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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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 - 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 - 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 - 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 - 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 - 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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