Reflections on the Gospel

Eve of the First Sunday of Advent: December 2, 2017 This evening we take our first step into the hallowed time of Advent. We light a candle to focus our desire, toward… toward what? What is it we experience when we enter that deepest place of quiet in our being? It can be confusing sometimes when we sing about opposing realities. We sing, “O come, O come Emmanuel.” Emmanuel, Hebrew for God-with-us. How can God come if he is already here? Of course, we’re echoing the cry of the human heart as sung by the Hebrews in days of old until now. And there is the infinite capacity of our hearts to receive more and more of God. There will...

THERE IS NEED OF ONLY ONE THING A reflection on Luke 10:38-42 "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing." I must admit it. I have a soft spot in my heart for Martha. I can understand her frustration and the range of emotions that must have filled her as she scurried about, preparing a meal for their guest, Jesus, while her sister just sat there and didn’t lift a finger to help. Much ink has been spilled on this gospel text and every time I approach it, I seem to come away with something different. As I sat quietly with it, another thought came to me. I wondered if the...

FREELY YOU HAVE RECEIVED A reflection on Matthew 10:5-8 Jesus sent out the twelve after instructing them thus, “Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” "Without cost you have received. Without cost you are to give." Hearing those words is like opening a window and experiencing the cool breeze of freedom and joy—letting it ruffle our hair and fill our lungs. Maybe that is the Kingdom of heaven: welcoming the...

TRULY YOU ARE AN AWESOME GOD! A reflection on Matthew 14:22-36 During the fourth watch of the night, Jesus came toward them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. At once he spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. Awe is a word that has been batted around so much these past years that it has lost...

A Reflection for Easter Time on John 20:24-29 Jesus spoke to Thomas, "Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Do not be unbelieving any more but believe." Thomas the doubter. Thomas the unfaithful. Poor Thomas. He's been called a lot of things. Not that his behavior didn't make them plausible. But I'd like to think of him as Thomas the Griever. Let's stop for a moment and take a closer look at the man. He was an apostle, called specially to follow Jesus in very close way. He got to know him very well and journeyed with him along the Way. He was privy to Jesus' everyday activity, how...

A Reflection on Matthew 12:28-34 One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,"Which is the first of all the commandments?" Jesus replied, "The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these." If you ever wanted a picture of God in love, today’s Gospel paints it! God actually pleads for us to love him. It begins with the Shema Israel, the “Hear, O Israel” where way back in ancient times, God...

WHY DO WE DO THE THINGS WE DO DURING LENT? Why do we fast and you take no notice?  Deny ourselves and you pay no heed?  (Isaiah 58:3) Good questions.  Why DO we do the things we do during Lent?  This leads to an even bigger question:  who is the God I believe in? Is God Someone who cares for me with every fiber of his being, whose joy it is to be an intimate part of my existence?  Who walks with me in moments of pain and sorrow and dances with me in moments of joy? Yes, this is the God who stands with us at the threshold of our Lenten journey.  A God who has promised to be...

A REFLECTION ON MARK 2:18-22 Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wine skins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wine skins. I once had someone say to me when challenged to do something she preferred to avoid at all costs but couldn’t: “Fear is a great motivator.” In her case, it was fear of reprisals that “motivated” her to perform a duty. As we all know, acting out of fear gets a job done, but it is not a motivator, it is a stern master. It gets things done but it doesn’t bring about inner transformation or freedom. And that’s what...

Fourth Sunday of Advent The final candle has received flame into its heart and completes the circle of light.  In one week we will celebrate the coming of the fullness of Light into our universe in the Person of Jesus.  God from God.  Light from Light.  The coming of the God who longs and the God who waits for us will once more be celebrated at Christmas.  Our last candle beckons us with an invitation from the heart of God:  why not become all flame?  Why not leave behind hesitation and throw open our hearts, our very substance, to the flame which surrounds us and whom we call Emmanuel, God with us.  Why not become a candle that yields its...

Third Sunday of Advent Candle and flame.  Light and relationship.  Our third Advent Candle burns with the desire of the God-who-waits that we yield our substance to the flame of his love in relationship.  Relationship which takes its expression in how we relate to God’s presence in us, in others and in the circumstances that make up our lives.  We have moved from experiencing God in our depths, to experiencing God in his creation and now are invited to union with himself through union and relationship with other human beings.  This week our third candle will shed its glow by becoming relationship of flame and candle.  God is love, St. John proclaims, and everyone who lives in love, lives in...