Friday, November 10, 2017

Weekday Sermons; Nov Wed 8, Thurs 9th, Fri 10th, 2017


 St Paul affirms what Jesus taught, by word and action and what the Church teaches.
That it is by loving one another that we fulfill the commandments.
St Augustine said – Love (as Jesus loved) and do what you like, because what you like would be just and good.
Selfless love fulfills the commandments.
If you love your spouse will not commit adultery;
If you love your enemy you will not kill;
If you love your neighbor you will not steal; or covet,

If you love the foreigner and immigrant and you will not abuse or oppress.
Jesus says - to love others in this inclusive and radical way is not a burden, but it is a cross.
He tells us - whoever does not carry his cross and follow him cannot be his friend.
To me this cross looks a lot like ongoing selfless love and it certainly looks like following Jesus.
And today it also looks like carrying this cross is Wisdom.
In following Jesus (doing what he does) we are like a builder who calculates correctly the cost of construction as so insures success or a king who marches into battle only after planning his strength, as so insures victory.
 We must pick up our cross, daily, time and time again, always following Jesus by renouncing disordered attachment to the things of this world, and by turning our backs to self-centeredness that separates us from God and other.
But, if we abandon the cross, things and self-love will become our little gods and there will be no room for God or neighbor.
And if we do not love God and neighbor, we are not carrying our cross and if we are not carrying our cross, we surely we not following Jesus. And if we are not following Jesus, we are surly lost.

Thursday (Feast of the Dedication to St John Lateran)
In baptism is the great foundation. Through baptism we begin to share life with the Holy Spirit and we are incorporated into the Body of Christ (which is gathered and bound together by the Spirit). St Paul today calls the Body of Christ - God’s building.
St Paul says to the Corinthians that though he has laid the foundation by preaching the Good News and by baptizing it is up to each member of the body to carefully build upon it, because a community of believers is not static in its Faith, Hope and Love.
We are always and everywhere driven by the Spirit, we are dynamic and transfigured by the living God.
There is only one true and trustworthy foundation on which we can build our lives and it is Jesus.  There is only one way to set this foundation and it is baptism.
And baptism is a sacramental gift of the Spirit, realized in the Church.
St Paul refers to the importance of our baptism when he says - do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
We must keep this temple, this body of Christ free from corruption and sin.
In the Gospel, Jesus, as angry as we ever see him confronts those who distort and restrict the worship of God in the temple. He confronts those who rather make a profit then worship God. Jesus finds no love of man there.
 "Take these out of here” he says, “stop making my Father's house a marketplace."
We too must keep our temple (Body and Church) free from what distorts and restricts our love of God and neighbor. We must reject what separates us from God and draws us away from the common good.
To keep our temple steps clear and clean we must strive and persevere in living good lives that point to and testify to the Kingdom of God that Jesus preached.
 It is a living Faith, a baptism lived out daily that keeps the Spirit within us alive, our temple clean or cross light and our hope of resurrection firm.  

Friday (Memorial of Saint Leo the Great,  Pope and Doctor of the Church)
I echo what St Paul says “I myself am convinced about you, my brothers and sisters,
that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge.”
I am convinced that of you are full of faith, always acting in humility and kindness.
And like Paul I do not dare speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished and will accomplish through you and me and all the faithful.
Because everything comes from God and everything will be accomplished, in the Spirit, by his Son, Our Lord, Jesus.
I am convinced today, in no small part, because you are here, not out of guilt, but because it matters to you. To spend time with the Blessed Mother, To hear the Word of God, to share fellowship with the Spirit that flows from God. You come to break bread and to become bread broken for others.
You come, because the Spirit that commands all of us – Go forth, do the next good thing.
In the Gospel the master commends the dishonest steward for acting prudently. If not a little dishonestly. But, it is not the act that the master commends, but the action. It is the doing something rather than nothing the master praises.
And you are doing something. Living not as children of this world (though you live in the world and you care for the world), but as children of light that reflects, by your actions, the Faith, Hope and Love that is in the world.
And as children of light you are alert for the return of the master. You act in great haste and sureness, yet to the world, you are simply humble and kind.
But it is this very humbleness and kindness that will secure your rightful place at the banquet table of Our Lord.
Because, as children of light, you will be surly invited.




