Saturday, March 26, 2016

3-26-2016 -- Easter 2016

March 26, 2016 - Easter 2016
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church



Have you ever had one of those days that, when you lay your head on the pillow at night, the events of the day keep playing back over and over and you just couldn’t fall asleep?


We’ve all had days like that. It happens. Life happens. And sometimes our lives just start to unravel. Things fall apart.


Inescapable troubles come our way: an inoperable tumor, a pink slip, a marriage in turmoil, a child under arrest or parents suddenly in need of daily care, unable to take care of themselves anymore.


These things or worse keep us up at night.


I bet they couldn’t sleep either, those women who had come from Galilee with Jesus. I’m sure they’d laid awake all night replaying the events of Good Friday over and over in their minds.


But now that daybreak has come, they have something to do. They take the spices they have prepared and go to the tomb.


These women could have just felt sorry for themselves. They could have stayed stuck in their grief and in their fear. They could have remained stuck on Good Friday. But they didn’t, they picked themselves up and got busy.


They needed to do this for themselves as much as they needed to show respect to the body of Jesus. They needed to minister in some way, to do something, to heal something.


It took Jesus’ disciples awhile to understand that the Jews had not come and taken away the body. It took them awhile to understand that Jesus’ death meant an end to death.


It was very difficult for them to comprehend the resurrection. But we are told that they believed even though they did not yet understand.


Did they ever completely understand or did they simply come to believe because of their faith? Is it even necessary that we completely understand?


Can we understand the mystery of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead? I don’t think so. How could we?


But we can believe. Today when we renew our baptismal promises we will say, “I believe.” I believe.


When we get the wind knocked out of us, we need to do something otherwise we get stuck on Good Friday.


But today is not Good Friday, today is Easter and the women find, not the body of Jesus, but an empty tomb.


The death of Jesus Christ brings about an end to death. Their grieving gives way to alleluias. Death gives way to new life.


After all, our God is God of the living. Alleluia. Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. Alleluia. We don’t have to be stuck in grief and misery on Good Friday.

Today is Easter. We can rejoice and be glad because our God, the God of the living, has come to save us. Alleluia.

Friday, March 25, 2016

3-25-2016 -- Good Friday 2016

March 25, 2016 - Good Friday 2016
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church



Pilate is the highest law in the land. He is the one who has the power to issue orders regardless of the facts.

It is interesting that in the Good Friday Passion Narrative, Pilate asks more questions than he makes statements or gives commands.

Pilate asks eleven questions and makes only six statements. Of the eleven questions, eight are addressed to Jesus. In fact Pilate only ever addresses Jesus by questioning him:

Are you the King of the Jews?
I am not a Jew, am I?
What have you done?
Then you are a king?
What is truth?
Where are you from?
Do you not speak to me?
Do you not know that I have the power to release you and I have the power to crucify you?

To the crowd Pilate asks:

What charge do you bring against this man?
Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?
Shall I crucify your king?

To the crowd Pilate declares:

Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.
I find no guilt in him.
Look I am bringing him out to you so that you may know that I find no guilt in him.
Behold your king.
What I have written, I have written.

Pilate judges Jesus and finds him not guilty. Pilate tries several times to release Jesus. But the crowd is on the verge of rioting.

In the end Pilate gives in to the demands of the crowd. However, Pilate writes an inscription declaring the truth that he was seeking:

Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews.

The truth that Pilate inscribes tells the story of our salvation. And so today we take a moment to venerate the wood of the cross on which hung the King of the Jews. We stoop to kiss the wood of the cross on which our Savior, Jesus the Nazorean, died for us.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

3-24-2016 -- Holy Thursday 2016

March 24, 2016 - Holy Thursday 2016
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church




Jesus loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.


Even though they would abandon and betray him, Jesus loved them.


Even though they would turn and run in the other directions, Jesus loved them.


Even though they misunderstood him and seldom got things right, Jesus still loved them.


We are his own in the world, even when we act like Judas and betray with a kiss.


We are his own in the world, even when we act like Peter and deny with our words.


We are his own in the world, even when we fall asleep spiritually after having been asked to pray awhile.


Jesus loves us despite our weaknesses, or maybe because of them. I don’t know.


What I do know is that Jesus loves his own in the world and we are his own in the world and he loves us to the end.


Jesus loves us so much that he rushes in to care for us when we fail to step up and take care of each other.


Jesus rushes in to wash feet when no one else wants to do it.


Jesus rushes in to love when everyone else seem to want to lust or, even worse, to hate.


Jesus rushes in to heal while everyone else just stands around watching.
Jesus rushes in to forgive while everyone else is still hurting or angry or holding a grudge.


Jesus allows himself to be broken for us: his body become the Bread of Life.


Jesus allows himself to be poured out for us: his blood come of the Cup of Salvation.


Jesus allows himself to be given for us Sacramentally in the Eucharist as a source of comfort and grace and spiritual nourishment.


And Jesus says that he is a model, an example so that we might do as he has done.

Jesus shows us how to serve and love and heal and forgive. And says, “Do you realize what I have done for you? I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do. You ought to wash one another’s feet.”

Saturday, March 19, 2016

3-20-2016 -- Palm Sunday, Year C

March 20, 2016 - Palm Sunday, Year C
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church



The Passion Narrative in the Gospel of Luke shows us a side of the Lord Jesus that is easy for us to overlook.


