Jesus, after his resurrection, appears in the midst of his disciples, and they’re terrified. So, Jesus wishes them peace. Not peace in the sense of having no conflict or struggle in their lives. In fact, he’ll soon send them out to witness to him knowing that that will mean martyrdom for most of them. No, Jesus wishes them the kind of peace in their hearts that will allow them to do that. The kind of peace in their hearts that will let them not be terrified to see him.
Sunday, April 15, 2018
Sunday, April 1, 2018
Easter Vigil; Holy Infant parish.
God does really dramatic things with water. We might think that the most dramatic thing we heard about tonight that God did with water is the Exodus. And that’s pretty dramatic (especially when Cecil B. DeMille filmed it). God called his people out of slavery, but as they were walking out of Egypt, they were trapped. The roaring waters of the Red Sea in front of them; Pharaoh’s chariots and horses behind. God was with them – his firey presence that lit up the night (as our Easter fire does still) and his cloud presence that sheltered them during the day. God was with them, but was that much cause for rejoicing when they felt trapped? When they were trapped? Yes, for God does not let His people stay trapped. God does not let His people stay enslaved. God acts and God leads.
Thursday, March 29, 2018
Holy Thursday; Holy Infant parish
There are two ways to wash someone’s feet: either you lower yourself, or you raise the other up. In Christ, God does both for us. And in a way, that’s an entirely new irruption of divine grace into the human story, but in another way it’s the culmination of how God has always acted towards God’s people. It’s new, but it’s the same divine love pouring out.
Sunday, March 25, 2018
Sunday, March 18, 2018
Fifth Sunday of Lent, Year B; Holy Infant parish.
I wonder what you think of when you hear the word ‘reverent.’ I looked at the sample sentences in the Collins online dictionary this week, and they paint a pretty consistent picture. One text talked about someone speaking in a “reverent tone,” which, in the context, meant quietly. Another talked about “waiting with reverent patience,” which meant prolonged inaction. A third described a character as taking a book off a shelf reverently, which seemed to mean slowly, almost gingerly. We got a pretty different vision of reverence in our second reading today, from the letter to the Hebrews. We heard of Christ calling out in prayer with loud cries and tears, and that he was heard, because of this reverence.
Saturday, March 10, 2018
4th Sunday of Lent, Year B; Holy Infant parish
In our opening prayer, we prayed that we might “hasten toward the solemn celebrations to come.” Now, ‘solemn’ might jump out at us a little; but ‘solemn’ here is the older form of solemn, meaning dignified, grand, exuberant, joyous (not grey and drab). The celebrations we’re talking about, first and foremost, is Easter. Now, depending on what we’ve given up for Lent, we might really want time to hasten on towards Easter. And that’s a good thing. Part of point of those basic individual penances we take on (as well as what the Church asks us to take on together, like abstaining from meat on Fridays) is to help take our natural human attachments (not the sinful ones, but not the ones that stand at the height of our virtue either) and use those as tools to make us anticipate Easter more eagerly. So, if it’s wanting to return to dessert, a drink, a favorite parking space or social media site, or if it’s get rid of that prickly hair shirt on your face (that one might just be me…), the spiritual benefit of those things is that they make us more naturally, more bodily look forward to Easter. And where we want to go with that, how those perfectly natural inoffensive yearnings can really help our walk with God is when we pray about them, about our wishing that Easter would hurry up, and use that to try to long more whole-heartedly for what Easter celebrates, for resurrection, for heavenly life, for life in which we live perfect lives of unwavering love for God, for each other and for ourselves.
Sunday, March 4, 2018
3rd Sunday of Lent, Year B; Holy Infant parish.
“Zeal for your house will consume me.” The disciples remembered those words from scripture, we’re told. Well, they remembered wrong. The psalm they were thinking of doesn’t say that. It says: “zeal for your house has consumed me;” not ‘will.’ Their very memory has started to be transformed by their encounter with Christ. They let themselves be so transfixed by this encounter with zeal incarnate that their memory of scripture, a psalm they must have sung hundreds of times, gets transformed. They remember the psalm as speaking in the future tense, because they are sure that it’s in this man, this Jesus of Nazareth, that zeal is powerfully present, so the psalm becomes future in their minds, because surely when they sang it in the past they were really singing about this moment.