Monday, October 16, 2017

Open Invitation. 28th Sunday

The Kingdom of God is always, everywhere and close at hand.
Certainly it can feel distant, unattainable or even unreal.
And because of this, we live as if we are masters of our own fate. Free to do as we please. How often do we feel, in our bones, that this “doing as we please” is our inalienable right.

 But, this is a shallow freedom. Its emptiness makes us feel separated from God and his Kingdom, (and with each other) when indeed we are not. Like strangers, or the uninvited, we feel outside looking in. But, this is not true. God’s reality, though not ours, embraces ours.  We are always loved by God and we are always invited to share that love.

 Yet, though all are welcome into that love, not all come. And of those who do come, many do not stay. This is a painful mystery that haunts the Church.

 In the first reading the feast is prepared and the table is set. On this mountain (Isaiah says) the Lord will provide for all people a feast of rich food and choice wine, signifying all that is needed for a person to flourish; all that is good, nourishing and joyful.

The Lord of hosts will prepare the feast by destroying the veil (which is the illusion of separation from God) that covers all people.

 This veil of separation, this illusion of self-sufficiency is suffering. It is felt keenly as inner anxiety, loneliness, fear and the loathing of death itself. Outwardly it manifest as the structures of sin, all the disordered powers that limit, dismisses, hates and oppresses.

Isaiah continues. God (who is sovereign king) will destroy this veil and so will wipe away the tears from every face.

All will be healed and made new. Our full potential as human persons will be realized. True freedom will blossom as goodness and justice for all.  God will pour out his blessings and extend his invitation to everyone and everyone will come, in freedom and joy, to the wedding feast of the Lord.

 In the second reading S. Paul affirms this all-encompassing care and concern our Lord has for each of us and we know this love is made concrete in Jesus Christ.

He says - I have learned the secret of being well fed and going hungry, of living in abundance and being in need. S. Paul is saying that through all the changes, the varying circumstances and the inconsistencies of life he has experienced the love is unchanging and constant - I can do all things (that is - live life) in him who strengthens me.

This love has set him free and in freedom he lives a life held in the hands of God.
Paul is reminding us that we are never outside of God’s domain (though it feels like we are). We are never forgotten by Jesus and we are never abandoned by the HS.

We are always invited to the table of the Lord. And as children of a God we are always welcomed.
 And most importantly we do not have to wait or earn an invitation to something we hope exists. We are not orphans and strangers, doomed to be always on the outside looking into a place of light, warmth and joy.

But, we do lack the courage to enter, or even open the door, to the wedding feast.

We convince ourselves, or we let others connivance us, that we are unworthy, unloved, or unlovable. In the veiled dim light we wait (by the phone) for an invitation, we feel unworthy to receive.

We hear the Kingdom of God is like a great wedding banquet where the king invites the usual and the expected to celebrate with him. But, many are too busy with their own affairs to be bothered.  The king, surprised and disappointed, again sends out his servants (think, patriarchs, judges, prophets, and Jesus himself) to remind the people of his generous invitation. But, now these servants are - seized, insulted, and killed.

 This disregard and hatred for the servants of God is a significant but painful point because Jesus gives us this same scenario in the parable of the owner of the vineyard, which we heard last week. But, now in response to this insult the King sends his army to destroy the murders.

  Afterwards, the king again sends out his servants, now to invite the uninvited. Invite whomever you find, he says, the good and the bad. And, of course, these others are thrilled and came flooding into the great hall, within the glorious light and sit joyfully at the table of their Lord.

But, something is amiss. Something not quite right. Something catches the king’s attention. It appears that it is not enough to just show up.

Perhaps, this particular thoughtless guest came strictly for the free food and drink, or because his friends dragged him along, or perhaps he was simply curious. Whatever the reason, it was certainly not because he loved the king. He came for the gift not for the giver.

 The King calls out this ungrateful and unprepared guest, who is without a wedding garment. Now, being without a wedding garment is not about lack of proper attire but lack of proper attitude. To accept the Lord’s gracious invitation we must be clothed and in our right mind as the old gospel song says.