The Passion Narrative in the Gospel of Luke shows us the kindness and care and concern of Jesus. At the Last Supper, Jesus gives his Body and Blood for his disciples as a spiritual nourishment to strengthen them for the task that lies ahead.


The Passion Narrative in the Gospel of Luke shows us the prayer of Jesus. Jesus prays for Peter that he might be strengthened and Jesus prays in the garden that the Father give him the strength to give his life as a sacrifice to save us.


The Passion Narrative in the Gospel of Luke shows us the gentleness of Jesus. He heals the severed ear of the enemy’s servant.


The Passion Narrative in the Gospel of Luke shows us the love of Jesus. He stops along the way to greet the daughters of Jerusalem.


The Passion Narrative in the Gospel of Luke shows us the forgiveness of Jesus. He pardons the good thief and assures him, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”


The Passion Narrative in the Gospel of Luke shows us the trust of Jesus. “Father, into your hands I entrust my Spirit.”


We are invited to walk with Jesus on his Way of the Cross.
On Holy Thursday we are invited to sit at the Last Supper and share the meal with Jesus’ disciples. We also sit in the garden and pray for an hour.


On Good Friday we are invited to stand at the foot of the cross with all our sorrow and grief and watch as an innocent man dies for us.


On Holy Saturday we are invited to sit and wait in the darkness for Christ our Light.


On Easter Sunday we are invited to share in the joy of the Resurrection as we celebrate the New Life Christ has won for us.


The Passion Narrative in the Gospel of Luke shows us a side of the Lord Jesus that is easy for us to overlook. But it is a side of Jesus that we desperately need to see.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

3-13-2016 -- 5th Sunday of Lent, Year C

March 13, 2016 - 5th Sunday of Lent, Year C
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church



Her eyes were filled with tears when they made her stand in the middle.

She was an easy target because she was a woman. Where was the man with whom she was involved?

The bullies had singled her out. They had already killed her spirit and they really wanted to stone her.

She had been caught. She was full of shame. Even Jesus kept his head down, not wanting to add to her shame.

Think about what this means. Imagine if you were dragged to the center of this church and made to stand right in the middle.

Imagine being held at gunpoint while your sins and deepest, darkest secrets were read aloud for all to hear. Imagine that this scene would end with your death. Imagine the shame and the humiliation and the fear.

The crowd wants Jesus to sanction her condemnation and death. But Jesus turns the tables on them.

Notice Jesus doesn’t say, “Shame on you. What you did is a sin.” The woman already knows it was a sin.

Jesus actually acknowledges that a sin has been committed, “Is there no one here to condemn you?”

She is standing there waiting for her punishment and it never comes. Jesus does not condemn the woman. Jesus loves the woman.
And, then, Jesus admonishes the woman. “Go and from now on do not sin any more.”

This is a far cry from the punishment the crowd intended to inflict upon her. What must the woman have felt in that moment. Relief? Yes, but even more. Absolute forgiveness; to be given another chance.

Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we are all given another chance.

This Sunday night at 6 PM there will be several confessors available for you to bring your own sins to the Lord, to ask forgiveness, to be given another chance.

Those who are overwhelmed by their own sinfulness often feel that their sins make them unfit to be disciples. Conversely those who refuse to acknowledge their own sinfulness see mercy and forgiveness as something only others need.

So we ask ourselves: What do I need to repent of? If we ask, we will be given another chance.

Jesus’ words of forgiveness have the power to change our lives forever.

Our God is the God of another chance. With Jesus, all of us are given the chances we need to get things right.

When we are caught in our own sin and shame and made to stand in the middle, in our guilt, in our shame these words are spoken to us, “Is there no one here to condemn you?”


Saturday, March 5, 2016

3-6-2016 -- 4th Sunday of Lent, Year C

March 6, 2016 - 4th Sunday of Lent, Year C
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church



We tend to focus only on the younger son, but neither son is innocent, neither son is perfect.

Both of the father’s sons are in need of repentance. Both sons are in need of mercy. Both sons need to change.

The younger son, even after his return, may still be lazy. The younger son probably still has entitlement issues.

The younger son might always have the sinful tendency to party it up, to hang out with his friends so that he is the center of attention.

The older son, even after his return to his father, may still be self-righteous and judgmental. The older son probably still has anger issues.

The older son is likely to continue to stew over things and continue to withhold forgiveness from his wayward brother.

Both sons need to repent and accept God’s forgiveness. Both sons need to change their ways.

Both have begun the process by returning to the father and entering back into relationship with him.

However, this is not a once for all return. They both still have a ways to go. They both still have work to do.

The two sons represent personality types we find among people today. Neither son is perfect and neither are we. All of us go astray in our own way.

The parable of the forgiving father challenges us to look at our own lives to see where the sin lies. Sin is there lurking, seeking to take control of us.

We need to repent and accept God’s forgiveness. We need to change our ways.

Maybe we have begun this process of returning to the Lord God but it is not easy.

Repentance and change are not a one time only decision. The move to return to the father is a one step forward, two steps back kind of thing.

When we slip up, we start again. It’s a difficult journey for us because we want to hold onto our old ways, our old grudges, our old ways of thinking, our old habits, our favorite sins, our old enemies.

But we struggle to make many, many small returns to the Lord.

Like the father in the story, the Lord God waits patiently for us to come to our senses.

Like the father in the story, the Lord God is watching and waiting for our return.

Like the father in the story, the Lord God celebrates us every time we return.