February 28, 2016 at Saint Peter Church & St William Church in Naples, FL.
If taken seriously, the first part of this Gospel text is the end to any thinking that God punishes people in this life. I have never believed that, and I have been stunned too many times by people who think or say: “They got what they deserved” suggesting that some tragedy or disaster had God’s punishing hand behind it. That’s what these righteous people are suggesting to Jesus when they come up to him with that question about the slaughter of some Galileans. When you consider that these upright citizens of Jerusalem looked down on those backward Galileans as being of less value and importance than they were, you can almost feel them tense up when Jesus turns the tables on them by asking if they also think that the disaster in Jerusalem suggested that nice and upright citizens of Jerusalem were also being punished for something. … more »
This event that Luke has recorded for us is about glory. It is not just about something that happened to Jesus. What happened on that mountain provided for those present a glimpse of what they might dare to hope for themselves. If we were to sum up all the work of Jesus on this earth it was simply to restore us to glory; to give us the glory of being a chosen race, a holy people who live in the presence of God. When ever Jesus encountered anything that robbed someone of glory it had to go. … more »
Deuteronomy 26, 4-10 X Psalm 91 X Romans 10, 8-13 X Luke 4, 1-13
No one talks about sin anymore unless it’s someone else’s. Then we’re really good at it, and we can name the offense, the cause, and often we can set the punishment. However, when referring to ourselves, we don’t have sin. We have a few “issues”, but they are hardly deadly. These temptations of Christ that lead us into Lent every year are way too fantastic and dramatic to be very real, so we stand back and admire Jesus for the strength of character he demonstrates and the courage with which he responds to Satan missing the point that perhaps what Luke is teaching us is that an effective response to any temptation might be found in the Word of God, and the use of that Word might well give us what we need to face any temptation. … more »
Joel 2, 12-18 – Psalm 51 – 2 Corinthians 5, 20-6, 2 – Matthew 6, 1-6, 16-18
February 10, 2016 at St Peter the Apostle Parish & St William Parishes in Naples, FL.
For some of us, and I may well be one of them, this will be our last Lent. With that thought, we might get serious about these forty days, because they are about being prepared for death. That is why we will mark ourselves in a few moments with the ashes to which we shall return. It might then be about time we take this season seriously since it might well be our last chance to get ready for the dawn of our new life.
The Prophet Joel shouts: “Return to me with all your heart.” Where in the world did we ever get the idea that giving up a few goodies like chocolate or martinis or dropping some loose change into the poor box was really enough to prepare us for death or lead us to celebrate the greatest event in history? … more »
February 7, 2016 at Saint Peter and St William Parishes in Naples, FL.
The call of Peter is so dramatic in Luke’s Gospel that it presents a problem. It is the same with the call of Isaiah and Paul heard just before the Gospel. These experiences are so unique that we can easily step back focusing only on those three as though those really called to discipleship have to accept a radical change of life, quit their jobs, leave their family, put everything up for sale on eBay, and be focused on doing God’s will and nothing more. After all, isn’t that what “they” did? … more »