Saturday, August 12, 2017

08-13-17 -- 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Aug 13, 2017 - 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A 
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church

We like to see things. We like to go see parades. We stand on the side of the road waiting for the parade to pass by. There is excitement and anticipation as we wait. We like to go to sports events and concerts.

We also have this desire to go see the aftermath of a natural disaster. How many of you went riding around to see the damage from last year’s historic flood?

The Lord says to the Prophet Elijah, “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the Lord, the Lord will be passing by.”

We go outside to see the storm or the heavy wind or the hurricane. We see the fires out west and the summer storms on the evening news.

But this is not how we get to see the Lord. Elijah discovered that the Lord is not in those things. The Lord is not in the wind. The Lord is not in the earthquake. The Lord is not in the fire.

In the Gospel, Jesus is not in the storm. Jesus is above the storm. Jesus is beyond the storm. Jesus is more powerful than the storm.

So it should not surprise us when Jesus comes walking on the water. The Lord is in the calm. The Lord is in the quiet. The Lord is in the tiniest whispering sound.

You know what that means? It is easy to see the parade. It is easy to go to the concert. It is easy to go outside and experience the rainstorm. But it is harder to find the Lord.

The Lord is not in the storm or the earth or the fire or the parade. The Lord is in the tiniest whispering sound.

Often, like the disciples, we are overwhelmed by the storms of life. We are frightened by the storms of life. We are terrified by the rough winds. We are rocked by the waves. We feel like we will drown.

Jesus invites us out of the safety of the boat. Come out into the storm. Come out onto the water.

Can we step out in courage to follow the Lord? Like Peter, we must muster every bit of strength, every bit of courage and step out into the storm to get to Jesus. It can be frightening.

Jesus is there, inviting us. Come to me. Come be with me.

When we realize how strong the winds of those storms of life really are and that we are beginning to sink, we must cry out, “Lord save me.”

And immediately Jesus stretches out his hand to catch us.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

08-06-17 -- The Transfiguration, Year A

Aug 6, 2017 - The Transfiguration, Year A 
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church

In 2001, I attended the Saint George Trek at Philmont Scout Ranch in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. During that 10 day, 100 mile trek, my crew climbed the highest peak on the ranch, Mount Baldy, at 6,000 feet above sea level.

At that altitude breathing becomes difficult and there is a sort of euphoria upon reaching the top. Mount Tabor is 1,900 feet above sea level. While not nearly as high as Mount Baldy, it is still a difficult climb to the top with an impressive view.

It took work for Jesus, Peter, James and John to get up there. Upon reaching the top they would have been winded at the very least.

It is there that they see the Divine, flames of fire, a lamp shining in the darkness, Jesus transfigured before their very eyes.

The voice from heaven gives the command, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”

We do lots of talking. We also do lots of listening. And there are so many different voices vying for our time and attention.

There are the talking heads on TV, there is Cajun Dorris on YouTube, there is Donald Trump on Twitter. Kids today have ear buds or headsets on all the time.

While we like to do lots of talking and an even greater amount of listening, I suspect we spend very little time discerning the credibility of the voices we listen to.

All those voice drown out the voice of Jesus, the beloved Son. To listen to Jesus we must be still, we must be quiet and we must stop talking.

Are we taking much time to listen to Jesus? If we are honest we probably aren’t doing too much of that. And then we wonder why life goes all wrong.

We have this tendency to blame God for all our misfortunes. But how can we do that when we weren’t even listening in the first place?

When we listen, we hear something new. I love you. You are mine. This is a message of adoption. You are my beloved son, you are my beloved daughter. With you I am well pleased.

Are we climbing the Mountain of the Lord? That’s the only way to see the Divine, the flames of fire, a lamp shining in the darkness, Jesus transfigured before our very eyes.

And we are given the command, “This is my beloved Son, listen to him.” Are we listening to the beloved Son? Discipleship takes effort. It takes listening and seeing and climbing.

As we climb and see and listen we are transformed and come to understand that we are God’s children, that we belong, that we are loved.