 We must respond to the invitation, it is gracious and genuine. But this invitation requires that we meet its demands. We come in our right mind and dressed in our wedding garment.

 This wedding garment looks a lot like a lived out baptism. It looks like Faith and Hope, It looks like humility and kindness. It looks like full participation in the Kingdom of God that is here and now. And it certainly looks like active participation in the living Church.

It looks a lot like love, not just for the gifts that flow from God or for what can God do for us, but simply for the love of God himself.

 Jesus ends today’s parable with this startling truth, “many are invited but, but few are chosen.” This is true, but I leave you with this thought – Yes, God does the inviting, but we certainly do the choosing.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Perhaps, it isn't a question at all. 24th Sunday

The six questions of deductive reasoning are; who, what, where, when, why and how?
How often Lord? Peter asks Jesus. How often must I forgive?

Peter is trying to figure it out. He wants a precise answer. A reasonable number.  An absolute measure of effort.
How often must “I” do anything - (like weed the garden or paint the house) is not an unreasonable

question, but in this case, it is the wrong question.

 In the first reading Sirach tells us something about the obstacles to forgiveness.
He says, we often hug tight hateful things, painful things that cause distress and sets us up one

against another.

And we know that these hateful things foster similar hateful things in return (adding hurt upon hurt) creating a destructive spiral that blocks any possibility of forgiveness and healing.

Sirach also says there are consequences to holding onto this wrath and anger, beyond the broken heart and the bruised spirit.
 He asks, can anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the Lord?

 Can anyone refuse mercy and expect mercy?
 There is a balance, an equilibrium at play between individuals (do onto others as you would have

them do to you) and between us and God (forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who

trespasses against us). This is the just structure of relationship.

 In the second reading St Paul confirms our relational nature. He says, none of us lives for oneself and no one dies for oneself. We live and die for the Lord.
This sheds light on the illusion of self-importance and self-sufficiency. No person is an island. We are

bound to each other by our common humanity and the relationships we form.

We are bound to the Lord through our baptism and by our shared life with the Holy Spirit.
We live for the Lord by following the Lord, choosing (as he did) humility and kindness (the roots of

forgiveness) over pride and meanness (theses are hateful things).

 When Peter asks how much do I need to forgive?
He is already limiting forgiveness, he is already counting the cost.

Of course, we all count the cost. We measure out goodness as if it were saffron. We ration out humility and kindness, to such a degree that we starve out forgiveness.
 To Peter’s question “how much” Jesus answers with a statement that basically says, whatever you

might think is enough Peter, it's not.

Peter asks is seven times enough and Jesus says seventy times seven is not enough.
 And Jesus uses the parable of the forgiving king and the selfish servant to demonstrate this.

A servant owes the king a great debt, a debt beyond repaying. Yet, the king, moved by compassion, forgives the debt and the debtor. This is an immense and unreasonable act of kindness.
But, the servant, having just experienced great kindness refuses kindness to a fellow servant who

owes him a small debt.

The king finds out about the servant’s heartlessness and has him thrown into prison, saying –
I had pity for you and forgave your debt and should you not pity a fellow servant and forgive his

debt owed you?

This is a good question. If we expect God to place no limit on his perfect mercy and forgiveness for us. Or if we want forgiveness from others for our short comings, we turn, should not limit our imperfect acts of kindness and forgiveness.

 So let get back to the; who, what, when, where, why and how.
 if Peter’s question of “how much”, is the wrong question.

Perhaps the better question is WHY? Why must I forgive?
Well, we hear in the first reading why. Because God does. And the Gospel reading confirms his f

forgiveness for us is never exhausted or spent.

Or WHEN should I forgive? If we listen to Jesus, always! There is no time that forgiveness should not be offered, past or present. It will not always seem reasonable, or possible  and certainly it will not always be easy.

 Is WHERE a better question? If God is God of all creation and his kingdom has no end than the answer must be everywhere; in the home, the family, the workplace and parish, the community and the world.

