Monday, March 31, 2008


Luke 1:26-38

Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

Today is one of the two days in which we genuflect instead of bow when we pray the words of the creed, "by the power of the Holy Spirit, he was born of the Virgin May, and became man."

We genuflect in order to emulate the divine action of God stooping down from on high and humbling becoming one of us.  

Today we celebrate that God meets us where we are to raise us up to new heights. As the psalm reminds us, "Lord you have set me on heights I was unable to reach on my own."

Today we genuflect in solemn joy, as we recall the first word that inaugurates Jesus into history, the first word that made known God entering history, eternal entering time, the unlimited joining himself to the limited nature of man.  

The first word that inaugurates Christianity into history, is the word of the Angel Gabriel to Mary, "Rejoice."  Rejoice highly favored one.  In deed this day we let the joy of Mary, the joy of Humanity, echo in our hearts as we fall to our knees in the great gesture of solemn joy. 

Today we receive the gift from on high, the gift of rejoicing.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


John 21:1-14

"Come, have breakfast."

Come, be refreshed from your labors; come, eat and drink and take a reprieve so that you might be re directed; come, refresh yourself in my presence; come, unload the burden you carry of not finding anything; come, rest your sorrowful souls; come, and be filled with my presence; come, find true meaning and satisfaction; come express your gratitude and thanks; come sing my praise.

"Come, have breakfast."

The words of Christ to the disciples is an invitation to live differently; it is an invitation to start anew; it is an invitation to let the worries and troubles pass and embrace the present moment.

"Come, have breakfast."

This is the invitation of Christ every time we gather at the altar and the bread is broken and shared and new life is given as we say "Amen!"

"Amen" indeed, let it be done unto me, let it be true; let this food be for me the newness of life I long for.

"Come, have breakfast." 

The most important meal of the day, this daily bread in which we have our fill. 
Why bother with anything less.  

"Come, have breakfast!"

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Emmaus walk

Luke 24:13-35

Today we read a familiar gospel text in which the disciples are leaving Jerusalem and heading toward Emmaus.  A stranger meets them along the way and ask them what is going on.  The disciples, as the gospel writer relates, are down cast, that is they are gloomy. 

This seems a bit strange.  Why would they be gloomy?  They tell the stranger about the good news; how the women met the angels and the angels informed them that Jesus was alive.  They tell the stranger how some disciples from their group went to the tomb and verified what the women had found.

They were aware of the reality of the resurrection  yet they remained downcast and gloomy.  Why?

It seems upon speculation that the reason the disciples were sad was because they were awaiting Jesus to appear to them personally.  They were selfish in their desire to see Jesus rise.  It wasn't enough that he rose, but they wanted him to rise for them, make himself known to them just as he did to the women and the other disciples.

It is always amazing how good news revealed to one can be bad news to another, simply because it wasn't given to him personally. 

The beauty of the resurrection, however, isn't that Jesus reveals himself to each individual disciple, but rather when he reveals himself to one he reveals himself to all.  When Jesus speaks to one he necessarily speaks to all and this is the true power of the good news.  We do not need t0 be eye witnesses to be transformed by the resurrection.  Faith is not self-centered, it is God-centered if it is to be faith at all. 

Jesus through his radical love for us, in which the heart of God touches the heart of man, takes light from heaven and brings it to earth and enflames love that is immortal in each of us.   This immortal love moves us beyond the sensible, beyond the selfish, and helps us to seek the things above, empowering us to truly see and experience the resurrected Christ in the breaking of the bread. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter laughter

Acts 2:36-41; JOhn 20:11-18

As I approach my trip to Australia this summer, I have decided to do a little research, especially regarding the animals.  There are many intriguing species, as well as, many poisonous species.  There is the box jellyfish that can kill in minutes, the red back spider that is like the black widow, the brown and tiger snakes that are not your ordinary garden snakes. There is the salt water crocodile and sharks that are always hungry.  There are also Kangaroos and dingos.

But the most intriguing animals by far is a bird, the Kookabura.  The Kookabura, is a creature that looks like a cross between a duck and barn swallow.  It is small and squatty with a big bill. It is known for its laughter.  It laughs.  The bird will laugh predominantly when its mate has returned from along absence.  Upon its arrival it will be greeted with laughter, almost as if the joy as returned.

When one begins to laugh they all laugh and before you know it the tree comes alive with laughter.  

