The lens of Covenant

sermon-on-the-mountThe gospel text for this Wednesday of the 10th Week is take from the “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew’s gospel: 

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.18 Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.19 Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19) 

Warren Carter (Matthew and the Margins) has these introductory comments about the entire sermon:  Continue reading

Covenant Partners

God is able to do his work in the world independent of humans, but He doesn’t. He is committed to working out his divine will through human covenant partnership, even when humans continually fail to uphold their end of the agreement. We humans continually mess up our end of the covenant, but God remains devoted to his decision to partner with us.

In Jesus, God becomes human to create a new humanity who is empowered to live in Jesus’ new covenant as partners with God. And so the God is committed to working out his good plans through covenant human partners.  In this week’s Bible study, we are reflecting on God’s surprising plan to make up for humanity’s role in the covenant and how we can now live as renewed partners with him.

If you would like to read the Bible Project’s blog on this topic/video, you can access it here. The Bible Project is a non-for-profit organization that depends on our support. If you would like to support their efforts with a donation, you can reach them here.

Covenant People

This Easter Vigil, the “homily” is presented in a different way. We chose to have an introduction before each Old Testament Reading that began to thematically weave together the homily message and then conclude during the homily proper. The picture above is our church during the procession of light. A reminder of the richness of the Vigil liturgy. Continue reading

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