WHO shall I forgive? If all of creation falls under God’s sovereignty then everyone is a child of God. Everyone; Jew or Samaritan, Canaanite Woman, adulteress, centurion, thief, the enemy, your neighbor, your husband, your wife and even those who do not want to be forgiven. No one is beyond forgiveness.

Let us not forget that sometimes we even need to forgive God!
Finally WHAT, the indefinite pronoun, which stands for something not yet specially identified.

The “What” as in “what shall I forgive” is wonderfully open ended. It is radical as it assumes forgiveness without identifying the object of that forgiveness.
The boundless inclusiveness of “what shall I forgive” overcomes the impossibility to forgive.

Because it does not even think to qualify, or quantify or limited in anyway. It realizes that forgiveness can seem unreasonable or foolish, but it also knows that it is only forgiveness that brings healing.
St Paul told us last Sunday

Bear all things and forgive all grievances. Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another.
So perhaps it’s not really a question after all, but rather a loving command to love!

 Rather than asking any question about forgiveness, simply forgive.

In our humility, forgiveness will come. In our kindness, forgiveness will come.

And in our forgiving, forgiveness will come. In forgiveness, healing will come.

In healing love will come.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

No Boundaries to God's love, 20 Sunday of Ordainary Time

God will surprise us every time. He will always set the record straight. Every time we think we know him or his plan of salvation he shows us we are thinking too narrow or too small. Every time we want to limit him by our own limitations. When we want to own him, define him, or box him up.
Every time we forget the expansiveness of his kingdom and the universality of the Children of God.

  Isaiah describes this universality in the first reading. God’s kingdom (he says) is not closed off to all but a few. It is open and inviting to all who love justice and strive do what is right. The Kingdom is not a fortress keeping people out but a Holy Mountain where humble offerings and true sacrifices, of all people, even the unacceptable, will be accepted. 
“For my house”, says the Lord, “shall be a house of prayer for all people”.

  In today’s Gospel Jesus travels towards Tyre and Sidon. These are not Jewish cities. They are Phoenician Canaanite cities on the coast of the Mediterranean, up north near Lebanon, and certainly beyond the borders of Israel. It is important to know that if the Samaritans were looked down upon and despised by the Jews, at least they worshiped (in their own way) the God of Abraham. But, the Canaanites were the ancient, bitter enemy, from the earliest days of Joshua crossing into the land of Cana. The Canaanites fought back and had nothing to do with the God of Israel. They worshiped Baal.

We do not know the reason Jesus travels towards Phoenician territory.But, we do know that a Canaanite woman (of that territory) comes out to meet Jesus. We know she is a desperate mother who must have tried everything to help her daughter, who we are told, was tormented by demons.
Having run out of reasonable options the mother now turned to the unreasonable, an itinerant

Jewish rabbi. As a Canaanite what could she possibly know of Jesus? Had the stories of Jesus’

wondrous healing travelled that far?  Did she know he was coming? Whatever the reason, this

mother hoped that Jesus could help her daughter.

 The question that must of haunted her though was - would he?

 When she meets Jesus on the open road she addresses him as “Lord, Son of David”.
This is not a Canaanite greeting. She was being more than respectful. Clearly she is referring to the

Jewish messiah, the true but hidden king of Israel who, in the words of the prophet - Who would

bind up the injured and heal the sick. This is what she hoped Jesus to do for her daughter.

But, despite her distress and sincerity Jesus is silent and his disciples ask Him to send this Gentile woman away for she is bothering them.

 This prompts Jesus to try ease the situation and clarify his position.
“I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel”.

Think of it, Jesus, at that time, has a limited vision of his father’s sovereignty and even his own mission. Because, Jesus was still growing into perfect understanding of his father and his own son-ship.

The desperate mother, (and what mother would not be desperate to save her child from torment) does not take no for an answer and she falls to the ground and does Jesus homage crying out, as if a prayer, “Lord, help me”. Jesus, unsettled by her boldness, again ties to explain.

“It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs”

Now, the persistent mother teaches the teacher saying, Please Lord, even dogs eat the scraps that fall from the master’s table. This catches Jesus by surprise. It was one of those ah-ha moments when in an instant vision changes and the horizon expands.

