Saturday, August 13, 2016

Jesus leads us through turmoil into peace – Heb 12:1-14, Luke 12:49-53

Ordinary Time, Year C, Week 20; WNDU TV Mass (South Bend)

There is a marked home field advantage in the Olympics.  Host nations on average win 20 more medals than they did in the summer games previous to the ones on their soil, and 10 more gold.  You might wonder where this advantage comes from.  Some of it is probably not being wearied by travel, competing in the climate you train in, the kind of advantages that accrue from being at ‘home.’  But, I’m sure a big part of it too is the fans, the people cheering you on.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

God gives life to the lost – Luke 12:32-40, Heb 11:8-12

19th Sunday, Ordinary Time, Year C; St. Pius parish (South Bend).

God keeps calling us to be on the move, to be a pilgrim people, to walk away from what binds us, even if it’s temporarily comfortable, and walk into the freedom of self-gift, even though that’s hard, walk to the place where death will give way to life.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

God makes us shameless praiser-askers – Luke 11:1-13, Col 2:12-14

Ordinary Time, Yr C, Week 17; St. Thomas More parish (Knebworth, England)

With this being an Olympic year, we’ll soon get to watch some amazing feats of athleticism.  We’ll see women and men who truly have been born with great gifts from God – their genetics, their opportunities, the people who support them – and who also have worked incredibly hard to hone their skills.  None of what we’ll see is their own un-aided un-God-given achievement, but none of it comes naturally either, not without being taught and trained.  In our gospel, we see that the disciples recognize that this is true too in their life of prayer.  Just like any athletic skill, or musical, or literary, the disciples know that they need to be taught, and they ask Jesus, “Teach us how to pray.”

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Jesus lifts us out of the ditch – Luke 10:26-37

Ordinary Time, Yr C, 15th Sunday; St. Mary's

“Who is my neighbor?”  I don’t know about you, but I think I’ve heard that question often enough that I’m not sure it no longer stirs in my heart what needs to be stirred.  When I realized this week that we could just as grammatically render it “Who is near me?” it started to do a little more work.  Then, I thought that right now might not be the time for grammatical fastidiousness, and I might need the freshness of this: “Whose lives matter?”  “Who is my neighbor…? Who is near me…? Whose lives matter?”

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Jesus prays that we might know him – Luke 9:18-24, Zech 12:10-13:1

Sunday, Ordinary Time, Yr C, Wk 12; Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Notre Dame)

Have you ever wondered what Jesus was praying about when he was praying alone?  It’s an important truth of our faith that Jesus truly was praying, not just play-acting or talking to himself.  The Son can truly pray to the Father, because while both are fully God, our God is one God in three persons.  The “spirit of petition” that the prophet Zechariah promised would be poured out on all people truly dwelled with Jesus, and flowed from him to us, enlivening us to pray just as he prayed. But what was he praying?  I’d always written off my curiosity about these moments as something to get past, maybe as a prompt for me to pray for greater humility (not everything is mine to know), but praying with and studying this passage from Luke’s gospel over the past week it occurred to me that while the text doesn’t quite come out and tell us, it lets us make more than a guess as to at least part of what Jesus might have been praying about: Jesus prayed that Peter might know who he is.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Upcoming conference presentation

If you liking reading things here, and you happen to be in or around San Antonio in November, you might also enjoy hearing me speak in a more academic conference.  Program book link (search on my last name; I don't know how to link to the results of a search).

Healthcare and Disability in the Ancient World
11/19/2016 1:00 PM

“A death like his:” Saul’s privation and restoration of sight as formation for the Christian super-prophet in Acts 9

(abstract below the cut)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

God frees us for extravagant love – Luke 7:36-50, 2 Sam 12:7-13, Gal 2:16-21

Ordinary Time C, Wk 11; Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Notre Dame)

We grow up learning how to make deals.  We know that if we eat all of our Brussel sprouts, we might get ice cream, if we share we might get more toys, or (somewhat paradoxically) if we tidy our rooms, we might not get sent to them so soon.  Deals certainly have their place, but I hope they stay in their place.  A lot of us here are students and/or teachers, many of you here for summer school.  The fast pace of summer instruction can lead to the temptation to reduce education to a series of deals: the teacher agrees to impart certain information, the student agrees to regurgitate it, the teacher agrees to give a grade based on how accurately that regurgitation occurs.  Deals have their place, but I hope we’re all open to something more than that happening in our classrooms: something more relational, more transformative, more loving.  And I certainly hope we’re open to that in our walk with God.