Reflections on the Gospel

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...

Second Sunday of Advent Another candle expands the circle of light we call the Advent Wreath.  One more candle welcomes the flame of our God who waits.  Last week we spoke of yielding our inmost depths to God-with-us in the silence of our being.  Our second candle invites us to open out to the God who surrounds us in all creation.  Can we hear God’s comforting voice beckoning us to become one with himself in time and space, in life as we find it?  Can we see not only creation but the God who fills it and draws us into his love in the very created things that surround us?  A God who waits, a God who beckons us to...

First Sunday of Advent The first flicker of light tops the candle among the greens of our Advent Wreath.  Our candle has yielded its substance to fire and casts its gentle glow.  The candle and the fire have become one.  We stand at the threshold of a season of longing, of waiting.  “O Come Emmanuel, God with us.”  He is present in every atom of his creation.  He surrounds us and is the air we breathe. He has sent his Son as Divine Love in our midst.  All has been accomplished. So just what is it that Advent is all about?  Jesus has been born and lived among us as light and life; he is yet to come at the...

A REFLECTION ON LUKE 12:49-53 Jesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!" We are surrounded by fire--the fragments of the ball of fire that Jesus cast upon the earth and of which he speaks in this Gospel passage.  It was his mission and it consumed him--this passionate desire to ignite all creation with the recognition that the spark at the heart of all that exists is his Presence, the presence of the Trinity. This spark pulses deep within all that God has made, making everything a Burning Bush, a Theophany, and it is the joy of being a creature because God is closer to us than we are to...

A REFLECTION ON MARK 9:30-37 Jesus was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death he will rise.” When you look at today's Gospel, what do you see?  I suppose there are many fruitful avenues to explore and certainly ones that Jesus was urging his disciples to journey upon.  What I see is the bedrock, fundamental core of what it is to be human and to experience at the deepest levels of our being what it is to be a child of God.  It is summed up in what Jesus calls being handed over. Jesus, as Son of the Father, knows...

REFLECTION ON EXODUS 34:29-35 Radiance!  We are just swimming in radiance.  It fills us, and all we can look upon, and all that is.  The Scriptures tell us, "His radiance fills all things."  Presence could be another word for it. His presence fills all things.  How could it be otherwise? Only the veil of creation obscures it, but don't we experience it when we encounter one another at the level of faith, when, in the stillness of our hearts, we open out to a God who is present in all that he has made.  And this radiance is the person of Jesus:  in him all things were made, as John says.  Jesus, the radiance of the Father and the exact representation...

CHAPTER TALK FOR THE FEAST OF ST. BENEDICT Here we are, on the Feast of the glorious Benedict. A giant of a saint in so many ways, and whose Rule we follow. And for whom does he write this Rule? Plain, ordinary human beings – you and me and all who follow it and have followed it over the centuries. In a sense, you can say it is a plain, ordinary Rule for plain ordinary people, living lives that are, as our Constitutions say, “ordinary, obscure and laborious.” At first glance, you want to start running in the opposite direction. What’s so “great” about plain and ordinary? It sounds like a waste of life. Well, maybe it’s one of those...