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Showing posts with label Homily Homiletics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Homily Homiletics. Show all posts

Sunday, May 27, 2018

A Homily – Matthew 28:16-20 ©

The Gospel According to Matthew – 2018.05.27

The Great Commission

This passage is commonly known as the “Great Commission,” it purports to grant authority the group of disciples that survived Jesus’ arrest and execution.

It is a piece of propaganda. The event itself never happened. But the Writers of Matthews Gospel, writing over one hundred years after Jesus was killed, they thought it was necessary to write their authority to speak and act in Jesus’ name (exclusively) into the sacred text.

The message itself is reasonable, it articulates the basic mission of the church, to turn all people of all nations into followers of the way, seekers of justice, servants of truth, people who care for the stranger, the widow and the orphan.

Nevertheless it is predicated on a fabricated narrative, and this is a problem.

Go and make disciples of all nations

The eleven disciples set out for Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had arranged to meet them. When they saw him they fell down before him, though some hesitated. Jesus came up and spoke to them. He said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.

Most Holy Trinity

Monday, April 17, 2017

A Homily – The Gospel of John 20:1-9 ©

Gospel Acclamation - 1Cor 5:7-8
Second Reading - Colossians 3:1-4 ©
First Reading - Acts 10:34,37-43 ©

The Faith

Follow Jesus. Do good. Love justice. Be merciful; be a source of healing in the world.

This is the way, of Easter hope believe in the way.

The way is the law, and the law is life.

God’s law is written in hearts. God speaks to us there.

The Creator of the universe, and everything in it, speaks to us in terms of love, and mercy, and kindness.

All other versions of God’s law are merely reflections of it, dim and imperfect.

God’s law is a living flame. Look into the flames, and see it shimmering, wrapping itself around the coals. It is good to uphold God’s law, to demonstrate it by right living.

We are truly alive in the world. Our faith calls on us to live as if we believed that the promise of our salvation were true, as if it were true and already, and fully accomplished.

This is the meaning of the Gospel, the good news that Christ has risen. Christian faith is trust in this proposition, trust in the belief that you, and everyone, will rise too, not as a transaction in exchange for our “belief,” but merely because God loves us.

Imagine the holy family of God, God who created the universe and everything that is in it.

Imagine the holy family, by which I mean the entirety of creation.

Imagine all of us living in the garden now; at peace, without want, or enmity, living in that place where we are able to see clearly, that our relationships with each other are more important than gold, political power, or any other earthly treasure.

Celebrate the feast of Easter, take part in it and accept the realities that Jesus pointed to, through his life, his death, and resurrection. It does not matter if any of it is literally true, or not.

Believe in it, even in the dark times, even in times as dark as the first Sunday morning, when Mary Magdala came to the tomb.

She was at the foot of the cross when Jesus was crucified. It was she who anointed him for burial. 

She was the first to receive the revelation that Jesus had risen.

It was dark when she arrived at the tomb, but not completely, and in the dim light of morning she saw a hint of the truth that would unfold as the sun rose, filling the day with light.

She saw the stone rolled away from the tomb, and found the tomb empty.

At first she assumed that someone had come, and removed the body of Jesus, taken and hidden him somewhere.

She hurried to find the others, and tell them what she had found.

When the other disciples arrived on the scene and explored the empty tomb for themselves, the understanding of what had transpired began to take hold.

They saw the empty tomb, the burial garments cast aside, and they understood that Jesus had been raised from the dead.

On that belief, and on the strength of their witness the Church was born, but the Church was not built on the foundation of Peter’s faith, which faltered and failed on the night Jesus was arrested.

It was built on the faith of women, like Mary, and the other women who never abandoned Jesus, who did everything in their power to make the path that was in front of him smooth.

Throughout his ministry it was the women among his disciples who knew, who always understood the power of his message, and the necessity of responding to it in faith, not with propositions and creeds, but with action and a living witness. They were never confused about his mission.

They always understood how it would end.

While his male disciples tripped over themselves, doubted him, doubted each other, vied for supremacy, betrayed him, denied him, sold him into captivity; while all of that was going on, the women were steadfast by his side.

They anointed him, they witnessed his trial. They set aside their fear. They stood by him as he was crucified, they buried him, they waited by the tomb, and they were the first to see him risen.
They followed him to the end, and served as an example to us all.

God bless these women, and their faith, it was a comfort to Jesus in his final hours.

Easter Sunday – Easter

The Readings of the Day – 2017.04.16 (Easter Sunday) Primary Readings

First Reading - Acts 10:34,37-43 ©

Peter addressed Cornelius and his household: ‘You must have heard about the recent happenings in Judaea; about Jesus of Nazareth and how he began in Galilee, after John had been preaching baptism. God had anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and because God was with him, Jesus went about doing good and curing all who had fallen into the power of the devil. Now I, and those with me, can witness to everything he did throughout the countryside of Judaea and in Jerusalem itself: and also to the fact that they killed him by hanging him on a tree, yet three days afterwards God raised him to life and allowed him to be seen, not by the whole people but only by certain witnesses God had chosen beforehand. Now we are those witnesses – we have eaten and drunk with him after his resurrection from the dead – and he has ordered us to proclaim this to his people and to tell them that God has appointed him to judge everyone, alive or dead. It is to him that all the prophets bear this witness: that all who believe in Jesus will have their sins forgiven through his name.’

This day was made by the Lord: we rejoice and are glad.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good,
  for his love has no end.
Let the sons of Israel say:
  ‘His love has no end.’

