This is a blog that I post to several times a week although not necessarily daily. These reflections are triggered by the scripture found in the lectionary used by many Christian denominations. While I am part of the Catholic tradition, these posts are not --or rarely--sectarian. I try to put myself in the space of a of Jesus Christ and listen to words that come to me as I read and pray the scriptures. Each post also includes a photograph. These rarely have any connection to the content of the post but are simply pleasing images that I capture as I make my pilgrimage through life.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The dawn is about to break.

"In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace."
Luke 1:79

This final sentence from Luke's gospel for Christmas Eve is a lovely summary of the Incarnation. This is a part of the Benedictus said by Zechariah at the circumcision of his son, John the Baptist. The Benedictus is said everyday in the Divine Office at the conclusion of morning prayer.

This refers to breaking into human existence of the Divine One. It refers to the Incarnation of the divine into the fully human, Jesus the Christ. But most importantly it refers to those of us who profess to be baptized disciples of Jesus the Christ. We are members of the Body of Christ which is just another way of saying that we are Christ. We are to be that dawn breaking on high that will bring light to those in darkness and peace to those who live in fear.

Am I up to the task? Can I risk commitment to that task knowing that I will fail. It helps to remember the prayer attributed to Oscar Romero.
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Location:Charissa Run,Rochester,United States

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Can it be that each of us is chosen?

2-5 At that time there was a man named Manoah from Zorah from the tribe of Dan. His wife was barren and childless. The angel of God appeared to her and told her, “I know that you are barren and childless, but you’re going to become pregnant and bear a son. But take much care: Drink no wine or beer; eat nothing ritually unclean. You are, in fact, pregnant right now, carrying a son. No razor will touch his head—the boy will be God’s Nazirite from the moment of his birth. He will launch the deliverance from Philistine oppression.” Judges 13:2-7

This is the beginning of the story of Samson in the Hebrew Scriptures, one of the Bible stories I remember well from my time in Catholic grade school. Today's gospel provides a parallel account of the miraculous conception of John the Baptist. There are many other similar stories in the Hebrew Scripture about the divinely caused conception of people important to the establishment of the Reign of God flowing out of the covenant. This reaches its apex with the account of the birth of Jesus, the very incarnation of the Divine One in a human being.

But what does all this have to do with me? Every birth is miraculous and is an incarnation of Godself into the world. Each of us is chosen to prepare the way for all humans to accept the entry of the Divine One into their lives. I am chosen to live my life in way that gives evidence of that acceptance and that makes clear that a life lived out of the spirit of the Divine One is a life of fulness and joy, lived out in the actual world of messiness, disorder, sadness, and evil and the actual world of peace, joy, love, and compassion. Each of us is chosen.
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Location:Charissa Run,Rochester,United States

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Peace of Christ surpassing all understanding

Brothers and sisters:
Rejoice in the Lord always.
I shall say it again: rejoice!
Your kindness should be known to all.
The Lord is near.
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7

These words take on added significance in light of the mass killings at Newtown CN on December 14, 2012. Human understanding cannot make any sense of what happened there. And yet our very divine humanness yearns for some kind of understanding, something that makes sense out of the senseless.

Last week before that tragedy I posted the following on Facebook: "Because there is evil in the world does not mean there is no grace. Because there is grace in the world does not mean there is no evil. My challenge is to confront both realities within myself." These words ring more true now than when I wrote them.

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Location:Charissa Run,Rochester,United States

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Can I believe in a non-judgmental Divine One?

Jesus said to his disciples:
"What is your opinion?
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray,
will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills
and go in search of the stray?
And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it
than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.
In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father
that one of these little ones be lost."
Matthew 18:12-14

Can I really believe in a Divine One who is totally consumed with bringing everyone including those who transgress into the community of love of the Trinity? The test of my belief, my faith is whether I can exhibit that same divine love toward those in my life, especially those who transgress, who have hurt me, who manipulate me, who wish me harm.
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Location:Charissa Run,Rochester,United States

Monday, December 10, 2012

Which is easier to say?

"What are you thinking in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,'
or to say, 'Rise and walk?'
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins?"
he said to the one who was paralyzed,
"I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home."
Luke 5

This the familiar story of the paralyzed man whose friends lowered him through the roof of house so that he might present his need directly to Jesus. His first response is to forgive the man his sins which scandalizes the Scribes and Pharisees to whom he was speaking. He then asks that question and cures the man of his paralysis.

It was commonly thought at the time that there was a relationship between spiritual purity--lack of sins and obedience to the purity laws--and physical health. If one became ill especially with any chronic disease, people thought that the cause was personal sinfulness or impurity. From this passage at least, Jesus apparently thought so as well. The resulting emphasis on personal sin as the focus of a spiritual life has been a consistent part of the Christian tradition.

Paul saw things differently and emphasized not sin but fullness of life and faith. Our lack of sins did not save us but rather faith in Jesus the Christ and the resulting life behaviors that flowed from that faith. Faith, not rectitude with regard to laws, saves us.
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Location:Charissa Run,Rochester,United States