In today's gospel Mary Magdalene is weeping and sad for Jesus is dead.  She sits outside the tomb filled with emptiness and grief.  Only when she looks into the empty tomb does she open herself up to conversion.  Upon realizing the tomb is empty she  is able to be open to reality,  and soon she encounters the risen Lord.  The empty tomb begins to fill her emptiness.

Her tears of sorrow and grief soon become tears of joy, as she clings to Christ, the source of joy itself.  Mary is sent on a mission to spread the news.  She is no longer the same.  She is now filled with laughter, she now begins to laugh in the laughter of God for the bridegroom has returned.   He had been absent for three days, and having returned from the dead, love now has a reason to laugh, not unlike the Kookabura bird.  The whole world now becomes charged with laughter and with the news that Mary spreads, all are invited to laugh.

Jesus has returned, love returns to bring us home, now we may laugh in the laughter of God. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Matthew 26:14-25

Judas of Iscariot, one of the twelve, always looms large in the face of every Christian.  His willingness to betray Jesus at the mere wage of 30 pieces of silver strikes to the core of every human heart that seeks to follow Christ.

The reality remains that Judas was chosen by Jesus.  Judas was on the inside, one of the chosen ones, who was in intimate proximity to Jesus on a daily basis.  Yet, he succumbed to temptation, as St. John tells us in the gospel, the devil put it in his heart to betray Jesus.  

The image of Judas reminds each of us the potential the human heart presents to the world, the potential to be perverted, the potential to be unfaithful, the potential to give in to temptation even when we think we are close to Christ.

This is why we must build a daily communion with Christ.  Only on a daily basis do we choose to be on the side of Christ, and thus seek to purify our heart with the saving words of Christ. 

Yet what the gospel reveals most truthfully about Judas isn't what he does or how he fails, but rather what Jesus does to Judas.  

After Judas plans the betrayal he must execute it in the garden.  When he approaches Jesus in  the garden to give him the kiss of betrayal, Jesus addresses him with the word, "Friend."

Here in lies the truth of the gospel, the strength of grace, the reality of mercy.  Though our hearts might be perverted, though we might be unfaithful, though we might deny Christ time and time again, Jesus remains faithful, Jesus' heart remains unperverted.  His heart remains pure and reaches out to us in fidelity regardless of what we do or how we fail. 

Just as Jesus calls Judas "Friend" so to does he address us as "Friend".  This is the hope of Holy Week.  Jesus' heart remains filled with mercy and love towards us; this is especially revealed in the Easter Tridiuum.    

On Holy Thursday, Jesus stoops on his knees and washes our feet and we become friends; on Good Friday, Jesus exposes his heart for the world to see as he embraces the cross, his side is pierced and love pours forth; he remains faithful to us as friends.  On Easter Vigil, we celebrate the power of love which is stronger than death, the bond of friendship reaches beyond the grave and brings new life to all. 

In deed despite the wretched reality of the human heart that is always a potential rebel; the human heart of Jesus remains a sign of hope, for the purity of friendship can never be sullied by our flaws it can only be embraced as a gift for all, take and eat this is my body given for you, take and drink this is the blood shed for the all.  

Friends we remain in Him.



Sunday, March 16, 2008

Passion of Christ

Matthew  26:14-27:66

Palm Sunday has arrived, Holy Week begins as we conclude our journey of lent with a more detailed look at Jesus' journey to Jerusalem, Jesus' journey to Calvary.  

 As the Passion of Christ is prayed around the world, people will gather, congregations will unite and all will be moved by the passion of Christ proclaimed, as the past echoes forth into the present, as history is re lived so that that those in the present might have life.

In the midst of the passion we will encounter many characters: 

Judas the betrayer makes himself known also as the one who laments his betrayal; his tears are filled with despair and he betrays life by betraying mercy.  Peter the rock on whom the church is built (Mt 16:18) reveals himself as a denier who is also a penitent, one who knows sorrow; he sheds tears filled with hope and clings to the prospect of mercy that the Christ reveals.  

The other disciples reveal themselves as followers who abandon their leader; they scatter when their leader is fallen, lacking the courage to take a stand, in need of strength  that will come from the shepherd's hand.

The high priest and the pharisees reveal themselves as conspirators; they are religious leaders who have forgotten their call to be shepherds and they lead the flock a stray; they are the false prophets who take advantage of the faithful and pull them along by the string of emotion, leaving them empty and void of truth.  Pilate is revealed as one who procrastinates in the presence of truth; he is too cowardly to choose sides and lets  innocent blood stain his clean hands. 