When Jesus least expects it; because he is not in solitary prayer or teaching in the synagogue, but rather on a dusty road, face to face with a rather persistent gentile woman, he realizes that everything everywhere, is possible for God.

In this moment of encounter with the other, Jesus grasps the radical scope of his father’s sovereignty and his own expanded mission of proclaiming the Good News. Mercy, Forgiveness and Salvation is not just for the lost sheep of Israel, but for all the lost sheep of every nation. Every person matters to God.

Yes, the children are fed first, but it does not mean that the dogs do not eat at all. God, nor the Word of God, is not the exclusive property of a few, but the loving sovereign of all of creation. And His kingdom is not walled off, but wide open. His banquet table can sit the world.

  In the end Jesus is moved by her faith.
“O, woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.”

And it was done. Healing love was prompted by unthinkable and persistent faith.
This unacceptable, pagan woman, showed Jesus, and us, how radical God and his saving plan is.

It is grander that we can every imagine.

So we must resist limiting God by our own limitations.
We must resist thinking that our image of God is God.

And must remember (even when we least want to) just how expansive and inclusive God’s kingdom is, how universal is his forgiveness, mercy and love.
There are no boundaries nor borders either for persistent faith or healing love.





Monday, July 17, 2017

Let us Not Be Hard or Sharp Things

We still use elements of the parable every time we use similes, analogies and metaphors, in our own story telling.  We try to highlight a true or surprising or even a hidden quality of something by comparing it to something else that isn’t the same, but has elements in common. It often takes the form “it is like”

 The dawn is like rosy fingers, his habits are like a night owls, wool is like snow, work is like

drowning in paper, love is like a rose or a heart is as cold as ice.

The New Testament scholar C.H. Dodd says of Jesus

“He used metaphor or simile drawn from nature or the common life, arresting the hearer by its vividness or strangeness, and leaving the mind in the sufficient doubt of its precise application to tease it into active thought”
 How often was Jesus asked? Where is the Kingdom of God? What does it look like? When is it coming?

Can you really answer the unanswerable? Can you describe the indescribable?

But, trying to answer these questions, by “teasing the mind of the listener into active thought” as Dodd suggests, is the heart of all of Jesus’ parables.

What is the Kingdom of Heaven?

“Well, Jesus would say “the Kingdom of Heaven is like”.

Even the Son of God, could say the only thing you could say about the inexpressible transcendence of the Kingdom of Heaven - that it was like something else, more familiar and experienced; leaven, a lamp, a pearl, a hidden treasure, an vineyard, an owner of a vineyard, a forgiving father, a good Samaritan, a mustard seed, a fishing net, and so on.

When is the Kingdom coming? Jesus says, only the Father knows, but it will come unexpected like a thief in the night or like the unannounced return of the master.

Jesus also used the parable to say something about his own mystery; I am like a good shepherd , or like the gate to the sheep fold, I am like a vine, I am the bread of life, I am living water, I am like poured out wine, I am like the grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies so as to produce much fruit.

 The common thread of all Gospel Parables is the hidden and multilayered invitation to faith in Jesus, belief in the Good News he preached and the transforming reality of the Kingdom of God, which he himself had ushered in. Of course, they are all one in the same.

Today we hear Jesus teaching the crowd about the coming Kingdom of God, using the parable of the sower who casts seed onto the ground.

The seed is assumed good and the casting is generous. We are told that some seed fell on poor soil and failed to take root. Some fell on marginal soil and was overcome by weeds, and thistles. And some seed fell on good soil where it produces in great abundance. One hundredfold we are told.

Many listening would hear an echo from the book of Ezra

“For just as the farmer sows many seeds upon the ground and plants a multitude of seedlings, not all that have been sown will come upon due season and not all that were planted will take root, so all who have been sown in the world will not be saved”

In an agricultural world, the listeners would get that regardless of the quality of seed and the diligence of the sower, it still did not guarantee a good harvest.  There are other variables and obstacles to overcome.

