May 27, 2013Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (C), June 2, 2013
Body and blood, bread and wine—these are basic components of the human being and the stuff that sustains human life. These basic and foundational realities speak to the ordinary humanity of Jesus and one of the deepest mysteries of the church. Without the Incarnation, we could not speak of Jesus’ body and blood. Without Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we could not be offered these simple elements transformed into the body and blood of Christ.
May 20, 2013Most Holy Trinity (C), May 26, 2013
The mystery at the heart of human life is discovered in our relationships, whose outlines might be simply explained but that are ineffable at the core. How we love and live for one another defies description. We struggle for words to make real what we know through experience. When one of my sons as a small boy told me, “I want you to live longer than anyone else,” he expressed his love as a desire that our lives together should continue on and on without end...
May 13, 2013Pentecost (C), May 19, 2013
The Jewish feast of Pentecost, also known as the Feast of Weeks, originally celebrated the spring harvest. It was a pilgrimage festival that took place 50 days after the end of Passover. By the time of Jesus Pentecost was also celebrated as a joyous remembrance of the giving of the law at Sinai. Seen together, the two aspects of the Jewish festival give thanks to God for feeding both body and spirit. The Christian commemoration of Pentecost would adopt and...
May 6, 2013Ascension (C), May 12, 2013
Paul says of Jesus in 1 Cor 15:45, “Thus it is written, ‘the first man, Adam, became a living being’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” Luke Timothy Johnson draws on this verse when he describes the ascension of Jesus, saying that “the ‘withdrawal’ of Jesus is not so much an absence as it is a presence in a new and more powerful mode: when Jesus is not among them as another specific body, he is accessible to all as life-giving spirit.”
April 29, 2013Sixth Sunday of Easter (C), May 5, 2013
The Psalmist prays to God, “May your way be known upon earth; among all nations, your salvation.” But how will this come to pass? Throughout the Old Testament, there are clues that someday, in some way, God’s covenant will be expanded to welcome not just the descendants of Abraham but all the people of the world. Indeed, beginning with Gn 22:18 and 26:4, Abraham and Isaac heard the promise that all nations would be blessed through their offspring.
April 22, 2013Fifth Sunday of Easter (C), April 28, 2013
In preparation for his crucifixion, resurrection and ascension, Jesus instructed his apostles on what their continuing mission would be when he was gone: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” This translation of the simple Greek passage, however, fails to reproduce an interesting element. Each of the secondary clauses is introduced by the Greek conjunction hina, which is...
April 8-15, 2013Fourth Sunday of Easter (C), April 21, 2013
It is easy to forget how few Christians there were when the church began. Acts 1:15 says there were 120 people gathered together after Pentecost. Acts also narrates the mass conversions of many people, sometimes in the thousands, but Robert M. Grant said that “one must always remember that figures in antiquity...were part of rhetorical exercises.” These numbers are intended to indicate that the Holy Spirit was at work among the people, both in Jerusalem and...
April 8-15, 2013Third Sunday of Easter (C), April 14, 2013
It took the apostles some time to come to terms with the reality of Jesus raised from the dead; but once they accepted it, they had to face the challenges of day-to-day life in the context of their newly aroused faith. It was this tension between the mundane reality of ordinary life and the glorious reality of a Lord who now reigns with God that had to be resolved in the lives of the apostles. This tension was especially manifested in the apostles’ personal...
April 1, 2013Second Sunday of Easter (C), April 7, 2013
One of the most difficult things for Western Christians to grasp is the reality of the miraculous, which infuses the whole of the New Testament. We labor, more than we know, under the assumptions of a world that is a closed, empirical system from which God is absent. Rudolf Bultmann, the great 20th-century biblical scholar, stated it clearly: “We cannot use electric lights and radios and, in the event of illness, avail ourselves of modern medical and...
March 25, 2013Easter (C), March 31, 2013
But we had hoped he was the one to redeem Israel.” There it is, in a short summary sentence: the end of their hope. When hope is placed in the past tense, it is over. You get up, share a last word and embrace with your friends, dust yourself off and begin to walk home. The Greek tense of the verb “hope” in this sentence indicates ongoing action in the past (“we had been hoping”). The hope the disciples had placed in Jesus was not momentary, but was at the...