The crowd reveal themselves as  fanatically inspired seeking blood; they have abandoned reason and are pulled along by the thread of emotion that is easily manipulated and always fleeting; they put their faith in feelings yelling "crucify!" "crucify!" and abandon truth revealed in Christ, but will be awakened by the cross.  Barabbas reveals himself as one who is guilty, he reaps what he did not sow, owing his life to the one who gives his own.

Mary, the mother of Christ, and the women stand fast; they remain faithful followers through it all; they persevere to the cross, lending their support all along calvary, seeking to be true disciples no matter the cost. 

The Passion of Christ reveals the true identity of many but it especially reveals the true identity of Christ: Jesus shows himself as one who though innocent suffers punishment, he embraces death to bring life; he takes a chance to give so that we might receive.  He proves us all to be liars.  For none of us, though we call our selves lovers, have ever loved as much.  His crucified face is given for all to see, not as condemnation or judgment, but as hope for the future.  In his face wee see just what love can do, what love can endure, how love to the end transforms.  In his crucified flesh our loves is purified, and we are encouraged to love more.

As we pray the passion we must remember that it begins with chapter 26 verse 1: when Jesus had finished all his teachings that is when all the words have been said, it was now time for action as Jesus says, "now it is time for the son of man to be crucified."  

It is action in adversity that reveals true character.  Jesus is a man of his words, who silently fulfills what love demands.

May the passion of Christ strengthen us to let words fall silent and our actions remain crucified.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Jeremiah 20:10-13; Jn 10:31-42

In today's gospel, Jesus' life is being threatened.  The Jews pick up stones to stone him.  It sounds almost like an adventure/action film, where the hero is being threatened only to later get revenge.  

Revenge is certainly on everybody's mind.  Everybody wants vengeance.  Usually vengeance has to do with getting even, doing unto others worse than what they did unto us. 

This is certainly what Jeremiah speaks of in the first readings as he seeks vengeance, "Let me witness the vengeance you take on them."  It is particularly evil to do vengeance to another, but there is something more depraved to want to see it happen, witness it.  Just like the prophet, even the best of us can get carried away in wanting vengeance.

On Sunday we will pray the Passion of Christ, Palm Sunday.  As we pray that reality, we come in contact with God's vengeance.  God's retribution on mankind is revealed.  In the face of Christ crucified we see the vengeance of God.  

God's retribution is mercy; God's retribution is not seeking death to  others but about bringing new life to us.  The cross is the vengeance of God revealed; we witness it every time we look upon the crucified face of Christ whose vengeance is one of love. 


Genesis 17:3-9; Jn 8:51-59

In high school my basketball coach in seeking to motivate us would tell us to leave everything on the court; he wanted us to empty our selves on the basketball court in hopes for a good outcome.  Many times we did just that and in deed we were empty; in our emptiness we discovered our true strength, our true ability, our true identity as a team.

Abram prostrates himself before God; Abram empties himself before God; he leaves everything on the desert floor; in his emptiness he waits; in his emptiness God speaks to him; in his emptiness he discovers who he is meant to be, his true identity; Abram becomes Abraham and he shapes his life by the words God speaks.  

In his emptiness God speaks to him and he finds new life.

On Sunday, we will pray the passion of Christ, Palm Sunday.  Prior to that we will hear the words of St. Paul in regards to the condition of Christ, letter of Philippians, he directs our attention to Christ, who though was in the form of God deemed not equality with God but rather emptied himself, being found in human estate, and thus became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. 

Jesus leaves it all on the desert floor to cavalry; he empties himself completely.

In His emptiness God speaks; in his emptiness God speaks to us.  We discover who we are in the emptiness of Christ, for we discover true love in such emptiness of self.   In his emptiness our true identity is revealed, we are sons in the son and our new name is Christian. 

Every time we celebrate the Eucharist we re enter  that emptiness that brings life; every time we pray the words, "take this all of you and eat, this is my body given for you; take this all of you and drink it, this is my blood shed for all for the forgiveness of sin," our identity  and true dignity is revealed, we are loved and thus we have new life. 

It is in emptiness do we discover who we are called to be.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Truth and Freedom

John 8:31-42

Pope Benedict is his book, "Truth and Tolerance" written while he was a cardinal, shares a Buddhist parable to illustrate the importance of truth and how quickly it can be set aside on behalf of personal opinions.

