Which way?

EDIT Yo Soy El CaminoRecently I listened to a podcast from The Commonwealth Club that truly captivated my mind and spirit. In this particular episode, Krista Tippett, the host of On Being was interviewed by Rev. Alan Jones. It was spectacular, so much so that I am on my second listen.

There are so many things that I am pondering about this episode, but the entire undercurrent for me is questioning who we are and where we are headed as a people. This has been on my mind already because I have been so deeply unhappy about our political situation at large. The program got me thinking further about which way I think we are headed.

One of the topics addressed by Tippett was the development of inner and outer lives, and how material wealth and poverty drive those lives – or don’t drive them. Of course, the cultivation of inner lives is not something truly valued in our American culture. I suppose that is why we value Continue reading

Invited guests and stretched hearts

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All are welcome – that’s the idea anyway.

Imagine that you are invited to a great banquet, a sumptuous feast, a life changing event that you never imagined that you would attend. Maybe you wanted to attend, maybe you swore you would never go to such a thing, but whatever the case, you find yourself getting ready to enter. As you approach, someone greets you, but you notice they are looking you up and down in a way that makes you deeply uncomfortable. You were told that the host of the vent welcomed all people, yet now you are not so sure.

As you proceed, another person stops you and asks for your credentials. Suddenly you loose your emotional footing – you wonder what’s going on. You have your invitation, and it appears to express that you are welcome at any time, so you’re not sure what might be wrong.

While others stream in through the great doors, you and some others are asked to step to the side while these so-called greeters meet. You see them looking over at your ever growing group, and talking. You may feel Continue reading

What should we do?

He said to them in reply, “Give them some food yourselves.” But they said to him, “Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food and give it to them to eat?” -Mark 6:37

Why doesn’t God take care of…. go ahead, fill in the blank – there are many questions. We all have them – at least if we’re honest we acknowledge that we do. Maybe we pretend we don’t wonder why God is not taking care of something that seems obvious to us. Already the flaws in THAT kind of interpretation are very clear. Even those who were closest to Jesus had questions. In today’s Gospel from Mark  Jesus clearly Continue reading

An invitation

act-in-faith-not-fear(This reflection is on the readings for the day before Advent begins, the very last day of the liturgical year, and appears in Give Us This Day. Please see the end of the post for further details.)

Our world seems to run on the fuel of fear. Simply watching or reading the news can fill our tanks with enough anxiety-provoking material to keep us running for days. Work and family concerns, fretfulness over jobs and money, disquiet about health, and apprehension over other things can turn us into nervous wrecks. Constant worry is exhausting, and that exhaustion typically leads to more angst.

Jesus offers a clear warning that might be easy for anxious people to miss. Do we think we’re off the hook because we are not out “carousing” or getting drunk? Not so fast. It seems that the “anxieties of daily life” are on the watch list as well, and that is a net likely to catch many.

It could be easy to take Jesus’ words Continue reading

What kind of king?

What-kind-of-king-willA good friend who is a college professor called me recently; she expressed frustration about issues around plagiarism and cheating. As she described the scenario to me, I heard two things; the student appeared to be somewhat defensive, and my friend was ready to lay down the law, hard. Curious about the power dynamics, I asked her about what might happen if, instead of starting with force, what if she began with a question.  If nothing else, my friend would gain the element of surprise, as the student was likely geared for a fight. Skeptical, but open, she agreed.

A few days later she texted me, reporting that the meeting went Continue reading

Be bold, fear not

hqdefaultSir, here is your gold coin; I kept it stored away in a handkerchief, for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding manLuke 19:20-21

God has given all of us treasure to watch over. What do you do with ours? Do we find ways to put that treasure into the world, so that it may multiply? Or do we hold on to it out of fear of doing something incorrect with it?

Our treasure can come in the form of riches, talent or ability, or simply time.  Do we do nothing, or very little, because we are we afraid of displeasing God more than we are invested in serving God?

Today’s Gospel has a simple message enfolded in the words of the parable… Be bold, fear not. Use what God has left in our care, make it multiply. This is not meant to be taken in a literal way, suggesting that it is simply about money. This goes deeper, much deeper. It is about the depths of our hearts.

Maybe the real message is this. Go into the world today. Be bold, fear not. How can we do this in our world full of fear and terror? Or perhaps the better question is this – how can we not do this in our world full of fear and terror.

Let us all pray to discern and make good choices today, even if they seem to be in the smallest of steps. Be bold in Jesus’ name, fear not. It is only in this way the treasure multiplies, always in, and through, and for God.

Who can accept it?

Accept ButtonYes, it is Monday, but I am still stuck on Sunday’s Gospel from John that began like this:

Many of Jesus’disciples who were listening said,
“This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this,
he said to them, “Does this shock you?

My mind Continue reading

Ping

Alexandr_Ivanov_015This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” These words travel from the mouth of God and are meant for Peter, James, and John after they experience the transfigured Christ in today’s Gospel from Mark. The heart of the Word of God expresses the command to listen – but like our disciple friends, we are not always so good at it. We love to say “yes, of course, yes” to God, and then carry on with our own ideas and plans, just like the disciples. They were ready to build a shrine or monument to what they had just witnessed, seemingly without having truly appropriated what had happened. Maybe that is why God cleared God’s throat and spoke very plainly. “AHEM! Guys! Yo, listen up. Which part of listen to him did you not understand?Continue reading

Justify my hate…

pray-for-your-enemiesFrom the Gospel today, and continuing into tomorrow…

“You have heard that it was said,‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on (your) right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles.Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Your hatred is not the problem, OUR hatred is.

Your hatred is not the problem, OUR hatred is.

We shoot one another.
We have no respect for the environment.
We often have no respect for Pope Francis.
We might have had no respect for Pope Benedict XVI either, and he was environmentally inclined as well.
We often don’t pay people enough to live.
We have no tolerance for one another.
We are vitriolic towards one another.
We feel entitled to our “things,” because we “earned” them.
We put people to death.
We bomb children.
We starve people.

How are we doing? Do we justify our own hate?

Called by name

Catacomb_of_Priscilla-Good-Shepherd-295x300“The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”
John 10:3, From Sunday’s Gospel

Everyone has been moved by the story of the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls. Abducted by members of terrorist organization, Boko Haram, the story told us of 267 (the number has varied) girls. Horrifying.

Then a priest friend posted this link on my Facebook page the other day, asking for prayers for the girls by name – and I thought of was the upcoming Gospel for Sunday.

10312416_10202989629515392_5516044536055746652_nJesus is Continue reading