The boat of our life is far from land right now. The night is dark, the waves are high, and the wind is strong. There is every reason to be afraid but I don’t want to live in fear and I don’t want you to either. I want us to see the light that shines in the darkness of this night, a light the darkness cannot overcome. I want us to hear the waves slapping against the bottom of Jesus’ feet as he walks toward us. I want us to feel the wind of change. I want us to make room in the boat for Jesus.
What do you think Sarah would have said if Abraham had told her his plans? Do you think she would have shared his certitude? Picture Abraham coming to Sarah and saying, “Let me tell you what God told me. Isaac and I are gong on a little trip. …” It’s not hard to imagine that she would have had a few things to say to Abraham. What would you have said to him? And why didn’t he tell Sarah his plans? Why didn’t he tell Isaac? Why didn’t he tell the two young men he took with him up the mountain? If Abraham was willing to question, and argue and negotiate with God over the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah why would he not do so for his own son, his only son, whom he loves? What parent here today wouldn’t do that? What parent wouldn’t at least say, “Take me instead?”
Who would you be if you ever became fully yourself? What new possibilities might arise? How would your relationships change? What fears would disappear? How do you imagine your life would be different?
The sword Jesus brings is the sword of separation. It is neither a rejection of family and relationships nor is it destructive of life. Rather, Jesus’ sword of separation is generative of life and relationships. It unbinds, frees, and brings about the separateness necessary for growing up and finding life.
Trinity Sunday, Year A: Matthew 28:16-20 “They worshipped him; but some doubted” (Matthew 28:17). That’s not a bad place to begin a sermon on Trinity Sunday. That little phrase from today’s gospel (Matthew 28:16-20) seems to me an authentic and accurate description of what often happens when we approach this God whom the Church tells…
“Do not let your hearts be troubled,” Jesus says. “Do not let your hearts be troubled?” Are you kidding me? Is Jesus really serious about that? Does he know what is happening in our lives and our world? How can Jesus say that with a straight face when he was troubled at seeing Mary and the Jews weeping at the death of Lazarus (John 11:33), when he said that his own “soul is troubled” (John 12:27), and when St. John tells us that Jesus “was troubled in spirit” (John 13:21)? What is Jesus telling us? It’s not as if there is an on-off switch for troubled hearts.
Easter 4A – John 10:1-10 “Jesus used this figure of speech with them but they did not understand what he was saying to them” (John 10:6) Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever listened to the gospel reading and then said to yourself, “What is he talking about?” Have you ever read a…
Rarely does the gospel tell us what to do or believe. Rarely does it give us a straight answer. And today’s gospel (Luke 24:13-35), the road to Emmaus story, is no different. It doesn’t give us answers. It raises questions and invites reflection. It’s a map by which we orient and find ourselves. It reveals intersections of Jesus’ life and our lives. It begs to be recognized as a story about our lives, and it is a story with which we are familiar. It is a story of shattering and restoration.
If your life has ever been shattered then this is your story. If your life has ever been restored then this is your story. And if you’ve ever been in that in between place, between shattering and restoration, then this is your story.
I wonder, one week after Easter, what has Christ’s resurrection done for us? Is your life different? Do you see and engage the world in new ways? What difference has the empty tomb made in your life over the last week? When I look at my life it looks a whole like it did last Sunday, the week before, and the week before that. And when I look at the world it looks pretty much the same as before.