Some of those listening to Jesus might have then thought to themselves.
The heart is like the land, varied and diverse. Sometimes open and inviting, sometimes stubborn and unforgiving. And like the land the heart, needs to be loved, cared for, cultivated and nurtured. 

But, again like the land, the heart resists and fights back.
“Some have ears, but do not hear and some have eyes but do not see” Jesus said.

 This is the painful mystery of faith.
We can hear but do not recognize the voice. We can see, but only what we (or the world) wants us to see. Untended we lay fallow and prefer being dry and barren to flourishing and fruitfulness.

We ourselves can be the hard and sharp things, obstacles to the harvest.
But, the heart of this parable is not what we are like, but what God is like -

“Thus says the Lord; just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful . . . So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth, shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it”.

 In God’s merciful love the season of planting and harvesting comes around again and again. What seems futile and hopeless will come to pass.
The hard path and the rocky soil will become the furrowed field. The harvest promised will be harvest fulfilled and fulfilled beyond our imagination.
Simply said - what God promises, God will do and the good seed will continue to be sown by he who loves us till the end of time.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Bread of Life; Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ

Bread is a staple for much of the world.  Bread sustains the body and good bread lightens the spirit. We all know that to have homemade bread and wine on the table is a very good thing.

Bread is bread, but it also a process that begins with planting seed, cultivating, harvesting and refining grain.  Bread is brought to life by mixing and kneading by human hands. It becomes itself when baked in an oven. And finally bread is offered up (in communion and fellowship) to family and friends at the table where it is broken, shared and eaten.

 Stretching the metaphor of bread helps reveal the breath and depth of Jesus; planted (so to speak) at the incarnation by the Holy Spirit, cultivated by a life of selfless love for us and obedience to God, harvested and fired through his passion. And forever broken and shared through his resurrection, the Holy Spirit, and the Church, and most significantly in the Eucharist itself.

 In today’s Gospel Jesus uses the rich metaphor of bread to contrasts who God was thought to be and who God is. Jesus contrasts manna (the first bread from heaven) with the Son of Man (who is the true bread from heaven).  Jesus tells the crowd that unlike the manna which sustained life, but could not stop death, true bread from heaven gives eternal life.

And the crowd, cries out - show us a sign. Give us this bread.

 Unlike the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 Jesus doesn't do anything. He does not bring down mana like dew frost. He does not produce loaves out of thin air, his does not turn water. into wine. He says - I am this bread come down from heaven.

We know what Jesus can do. He healed the sick by forgiving sins, he freed the prisoners of suffering. Jesus could certainly produce bread to satisfy hunger, and wine to quench thirst.

He had done it all before.

 But, we also remember the words from scripture - man does not live by bread alone, but only by the word of God, or do not work for food that parishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life.

Jesus, the Word of God still hidden, now reveals that this living bread come down from heaven is his flesh, and his blood. What is more, he tells the astounded crowd that unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you will not have life.

Standing before the grumbling crowd Jesus is literally offering himself up. The Word of God, is offering his incarnated being, his very real flesh and blood, to be given up and poured out for the life of the world. His life for ours. Not a swap, but consummation. This is how the temporal becomes eternal.

And we are told by the Lord himself that to share in his eternal life we must share in his giving up and out pouring, not by simply believing, but by eating his body and drinking his blood. We must, by his invitation, be radically and forever mingled and mixed, like bread itself.

Jesus tells us that we must eat and drink of his body and blood because he knows that this Eucharistic communion is always mutual, relational and transformative. This is the difference between the old experience of God and the new reality that is God.

Manna was bread, not God. Those who ate manna, did not become manna. Manna did not stop death. There was a separation between God and man which could never be overcome by offering up the first fruits or following the Law.

 But, the incarnation changed everything. Now, Jesus, the giver of the bread of life is the bread of life. He is giver and gift. And in consuming this gifted bread (his body and blood) we ourselves in some real measure become bread.

Whoever eats this body and drinks this blood remains in me and I remain in them, Jesus says.

 And so with Jesus there is no separation. God is no longer somewhere else.  God who is transcendent and unknowable, through the incarnation becomes God with us, and through the Eucharist God, who is still transcendent, still with us, becomes the indwelling God.

