Saturday, May 26, 2018

5/27/18 -- Trinity Sunday

Scripture Readings

The Word of God that we read Sunday after Sunday is a masterpiece of the history of our God wanting a relationship with us.

It was not enough for God the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth, to sit alone in heaven. God the Father desired to be near his creation. God the Father desired to be close to us. 

In the Book of Genesis, we are told that God would visit Adam and Eve in the garden. After the fall, when they were cast out of paradise for their sin of disobedience, God desired all humankind to be redeemed from this sinfulness.

So God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem us, to draw near to us, to walk with us, to love us, to forgive us and to save us. The fullness of God’s blessing comes to us in the person of Jesus.

After Jesus’ death upon the cross, his wondrous resurrection from the dead and his ascension into heaven, God still desired a way to be close to us so God breathed the Holy Spirit upon us.

The Holy Spirit at work in us makes our lives beautiful. The Holy Spirit at work in us refashions us into God’s masterpieces.

We come here to this holy place to hear the voice of God speaking to us:

The voice of God the Father saying, “I love you so much that I created you and I cannot possibly imagine my creation without you.”

The voice of God the Son saying, “I love you so much that I died on the cross to redeem you from every sinful choice you have ever made and will ever make. I am yours and you are mine.”

The voice of God the Holy Spirit saying, “I love you so much that I come and dwell in you so that you remain in my love and I remain in you.”

We are blessed because God the Father created us.
We are blessed because God the Son redeems us.
We are blessed because God the Holy Spirit lives in us.

Through the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, we receive adoption, we belong to God, God claims us and his own, we are God’s children. The Holy Trinity of God with us always until the end of the age.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

5/20/18 -- Pentecost

Scripture Readings

In the Book of Genesis, the activity of the Holy Spirit is inseparable from the work of God. It is the Spirit that is hovering over creation bring order from chaos. The Spirit is the very breath that gives life to humanity. 

In the Book of Exodus, it is the Spirit who engraves the stone tablets at Mt. Sinai

There are examples of the Holy Spirit at work throughout the Old Testament. The Holy Spirit takes possession of Gideon. The Spirit grants Samson extraordinary strength.

The Judges settle disputes, answer questions, solve problems and comfort people all through the power and working of the Holy Spirit.

The Prophet Isaiah tells us that the Spirit anoints the Servant of God. Other prophets are filled with the Holy Spirit as they announce the coming of the long awaited Messiah, the consolation of Israel.

Zechariah, Elizabeth, Simeon and Anna are not surprised when the Son of God becomes flesh in the womb of a virgin through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit.

John the Baptist announces that the coming Messiah will baptize with the Holy Spirit and when he baptizes Jesus in the Jordan River, the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus in the form of a dove. 

It is that very Spirit that drove Jesus into the desert wilderness where he fasted and prayed for forty days.

At Pentecost the Holy Spirit comes upon Mary and the Apostles in the Upper Room as tongues of fire.

Even today the Spirit still moves, sometimes in a gentle whisper and sometimes as a roaring wind which we hear, but cannot tell from where it comes or where it is going.

The Holy Spirit purifies, illuminates, cleanses, refreshes, consoles, heals, strengthen and anoints. The Holy Spirit gives the gifts of peace, hope and love.

The Holy Spirit is omniscient, eternal and holy. The Holy Spirit teaches, testifies, judges, witnesses, intercedes, reveals, speaks and glorifies God.

The Holy Spirit is the way that the Holy Trinity of God touches and transforms over lives today. 

And so at this Eucharist, we call down the Holy Spirit to transform simple gifts of bread and wine into the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus.

This Eucharistic miracle makes us sharers in the divine life Jesus offers. 

And so we call down the Spirit to hover over us, to fill us, to comfort us and to enlighten us so that we have the grace and the strength and the courage to become the children God is calling us to be.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

5/11/18 -- Ascension

Scripture Readings

You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and to the end of the earth. Be my witnesses. How? How can we be witnesses to the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ?

