Saturday, March 25, 2017

03-26-2017 -- 4th Sunday of Lent, Year A

Mar. 26, 2017 - 4th Sunday of Lent, Year A 
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church

The blind man’s eyes are opened. He was once in complete and total darkness and now he can see. His world has opened up.

He now interacts with everything and everyone around him in a different way. His is now a world of new experiences.

Our physical sight is so important. It’s one of the main ways that we interact with the world around us. And yet we take it for granted.

The blind man’s life is forever changed because he can now see. If we look more carefully, we discover that there is something even more important happening in his life.

He now sees with the eyes of faith. The Pharisees question him about the one who healed him, “What do you have to say about him?” His answer is insightful, “He is a prophet.”

The man who was blind and now sees recognizes that the one who made him whole, the one who healed him, comes from God.

I do believe, Lord.

Notice if you will that the healing takes place on the Sabbath, the Lord’s day. This is not by chance, but by divine design.

While our physical sight is so important, we are healed on the Lord’s day. We are given our sight on the Lord’s day.

We bow down and worship on the Lord’s day. We say, “I believe” when we recite the creed on the Lord’s day.

What are we looking to see with our eyes of faith?

Are we looking to see Jesus present in the Eucharist? I can only see with the eyes of faith that Jesus is truly present in the bread and wine.

Are we looking to see Jesus present in the minister at the altar? This can be difficult. I can only with the eyes of faith that Jesus is present in the priest who stands “in persona Christi,” in the place of Christ.

Are we looking to see Jesus present in the congregation? I can only see with the eyes of faith that Jesus is present in each and every person who is here.

Seeing with the eyes of faith changes everything. We begin to see Jesus present in others and begin to treat them with greater respect and greater charity.

The man born blind is now healed and made whole. He can see with eyes of faith. He now interacts with everyone and everything is a different way. This has led to his belief that Jesus is the Son of God.

As we begin to see with eyes of faith, a whole new world opens up to us. And our newfound faith and belief in Jesus as the Son of God takes us out of darkness and into the light of day.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

03-19-2017 -- 3rd Sunday of Lent, Year A

Mar. 19, 2017 - 3rd Sunday of Lent, Year A 
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church

The woman is filled with want and desire. She knows something is missing in her life. There is a void that she is trying to fill. She is lonely.

She is trying to quench that need. So she goes to the well at midday. Women did not go to the well at midday. It was too hot. They went in the morning when it was cool.

What was she looking for at the well at midday? An eighth husband perhaps? Or yet another companion who is not her husband?

What signals does she send? What does her body language say? What kind of first impression does she make? What were the people in the village saying about her?

Maybe she was too ashamed to come to the well with the other women. Maybe they shunned her or whispered about her just loud enough for her to hear.

Maybe she was an outcast because of the manner in which she chose to deal with the wants and desires in her life.

People can be judgy, you know. Had they condemned her? Or dismissed her? Or talked about her so that her reputation was tarnished beyond repair?

She was a Samaritan and an adulteress. Jesus was a Jew and single. Typically, Jews hated Samaritans and men Jesus’ age were married.

She fully expected Jesus to either condemn or dismiss her. But Jesus doesn’t do what she expects.

Jesus accepts her. Jesus treats her with respect. Jesus patiently shows her that he can fill those wants and desires in a way that she doesn’t expect.

“The water I give becomes a spring welling up to eternal life.” “Sir I know the Messiah is coming.” “I am he.”

We are either like the Samaritan woman or we are like the judgy town folk.

On the one hand we might be trying to fill our wants and desires in some pretty unhealthy ways.

Or on the other we might be judging others for their shortcomings.

In either case, the Lord Jesus offers us another way.

We are flawed. We have weaknesses. With the Lord there is kindness and fullness of redemption. With the Lord there is acceptance and forgiveness for past failings and shortcomings. With the Lord there is love and a longing to fill our emptiness.

In the midday heat of life, the Lord Jesus offers us a cool refreshing drink of water to quench our thirst.

As a result of the Samaritan woman’s testimony many more sinners came to Jesus finding acceptance and healing. Many more had their thirst quenched with a tall glass of refreshing eternal water.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

03-12-2017 -- 2nd Sunday of Lent, Year A

Mar. 12, 2017 - 2nd Sunday of Lent, Year A 
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church

In one week we’ve moved from Temptation to Transfiguration. Jesus calls us up the mountain to witness the Transfiguration.

