Reflection - February 11, 2018

“He shall cry out, 'Unclean, unclean!'
As long as the sore is on him he shall declare himself unclean,
since he is in fact unclean.

He shall dwell apart, making his abode outside the camp.”
“‘If you wish, you can make me clean.’
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, 
touched him, and said to him, 
‘I do will it. Be made clean.’

The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.”

Jesus heals the man with leprosy, but does much more than just heal a terrible disease. Leprosy was dangerous. It had the potential to infect and destroy the entire community. Those infected were required to keep others at a distance and to live outside of the community. They were unclean and disconnected. Relationships were cut off, families ripped apart, and even practice of the faith was excluded. 

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Reflection - February 4, 2018

“Although I am free in regard to all,
I have made myself a slave to all
so as to win over as many as possible.

To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak.
I have become all things to all, to save at least some.
All this I do for the sake of the gospel,
so that I too may have a share in it.”

Like our own, Paul’s call to follow Jesus, particularly his missionary activity, was a call to give himself away or to pour himself out for the good of others. The call to love always has such a dimension. Love always reflects the self-emptying action of God on our behalf, both in our very creation and in our redemption. It always includes the gift of self. Love always includes sacrifice. 

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Reflection - December 31, 2017

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in sight of all the peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.”

I don’t remember which movie it was from (probably one I shouldn’t have been watching as a child), but I do remember a satirical scene where Simeon, promised by God that he would not die until he had seen the messiah, stood at the entrance of the temple repeating something like the words above to every child presented to God. Over and over, “my eyes have seen your salvation; my eyes have seen your salvation,” to every child! Simeon is cast as a crazy old man and his canticle (the words above) as misguided and repetitive lunacy. 

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Reflection - December 10

“Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
carrying them in his bosom,
and leading the ewes with care.”

As a theological virtue, hope is given or infused by God. It is not something we create ourselves or something we can achieve through our own effort. With faith and love, it is a gift. We must receive it. This dynamic reveals something else extremely important about hope. We must receive it, but we must receive it from someone, namely, God. Therefore, hope is not an isolated practice, discipline, or virtue. It is not a concept that dwells within you or me only or individually. 

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Reflection - January 28, 2018

“The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.”

A number of people have mentioned my appointment as presbyteral moderator of Christ the King and Christ the Healer Parishes: some with congratulations and many with questions. Those parishes had been served by a very fine priest, Fr. Larry Gelthaus, who went to his eternal reward at the untimely age of 60 last month.  God rest his soul!

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Reflection - December 12, 2017

“He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.”

Our hope is in God. Our hope is our vision: it gives direction and purpose to our lives in relationship with our loving God. Unexpectedly, God also hopes in us; waits for us; anticipates our coming to him. Our hope. God’s hope. Is there something more?

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Reflection - December 3, 2017

“Yet, O LORD, you are our father;
we are the clay and you the potter:
we are all the work of your hands.”

In Game of Thrones, the HBO television series, there are competing religions. The newest on the scene is monotheistic and follows the “Lord of Light.” A prayer, of sorts, uttered by followers of this fictional religion is, “The night is dark and full of terrors.”

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Reflection - January 21, 2018

“Jonah began his journey through the city,
and had gone but a single day's walk...
when the people of Nineveh believed God;
they proclaimed a fast and all of them,
great and small, put on sackcloth.”

“I tell you, brothers and sisters, the time is running out.”

“This is the time of fulfillment...”

This reflection is not written for sympathy, but it is a little bit of reality. I’m sure, with your family and work schedules, it is very similar to the lives you lead, so it’s also not about comparing, or heaven forbid, competing for whose life is busiest. It is just some insight into my schedule. I love being a priest and am not complaining or whining!

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Reflection - December 10, 2017

“Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
carrying them in his bosom,
and leading the ewes with care.”

As a theological virtue, hope is given or infused by God. It is not something we create ourselves or something we can achieve through our own effort. With faith and love, it is a gift. We must receive it. This dynamic reveals something else extremely important about hope. We must receive it, but we must receive it from someone, namely, God. Therefore, hope is not an isolated practice, discipline, or virtue. It is not a concept that dwells within you or me only or individually. 

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