The Ascension of the Lord June 1, 2014

Acts 1, 1-11 + Ephesians 1, 17-23 + Matthew 28, 16-20

To move from preparing the homily for the Sixth Sunday of Easter to this Ascension Day reflection, I spent a ridiculous amount of time listening to the great hymn composed by Charles Wesley in 1742, “Hail the Day that Sees Him Rise.” Before you go on I urge you to check either of these (or both) sites and listen as I have.

Sit with this text, and let yourself be caught up in the spirit of this music which with such beauty expresses what our faith holds and proclaims on this day.

As I listened, it occurred to me that there is a change in heaven being proclaimed by the Feast of the Ascension and by this salvation event. … more »

The Sixth Sunday of Easter May 25, 2014

Acts 8, 5-8, 14-17 + Psalm 66 + 1 Peter 3, 15-18 + John 14, 15-21

MS Massdam Passanger and Crew Mass

In many ways, our gathering here is always like the gathering of the faithful disciples of Jesus in that Jerusalem upper room. They picked up the pieces of their lives, their failures, sins, and denials and came together because they knew, once they were with one another, that they were acceptable and forgivable. These gifts of acceptance and forgiveness experienced in Christ could be shared with each other as Jesus had accepted and forgiven them time after time in his great mercy. This assembly is never more like that than when we approach the celebration of Pentecost, because every Assembly of God’s people on the first day of the week ought to be a time when the Spirit promised by Christ would renew us to continue the new life we have found in Christ. … more »

The Fifth Sunday of Easter May 18, 2014

Acts 6, 1-17 + Psalm 33 + 1 Peter 2, 4-9 + John 14, 1-12

If I were to ask each of you which of the commandments gives you the most trouble and is the greatest challenge, I suspect it would be an interesting list that would include do not lie which is a great test for us all tempted as we are day by day to twist the truth and hide behind a lie. I am sure that do not covet would be on that list because of the materialistic consumer society in which we find ourselves. There is no way to escape that temptation for anyone watches even thirty minutes of television. There is another commandment however that ought to be there if you have not already thought of it, and it comes out of today’s Gospel. … more »

The Fourth Sunday of Easter May 11, 2014

Acts 2, 14, 36-41 + Psalm 23 + 1 Peter 2, 20-25 + John 10, 1-10

It seems very helpful to know that this Gospel passage follows immediately after a big confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees. They have expelled a man from synagogue calling him a sinner because he was born blind. Jesus gave the man sight, and there was big trouble. In his skillful way, John now compares these religious leaders and their way of doing things to Jesus and what is ultimately God’s way of doing things leaving those first readers of John to make a choice between leadership: Pharisees or Jesus. What’s it going to be: good shepherds or bad shepherds? On top of that, he calls them, “thieves”. … more »

The Third Sunday of Easter May 4, 2014

Acts 2, 14, 22-28 + Psalm 16 + 1 Peter 1, 17-21 + Luke 24, 13-35

It has always fascinated and amused me to notice the names of Churches. When it comes to Catholic Churches, there are often hints about the ethnic origins of the founding families. Sometimes the names are a little more obscure. We have two parishes in my home diocese named for Saint Eugene. For those of us there who are old enough to remember, those parishes were founded by a Bishop named: Eugene. Whether or not is says something about his hopes and ambitions remains a matter of conversation among the older priests who can remember him. Perhaps he was hoping to invoke the protection or assistance of that rather obscure Pope from the 7th century known for his generosity to the poor. … more »