Reflection - June 20, 2018

On major feast days, and today we celebrate one of the biggest-Pentecost, we have what is called a sequence before the alleluia before the reading of the Gospel. Usually sung, it is a chant or work of poetry connected theologically and biblically to the feast being celebrated. While not all were used liturgically, the sequence became a popular Catholic literary genre in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries with nearly 5000 examples. Most of the sequences were removed, however, after the Council of Trent in the Missal of Pius V in 1570. On Easter and Pentecost the singing or reciting of the sequence is mandatory, while the few other sequences are always optional.

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Reflection - May 13, 2018

“In the first book, Theophilus,
I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught
until the day he was taken up,
after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit
to the apostles whom he had chosen.”

The author of the Acts of the Apostles addresses his writing to Theophilus, but just who is this? The word itself can mean “loved by God” or “loving God,” but it was both a name and an honorary title in Luke’s time meaning “lover of God” or “friend of God” from theos (god) and philos (friend), originally in Greek.

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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 - May 6, 2018

“It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you...”

When I was young, I remember asking a lot of people, but especially my mom, “What should I be when I grow up?” Her answer was always the same, “You can be whatever you want to be.” Even as a kid, I felt that was something of a non-answer. I wanted her to tell me what I should do. When pressed, over and over, she would eventually say with exasperation, “I don’t know, whatever you want!” 

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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 - 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 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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