The Second Sunday of Easter April 27, 2014

Acts 2, 42-27 + Psalm 118 + 1 Peter 1, 3-9 + John 20, 19-31

A life-time of disappointments, failures, mistakes, betrayals, let-downs, and unfulfilled promises does eventually wear us down. Because these experiences accumulate quickly, and by the time many of us are young men and women the first bitter taste of distrust, disillusionment, and cynicism have set in. The consequences of this are often subtle, and they weave their way into our behavior and into our hearts. They make us suspicious and doubtful. They cause us to expect the worst and deny the best. Bad news travels fast, and there is a reason. Good news is unexpected and always too hard to believe. “Too good to be true” is not just an old saying, it is way of thinking. … more »

Easter Sunday April 20, 2014

Acts 10, 34, 37-42 + Psalm 118 + Colossians 3, 1-4 + Matthew 28, 1-10

A choice is presented for the Easter Sunday Gospels, and I have chosen Matthew because it is the Gospel of this year. A problem arises when faced with this choice because each of the four accounts of the Resurrection is very different, and after reading and hearing them over the years, they all blend together. This is a problem because the blending “waters down” the unique elements of each Gospel account leaving us with too many details and no way to identify what is significant. When put together, they are all significant, and it is simply TMI, too much information. For instance, in John’s account, Peter and “The Beloved Disciple” run to the tomb. … more »

Palm Sunday April 13, 2014

Isaiah 50, 4-7 + Psalm 22 + Philippians 2, 6-11 + Matthew 26, 14 to 27, 66

As Matthew’s Passion unfolds for us, we see early church apologetics at work. Concerned to show that Jesus Christ was the Messiah and fulfillment of all that the First Testament Prophets had promised. The Passion we just heard is full of references to those earlier writings pointing to and converging at the death of Jesus. Isaiah, Zechariah, Jeremiah, the Psalms of David are all echoed in Matthew’s Passion with the entry into Jerusalem, the cleansing of the Temple, and the final meal all of which reach into the memories of the past and bring them to the present. We must not hear this Passion Gospel as though we are spectators! … more »

The Fifth Sunday in Lent April 6, 2014

Ezekiel 37, 12-14 + Psalm 130 + Romans 8, 8-11 + John 11, 1-45

G.K. Chesterton said: “Hope means hoping when things are hopeless or it is no virtue at all.” Martha and Mary are women of hope, and that hope springs from their faith which John’s Gospel sets before us today. Traditional Jewish belief at the time held that somehow the soul of a dead person remains with the body for three days. After that, it departs never to return and that is when corruption begins which is makes this situation hopeless. Understanding that belief ought to make clear why Jesus waited so long to get to Bethany. He wanted to be hope in the midst of hopelessness. For the early Christians to whom John writes and for whom he offers this story, the story of Lazarus is much more than a pointer to the resurrection of Jesus who was only in the tomb three days and never knew corruption. … more »

St James the Greater Parish Mission Wednesday April 2, 2014

Matthew 12, 1-8

This incident in Matthew’s Gospel is very troubling, and it is the first of two stories unfolding and revealing an important part of the Gospel’s Good News. The second story which comes right after these verses tells of Jesus curing a man with a withered hand in the Synagogue on Sabbath. It is as though Matthew wants to drive home the point. The Pharisees are growing more and more furious and impatient with Jesus. The rhetoric is heating up and the hostility can no longer be disguised as curiosity or interest. This man and his teaching are a direct challenge to their very way of life; he poses a threat to law and order.


Now there is a big difference between external and internal realities. … more »

St James the Greater Parish Mission Tuesday April 1, 2014

MARK 2, 13-17

As last evening’s reflection concluded, I was speaking about “privilege” and the extraordinary gift we have in faith when we recognize and acknowledge who we are as laborers in God’s vineyard. We turn to Saint Mark tonight whose whole Gospel is, what I like to call, a short course in discipleship. It is somewhat like those yellow and black books you can find in book stores (if you can find a book store any more). You may know the series: “Accounting for Dummies”, “Cooking for Dummies”, “Windows 7 for Dummies”, and there is course, “Catholicism for Dummies” which isn’t half bad. When I read it, I thought, “I wish I had written that!”

It is only Chapter Two when we come upon Levi’s encounter with Jesus. … more »

St James the Greater Parish Mission Monday March 31, 2014

LUKE 20, 9-18

God is good! (All the time.) About two months ago, Father Pruett invited me to come for these nights of prayer and reflection, and I said: “Well tell me what you want me to talk about, or we are both in danger of being disappointed.” Then he began to talk to me for about ten minutes and my eyes glazed over. I am certain that he was saying something very important and deeply spiritual, but it was at the end of a long dinner, and I realized I should not have asked the question. Surely you have all been there: that moment when you ask a question and then suddenly realize you should have kept quiet! I think I interrupted him at some point when I realized I should have just said “Yes” or “No”. … more »