these forty days, we might actually feel that divine mercy that each of us so desperately craves. Yes, let us be merciful with one another, for we all have sinned.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

We are unclean, every last one of us. Not because of anything we have done, but simply by virtue of who we are: creatures who ooze insecurity, anger, and paranoia. We have endured this affliction ever since that first moment when consciousness emerged in the tiny brains of distant ancestors on some African plain. We awoke to something overwhelming, and it produced a stain that we seem unable to wash away, no matter our centuries worth of ritual, prayer, and art. And yet, it is all an illusion, a trick in our overheated minds that constantly mistakes "reality" for what is real. We are blind, not unclean, and our Parent is eager to restore our sight. But they also know that we need to make the first move, we must crave healing, and therein lies the challenge. How many of us wallow in our supposed filth, because it feels easier to subsist in the dirt, rather than live in the light? How often do we gaze upon our world, soak in its pain and misery, and think to ourselves that joy and love are nothing more than fairy tales? Who among us is bold and brave enough to kneel before God and beg to see all that truly is? Will you turn to Them in your time of darkness, and be filled with the light of grace?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

It is easy to be pessimistic about life. Misery and mayhem have never been in short supply. Neither have drudgery, nor chaos. Brokenness has always appeared to reign supreme in too many lives and too many places. So what are we to do? Numb ourselves with amusements? Give in to our fears and doubts? Or perhaps surrender to something else instead? Faith. Beauty. Wonder. The kiss of a cool breeze. The dance of a pair of butterflies. The splendor of the most ordinary flower. We do not need miracles to heal our hearts and souls. No, our Parent has provided us with so many lovely balms, but they tend to go overlooked because they feel too simple and pollyannaish. And maybe they are. And maybe that is the point, that the purpose of our existence is not to indulge our schemes and dreams, but to merely bear witness to something we can barely describe. So will you drown in the sorrows of the so-called "real" world? Or will you live in the hope of all that is wonderfully real?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

We are constantly deluged by voices claiming to speak for God. So how do we know which ones are real and true? What signs should we look for as evidence of divine favor? Do we hope to be dazzled with supernatural powers? Or are we content to settle for the merely superhuman? What about those poor schlubs who possess neither popularity, nor institutional credentials, nor the proper lifestyle, nor a resume full of righteous deeds? Do we dismiss their words out of hand, or give them an opportunity to penetrate our hearts? How many prophets pass our tests, but spew more bile than love? And how much grace do we walk away from, because we could not prove its value in advance?

Which brings us to the elephant in the room: why should you believe that my voice is genuine, that the revelation I share is Truth, that I speak for our Parent? I have no proof, only words. But they are not really my words. They are a song I see in the eyes of the middle schoolers in my detention room, full of rudeness and disrespect, but also promise and hope. A song that screams from the mountains that climb above my hometown, a blinding sign that the kingdom is far grander than our little dog and pony show of an existence. A song I did not compose, but one whose lyrics I cannot help but write, for they are ripe fruit bursting from every nook and cranny of creation. How can anyone not hear this song or taste this fruit when it is so overwhelmingly omnipresent? They are yours for the taking, but you do not take them, do you? And so God asks a poor schlub like me to try to open your eyes. And so I offer you words, just words, and ask you to "harden not your hearts."