Did you know that our Christian brothers and sisters proclaim the gospel of the Transfiguration on the Sunday before Lent while we hear it this 2nd Sunday of Lent? For them it is the end of the liturgical season of Epiphany that starts with the first revelation of the Christ child to the world and end with the account of the divine glory of God being revealed in the person of Jesus. There is a lovely symmetry to that. On the first Sunday in Lent, both traditions proclaim Jesus’ temptation in the desert – and with the exception of this Sunday, both traditions proclaim the same Gospels for the remainder of Lent.
The Traditional Stations of the Cross have long been celebrated in many forms with the 14 Stations familiar to us a relatively recent form. Several of the stations arise from long-held traditions among the Christians of the Holy Land, but they are not necessarily Scriptural. In 1991, Pope John Paul II instituted a form of the Stations that are based solely on Scripture. This too forms a wonderful means of reflecting upon the events of the Holy Week which put the love of Christ in the forefront of our hearts and minds. Continue reading
2 After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3 and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. 4 Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. 5 Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6 He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. 7 Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; then from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” 8 Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them. 9 As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant.
It is later in the autumn of 1206 that with his decision to “leave the world” Francis began to be aware of the powerful Divine Presence in his life through, his work among the lepers near Assisi, and his habit of taking refuge in churches for prayer and rebuilding the structures. At San Damiano he encountered the consoling presence of the Savior who had suffered and died for him. It was a presence he soon came to recognize in other churches: “And the Lord granted me such faith in churches that I would pray simply and say: We adore you, Lord Jesus Christ, in all your churches throughout the world, and we bless you, because by your Holy Cross, you have redeemed the world.” (Testament 4-7). Francis was at the beginnings of an inner peace. Continue reading
Today’s thoughts were occasioned by a Mass for the school children of St. Francis of Assisi School in Triangle, VA
“Forgive us our sins as we forgive others” – that’s what it says in the Gospel. Those are the words of the Lord’s prayer, also called the “Our Father.” In the first reading St. Paul says, “Forgive anyone who does you wrong just as Christ has forgiven you.” Let’s review… Christ has forgiven us and so we forgive others… pretty straight forward … this should be easy!
So… if someone asks you to forgive them, how do you forgive them?
Perhaps you have come across this cartoon show from the early 1960 on the Cartoon Network or If you are old enough perhaps you saw it in the original broadcast – Magilla Gorilla.
The star of the show, Magilla Gorilla, spends most of each show in and around Mr. Peebles pet shop adsorbing a lot of Mr. Peeble’s attention and a great deal of food. Many people purchase Magilla Gorilla, but he is always returned for a refund because of some hi-jinx or another. A little girl, Ogee, love Magilla Gorilla but is unable to persuade her parents to acquire the love of her life.
11 “What shall we do with you,” they asked, “that the sea may quiet down for us?” For the sea was growing more and more turbulent.” 12 Jonah said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea, that it may quiet down for you; since I know it is because of me that this violent storm has come upon you.”
These were the ending verses in the previous post. But there was also a question to ponder: What is the motivation for Jonah to suggest being thrown into the sea? To be fair, the narrative is silent on the matter, we only know of the suggestion. It seems there are at least two plausible motivations:
- Jonah has had a change of heart. He has realized that his choices and actions are a wrecking ball in the lives of the captain and crew. In an altruistic moment, he takes responsibility and offers his life as the solution, as the means of salvation. He is willing to die as he recognizes his guilt before God.
- Jonah is not done running. If Tarshish is not far enough away, then maybe death is. He would rather die than obey God and be part of a potential rescue of the people of Nineveh from their sins.
For those of you who think we have it so easy in Florida, I want to tell you something: It was only 62 degrees the other morning. And drizzling. I had to get a jacket. I had to decide between my Tampa Bay Lightning Stanley Cup champions jacket, my Tampa Bay Rays American League champions jacket or my Tampa Bay Bucs Super Bowl champions jacket. By the time I made my decision, it had warmed up to 74 degrees, and I didn’t need the jacket anymore. Stressful morning! Now it’s 87 degrees, and I’m headed to the beach.
The tempest rages, the crew prays, each to his own god, the cargo is being tossed overboard in an attempt to save the ship that is in danger of breaking up. Jonah is curled up in a corner below decks fast asleep.
6 The captain came to him and said, “What are you doing asleep? Rise up, call upon your God! Perhaps God will be mindful of us so that we may not perish.” (Jonah 1:6) Did the captain go looking for Jonah? I suspect not. I think he is below deck to see what other cargo can be tossed overboard when he stumbles upon Jonah asleep. Everyone else is working to save the ship, save themselves. The captain, exasperated shouts out “What are you doing asleep?” Seriously, dude, get your sorry self up and if you’re not going to lend a hand to help us, at least “call upon your God!” We’ve shot-gunned our prayers across a whole passel of gods seeing if we can appeal to the god behind this storm. “Perhaps God will be mindful of us so that we may not perish.” (Given that he is sea captain, there were no doubt some “salty” words mixed in the middle.) Continue reading
Many folks I know have committed to read the entire Bible – an ambitious plan, but one I highly commend and recommend. For some, their plan was to begin at the beginning with Genesis and read straight through to Revelation. That would never be my recommendation. The Bible is not a novel that moves seamlessly from book to book. Rather it is a collection of books. The Genesis-to-Revelation plan has been written about in posts about beginning and sometimes how tough that approach can be – especially when hits the book of Leviticus.