Handing on and Covenant

I wonder how often we pay attention to the first reading. It is from the Old Testament, often filled with names that are hard to pronounce at best and impossible to remember – especially when it comes as a collection of names that are a chain of ancestors. One of the gospels for Christmas Eve (Mt 1:1-17) has a list of 42 generations, all of whose names are ancestors of Jesus. Could you name some of them other than King David and Mary’s husband Joseph? Jesus’ genealogy starts with Abraham – who appears in our first reading – and continues with Isaac, his son Jacob , and whose son Judah… ok, we know those names. And the genealogy then ventures into, what I suspect is largely unknown territory. We come across Hezron, Amminadab – and one of my personal favorites – Zerubbabel. Continue reading

On the Sidewalk

forgivenessSunday is a day when it is easy to find a priest if you want to mention, ask, or chat about something. Most topics are simple and straight forward, but once in a while someone asks a question that is very different from the others. It is then that the conversation is too important to have on the sidewalk but is better suited to a moment when time is more available and others are not waiting to chat or to simply offer their greetings.

Some time ago, a person asked if I thought there are “times we need to forgive God?” My first reaction was, “Sorry, could you repeat that?” Definitely one of those “can we talk about this in the office?” questions. That is when the person let me know they were a visitor. The best I could offer in the moment was, “I will have to think about that.” Continue reading

Remembering Rightly

christ+in+the+wildernessSeveral summers ago we did a special summer Bible study on biblical covenants. We traced and discussed all the covenants between God and his people – beginning with Adam, continuing with Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and reaching its fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Covenants: the memory and the promise that we will hold God alone and above all things, He will be our God, and we will be his people. Covenants are the means by which God builds his people. Continue reading

A Covenant of the People

Baptism-JesusTwo Sundays ago, on the Feast of the Holy Family,  we listened to some of the best advise about how to become a holy family. St. Paul wrote in the Letter to the Colossians: “Put on,… heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another…And over all these put on love” (Col 3:12-13).  It raises the question to all of us, in whatever form our families take, are we practicing those virtues in order to become a holy family?  Would someone on the outside peer into our families and see evidence of those virtues? Continue reading