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Showing posts with label The Way. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Way. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The Feast of Saint John, the Baptist


A Homily

John came, and john bore witness to the light
John, born in darkness as all of us are
John saw the light, shing in the deep night
Comforted by its warmth, John felt it first
Feeling it while he was still in the womb
Kicking in the waters, as the light dawned

John was not a man prone to vanity
You would not have seen him chasing the wind
Like a servant, John harvested honey  
Faithful to the way, not puffed up with pride
John was a friend and brother to Jesus
The elder cousin of the messiah

Herald and prophet, man of the desert
John turned to us, saying reflect, repent
He came like an angel, with a pure heart
A divine messenger, pointing the way
The way is not in stillness or silence
The way is a path of service and love

He took on the burden and paid the price
John showed us how to stand against power
He came into the world ahead of Christ        
Drawing breath while he listened in the womb
The breath he drew was ruha, the spirit
Holy Sophia filled John with wisdom
.
John lived and breathed, washed in the divine flame
Dipping his cup in the fountain of life
Walking with him, by whom all things were made
John’s path was the way of humility
Obedient, unphased by paradox
Born first, and the first to be sacrificed

He lived by the Jordan, serving the light
Not perplexed, or tempted to turn away  
He saw in his cousin the end of night
He made a place for him in the desert
He prepared the way as God’s own herald
Ministering to the sick and grieving
           
Jesus and John. the Son and the herald
Working together in the name of God
Baptizing all into the way of peace
Bathing their flock in the way, in the light
Keeping to their mission even to death
John showed us the way, turn and be blessed!


From the Gospel According to Mark – 2018.06.22



Sunday, August 12, 2018

A Homily – John 6:41-51 ©


The Gospel According to John – 2018.08.12
                        

The Way and the Message

The gospel reading for today is replete with theological errors, it could be a case study in the misapplication of metaphor.

The reading uses the metaphor suggesting that Jesus is the bread of life, like the mana that fell from heaven when the Jews wandered in the desert, only Jesus, as the bread of life, is different. Jesus as the bread of life feeds the spirit, not the body, and its life giving properties are not of this world but of the world to come. Jesus as the bread gives eternal life.

In the final verse the gospel writers link the bread which Jesus represents with the cult of animal sacrifice, this is a mistake, wherever it occurs. The cult of animal sacrifice, bloodletting, killing, it has no redemptive value in and of itself. There is no magic in it, God, the creator of the universe does not savor the scent of burning flesh.

The bread that Jesus offers is not his flesh, it is his teaching, the presentation of the way, a mode of being that leads to a society of justice, one that is tempered by law, and seeks the good of every individual.

To eat the bread of life, is to incorporate this teaching into your own life, for your benefit, and for the benefit of everyone.

When the gospel writers get bogged down in the vain effort to prove the authority of Jesus, by appealing to his sonship, instead of the simple authority of his teaching, they are on the wrong track.

The authority of Jesus is measured by its truthful commitment to his community, to compassion and to mercy.

Do not pay attention to the excuse making the gospel writers often engage in. When they tell you that no one come to Jesus except by the will of God, they are making justifying their failure to effectively communicate the real message in Jesus ministry:

That God love you, and us, and we, all together, and that to serve God, we must do the same.


Anyone Who Eats this Bread Will Live Forever

The Jews were complaining to each other about Jesus, because he had said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ ‘Surely this is Jesus son of Joseph’ they said. ‘We know his father and mother. How can he now say, “I have come down from heaven”?’

Jesus said in reply, ‘Stop complaining to each other. ‘No one can come to me unless he is drawn by the Father who sent me, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets:

They will all be taught by God, and to hear the teaching of the Father, and learn from it,
is to come to me. Not that anybody has seen the Father, except the one who comes from God: he has seen the Father.

I tell you most solemnly, everybody who believes has eternal life. ‘I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the desert and they are dead; but this is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that a man may eat it and not die. I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world.’