This day was made by the Lord: we rejoice and are glad.

The Lord’s right hand has triumphed;
  his right hand raised me up.
I shall not die, I shall live
  and recount his deeds.

This day was made by the Lord: we rejoice and are glad.

The stone which the builders rejected
  has become the corner stone.
This is the work of the Lord,
  a marvel in our eyes.

This day was made by the Lord: we rejoice and are glad.

Second Reading - Colossians 3:1-4 ©

Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand. Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth, because you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God. But when Christ is revealed – and he is your life – you too will be revealed in all your glory with him.

Gospel Acclamation - 1Cor5:7-8

Alleluia, alleluia!
Christ, our passover, has been sacrificed:
let us celebrate the feast then, in the Lord.

The Gospel of John 20:1-9 © - The Empty Tomb

It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the tomb and came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb’ she said ‘and we don’t know where they have put him.’

So Peter set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first; he bent down and saw the linen cloths lying on the ground, but did not go in. Simon Peter who was following now came up, went right into the tomb, saw the linen cloths on the ground, and also the cloth that had been over his head; this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed. Till this moment they had failed to understand the teaching of scripture, that he must rise from the dead.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Homily – The Gospel of Matthew 4:12 - 17 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2017.01.22

After John’s Arrest

Hearing that John had been arrested, Jesus went back to Galilee, and leaving Nazareth he went and settled in Capernaum, a lakeside town on the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali. In this way the prophecy of Isaiah was to be fulfilled:

‘Land of Zebulun! Land of Naphtali!
Way of the sea on the far side of Jordan,
Galilee of the nations!
The people that lived in darkness has seen a great light;
on those who dwell in the land and shadow of death
a light has dawned.’

From that moment Jesus began his preaching with the message, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’

The Beginning of Christian Ministry

Be wary of the Scriptures, when the authors try attempt to fit their narrative of the life of Jesus into a picture that makes it look as if he is fulfilling a prediction made by a prophet from the past.

This is always a falsehood.

Even if a prediction was made, and even if Jesus did the thing that was predicted, it is a false narrative to suggest that Jesus’ actions were in fulfillment of prophecy.

Prophets only speak of the future for two reasons; to engender hope, and to warn of danger.

The words of a prophet are always addressed to the people in their own time, in their own place. Prophecy is never meant to guide the lives of future generations, except in the cases when the prophet is addressing an issue of universal truth, such as the nature of justice, which is itself unchanging.

The Gospel writers were propagandists. They fabricated many of the details of Jesus’ life. They fabricated those details to suit their narrative about who Jesus was, why he was necessary, and what his life and death meant for the early church.

In this narrative the Gospel writers place Jesus directly in the tradition of John the Baptist, with the words “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”

This is a continuation of that narrative, meant to harness the energy of John’s movement, after his arrest and murder.

3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Sunday, September 4, 2016

A Homily – The Gospel of Luke 14:25 - 33 ©

A Homily – The Gospel of Luke 14:25 - 33 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2016.09.04

Take Up Your Cross…

Great crowds accompanied Jesus on his way and he turned and spoke to them. ‘If any man comes to me without hating his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes and his own life too, he cannot be my disciple. Anyone who does not carry his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

  ‘And indeed, which of you here, intending to build a tower, would not first sit down and work out the cost to see if he had enough to complete it? Otherwise, if he laid the foundation and then found himself unable to finish the work, the onlookers would all start making fun of him and saying, “Here is a man who started to build and was unable to finish.” Or again, what king marching to war against another king would not first sit down and consider whether with ten thousand men he could stand up to the other who advanced against him with twenty thousand? If not, then while the other king was still a long way off, he would send envoys to sue for peace. So in the same way, none of you can be my disciple unless he gives up all his possessions.’


The Way of Service is Not an All or Nothing Gambit

There are places in the scriptures where the words that are attributed to Jesus by the authors of the text are out of keeping with the character the reader has come to know about him.

This is one of those places.

It is jarring to hear the voice of Jesus speaking to us about the necessity of hate, of hating your father, your mother, your wife, your children, your sibling and even yourself. It is jarring because Jesus is the man who; more than any other prophet speaks to us of love.

Love God, the creator of the universe; Love God with all your strength, and all your heart and all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself, this is the whole of the law. It is love and not hate that Jesus calls us to.

We are created in love, and called by the loving voice of God. We are called to be merciful, to be advocates, to be compassionate. As Saint Paul said; if we speak in tongues of angels, and are not loving, then our voices are clanging cymbals, dissonant and incoherent. And in consideration of these virtues: trust, hope, and love, the greatest of them is love, because it is the root of the other two.

It is out of keeping with the teaching of Jesus to dissuade us from a course of action simply because we will be publicly ridiculed if we fail. It is out of step with the wisdom of Jesus to compare the work of his disciples to that of kings with their armies, to make the work of the church one of conquest rather than conversion.

This passage represents the thoughts and the fears of the church in the second or third generation. Of the church in a time of persecution, and also in a time of building. They are the feelings of a community trying to establish itself, and looking to remove the weak and the ill prepared from their congregation.

This is the wisdom of human being, of men.

The advice is not bad advice. It is a call for total commitment. It says to the church, be ready to complete what you have started, and be ready to give everything you have, including your life for the work you believe in. But it is missing the final thought: if you fail you will still be loved by God.

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Canonization of Mother Theresa of Calcutta, Patron Saint of Doubters