This is radically new. This makes all things new.

 Through body and blood. In Truth and Spirit we are forever changed. How can we not be changed. What we eat, at the table of the Lord, does not become us, we become it.

We could truthfully say we are consumed by the body and blood of Christ.

 We become gifted bread; planted in faith and hope, cultivated through discipleship, refined through active love, fired in the Spirit, nourished by the Eucharist.

And in the end we become bread to be broken and shared for, and with, others.

 This is what Jesus is telling the crowd, that it is in the Eucharist that we become Eucharistic, one bread, one body, one Spirit, one life for the salvation of the world.





Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Spirit is coming, 6th Sunday of Easter

They remembered that it had been an uneasy and foreboding night.
They remembered being afraid of the future. What are we to do without the Lord they said to each other.
Thomas remembered that he had said to Jesus " we do not know where you are going. We do not know the way"
He also remembered, and he reminded the others, that Jesus had answered saying - I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life."
And now, gathered together, after the horror of the crucifixion and mysterious glory of the resurrection they remembered Jesus’ promise of another Advocate. And they would learn that this Advocate would be for them nothing less than the ongoing presence of Jesus.
Another, remembered that Jesus had reassured them - “I will not leave you orphans, I will come to you”
Yes, Lord come back to us, they said, but how will we know you?
Jesus answers, not with a description, but with a direction, You will know me by your actions.
And now they remembered
"If you love me, you will keep my commandments"
And they all remembered Jesus revealing to them.
"This is my commandment, love one another, as I have loved you."
Which simply says - If you love me, you will love one another.
Or in the negative - if you do not love one another you do not love me.
There is a clear correlation between loving others, as he did, and loving him.
They had experienced, through all the Jesus said and did, that to truly love is to love justly and in truth, without judgement, restrictions or boarders. And it is always to love beyond ones capabilities.
They might of cried out, "How can we do this a Lord. How can we love like you, you who loves like the Father loves. We are incapable and fearful to even try."
Do not be afraid “whoever believes in me will do the works that I do.
Whatever you ask in my name, I will do.
And do not be afraid, when I go my Father will send you another advocate."
This advocate is rightly called another.  Because, only by Jesus going to his Father was the second Advocate sent. The Spirit reminds us that Jesus himself is our first  advocate.
It is Jesus, God with us. Jesus the Word come into the world. Who's life, death and resurrection saved us and continues to save us. It is Jesus who now sits at the Father's right hand to plead our case unceasingly. He is our first advocate.
This new advocate is not the Word made flesh, but the Spirit of Truth, the peace Jesus left for us. Who teaches us all things, helps us to remember all things, and who makes Jesus himself present to us.
But, the world does not accept the Spirit of Truth, because it accepts only its own illusions and lies.
 It does not know the Spirit, because it only knows and accepts; power and wealth, fear and hatred, injustice and oppression. It does not know and accept the Spirit of Truth because it has forgotten what Truth looks like, what Life looks like, what the Way to God looks like.
But, we know and accept the Spirit. Because, we have seen the Holy Spirit remaining with us in the Church, the People of God and her sacraments. We have experienced the work of the Spirit in us, through our our own transformation, our own prayers and our own deeds of love.
 And most of all, through, and in the Holy Spirit, Jesus is present to us and if Jesus is present then God is present. 
"You will realize" Jesus says "that I am in my Father and you are in me and I am in you"
This indwelling unity is the truth the world cannot accept, because it does not want to. It does not want to, because it does not want to keep the Lord's commandments to love one another. Where is the profit in that, the world laughs.
But, we love the world. Because the Spirt of Truth, the Holy Spirit, is in us.
Reminding us, teaching us, strengthening us to do the work of love without weighing the benefits or counting the cost.
And in the doing the work of love, the Spirit reveals Jesus to us, making him present to us, drawing us to him. The Spirit says; this is the only Truth, the only Way, and the only Life. And we say Amen.

It is only in the intimate and transforming reality of the Spirit, that we are capable of keeping Jesus' commandment to love one another (even the unlovable).

 And when we love others, we love Jesus' and we love Jesus, we are loved by God.