Reflections on the Gospel

March 29, 2020: A Reflection for the 5th Sunday of Lent, Year A John 11:1-45 Jesus, there is so much in this Gospel that my mind swims. Lazarus your friend has died and when given word that he was ill, you wait two days before you begin the journey to Bethany. By the time you get there, Lazarus has been dead four days. And this, after you told your disciples that his illness would not end in death but would be for the glory of God. How you stretch your disciples and invite them ever deeper into the mystery of who you are and faith in you beyond what the senses can reveal! It is so comforting, Jesus, to see...

March 25, 2020: A Reflection for the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord Luke 1:26-38 Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word.  And the angel departed from her.  One simple word: Yes.  Let it be done to me according to your word.  And God enters our world in our flesh. One of my favorite paintings of the annunciation is the one of Mary, sitting on the edge of a couch, pensive, pondering, trying to grasp the breaking in of an angel into her simple life, already planned to be lived with Joseph her betrothed.  It is announced to her that she will conceive a child, a son, and...

“I will lead her into the desert and there I will speak to her heart.” Here we are, dear Sharon, one year into Cistercian life in the magnificent high desert of the Southwest and this place of Santa Rita Abbey. God has led you here and you have heard his voice and responded with love. He has been leading you through deserts of a different sort, to this community. A place to seek God and a place for God to seek out your heart with his love and mercy. To speak tenderly to you in this place, through your sisters, through the daily round of Cistercian life, and through all that the desert is. To speak through the infinite sky,...

March 22, 2020: A Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Lent, Year A John 9:1-41 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world. “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day… While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” It got off to a rocky start. “Who sinned? Surely someone must have sinned if this man is born blind. It has to be either this man or...

March 3, 2020: A Reflection for Tuesday of the First Week of Lent Matthew 6:7-15 In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. A babbling brook… If you’ve ever sat beside a brook as it chatters along, it can be a merry experience. Brooks were made to babble. They were made to bring God glory in their endless speech, bouncing along rocks and reflecting the sun in a million points of light. It is a thing of wonder and joy. But after a while, you just wish it would be quiet enough for...

February 11, 2020: A Reflection for Tuesday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time Matthew 7:1-13 This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Inside out. That’s how you lived, isn’t it, Jesus? Inside out. You lived from the heart, from the center of your being. You knew that it was a way of being that we, your much- loved creatures, all needed to grow into. You hold us in the tenderest of care and love. So when you are questioned in today’s Gospel, you go right to the heart of what underlies the question and expose a place in the human person that, if we can but accept and take your hand in...

January 10, 2020: A Reflection for the Friday after Epiphany 1 John 5:5-13 Luke 5:12-16 … great crowds assembled to listen to him and to be cured of their ailments, but he would withdraw to deserted places to pray What was it about Jesus that drew so many to him? It wasn’t just that those with ailments, or loved ones who needed help, flocked to him to “get” something. There was another quality, something else that seemed to touch their very center, helped them discover depths in themselves where they knew Jesus could be trusted. That He was a holy man. He seemed to live from a depth that called to their depths and awakened in them the ground of...

December 21, 2019: Eve of the Fourth Sunday of Advent This evening’s candle gathers the light of Advent and completes the circle of light. The candle of the Fullness of Time. In just a few days, we will celebrate the breaking forth of the Light of the World into our hearts once again. The fullness of God’s love manifest in a little baby, human and divine. Because of this, God’s plan to make us aware of his presence to the farthest reaches of creation in every particle of matter is accomplished. We are never alone. God is the very air we breathe. We are loved beyond measure and can share that love with one another in Christ. “In the beginning...

December 14, 2019: Eve of the Third Sunday of Advent This week’s candle will light the way to love with the Heart of a Servant. Our other candles, Quiet Trust and Humble Listening light this path of service. “The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for the many.” In faith, all three candles join to follow the path laid out for us in this little baby soon to be born in us in a deeper way. How great is the call to serve! How deep it plunges us into Jesus and his self-surrender into the Father. The Heart of a Servant is humble. It knows itself to...

December 7, 2019: Eve of the Second Sunday of Advent Tonight we light the candle of a Listening Heart. Think of the Prologue of Benedict’s Rule. To turn the ear of our hearts to a loving Father who speaks to us at every moment. His voice is spoken in the person of another who comes into our lives, who asks us to listen to God in their need, their pain, their joy. His voice is heard in all that binds us together in community, locally and universally in the myriad ways we serve one another. Each one, our sister and brother. Each one, like ourselves, beloved of God. To lay aside our self-absorption and as Benedict counsels us, by the...