Prophets have always had a tough row to hoe. Their words, often unwelcome, are used against them to persecute and even kill them. Such was the fate of the Old Testament prophets, and Jeremiah is a great example of this. Jesus endured opposition from sinners, and did not turn back from a shameful death in order to rise to a glorious new life. The ultimate prophet, Jesus sought to warn the people of his time and ours of the divisions that his words would cause, showing himself to be the prophet of all time. We all need to look at our divisions and dilemmas in light of Jesus’ teachings and warnings, and seek to understand all that he has proclaimed and taught about what will happen if we fail to listen.
Faith and hope are closely united in today's readings. The Israelites knew when the Passover was coming, and so were not in fear, but had faith and courage, "putting into effect with one accord the divine institution." In this we can see a foretelling of the Eucharist that we celebrate according to Christ's command, "Do this in memory of me."
We see that Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Jacob died in faith, although they did not see fulfillment of the promise. We live in hope that our faith will be fulfilled every time we celebrate this sacrament. We too are not to be afraid, but to have hope that ourfaith will be fulfilled in the coming of Christ.
A jar of honey lasts practically forever. The oldest jar of honey ever discovered was over five thousand years old. Honey is quite different from market-fresh produce, then; because most fruits and vegetables last only a few days, we treat them carefully. At this time of summer, we rush to find recipes for cherries and cucumbers so we won’t waste a single one. We wouldn’t feel that same urgency about honey.
In our own way, we are as delightful and fragile as ripe produce. Today’s readings urge us not to spoil, but to make good use of our limited time onearth. Ecclesiastes reminds us that because God provides for us now and always, we can manage our daily affairs without anxiety. Saint Paul encouragesthe Colossians to keep thoughts of heaven in everything they do, and Jesus himself asks us to treasure not earthly wealth, but God alone.
There's a lot of traveling, delivering, and visiting going on in our readings today. In Genesis Abraham cares for the needs of three mysterious travelers. The psalm responds, celebrating the kind of righteousness that Abraham practices. Then, in his letter to the Colossians, Saint Paul describes his own ministry as almost like a delivery service: he, God's steward, brings the word of God to their community. Finally, Luke's Gospel shares the well-known story of Mary and Martha, and the different ways they welcome Jesus into their home. Amid all this coming and going, we are invited to pay attention to the ways we tend to the needs of others. Each of us can ask, How am I present to God and others in my life?
The Old Testament reading from Deuteronomy praises God for inscribing the commandments in our very bodies. God’s law is not distant or foreign, but a natural part of us. In his letter to the Colossians, Saint Paul echoes Moses, praising God for becoming one of us. The truly human, flesh-and-blood Jesus reminds us that God always wants to be recognizable and familiar to us. Jesus, who is also truly God, wants to be on intimate terms with each of us.
God’s passionate desire to be known by us is almost too wonderful to take in. Luke’s Gospel helps us understand how to respond. The Good Samaritan parable provides practical advice for those who believe in God’s intimate love for them and want to share that love with others.
Today’s readings celebrate God’s providence. No matter how wonderful (or heartbreaking) our relationships are, God always provides for us. No one cares for us the way God does.
Isaiah delights us with a deeply intimate image of God caring for us “as a mother comforts her child.” The prophet describes us not as the usual “children of God,” but as “babies.” We should not resist this image, but rejoice in it. Trusting in God’s care, we can all let down our guard and rest like infants in the lap of our mother.READ MORE
On this Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, the readings describe anything but an ordinary time. They are disturbing and they leave us disturbed. The Old Testament reading recounts a young man’s radical break with the past to follow a new path. The Gospel describes how life as we know it is abruptly changed if we follow the call of Christ. The psalm and Paul assure us that such life-altering change is possible only because of the power of God’s love. We are presented with a stark choice. To love as God loves, we must leave our old lives behind. We must leave behind not just the bad, the selfish, and the evil but the ordinary, our daily work, and the important, our families, our lives. Loving as God loves requires a radical transformation, not a smooth transition.
Today we celebrate the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Each of the readings includes a blessing and a sharing of food. They remind us of the central place of meals in our lives. Each meal brings to mind other meals: the sharing of cookies and milk, pizza and beer, loaves and fishes, bread and wine. When we prepare a meal for our family, our friends, even strangers, we always put something of ourselves into the preparation and the meal itself. The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ reminds us of what God put into the preparation for this meal that we celebrate today. We share this sacred meal and are transformed as we remember the death of Jesus and the sacrifice that nurtures our faith, sustains our lives, and supports our work.
Today we celebrate the Holy Trinity, one of the most confounding mysteries of our faith. Through this mystery we experience our relationship to God: Creator, Savior, and Holy Spirit. This relationship is not easy to understand or to describe. It does not become clearer through analysis. Its complexity mirrors the complexity of all our relationships. We understand our relationships with our spouses, our children, our parents, and our friends only through daily give-and-take, annual rituals, and the life-changing moments we share. We understand our relationships only as we live them. The relationships we have with those we love, and who love us, sustain us through an uncertain and difficult life. This is the Holy Trinity.READ MORE
In between: we all find ourselves there from time to time—sometimes uncomfortably. Like in between money coming in and money going out, earning income and paying bills. In between customer and manager, diner and chef: any honest server trying to serve both. In between theory and practice, ideal and reality: everyone from parents to pastors. Ask the kids—or parishioners! This Sunday, in between Ascension and Pentecost, reminds us we're in between Jesus' departure and glorious return—sometimes uncomfortably.READ MORE