Incredulous and amazed

Recently I was taking in a bit of light reading, you know, the classic summer beach novel: easy to read, entertaining, … and no I don’t remember the title. But I remember this, there are good guys being chased by bad guys. The good guys are only armed with their wit, imagination, guile, luck, and their paranoid friend who believes every conspiracy theory is true. But then again, just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean you’re wrong. Continue reading

Story telling

There are lots of ways to tell a story. The one that comes most naturally is to start at the beginning and move ahead to the end. A to B, pillar to post, a straight a line as possible. There are other methods such as using flashbacks, telling the story in a non-linear fashion moving the reader/listener back and forth across the timeline, letting the story stitch itself together in the imagination of the audience. There are lots of ways to tell a story. Continue reading

Letters in the footlocker

As we come to the end of our Lenten journey we begin to hear to the echoes of Holy Week and the Passion of the Christ: “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” It is hard to hear those words and not think of the coming passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. The One who came that we might have life and have it to the fullest. The One who even now, just like on the cross, has arms wide open to welcome and embrace us. The One whose heart is filled with love for us. The One who is love itself. Continue reading

Called to come home

I suspect that most of us would not say we are “at home” with the Book of Chronicles, the source of our first reading today. The Chronicles were written at the end of the Babylonian Exile. It is a look back at the history of the monarchy of Judah, its kings and the people.  It is not a history as we understand it – it is really an overarching assessment of the king and the people against one standard, and one standard only:  how did we do as the people of the Covenant with God; a Covenant given to us on Sinai through the prophet Moses?  The short answer: not good.  The Book of Chronicles is a history of sin, a history of ignoring the covenant, a history of taking on the name of the Lord in vain.  Continue reading

On the tables in life

overturned-tableDuring Lent, as you might expect, we have more and more folks coming to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This past Friday we had three priests hearing confessions before the daily noontime Mass. Many folks carried with them one of the various Examinations of Conscience, most are based on the 10 Commandments – something we heard about in the first reading today. I wonder if our gospel might be a better model for examining our lives especially in this Lenten season. Continue reading

Looking around

I wonder why the Catholic Church chooses this gospel account every 2nd Sunday in Lent. We always hear the reading of the Transfiguration, the glorious account of the divine glory of God being revealed in the person of Jesus. It is amazing – so amazing that we celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration every August 6th; we have been doing so for 800 years or so. Our Christian brothers and sisters proclaim this gospel on the Sunday before Lent. That also makes some sense to me because it is from this point in the story that Jesus will head straight to Jerusalem, culminating in Passion Week, fulfilling exactly what Jesus told them: he would be raised from the dead after suffering. Jesus’ words point to the crucifixion, just as Lent begins to point us to Good Friday. Reading the Transfiguration immediately before Lent gets us ready. But why the 2nd Sunday in Lent? But why proclaim this gospel twice in the same liturgical year? Continue reading

The 40s

The very first liturgical action in the Rite of Baptism isn’t pouring water – it is marking the one receiving baptism with the sign of the cross – traced on the forehead. At the same time speaking the words, “I claim you for Christ…” They are powerful words, words of life and death. Words that mark a new beginning. “I claim you for Christ…” This is who you are and whose you are. And now off you go into the world, into the wilderness of life, among the beasts and the angels among us. Continue reading

A pause and a prayer

He shall dwell apart, making his abode outside the camp” – frightening and dreadful words.  Spoken to a people in the wilderness, a people on the Exodus betwixt and between the slavery of Egypt and the promised land of Palestine. Words that ban, isolate, shun, and place someone beyond the connection to the community. These are words spoken to family and friends that pushed them from the routine of life into the wilderness. In modern life, we have our own words, instances, texts, and posts that push others into a more modern wilderness. Continue reading

Everyone is looking for you

TheAnnunciationThe story of Job is the well-known biblical account in which a person’s life goes from prosperity and security, from joy to despair – and Job is the one who asks aloud what some of us only whisper – where is God in all of this? Job watches while his life unravels losing prosperity, family and feeling that the entirety of his life under assault. He has looked into his life and his heart, searching for his sin, then at least he imagines he can reconcile what has happened to him. But he is a blameless and upright man. Just when he thinks he had suffered and so much taken from him, then the assault encompasses his own body and he grows sick and covered with sores. No wonder he laments: My days … come to an end without hope. …. I shall not see happiness again. Continue reading