19th Sunday in Ordinary Time


Sunday, December 3, 2017

A Homily – Mark 13:33 - 37 ©

The Gospel According to Mark – 2017.12.03


Mindfulness, and the Way

He calls us to diligence and mindfulness, to perpetual and continuous watchfulness.

That is what it means to be in the way.

The way of loving service is never ending, so long as we are engaged in it, we are living in the garden.

Love is love, hope is hope, and trust is trust…to live out the faith means being faithful, to actively trust in the goodness, the mercy and the justice of God, the creator of the universe.

To live in a state of hope, requires only that would hope, that we extend the hope we have for ourselves, for our friends, for our families, so that the same hope covers the stranger in your midst, the person who owes you money, the person to whom you are indebted, even your enemies.

To be in love, you must be loving.

Stay awake, be mindful, keep the lamp lit.

The way is like a great river; it is flowing, flowing all the time.


Stay Awake

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come. It is like a man travelling abroad: he has gone from home, and left his servants in charge, each with his own task; and he has told the doorkeeper to stay awake. So stay awake, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming, evening, midnight, cockcrow, dawn; if he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake!’



1st Sunday of Advent

Sunday, October 22, 2017

A Homily – Matthew 22:15 - 22 ©

The Gospel According to Matthew – 2017.10.22


The Way is Mindfulness

Listen to Jesus, the way is not concerned with the concerns of political parties, and zealots.

Pay taxes or not, it does not matter. What does matter is whether the choices you make reflect the desire of God to see that all people live well, are fed, are housed, are clothed and educated, that their basic needs are met.

If paying taxes, no matter who the taxes are paid to, furthers the ends of a just and ethical society, then pay them. If not, then not.

If waging a tax protest advances the suffering of the people, to no good end, then do not protest; pay. If not, then not.

Be mindful, in all things you do, and evaluate the choices you are pondering both for the immediacy of their impact, and the long-term consequences that will flow from them as well.


Hypocrites

The Pharisees went away to work out between them how to trap Jesus in what he said. And they sent their disciples to him, together with the Herodians, to say, ‘Master, we know that you are an honest man and teach the way of God in an honest way, and that you are not afraid of anyone, because a man’s rank means nothing to you. Tell us your opinion, then. Is it permissible to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’ But Jesus was aware of their malice and replied, ‘You hypocrites! Why do you set this trap for me? Let me see the money you pay the tax with.’ They handed him a denarius, and he said, ‘Whose head is this? Whose name?’ ‘Caesar’s’ they replied. He then said to them, ‘Very well, give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God.’



29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Lamplight - Collected Parts

The way was lit by lanterns
Some blaring like a beacon
Others cloaked and hooded 
Lanterns burning in the heart
A light from age to age, aglow
Against the curtain of time
In the wild dark of space
In our country, in our homes

A compass reveals the way
A floating needle pointing true
The poles of the floating world
Listen, the abyss in not empty
It is full of dreams, and sleepers
Eyes half closed, and falling
Hushed, empty, and silent
Cold hands easing the descent

The way was told in whispers
We could not cry for it aloud
It was always just before our feet
By the side of the road right now
We stood in the eternal moment
A lantern on a pole before us
Raised up, and hanging on a tree
So bright its light was blinding

Falling reveals the way
The embrace of gravity
As certain as anything
In the tortured world
Step outside of the dome
Into the slow, elongation
Of time, untethered and
Drifting in the vacuum   

The way, we stepped into it
Burning with the heat of stars
Alight with the purity of love
We had no thought of tomorrow
We did not bargain for the future
We set our hopes on the present
We trusted in each other
We worked, slept and it was good

Flashback to yesterday, wayward
The story of salvation, unread
Forgotten, names and reflections
We were lost in s tale of freedom
Adrift in the night, rocking
Cradled in the trough of the wave
Asleep beneath the velvet curtain
Dreaming of the liquid world

