May 9, 2016Pentecost (C), May 15, 2016
If you have a teacher, you are a student and you have things to learn. There are, naturally, students who believe they know it all or, even if they do not, are not compelled to learn anything else. They are comfortable with what they know. Some students, too, are simply bored and uninterested. Whether they know a little or a lot, they are not inspired to put in the work to learn something new. These issues are cast into an interesting light when we recognize...
May 2, 2016The Ascension of the Lord (C), May 8, 2016
The ascension is a proof of the significance of the incarnation and, as a result, the significance of each of our lives. Certainly, the ascension directs us to the uniqueness of Jesus, as God and man, and specifically to Jesus’ enthronement as Lord, but it also points to the uniqueness and value of each human life. Because Jesus’ human being does not cease with his resurrection or his ascension, Jesus’ incarnation, the particularity of his human personhood,...
April 25, 2016Sixth Sunday of Easter (C), May 1, 2016
When discussing questions of tradition and change in the church, whether at the parish level or that of the universal church, “peace” is not the first word that jumps to mind. The tensions in the life of the church today, though, mirror those at the time of the Apostles.
Acts 15 outlines the deliberations of the Council of Jerusalem, which took place around A.D. 49 or 50. Prior to the gathering, certain disciples of Jesus in...
April 18, 2016Fifth Sunday of Easter (C), April 24, 2016
Psalm 145 says that “the Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” God’s steadfast love for humanity is the through note that brings harmony to the psalms. Even more, deep engagement with the psalms transforms the reader and brings harmony to the soul. Brian E. Daley, S.J., writes in The Harp of Prophecy that the church father Athanasius recognized “in this mimetic, modeling role of the psalms an anticipation of the...
April 4-11, 2016Third Sunday of Easter (C), April 10, 2016
The Gospel of John presents the apostles after Jesus’ resurrection as getting on with their lives, even after he had appeared to them, in as normal a way as one could expect. Peter and a number of the other disciples, including Thomas, James and John, were at the Sea of Tiberias when Peter decided to go fishing, which is what fishermen do. The rest of them said, “We will go with you.” They fished all night and caught nothing, and then Jesus appeared on the...
April 4-11, 2016Fourth Sunday of Easter (C), April 17, 2016
The Revelation of John seems to shroud everything in mystery and mythic language, but it is, as its title proclaims, a revelation, an unveiling of that which was hidden. Sometimes an image in Revelation, a simple description of a mysterious scene, reveals more than we are initially aware of. The Lamb sits upon the throne of God in Revelation. So normal is this image that we forget that John is showing us that the Lamb is also God. The high Christology of...
March 28, 2016Second Sunday of Easter (C), April 3, 2016
Christian apologists will sometimes argue that the truth of the Gospel is proven by the willingness of Jesus’ disciples to die for their faith in Christ. The apostles were, indeed, willing to die for the truth of the Gospel, but if we grant that willingness to die for a religion, a movement or a cause speaks to the truth of a belief system, we would have to admit that many people in the past and today, who have died willingly for all sorts of causes in all...
March 21, 2016Easter (C), March 27, 2016
Long human history demonstrates that death comes for each of us, advancing on us, stalking us, cutting us down at the beginning of life, the prime of life, the middle of life or the end of life, inexorably turning our flesh and blood to dust and ashes. This is what death does. It does not miss anyone. But Easter, Christ’s resurrection, is about life. It is about stopping the inevitable march of death. It is about the retreat of death....
March 14, 2016Palm Sunday (C), March 20, 2016
Palm Sunday is a festive event in which the church commemorates and re-enacts Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, a symbol of his kingship and victorious celebration. It is the beginning of the culmination of Jesus’ life’s work, both in the sense of its fulfillment and its end. It is also, as Jesus knew when he rode into Jerusalem, the entry into his death. As he approached Jerusalem, death approached him.
Even as crowds acclaimed...
March 7, 2016Fifth Sunday of Lent (C), March 13, 2016
Two stances toward our spiritual health stand in the way of repentance, and each of us might take either of these stances at various times. One is self-satisfaction, which can saturate our sense of spiritual worth: “What do I need to repent of? My relationship with God is fine.” Conversely, worthlessness can envelope us: “God could never forgive me; God does not want a person like me.”
When we reject our need for personal...