Reflection - April 29, 2018

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.”

So, it seems that a fruitless branch will be removed by the vine grower. Likewise, a branch that does not remain on the vine cannot bear fruit. Connection to Jesus Christ and fruitfulness are interdependent. What came first, the chicken or the egg? The evolutionary answer is the egg, but it wasn’t laid by a chicken. The theological answer here is both/and: to stay on the vine, we must bear fruit and to bear fruit, we must stay on the vine. “Remain in me, as I remain in you,” Jesus says.

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Reflection - April 22, 2018

“I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep...
I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.”

Today is the Fourth Sunday of Easter. All of the readings from scripture on Sundays follow a three year cycle. Typically, Year A uses mostly the Gospel of Matthew, Year B uses the Gospel of Mark and the sixth chapter of John, and Year C uses the Gospel of Luke. In the Easter Season for all three years, most of the gospel readings are from the Gospel of John, although there are some exceptions. 

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Reflection - April 1, 2018

“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don't know where they put him.”

Chances are, this morning, that you are a visitor. Welcome! We are glad you’re here! It’s also possible that you may be a member of our community, but don’t come to church that often. The wry shorthand for some is CEO: Christmas and Easter Only. Ha! We love it whenever you join us! Your presence is always a blessing and we are always better when you are here.

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Reflection - March 4, 2018

“A woman of Samaria came to draw water.
Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink.’
His disciples had gone into the town to buy food. 
The Samaritan woman said to him,
‘How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?’
—For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans...

Jesus said to her,
‘Go call your husband and come back.’
The woman answered and said to him,
‘I do not have a husband.’
Jesus answered her,
‘You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’
For you have had five husbands, 
and the one you have now is not your husband...’

At that moment his disciples returned, 
and were amazed that he was talking with a woman...”

If we have seen that we are connected to everything in the universe, that God is connected to us, and that we are connected to God, what gives? I mean, all you have to do is turn on the news or check your social media to realize that we are divided. Human history is filled with war, genocide, enslavement, discrimination, plunder, exploitation, abuse, and so much more. We have often polluted the environment and caused whole species to go extinct. In our local communities and families, we sometimes experience anger, betrayal, exclusion, heartbreak, disappointment, and loss. If our connection is a reality, at least with all created things, it seems all of our actions, good or bad, have an affect on everyone and everything else. 

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Reflection - April 15, 2018

“While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed,
he asked them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’
They gave him a piece of baked fish; 
he took it and ate it in front of them.”

Before anyone can remember, my dad’s side of the family has been consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. While last week I was able to share a sketch history of the devotion to Divine Mercy, the history of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is too complex to present here.

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Reflection - March 18, 2018

It was a cave, and a stone lay across it.
Jesus said, "Take away the stone."
Martha, the dead man's sister, said to him, 
"Lord, by now there will be a stench; 
he has been dead for four days."

Jesus said to her,
"Did I not tell you that if you believe 
you will see the glory of God?"
So they took away the stone.
...He cried out in a loud voice, 
"Lazarus, come out!"

The dead man came out,
tied hand and foot with burial bands, 
and his face was wrapped in a cloth.

So Jesus said to them,
"Untie him and let him go."

Last week, we looked at our vertical and horizontal communio with God and others and, in particular, our need as an evangelizing community to walk with everyone in our community through their wounds and challenges to bring God’s healing. This is marked, as Pope Francis said, by “patient expectation and apostolic endurance.” It’s not neat and tidy, but we accompany those who are hurt with God’s love. 

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Reflection - February 25, 2018

“Jesus took Peter, James, and John 
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.

And he was transfigured before them, 
and his clothes became dazzling white, 
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.”

Last week, we saw that we are connected to all else that is because of our contingency. It is not necessary that we exist, but we do. The love of the Trinity, between Father, Son, and Spirit, flowed out in creation. The whole universe exists from and for that love. To be is to be connected to all else that is in love. 

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Reflection - April 8, 2018

“So the other disciples said to him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’
But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.’”

For big feasts in the church, and Easter is the biggest, we celebrate for eight days, or an octave. The Octave of Easter finds it completion today. We could certainly go more in depth, but creation took six days and on the seventh, the Lord God rested from all the work he had accomplished. The sabbath, the day of rest or the seventh day, was set aside for rest and worship of God. On the first day of the week, the day following the sabbath, Jesus rose from the dead, a new first day of creation, the Lord’s day or Sunday. It is the eighth day from the original beginning of creation and an octave became the way we recall salvation history from the first day of creation to the resurrection of Jesus, from the Lord’s day to the Lord’s day. Sunday to Sunday. 

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Reflection - March 11, 2018

“‘The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes
and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’
So I went there and washed and was able to see.’
...they were afraid of the Jews, 
for the Jews had already agreed 
that if anyone acknowledged him as the Christ,
he would be expelled from the synagogue.
...They ridiculed him and said, 
‘You are that man's disciple;
we are disciples of Moses!’
...They answered and said to him,
‘You were born totally in sin,
and are you trying to teach us?’
Then they threw him out.”

Who’s in and who’s out? This idea of connection that we’ve been talking about during Lent finds it’s roots in the theological concept of communio, or communion: the vertical aspect of our communion with God and the horizontal one of communion with all members of the human race, our sisters and brothers. We celebrate this communio in the Church through the sacrament of Christ’s body and blood, the Eucharist, which is consummated in our reception of communion. 

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