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May 22, 2014

Life in the Spirit

Some of the most poignant pictures flashed across the world in the wake of natural or military disasters are those of orphaned children. Their inherent vulnerability is compounded by their victimization; they seem to be wandering about aimlessly. With unguarded expressions they cry out with grief and fear. They are so helpless, and they look so hopeless. To be orphaned means to be alone.

May 14, 2014

Judging from the lectionary texts, this fifth Sunday of Easter would be best named the Sunday of Mixed Messages. In the Gospel, Jesus begins with the comforting words "Do not let your hearts be troubled" (John 14:1) but the passage is about his leaving those closest to him. Those among us trying to cope with the loss of loved ones can only shout back "but of course my heart is troubled!" The letter of Peter celebrates the stone rejected as cornerstone, and then complicates matters by proclaiming the stone simultaneously an obstacle.

May 12, 2014

Follow the leader!

The Fourth Sunday of Easter has traditionally been known as 'Good Shepherd Sunday,' since readings today elaborate this theme. Their particular focus today is on leadership. Whose leadership will we follow? In the ancient Near Eastern world, kings were often characterized as shepherds of their people, because they were responsible for every aspect of their welfare. This same characterization is used in the Bible to describe the providence of God (Ezekiel 34).

April 30, 2014
WALKING INTO HOPE. "But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel" (Luke 24:21). They are walking away from Jerusalem, away from the place where their hopes were shattered. Cleopas and his unnamed companion, perhaps his wife?, stride in the direction of Emmaus, known in Roman times as Nicopolis, "Victory City." They were in sore need of "victory."
April 23, 2014
Avoiding the Heresy of Nostalgia. Christians, especially during the Easter Season, are often tempted to indulge in pious nostalgia. We sometimes say to ourselves: "If only we had been part of the first generation of Christian believers when the Church was united and there were not the corruption and sinfulness that followed in the later centuries!" This Second Sunday of Easter we bask in the glow of the Resurrection and marvel in the account of the early Christian community found in today's first reading from the Acts of the Apostles: "All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one's need."
April 16, 2014

I am the aunt of thirteen wonderful nieces and nephews and three "grands."  Thus, I do have some experience with babies and young children.  Parents (and aunts and uncles) will recognize that when young ones are happy to greet you or want to be "raised up" their whole body gestures for such embrace.  However, if they do not want to be picked up or held, their body becomes stiff and resistant.  Throughout this Lent and Holy Week, perhaps we have become more open and ready to be "raised up" once again with Jesus our Christ.
 

April 9, 2014

The procession with palms and the reading of the Passion mark the beginning of the most significant week in the annual Christian cycle - leading us from the joyful entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, through his passion and death, to the resurrection of Easter. However, this Holy Week is not intended to simply be a "walk down memory lane" with our heads. Rather, it is an invitation to become engaged in Jesus' journey and to make connections with our own journey in our heart, mind, and soul. How are we to live and to face our challenges as Jesus faced his?

April 2, 2014

The Scripture readings for the Fifth Sunday of Lent invite us to come out of our place of captivity and to place our trust and hope in God who can transform death into life and can make the impossible possible.

March 26, 2014

One of the striking things about the Bible is its wealth of images, many of which have worked their way into our ordinary language and literature. The readings for this Sunday contain two such images, one of the "shepherd" and the other of "light." Both invite our reflection in the course of this season of Lent.

March 23, 2014

If you have ever traveled by rail, at some point you may have heard or seen a message warning you to "mind the gap," urging you to pay attention to the space between the platform and the train in the process of boarding or leaving the train. Some say the particular expression began with the London Underground but now variations are found across the globe drawing passengers' attention to the potential risk of ignoring that space.

This Sunday's lectionary presents us with an option that should be accompanied by a "mind the gap" caution. One of the lengthiest, and deeply theological and political, conversations in the Gospels occurs between Jesus and the unnamed Samaritan woman in John 4:5-42. However, the lectionary offers an option for an abridged version that leaves out several key verses including 4:16-18, and half of verse 39.