Both-And

Next Sunday is the celebration of Pentecost . You can read a complete commentary on the Gospel here.

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 (Jesus) said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. 23 Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” (John 20:19-23) Continue reading

The Next Steps

USNA-graduationWe are firmly in the midst of high school and college graduation season. And sadly, this year, the rites of passage and mark of accomplishment is required to find new ways to celebrate. Ways that honor the women and men and salute their efforts…but in 2020 these events are not the joyful celebration that we had hoped for. So, all graduates, know that you are in my thoughts and prayers as you celebrate and consider your next steps. Because pageantry aside, the next steps are key, defining, and part of the sea change you will experience in the next few years…. it has me thinking about my college graduation and my “next steps.”

Every institution has their own traditions and ways to celebrate – including my alma mater, the United States Naval Academy. Every May, the seniors march on to the field at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium for graduation. The women and men are dressed in their “choker” whites (future Naval Officers) and blues (future Marine Corp officers). Theses graduating midshipmen take their places, listen to the speakers of the day, walk across the stage to receive their diploma, take the oath of office, and then it happens… Continue reading

How beautiful

Salvador Dali’s painting “Ascension” is certainly one of the most provocative paintings depicting the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus. The symbolic elements are many, the speculations even more, and the agreement on meaning is still up for grabs. But I sometimes tend to focus on some of the more realistic elements cast among the surrealistic things. While the art experts discuss the finer points of Dali, his life, faith, and his work – I am fascinated by perspective, as well as the hands and feet. The former as though clutching at something; the latter soiled and showing the wear and tear of life on earth. Continue reading

What else could happen?

2020 – what a year! When the year began all kinds of people made all kinds of prediction. It is almost like a cottage industry. One of my favorite was that there would be a meteor the size of Mt. Everest that would strike the earth on April 29th. I am pretty sure that did not happen. And besides we were ready. We already had a game plan, in fact… we made a movie out of it starring Bruce Willis. It has a wiki page! Spoiler alert:  we live, Bruce dies. Who could have predicted that? Continue reading

Grief and memory

It is a small part of today’s gospel: “grief has filled your hearts.” It is something we have all experienced and will again experience. Perhaps the grief will be from a new event or cause, but it is also possible that one will again experience the grief from a past loss that surges back into life and memory. In my experience as priest and pastor I often come across the idea that many people believe if you have fully mourned a loss, then you will then achieve closure. The idea say that the process is (a) one mourns a loss and (b) in time one reaches closure. The very word “closure” seems to offer the idea of a door that closes behind you as you set upon the journey of the rest of your life, leaving the past in the past. If one hopes or believes that closure means one “has gotten over it” such that emotions about the loss are no longer triggered, then I think one is holding onto a myth. Continue reading

Ite, missa est

Next Sunday is the celebration of Ascension Sunday in most dioceses of the United States. You can read a complete commentary on the Gospel here.

16 The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. 18 Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,  20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20) Continue reading

Finding our way

Today our parish will offer our first public Mass in some 60 days. It is not as simple as opening the doors to the church and celebrating in the usual way. There are limitations on the number of people that can be admitted. We have roped off every other pew (actually we used ribbon) and limited access to only the main aisle. We are required to have ushers at the door equipped with a counter so that once we reach the prescribed number of people, no further entry will be allowed. Continue reading

Choosing an Abundant Life

“I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) Most people know that verse and are drawn to the idea of an abundant life. What would that look like to you? If we don’t have an idea of what it looks like, how will we know when we have it?

Once upon a time in Kenya, an Englishman visiting the central highlands, and discovered a beautiful river. Not too far downstream he came upon the chief of the Kikuyu people enjoying a moment of fishing. The chief had a great spot in the shade, the fishing line was tied around his big toe, and the chief seemed like he was napping more than fishing. Continue reading

Chosen, appointed to bear fruit

The readings for today’s readings brought to mind the perpetual topic of leadership and the selection, appointment and installation of leaders.

“It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain” (John 15:16)

And while we easily think of the application of this verse with priestly vocations, religious life, the call to serve as bishop and in the election of the pope, we are not so quick to apply the same thought to those in the public square of civic leadership. Of course the demagogue is certain to point out that his election or candidacy is divinely appointed, certain destiny, and blessed by God. But apart from the demagogue, the verse challenges me to ask what am I looking for (hoping for) in civic leadership this time around. And hence the image of the “coming storm”. Continue reading