Search This Blog

Showing posts with label Readings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Readings. Show all posts

Sunday, August 6, 2017

A Homily – Matthew 17:1 - 9 ©

The Gospel According to Matthew – 2017.03.12

First Reading - Daniel 7:9-10,13-14 ©
Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 96(97):1-2,5-6,9 ©
Second reading - 2 Peter 1:16-19 ©
Gospel Acclamation - Mt17:5
Gospel Reading - Matthew 17:1-9 ©

Constructing Idols in Narrative

The readings for today do a disservice to the work and ministry of Jesus. The readings betray the simple injunction God, the creator of the universe, has given to the faithful: to love God (through the love you show your neighbor), to do good, and to seek justice.

In the book of Daniel we see that the authors are more interested in pomp and circumstance, in titles and royal courts than they are in the true work of the living and loving God.

God is not a king.

Jesus was not a king.

God and God’s anointed are servants.

Glory is not what we are called to seek, but the good, expressed in the care we give to our neighbor, our family, the stranger, and even those we have enmity with.

Do not look for the God at the head of an army, riding in a vehicle of war, look for God in the marginalized, the hungry and the poor.

I do not fault the writers of these books for being human, they were ordinary people, and like ordinary people they gave great concern to titles, pride of place, and matters of power and authority.

God is not a king, or a lord, and neither was Jesus.

God is Abba, father; Jesus is brother, teacher, friend.

God is the keeper of a garden.

God is not the ruler of a royal court.

God is a mystery, every person is a part of God’s family, a beloved child.

God has no enemies.

The ten commandments give an injunction about the worship of idols, statues, graven images.

If you have never worshipped an idol made of stone, or wood, or gold, do not think you are superior to those who have, because idolatry can be found in more than the worship of objects. The most insidious form of idolatry, is the worship we give to idols made of words, contained in creeds, written in books, sung in songs, glorified in the liturgy, constructed from ideas and beliefs.

Beware the false prophet.

Prophecy does not come from the well of a single person’s imagination.

The impulse to issue prophecy must be vetted in community, and even that is no guarantee of truthfulness.

Communities are just as capable of self-deception as individuals.

A prophecy is not a portent of future events, even though a prophet may talk in terms of possibilities, probabilities and eventualities.

Prophecy is a call to justice, to goodness, and the mercy ways of God, God who desires nothing more than that we love one another, with all of  our heart.

That is the test of prophecy.

As Christians we are bound to read the Gospel in the context of its truthfulness.

Let the Spirit of Truth guide us, even if it means rejecting a passage such as this, the transfiguration.

There may have been an actual event that this story is linked to, at time when Jesus, together with James and John went up the mountain by themselves to pray, to consult with one another and commune with God.

It may have been, that at such a time, Jesus connected in the mind of his brother James, and his confidant John, the essential message that his ministry was in line with that of Moses, the liberator, the law giver; and Elijah, the truthteller.

Let us accept that, Jesus brought them to this understanding, at a time on the mountain in a private moment between themselves.

The supernatural events described here did not happen.

We know this because we know that God, the creator of the universe does not engage in supernatural activities. God is the author of nature and its laws. God does not violate these laws for any reason, not to prove an argument, or to put on a show.

Always read the gospel in such a way that you strip from it the fantastical elements.

A fiction can only illuminate when it is known to be a metaphor. When fantasy poses as reality it darkens the way.

The Transfiguration

First Reading - Daniel 7:9-10,13-14 ©

As I watched:
Thrones were set in place
and one of great age took his seat.
His robe was white as snow,
the hair of his head as pure as wool.
His throne was a blaze of flames,
its wheels were a burning fire.
A stream of fire poured out,
issuing from his presence.
A thousand thousand waited on him,
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
A court was held
and the books were opened.
And I saw, coming on the clouds of heaven,
one like a son of man.
He came to the one of great age
and was led into his presence.
On him was conferred sovereignty,
glory and kingship,
and men of all peoples, nations and languages became his servants.
His sovereignty is an eternal sovereignty
which shall never pass away,
nor will his empire ever be destroyed.

Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 96(97):1-2,5-6,9 ©

The Lord is king, most high above all the earth.
The Lord is king, let earth rejoice,
  let all the coastlands be glad.
Cloud and darkness are his raiment;
  his throne, justice and right.
The Lord is king, most high above all the earth.
The mountains melt like wax
  before the Lord of all the earth.
The skies proclaim his justice;
  all peoples see his glory.
The Lord is king, most high above all the earth.
For you indeed are the Lord
  most high above all the earth,
  exalted far above all spirits.
The Lord is king, most high above all the earth.

Second reading - 2 Peter 1:16-19 ©

It was not any cleverly invented myths that we were repeating when we brought you the knowledge of the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; we had seen his majesty for ourselves. He was honoured and glorified by God the Father, when the Sublime Glory itself spoke to him and said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour.’ We heard this ourselves, spoken from heaven, when we were with him on the holy mountain.
  So we have confirmation of what was said in prophecies; and you will be right to depend on prophecy and take it as a lamp for lighting a way through the dark until the dawn comes and the morning star rises in your minds.

Gospel Acclamation - Mt17:5

Alleluia, alleluia!
This is my Son, the Beloved:
he enjoys my favour.
Listen to him.

Gospel Reading - Matthew 17:1 - 9 ©

Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone. There in their presence he was transfigured: his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared to them; they were talking with him. Then Peter spoke to Jesus. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘it is wonderful for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ He was still speaking when suddenly a bright cloud covered them with shadow, and from the cloud there came a voice which said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. Listen to him.’ When they heard this the disciples fell on their faces overcome with fear. But Jesus came up and touched them. ‘Stand up,’ he said ‘do not be afraid.’ And when they raised their eyes they saw no one but only Jesus.

  As they came down from the mountain Jesus gave them this order, ‘Tell no one about the vision until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.’

18th Sunday of Ordinary Time – The Transfiguration

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.