The way is light and peace
Bursting through illusions
A shower of stars, burning
Passing through the dome
Lanterns in the silvered sky
Thought reshapes the world
Free from the hand of gravity
Without mass, without weight

For the drowning, the way is life
A taught line through the swells
Leading those dancing in the sea
Chasing the human moment
Reach for it, love’s fragile object
Glimmering beyond the typhoon
Above Charybdis’ maw
And the hunger of the Scylla

In the way, we walked as angels
Messengers of the sacred heart
A crown of fire before us  
A company of friendship
There was light, there was heat
Clear water filling deep pools
Clean water from the spring
Above the shifting sands

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A Homily – John 3:16 - 18 ©

A Homily – John 3:16 - 18 ©

The Gospel According to John – 2017.06.11


Hope and Fear

The gift of life is not transactional. It is free. We do not have to ask for it, just as we did not ask to be born, like true love, eternal life comes to us without conditions.

God, the creator of the universe, came to us in the person of Jesus. If you trust in the teachings of Jesus you will find peace in this world, you will understand that the things we endure here: pain, suffering, alienation, uncertainty, hunger, disease and death, these are all temporary.

You will see the world of light and life beyond the veil that is the inheritance of every one of us.
There is no condemnation in God, or in the ministry of Jesus. There is hope, and love, and mercy.

No one is condemned because they refuse to believe in the scriptures, in Christian doctrine, or the dogma of the church. God continuously pours out the divine love on all creation.

There is no magic power in a name, or an article of belief, but rather if you do not trust in the way of Jesus, and trust is the meaning of faith, if you are not able to trust in it, and you are selfish, instead of giving, malicious instead of loving, harmful instead of healing, then you will suffer in this world.

Faith in Jesus, means liberation in the here and now, in the present reality, which is a blessing to everyone who finds it, and to all whom they encounter.


The Gift of Love, and Life

Jesus said to Nicodemus:

‘God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life. For God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world, but so that through him the world might be saved. No one who believes in him will be condemned; but whoever refuses to believe is condemned already, because he has refused to believe in the name of God’s only Son.’

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Sunday of the Most Holy Trinity


Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Homily – John 14:1 - 12 ©

The Gospel According to John – 2017.05.14


Getting It 

The Gospels are replete with stories that depict the ignorance of Jesus’ twelve male disciples.

You them. They were human beings and like all of us they were flawed, confused, and ignorant.

Jesus even refers to Saint Peter as “Satan,” the enemy, and on the night of Jesus’ arrest Peter denies having known him.

In the generations that followed the death of Jesus, the early Christians did not gain any more clarity in the decades that followed, as the John’s Gospel shows.

Jesus is not “The Way,” he life demonstrated the way, not the “way to” God, but the “way of God,” of love, and hope, and trust.

The good news is not that God has prepared a place for you, for the Jewish people that were the brothers and sisters of Jesus, or for the Christians who came later, but that God has prepared a place for everyone. No one is left apart from God’s plan.

Following the “way” of Jesus does not require you to believe or know anything about him, it requires you to live a life of kindness, and loving service to your fellow human beings.


The Way

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still, and trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house; if there were not, I should have told you. I am going now to prepare a place for you, and after I have gone and prepared you a place, I shall return to take you with me; so that where I am you may be too. You know the way to the place where I am going.’

Thomas said, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’
Jesus said:

‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you know me, you know my Father too. From this moment you know him and have seen him.’

Philip said, ‘Lord, let us see the Father and then we shall be satisfied.’

‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip,’ said Jesus to him ‘and you still do not know me?

‘To have seen me is to have seen the Father, so how can you say, “Let us see the Father”?

Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak as from myself: it is the Father, living in me, who is doing this work.

You must believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; believe it on the evidence of this work, if for no other reason.

I tell you most solemnly, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself, he will perform even greater works, because I am going to the Father.’