We think that being a witness to Jesus must be an extraordinary thing reserved for priests or nuns or saints. But nothing could be further from the truth. 

Usually witnessing to Jesus is not something incredibly difficult. We don’t have to discern for years. We don’t have to ask again and again. “What is Jesus asking of me?”

We simply have to do what we are supposed to do; by living our everyday lives with honesty and integrity; by being people who live with faith, hope and love in our hearts, and with generosity and charity in our actions.

Even though Jesus has ascended and is seated at the right hand of God the Father, the presence of Jesus is powerfully at work in our world through good people like you and me; people who are inspired by the inner promptings of the Holy Spirit.

Witnessing to Jesus Christ in our everyday lives means choosing hope over despair, generosity over greed, and mercy over vengeance.

Witnessing to Jesus Christ in our everyday lives means choosing kindness over cruelty, compassion over judgment, and love over hatred.

Witnessing to Jesus Christ in our everyday lives means choosing life over death. This is how we bear witness.

Jesus calls us to witness to our brothers and sisters. Jesus calls us to witness to our friends and to our coworkers. Jesus calls us to witness to our spouses, to our children and grandchildren not in some extraordinary, heroic way, but in our everyday actions.

Yes, some are called to witness in heroic ways. But the vast majority of us are called to witness with the everyday events of our lives by becoming the beautiful, loving, and caring people Jesus has called us to be.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

5/6/18 -- 6th Sunday of Easter

Scripture Readings

John Robert Fox was a first lieutenant during the second world war. He was directing artillery fire in Italy when a large German force moved on his position. Fox called a final artillery strike on himself. His body was found next to hundreds of dead German troops.

Arland Williams was a passenger on Air Florida Flight 90 when it smashed into a frozen lake. Twenty minutes later a helicopter arrived to rescue survivors. After getting one man to safety, Arland gave the life ring to the passenger next to him. 

The helicopter came back a third time, and again Arland gave the ring to someone else. When the helicopter came back again, Arland was dead.

When Ryan Arnold’s brother Chad needed a liver transplant, Ryan immediately checked to see if he was a compatible donor. Ryan died following the procedure but the transplant was a success ensuring that his brother Chad would live.

Gianna Molla was pregnant with her fourth child when doctors discovered a cancerous tumor that needed to be removed. 
The surgery would mean her unborn child would not survive. She wanted her baby to live. Gianna died seven days after her baby girl was born.

Maximilian Kolbe was a Polish Franciscan priest who was arrested and imprisoned during the German occupation of Poland. When ten prisoners escaped, ten more were randomly chosen to starve to death. Father Kolbe volunteered to die at Auschwitz in the place of a stranger.

When the floods ravaged the Philippians in 2009, 18 year old Muelmar Magallanes decided that if nature was going to kill people, it would have to get through him. He tied a rope to his waist and rescued his entire family. Then he rescued his neighbors and then his other neighbors. 

Exhausted after rescuing as many as two dozen people, Muelmar saw a mother and baby being dragged by the current. With no regard for danger he lept once more into the water to rescue the mother and child before finally succumbing to the current.

Their lives were just as precious as yours and mine. Their lives were cut short by a decision to love. They were all ordinary folks testifying to the extraordinary power of love.

Not the “I love pizza” or “I love ice cream” or “I love New York” kind of love. Nope. The “Jesus” kind of love. The “I would give my life for you” kind of love. The “God” kind of love. The love that gives without counting the cost. 

Saint John says, “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God.”

Love that gives without counting the cost is of God.

Love that sacrifices itself for another is of God.

Jesus loves us so much that he sacrifices himself for us.

Jesus calls down artillery upon himself to save us. Jesus hands us the life ring every time. Jesus ties a rope around his waist and rescues us from the ravaging flood. 

Jesus dies is Auschwitz again and again in someone’s place. Jesus doesn’t just give part of his liver; Jesus gives us his very body and blood. 

Jesus calls us to love with this kind of love, a love that sacrifices itself for another. This I command you: love one another.