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Sunday, November 24

Kingship

Today we come to the end of our liturgical year with this feast of Christ the King. Interestingly, the gospel focuses not on Jesus’ resurrection, but on his crucifixion. Why is that? After all, the disciples only come to faith and an understanding of his kingship after experiencing him as resurrected. But it is in his very crucifixion that he is established as “king.” He subverts the traditional notion of kingship through his ministry and rules through his service to others. In his death he spurns the typical notion of other kings who rule through violence and conquest. Instead he rules with love and mercy, ultimately embracing the deadly violence of the world and willingly submitting to a cruel and painful death.

Sunday, November 17

Perseverance

As we approach the end of the liturgical year, today’s readings paint a picture of the end time: nation rising against nation, plagues, famines, great signs, persecutions and trials. The biblical “day of the Lord” will be a time, as Malachi tells us, “when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire” (3: 19). But are these signs new? What age has been absent of these types of calamities? In reading these words, I cannot help but recall the R.E.M. tune “It’s the end of the world as we know it.” The song lyrics speak of earthquakes, hurricanes and the world serving its own needs. It paints a picture of chaos and disharmony, similar to that of the scriptures. Nearly two thousand years have passed since the writing of Luke’s Gospel, and we are still waiting for “the end.” So what are these texts trying to tell us?

Sunday, November 10

Alive

The Day of the Dead is a central celebration of our Mexican brothers and sisters that occurred at the beginning of this month (10/31-11/02). This multi-day celebration involves gathering with friends and family to remember their deceased relatives and celebrate their lives, often times in the graveyards where they are buried. Their practice echoes the early Christian practice of celebrating Mass in the catacombs with those heroic martyrs whose witness and life inspired the early community and whose memories they wished to keep alive.

Sunday, November 3

Stature

“O LORD and lover of souls, for your imperishable spirit is in all things!” (Wis. 11: 26- 12: 1) My son is tall. At the age of fourteen he stands better than six feet tall as an eighth grader. He has always been interested in his height and has longed for the day when he would grow taller than me. That day has come, and now, I have a child who looks down on me, if ever so slightly. As a competitive child, he believes he has achieved a certain goal and reached a particular stature beyond his physical size, just by virtue of his height.

Sunday, October 27

Humble

It is a natural human trait to compare ourselves with others, to measure ourselves against our contemporaries or even to claim things which make us feel better about ourselves. It is in that comparison where we can be lead to a false sense of righteousness. Sometimes bumper stickers can reveal this comparative and maybe even self-righteous attitude with such slogans as; “My other car is a Prius,” or “My child is an honors student,” or “I’m vegan, what is your superpower?”

Sunday, October 20

Constant

In today’s readings we have two descriptions of constant pleading. In the first reading, we have Moses in constant outstretched-arm-prayer while the Israelites battle Amalek’s army, prevailing only so long as Moses arms are in a constantly outstretched position. In the gospel, we have a widow who is constant in her pleading before an unjust judge, who finally gives in because of her persistence.

Sunday, October 13

Thanksgiving

How do we show our thanks to others for what we receive or are given? Has there ever been a time when you were so taken by what you have received or with your life that you simply moved on and did not think to show or offer words of thanksgiving?

Sunday, October 6

Patience

​When you hear the word “faith” what comes to mind? What are the associations you think of? We have faith in our cars that they will get us to work. We have faith in the relationships of our lives that sustain us and give our lives meaning. We have faith in God who is the foundation of all that we do, or do we? Are we like the Apostles in today’s gospel, who find that they feel a bit deficient in their faith in God?

Sunday, September 29

Complacent

Sixteen year old Greta Thunberg showed up at the Climate Action Summit at the United Nations this week to offer a prophetic reprimand of world leaders’ response to climate change. The strength of her words were shared on social media and her warning echoed over and over again on those platforms. Her refrain of “how dare you” was aimed at the attending leaders to shake them out of a complacent sense that they are doing enough to address climate change. She decried their concern for economic growth and well-being over concern for the well-being of the earth. Her warning is reminiscent of the prophetic “woe to the complacent” offered by the prophet Amos in today’s first reading who warns against the comforts of wealth.

Sunday, September 22

Mammon

​Our readings for today, strike a harsh tone and may leave us wondering what we can take away from them. In the first reading the prophet Amos’ warning is directed at those who would treat the poor, poorly. The poor are being treated as chattel to be sold off for something as small as a pair of sandals. To address this issue Amos delivers this message from God. He says, “The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob: Never will I forget a thing they have done” (8: 7).