5th Sunday of Easter

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Homily – Matthew 5: 17 - 37 ©



The Gospel According to Matthew – 2017.02.12


The Law

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them. I tell you solemnly, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved. Therefore, the man who infringes even one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in the kingdom of heaven; but the man who keeps them and teaches them will be considered great in the kingdom of heaven.
  
‘For I tell you, if your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.

‘You have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not kill; and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court. But I say this to you: anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court; if a man calls his brother “Fool” he will answer for it before the Sanhedrin; and if a man calls him “Renegade” he will answer for it in hell fire. So then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering. Come to terms with your opponent in good time while you are still on the way to the court with him, or he may hand you over to the judge and the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison. I tell you solemnly, you will not get out till you have paid the last penny.

‘You have learnt how it was said: You must not commit adultery. But I say this to you: if a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye should cause you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; for it will do you less harm to lose one part of you than to have your whole body thrown into hell. And if your right hand should cause you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; for it will do you less harm to lose one part of you than to have your whole body go to hell.

‘It has also been said: Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a writ of dismissal. But I say this to you: everyone who divorces his wife, except for the case of fornication, makes her an adulteress; and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

‘Again, you have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not break your oath, but must fulfil your oaths to the Lord. But I say this to you: do not swear at all, either by heaven, since that is God’s throne; or by the earth, since that is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, since that is the city of the great king. Do not swear by your own head either, since you cannot turn a single hair white or black. All you need say is “Yes” if you mean yes, “No” if you mean no; anything more than this comes from the evil one.’


The Way

The divine way is simple and elegant, and it is also the greatest of mysteries and the most difficult of challenges.

The writers of Matthew’s Gospel attempted to summarize Jesus’ teaching on the law. Those who had known Jesus, or had been instructed in the faith by those who had, they believed sincerely that they knew what was in Jesus’ heart.

Nevertheless, their summary of it fell short of the mark, because, as with all matters pertaining to the divine, to God, the creator of the universe, our human understanding falls short.

Know this, in this passage, the kingdom of heaven which Jesus refers to, is not a place beyond this world. It is the world we live in, not as it is, but as it could be, if we and it were free from sin.

Know this, the hell which the gospels refer to is not a place beyond this world, it is not the diametric opposite of heaven, it is the place where we are, as we are still caught up in the inclination toward sin.

We have a choice, a choice we can exercise right now; to live in the divine way, in a community of peace and love, or to live in a world a strife and pain.

If we chose the way, no matter how much we may desire it, we cannot have it, be in it, bring others to it, if we are not reconciled to the community that we live in. If we hold a grudge, if there is enmity, we must address this first and bring it to the place of healing. We have departed from the way (or have never entered it) if we do not.

In the divine way, our deeds matter, yes, the things we do matter, but our intentions matter as much or more.

A person may not be a thief, but if they covet their neighbor’s possessions there is no peace between them. What we hold in our heart, that determines the nature of our relationships.

Forgive and be forgiven, this is not a transaction, it is a simple injunction.

Let go of the hardness and covetousness in your heart, accept the understanding and mercy that is offered to you.

Be loved, and love.


6th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Monday, February 6, 2017

A Homily – Matthew 5: 13 - 16 ©



The Gospel According to Matthew – 2017.02.05


Shine and be Tasty

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘You are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes tasteless, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled underfoot by men.

  ‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.’


The Way

There are no guarantees in life.

Listen to Jesus as he teaches his disciples. He understood the natural failings of human beings, who can be at one moment salient and good, and at the next moment bitter, and coercive.

Not even the disciples, as close as they were to Jesus, were free from these risks. Why would it be any different for the Christian who follows them.

If you set out to teach, and be a light in the world, then do that. It requires your intention, and your constant attention.

A lamp, once lit, should be put on the lamp-stand, but even still it requires constant attention. The lamp oil must be refilled, the wick must be trimmed, replaced, and the soot must be cleaned from it.
If you intend to live your life as an exemplar of the way, you must be diligent, intentional, and humble.

5th Sunday of Ordinary Time