To transfigure is to change, more specifically, to change the outside to match the inside. In the Transfiguration, Jesus’ outside is changed so that it matches the inside.

We get a glimpse of Jesus’ divinity. We get a glimpse of what it means to be the Son of God. The human form is transformed giving us a peek into heaven.

The message is clear: Jesus the man is also Jesus, the Son of God. This has an impact on our lives. It changes us.

For Peter, James and John, it is a special moment in time with Jesus. God shows them a vision of heaven.

We all need that special moment with Jesus. We all need that Transfiguration moment. It helps us understand who Jesus is.

This is important so that we can place greater trust in the Lord. This is important so that we can listen to Jesus with confidence.

It also helps us realize that we all need to work on transforming our outsides to match our insides.

But here’s the thing: We can’t make that special moment with Jesus happen. Only Jesus can. We can pray for it to happen. We can hope for it to happen. We can listen. We can watch. We can wait. Wait for it. Wait.

And when it happens, we have to realize it is only a moment. They all had to come down from the mountain and live in the real world.

There were many joys and sufferings to come. The Last Supper, the Agony in the Garden, the arrest, the trial, the Cross, the Resurrection.

There was the going forth to proclaim to all the world what Jesus had done for them. The Transfiguration gave them the strength to stand up and to not be afraid.

God says to us: Listen to my son Jesus. Are we listening to Jesus?

If we are, we can discover that what Paul says in his letter to Timothy is absolutely true.

The Lord is calling us to a holy life. The Lord is calling us to let our outsides match our insides. And to help us, the Book of Genesis says that the Lord blesses us.

The Lord blesses me so that I can be a blessing. The Lord blesses you so that you can be a blessing.

Are we listening to Jesus, he is telling us how he wants us to be a blessing for one another.

We pray for a transfiguration. We watch for Jesus to be at work in our daily lives. We listen. We hope. We pray. We wait.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

03-05-2017 -- 1st Sunday of Lent, Year A

Mar. 05, 2017 - 1st Sunday of Lent, Year A 
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church

Adam is disobedient. He and his wife Eve commit a transgression. Their transgression is an act of disobedience that leads them into a world of sin. And sin leads to death.

The Serpent tempts and temptation touches us. So now the beauty of God’s creation is marred by sin and death. The Serpent is cunning. And we are easily tricked.

Jesus faces this same temptation as well. But unlike Adam, Jesus is not disobedient. Jesus is obedient. When temptation touches him he acts with righteousness.

This righteous act leads to forgiveness for our sins. The loving and righteous act of obedience restores creation.  

Jesus brings us God’s life. Jesus offers us God’s love. Jesus restores God’s creation. This is a tremendous gift, but sin is still a real problem.

People give in to temptation all the time. People sin. And all of our sins combined make the world a mess. Sin makes people miserable. Sin mars God’s creation.

When temptation touches our lives, how do we respond? After we’ve given into temptation, we have a tendency to mope around feeling sorry for ourselves. I am nobody. I can’t do anything right. I’m so stupid. I mess up everything

Of course, doing this is not helpful. So let us look to Jesus for another way. Jesus encourages us to push forward rather than to continue wallowing in our past sins.

How does Jesus respond to temptation?

To the first temptation of hunger and want and desire, Jesus responds with the Word of God.

The Word of God is found most clearly in our Scriptures. Reading the Bible helps us grow in our knowledge and wisdom of the Lord. When we read the Bible, God’s words sink into our hearts.

To the second temptation of a lack of trust or of blaming God because we ate the forbidden fruit, Jesus responds by saying you shall not test the God. You shall trust God.

Trusting God begins by accepting that we are God’s children, God created us and cares deeply about what happens to us. When we trust God, we come to believe that God has a plan for us that is beyond anything we could imagine.

To the third temptation of to have power and control and attention.    Jesus responds with worship. You shall worship and serve God alone.

Sunday Mass is our primary way to worship God. Is it the most important thing we do it week? It should be. When we worship God alone, the mass becomes an expression of joy, an expression of love.

Adam and Eve forget that God’s fingerprints are all over them. God fashioned them and filled their nostrils with breath.

But they give in to the tempter. We do too. But not Jesus. Jesus, by acting in a righteous way, is rewriting our story.

Jesus calls us to be faithful to God’s word. Jesus invites us to begin to trust in God again. And Jesus asks us to worship God alone.

And with that the devil departs from us and the angels come to minister to us.