The parable:
A king of northern India gathered together all the blind people in the kingdom and put them in one place.  He then led an elephant in front of them.  To each blind person he would let feel a particular part of the elephant and then say "this is what an elephant is like."  One blind person would feel the hairy end of the tail, one the trunk, one the hindquarters, one the ears, one the legs and so on and so forth.  Then he asked the question to all of them, "what is an elephant like."  Each person then began to explain their understanding of an elephant based on their experience; an elephant is like a woven basket, an elephant is like a store room, like a pillar, like a pot, like a plow handle, like a broom.  Quickly the blind began to quarrel with each other for the sake of their opinion and began to fist fight and destroy one another.

This is how the world is today.  People no longer seek the truth but rather they cling to their opinion.  Thus, truth slowly is lost do to the arrogance of pride that reigns in the human heart. 

If truth is lost then there can be no freedom.  Only truth makes man free.  In deed looking around at choices people make, it is sad to say that truth and freedom have been lost for the sake of opinions and convenience. 

Why?  Many hold religious truths to be a system of beliefs that are interchangeable and thus equally capable of being disregarded.  Christianity is not primarily a system of beliefs, Christianity is primarily a path to be followed.  It only truly becomes recognizable once you enter the gate and begin to walk the narrow way, only then is truth known, only then are we known to ourselves.

In seeking to follow Christ, we truly begin to recognize the truth of humanity because of the truth seen in the human face of Christ.  This is where freedom is found.  We all must be willing and ready to seek truth but we also must have the humility to be found by the one who seeks us, as Jesus tells us, "I did not come on my own, but He sent me." 

The argument that must precede any philosophical dialogue about truth with other religious systems must entail a more ardent following after Christ; we must walk the path that Christ walked, we must make the way of the cross for love alone is credible; crucified love seen in the face of Christ is the essential characteristic of truth that must be seen through us if truth is going to set us free.

Truth then is not about our opinions it is about God revealing himself in the face of Christ crucified and thus inviting us to a new understanding of freedom; we must let this voice of truth shape our lives and thus let freedom ring. 

Monday, March 10, 2008

Go forth

John 8:1-11

As we turn the corner on lent we finally reach the home stretch as we approach Palm Sunday.  Thus, this week is a week of preparation.  So much so that the prefaces at the Eucharist celebration this week  is titled the "passion of the Lord."  

In this preface the Church prays the following to the Father, "The suffering and death of your son brought life to the whole world, moving our hearts to praise your glory.  The power of the cross reveals your judgment on this world and the kingship of Christ crucified."

The power of the cross reveals your judgment which brought life to the world...these words are commentary on the words spoken by Jesus in today's Gospel to the woman caught in adultery, "Neither do I condemn you.  Go, and from now on sin no more."

In deed it is not condemnation Jesus comes but rather salvation, a salvation unto new life.  The life of grace poured forth from the side of Christ enters into our hearts and breaks us free from the bonds of sin and slavery and makes straight the narrow path paved with endless mercy. 

As we follow Christ we must believe that the words of invitation to the woman, "Go, sin no more," are not only an option but the true possibility of life in grace.  We can live anew, we can begin again, we can start over in Christ, each day, even today.

Every saint has a past and every sinner a future in Christ, in the new life in grace, where we are bound by love crucified in which we go forth not with our head down burdened with guilt but with our spirits high and hearts full of praise for the glory of God has stooped down to us and raised us up on the beams of the cross.  

Friday, March 7, 2008

Works of the Father

John 5:31-47

Jesus tells the Jews in the gospel that "the works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me."

The works of the Father seen in Christ are what?

Something that we do as Christians during the season of lent are to meditate on the way of the cross.  We make a point to take a little time out of our busy schedule to spend time walking the way of the cross.  

As we ponder that reality we truly begin to understand the works of Christ.   As we see him fall and rise and fall again, as we see him encounter strangers and family and friends we begin to understand what the works of Christ reveal.  

On the way of the cross, each station is one step closer to revealing the truth of the Father.  In the incarnation we celebrate the reality that God has a human face.  In the way of the cross we begin to understand that God has a human heart. 

Each station reveals the depth of compassion that radiates from God through Christ to us.  Compassion is the willingness to suffer with in order to raise up.  Jesus suffers with our humanity in order to strengthen our weakness and raise us upward in grace.   The human heart of Christ reveals the compassionate heart of the Father.  This is the great work that Jesus accomplishes. This is the true testimony that sets our hearts aflame with love.  

