The Fourth Sunday of Easter St Peter the Apostle Parish Naples, FL

Saint Peter the Apostle Parish Naples, FL

Acts 4, 8-12 + Psalm 118 + 1 John 3, 1-12 + John 10, 11-18

It is very easy to slip into a comfortable, romantic, idealist’s image of a shepherd. Artists through generations have given us paintings of little wooly lambs and the serene face of a bearded and groomed shepherd in a nice white linen robe walking through a field of green grass.  You can almost hear violins playing sweetly. Then the familiar verses of Psalm 23 add to that comforting image allowing us to forget that those verses were composed for a people who were oppressed, frightened, threatened, and in grave danger. That image of a Shepherd stirs their memories of the Shepherd King, David and their past days of glory. … more »

Third Sunday of Easter St Peter the Apostle Parish Naples, FL

Saint Peter the Apostle Parish Naples, FL

Acts 3, 13-15, 17-19   Psalm 4   1 John 2, 1-5   Luke 24, 35-48

Last week I suggested that the fear felt by the apostles was far more than “fear of the Jews”. I truly believe that their fear must have also included a fear of Jesus; a fear that he might return as he said. Then, what would happen to them. Their lack of action on his behalf made them partly responsible for his death. Add to that their belief that he was the Messiah they had hoped for and then abandoned made this an even greater fear. They were terrified and trapped. This realization that he was the Messiah they had failed had one consequence, damnation. … more »

Second Sunday of Easter St Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples, Florida

Saint Peter the Apostle Parish Naples, FL

Acts 4, 32-35   Psalm 118   1 John 5, 1-6   John 20, 19-31

After more than forty years of study, prayer, and preaching with this text, something new is beginning to dawn on me. Perhaps it has simply taken that long for me to get over it, because being named “Thomas” always put me in a defensive mode when hearing this story. I recall going through a time when I defended him. I would image all sorts of reasons for his absence, and excuse his interaction with the others thinking that because he was out buying the food or preparing meals for that group in the upper room he did not get to share in their conversations and experiences which included previous visits of the Lord. … more »

Easter Sunday St Peter the Apostle Parish Naples, FL

Saint Peter the Apostle Parish Naples, FL

Acts 10, 34-43   Psalm 118   Colossians 3, 1-4   Mark 16, 1-7

There is an important way to consider what we celebrate today that not many of us have taken up. I know that only recently this thought has worked its way into my thinking and believing. I suspect that those first companions of Jesus had to allow time to sort this out as well in order to see and believe. We learn quickly in life that what you see is not always what you get. It always depends on how you see and what you are looking for. On that first day of the week, they did not see with anything but sadness and fear, grief and disappointment. … more »

Good Friday + St Peter the Apostle Church in Naples, FL

Saint Peter the Apostle Church, Naples, FL

Isaiah 52:13–53:12 • Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9 • John 18:1–19:42

 The Television medium has loaded us with opportunities to become spectators for the past several days with programs called: “Finding Jesus” and “Killing Jesus.” I am not sure what is behind these productions other than the money the sponsors make by drawing people around the screen to watch some writer or producer’s idea of what it was like in Jerusalem at the historical moment Jesus of Nazareth was killed. The trouble with all this business is that it turns revelation into “entertainment” and whatever historical value might possible have slipped in is left unconnected to the present day. This leaves us in the role of the spectator as though we were sitting in our living rooms or a stadium watching a grand drama unfold munching pop-corn. … more »