Sunday, June 17, 2018

Dios crea un hogar para todos – Marc 4:26-34, Ezeq 17:22-24

11o domingo ordinario, Año B; San Adalbert y San Casimirio.

El profeta Ezequiel entendía la sensación de falta de hogar, de no pertenecer, de estar lejos de donde quería estar. Él había sido sacerdote en el templo de Jerusalén y los babilonios habían venido, habían destruido el templo, la casa de dios, y el palacio, la casa del rey, habían destruido toda la cuidad y exiliado a todo la gente, incluso Ezequiel. Los babilonios habían llevado a los exiliados a Babilonia.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

God frees us from fearful grasping – Mark 3:20-35, Gen 3:9-15

10th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B; St. Adalbert's and St. Stanislaus' parishes.

I’m guessing I’m not the only one here with the following habit: when I’m bored, my hand will often reach down to my left pocket to take out my phone to distract me. Maybe it’s the right pocket or the purse for some of you, but I know this isn’t just a generational thing; I see people of all ages distracting themselves from boredom with their phones. Now either I’m sufficiently absent-minded or the habit is deeply enough engrained that a few weeks ago I was distracting myself with my phone and some website was taking long enough to load that I got bored and, without even thinking, my hand reached down to my left pocket, trying to grasp something that wasn’t even there that wouldn’t even have relieved what was wrong.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

God joins His life to ours – Exod 24:3-8, Mark 14:12-26

Corpus Christi, Year B; Holy Infant parish.

I don’t know what you all think, but, the sprinkling rite that we do for some Masses during the Easter season, where the people get sprinkled with holy water… I think it’s kind of fun. That’s really why it’s assigned for Easter Sunday and an option for the other Sundays of the Easter season, because it’s kind of a joyful thing to do. It’s also a beautiful way of showing how God’s blessing is distributed with a divine playfulness. On the rare occasions we use incense, when the grains of incense are blessed and then vaporized and the vapor fills the whole space, whilst at the same time being more closely directed to certain iconic parts of our space, like the altar and the paschal candle, that’s a beautiful way too of showing how God’s blessing fills every space. I like these different physical symbols of how God’s blessing spreads, but I’m not sure, however, quite how I’d do with all of this sprinkling of blood that Moses was doing in the rite that made up our first reading.  I’m not sure how well we’d do at retaining sacristans or cleaners either, if we did all of that.  If the priesthood of the new covenant had inherited from the old the need to sacrifice young bulls… well, I don’t think I’d do very well at that either.  Praying with these readings, preparing to preach tonight, the thought did come to me, that was momentarily relieving: well, that’s not the question by which priesthood (either the ordained or the baptismal priesthood) is measured: “how good are you at sacrificing bulls?”  The question – which is actually much harder – is, “How good are you at sacrificing yourself?”  And that wasn’t immediately relieving, because the first answer that floated to my mind was: “honestly, not very.”  But, then I heard a deeper answer resounding: “but Christ is.”

Sunday, May 27, 2018

God brings us into His divine Life of Love – Deut 4:32-40, Rom 8:14-17, Matt 28:16-20

Trinity Sunday, Year B; Holy Infant parish.

“The Lord is God in the heavens above and on the earth below.”  That’s what Moses has to say to his people.  They’ve been rescued by God from slavery in Egypt, they’ve encountered him and received the Law on the mountain, they’ve wandered the wilderness led by him, and now they stop on the plains before crossing the water into the Promised Land, and listen to Moses, who proclaims to them: “The Lord is God in the heavens above and on the earth below.”  And he proclaims it, because it matters.  I think we’re probably on board with God being God in heaven; it’s God on earth we might be disquieted by.  The idea that God, while totally incomparable to any finite, fallible, created thing, enters into our world, acts, concerns Himself intimately with each one of us, with our greatest triumphs, with the most mundane pieces of daily life, and with our sin, our hunger, our weakness and our need… it’s almost too much to bear.  God loved Israel so much he wanted to make them His own, and he loves us the same.  That changes everything, and that’s not always comfortable.  He offers us a mutual binding: he’ll commit to us, and He longs for us to commit to Him.  He’ll lead us, to the Promised Land; and that’s first gift and then invitation: for us to follow.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

God pulls us up to proclaim – Acts 2:1-11, 1 Cor 12:3-13

Pentecost (Mass during the day); Holy Infant parish.

Fire.  It fascinates us.  Think of nights you’ve spent huddled around a camp fire, or staring up at the stars, those huge bundles of fire that we can see from so far away.  Fire warms us, lights up our world, cooks our food, fascinates us and attracts our gaze.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

God shows us what yet another facet of love looks like – Mark 16:15-20, Acts 1:1-11

Ascension, Year B; Holy Infant.

Some people say that Ascension is the hardest feast of the Church year to preach on.  Not Trinity Sunday, not Good Friday, not a funeral: the Ascension.  And I’m not making excuses here, but it’s the only feast on which the primary action of God, in Christ, that we celebrate seems to be his moving away from us.  We’re on earth, and he ascends: to heaven.  And that’s not the primary movement given to us to proclaim at any other time: the Christian story is consistently one of God reaching out to us, God coming to visit and redeem his people, of us turning away, but of God’s grace eventually conquering our stubbornness and repentance moving us to accept the glorious eternal embrace offered.  Except today: when the movement is of Christ ascending.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

God gives us love to hold on to – John 15:9-17, 1 John 4:7-10 Collect

6th Week of Easter, Year B; Holy Infant parish.

In our opening prayer, we asked God to help us so that “[whatever we do] we might always hold to what we relive in remembrance.” That was after we also asked God to help us “celebrate with heartfelt devotion these days of joy.” Let’s unpack that a little bit. The “days of joy” are the Easter season. This is now our 36th day this year of celebrating the Easter season. By next week, we’ll have been celebrating Easter for longer than we spent observing Lent and we still won’t be done! And this celebrating is meant to encompass each and every aspect of our lives, but its center, its source and summit, is our celebrating together in liturgy, most especially in Sunday Mass. As we ended the opening rites of Mass, we together asked God to help us celebrate the rest of Mass well, which means, as the prayer put it, with heartfelt devotion. And that, celebrating Mass together with heartfelt devotion, is what “relive in remembrance” means. Remember, we closed the prayer asking God to help us so that “[whatever we do] we might always hold to what we relive in remembrance.” So… what is it we’re reliving in remembrance? It’s the closing words of our second reading: that “[God] loved us, and sent his son for us as expiation for our sins.” That’s what God gives us to hold to. And, boy do we so often feel like we need something to hold on to in this world which can sometimes seem to leave us no stable place to stand.