Thus, the way of the cross becomes a way of life, an invitation to new life; just as the Father suffers with us our weakness we too are strengthen to suffer the weaknesses of  others, becoming instruments of Grace, revealing the face of God once again to a world that seeks His face.

To Mercy Pity Peace and Love. 
All pray in their distress:
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.

For Mercy Pity Peace and Love
Is God our Father dear:
And Mercy Pity Peace and Love,
Is Man his child and care.

For Mercy has a human heart
Pity, a human face:
And love, the human form divine, 
and, Peace the human dress.

That every man of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine
Love Mercy Pity Peace.

And all must love the human form
In heathen, turk or jew.
Where Mercy, Love, and pity dwell
There God is dwelling too.
  William Blake

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


John 5:17-30

Hope is essential to life.  Pope Benedict in is latest encyclical Saved in Hope reminds us  "the one who has hope lives differently; the one who hopes has been granted the gift of new life."

New life is what we all are in need of; a new life of freshness and vigor that keeps us focused reaches out to us through Christ.  

In today's gospel Jesus tells us that the Father wants to "amaze us", the Father wants to "wow" us.  Do we let God wow us.  Usually we let our expectations and our own plans interfere with the beauty that the Father is trying to work in us and through us.  What would happen if we embraced each day as a new fresh beginning.  Where we surrender our old expectations and rise from our slumber allowing God to "wow" us in his way. 

This is the foundation of a hope filled life.  No matter what happens, no matter the trials, God is seeking to "wow" us.  

Jesus tells us "the Father is at work until now and I am at work."  What a hope filled life knowing that we are not alone, that Jesus never ceases to work on our behalf, he never rest until we rest in him. 

Let us boast in the hope of the Glory of God.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

water flows

Ezekiel 47:1-9,12

The prophets are special characters in scripture.  It is always amazing how they become the mouthpiece of God, speaking warnings and blessings to the people.  Often times they act out God's word before the people, prophecy in action, that sometimes involves not a comfortable reality.  

Hosea in proclaiming the word of God was told to take a harlot as a wife in order to illustrate God's love for his people.  Jeremiah was told to buy a loincloth wear it without washing then bury it for a long period of time only to dig it up after it had rotten as sign of how pride rots the person and it clings to the person as close as a loincloth. 

Ezekiel is also called to do strange acts of prophecy.  He is sent to give prophecy over a field of dead bones as a sign of God's power to bring life.  And in today's reading he is sent to the temple, which leads him on a swimming expedition.  

There is beauty in today's prophecy.  Ezekiel's action points to a tremendous blessings for all of us.  His prophecy is about the restoration of the temple, about restoration of worship.  What Ezekiel reveals to us is that true worship, right worship becomes a blessing that flows outward as a stream of life to the world.  

The stream that flows from the temple, a river of life giving abundance, is meant to be a sign of what those who worship rightly are to the world.  People who worship rightly will be a life giving stream to the world upon which fruit will be abundant.  

Of course, worship for Ezekiel is not just what we do inside the temple, but it is about allowing the worship of God to transform us into instruments of grace by the way we live, serve, and act toward others.  Right worship is right living.  What we do in the temple should necessarily be seen in what we do with out hands, words we speak with our mouth, and how we truly make room for our neighbors.   

We become the river of life, because in worship the river of life, Jesus, comes to us.  We do not walk out of the church, but rather we flow forth.  The world now has to swim in the abundant blessings we become by God's grace active in us.  If Ezekiel's prophecy is to be real then we must allow the water of life to flow through us and reach every corner of our small little world and thus the river shall truly rise and the flood of grace shall transform all.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


Luke 18:9-14

The parable: 
Two people went up to the temple area to pray; the Pharisee spoke thus, "O God, I thank you for not making me like the rest of humanity..."

We profess in the creed every Sunday, "For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary and became Man."

He became like the rest of humanity...

The tax collector spoke thus, "O God, be merciful to me a sinner."

In deed, God becoming man, like the rest of us, is the invitation and hope of mercy.  God does not wait until we are worthy, but in taking our flesh and blood and making it His own, he makes us worthy...Is not this what mercy is about...making worthy.

As we pray at the Mass during the Eucharistic prayer II, "Lord we give you thanks for having made us worthy to stand in your presence and serve you."

Yes, Lord be merciful to me a sinner and continue each day to make us worthy by your graceful descent into our humanity.  Help us embrace this worthiness and live it abundantly in mercy to others.

Like the rest of humanity you are, Lord, so that we might become like you, and we are grateful for we are made worthy.