Easter is coming

It is good to be reminded.

Easter is coming
But for many of us, this is not the ultimate reality
There is too much pain and suffering in the world today.
Death has the last word. It would therefore be foolish to say that the life and death of a first century
Jew names Jesus makes a difference.
Why? Might makes right. Power is superior to compassion and despair is stronger than hope.
So I refuse to believe a man can come back from the dead.
Sometimes the most important facts are the hardest to accept.
Resurrection is a false hope.
How can you say an empty tomb changes everything.
Don’t you see “God loves the world” is a lie.
“Money is God” and “The one dies with the most toys wins.”
I will tell you what I tell my children
There is no more to this world that what you can see, hold, and buy.
There is no mystery in everyday life and there is nothing sacred about ordinary things and people
Many of us simply do not believe that God can give life to the dead, bring light from darkness, and create something out of nothing.

But what if the testimony of the woman at the tomb was true? Then
God can give life to the dead, bring light from darkness, and create something out of nothing.
Many of us simply do not believe that There is no mystery in everyday life and there is nothing sacred
about ordinary things and people and There is no more to this world that what you can see, hold, and buy.
I will tell you what I tell my children. “The one dies with the most toys wins.” and “Money is God” is a lie.
Don’t you see an empty tomb changes everything.
A man can come back from the dead.
How can you say Resurrection is a false hope. Sometimes the most important facts are the hardest to accept.
So I refuse to believe despair is stronger than hope. Power is superior to compassion and Might makes right. Why?
The life and death of a first century Jew names Jesus makes a difference.
It would therefore be foolish to say Death has the last word.
There is too much pain and suffering in the world today.
But for many of us, this is not the ultimate reality

Easter is coming

Between death and Resurrection

Good Friday has passed and now it is morning on the second day. And we wait, even as we are busy about things. This morning last vestiges of the sparseness of Lent and Good Friday will give way to the many hands readying our church for the Light of Christ to enter the main doors. And yet we wait.  The Elect and Candidates of RCIA, along with their sponsors are waiting. They too wait. All filled with Hope.

“The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us. For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God… For in hope we were saved. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance.” (Romans 8:16-19, 24-25)

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…and we wait

We wait between the two earthquakes – the ones announcing the death of Jesus and his Resurrection

Jesus cried out again in a loud voice, and gave up his spirit. And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.* The earth quaked, rocks were split” (Mt 27:50-51)

And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it (Mt 28:2)

Between the two earthquakes, there is the silent waiting of Holy Saturday. As Jesus lay in tomb, what was God doing?

As Jim Harnish notes: “Perhaps the silence of Saturday is the reminder that beneath the surface, God is still at work in every dark, deadly, lifeless place to break through the darkness and bring new life. The resurrection means that tomorrow is never just another day!”

It’s not all about you

We say that. We think that. About others and not often charitably. Even about ourselves as a reminder and call to be good. It is the mark of Christ that a person can live with the focus on others, making it all about them because the love of God compels us.

But today is Good Friday. It is all about me, you, all of us. Today is about a people who are fallen, broken, sometimes  lost, cannot save themselves, and are not sure about the way home. It is about a people who were loved into existence, love in their being, and who are doggedly pursued in love. Even if it means that the Word of God will become flesh and “pitch his tent among us.Continue reading

Judas: Spy Wednesday

thirty-pieces-of-silverToday is known as “Spy Wednesday”, a reference to the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot for thirty silver coins. This event is described in the three Synoptic Gospels: Matthew 26:14-16, Mark 14:10-12, Luke 22:3-6. We know that Judas’ betrayal was but part of a larger vortex of events that would lead to Jesus’ arrest, trails, scourging, crucifixion, and death. Only Matthew (Matthew 27:3-6 ) narrates Judas’ own death.

For all this, Judas’ name is synonymous with betrayal, and Dante, in Canto XXXIV of his “Inferno,” places him in the very lowest circle of Hell, being devoured eternally by a three-faced, bat-winged devil. Virtually every image we carry about Judas comes from Dante or a later artistic portrayal of the man – e.g., reddish hair color (Harvey Keitel in “The Last Temptation of Christ”) or his fiery disposition (“Jesus Christ Superstar”). Continue reading

Anointing Jesus’ feet

1 Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.2 They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served, while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him. 3 Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. 4 Then Judas the Iscariot, one (of) his disciples, and the one who would betray him, said, 5 “Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages and given to the poor?” 6 He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions. 7 So Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial. 8 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” 9 (The) large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came, not only because of Jesus, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too, 11 because many of the Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him. Continue reading

Are you ready?

During the recent NCAA basketball tournament, it was interesting to see South Carolina makes its run all the way to the Final Four. The coach, Frank Martin, just seems to me to be a wonderful blend of “old school” and yet able to connect so closely with his players. I can only imagine what his halftime speeches were like. I also suspect they were straight forward – “you’re ready,” “you know what it yours to do.” I am sure there were X’s and O’s, but at the heart of it all, he pointed to the road that brought them to this point in time, he reminded them what they had achieved, that they were prepared, and to now it was time to answer the call. “You are ready!” Continue reading

Passion Sunday: crucified

Crowning-with-Thorns-lowfThe King Is Scourged and Mocked (27:26-31a) The Gospel reading for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion is quite lengthy and so will not be included here. It can be found at the USCCB website.

Where the religious trial ends by mocking Jesus as the Christ, the secular trial ends with Jesus being mocked as king with a scarlet cloak (a soldier’s cape) parodying the emperor’s purple robe, a reed representing a royal scepter, and the crown of thorns. Jesus is thus enthroned as king, and offered the homage of kneeling which a Hellenistic ruler required. In this scene Matthew continues to redefine what kingship means. If this scene is a coronation, then the cross will be the throne. Continue reading

Holy Week – have you tried it?

I have been a Catholic all my life, and yet somehow Holy Week was not part of the landscape of my Catholicism growing up. Years later as an adult I was living in Northern Virginia and worshipping at a church out in a rural town northwest of Washington D.C. The town was in the rolling hills of the Catoctin – the first ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Continue reading