Monthly Archives: April, 2015

5th Sunday of Easter, cycle B

1st Reading – The Acts of the Apostles 9: 26-31

Luke uses the disbelief of the community to stress just how radical Saul’s/Paul’s transformation is.  The Lord’s work is revealed through events that ‘upset’ human expectation.  As always, Luke presents God as the ultimate Surprise.  We as church can have difficulty keeping up with such a God – unless like the gospel suggests we stay rooted in God – and allow God to remain in us. (Birmingham, W& W Wkbk for Yr B, 384-385)

For Paul’s version of his conversion and later visit to Jerusalem, read Galatians 1:11-24.

Reflect on the friendship of Paul and Barnabas.  The other apostles were afraid of Paul until Barnabas stood up for him.  It was after this support that they began to see the change in Paul and be confident enough to send him on to Tarsus (possibly his hometown).  Then we learn how the church is built up because of the Holy Spirit.  Aren’t these related?  When we free ourselves from our fear, it allows the Holy Spirit to work wonders, within us and through us.  When we have spiritual friends to stand with us, we are strengthened and nourished in a deeply moving way.  Mary DeTurris Poust in Walking Together says, “…when we focus our hearts, minds, and spirits on loving God and serving others….suddenly – or maybe not so suddenly – our innate human inclination to protect and preserve our own well-being starts to open up in a way that reveals a softness, a generosity, a desire to give rather than to get,” (p, 24-25).  Do you find this to be true in your life?

2nd Reading – 1 John 3: 18-24

Although this letter can be repetitious and fragmented in many ways, today’s reading has an emerging theme: Christians can be assured of ‘salvation’ if they follow the command to love one another.  Our two primary concerns as Christians must be to love the Lord and to love one another.  Evidence of our relationship with God, God’s indwelling within us, will be how we live this in our everyday lives.  (Birmingham, W& W Wkbk for Yr B, 386)

Our life of faith must bear fruit in love and service – words are empty shams and lies when our lives do not live out our words.  Love is action that embodies the truth. But we are also assured that God is “greater than our hearts and all is known to God.” This is our hope. God know our sins and weaknesses but also our longings and intentions that go too often unfulfilled. If we can stay united to the Vine and trust this source of life – then all that happens can bring forth good fruit. As Mother Teresa once said , God does not demand our success; God wants our faithfulness.  (Celebration, May 2000)

The Gospel – John 15: 1-8

The verb, which is translated “to abide with” or “to stay with” or “to remain”

is used more than 67 times in the Gospel and the Letters of John.  Why do you think that this verb was so important? How is it important to you?

The people of Israel saw the vine and its branches as an apt symbol for themselves and their relationship with God. One of the ‘glories’ of the temple was a great golden vine upon the front of the Holy Place. Jesus saw in this image his own relationship with God and with us. Perhaps it was the one sturdy branch which gives life to so many branches or the intertwining of the branches, the gnarled and twisted way in which the vine grows, that spoke to Jesus. Or, perhaps he wanted to remind us that there are many pathways to growth: as united believers we need our share of curves, bumps and detours to produce the Spirit’s fruits. (Celebration, May, 2000)

John’s gospel in this passage is a profound expression of God’s love for his people.  Jesus is the ‘sacrament’ of this love:  the real, tangible, touchable expression of the Father’s love for us.  In the person of Jesus of Nazareth we can come to know the face and care of this God of love.  Jesus desires nothing more than that we be united in him as he is with the Father — to “remain in God and God in us.”  Jesus is our way home. Jesus reveals God, and the church is called to reveal and be Jesus.  We need to live and experience this love in our community, in the liturgy, in the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist.  Love forgives a multitude of sins.  We need to examine where love is lacking in our parishes. M. Birmingham, Word and Worship Workbook for Year B, 387-388

For a vine regular pruning is necessary in order to achieve maximum fruitfulness. Dead branches must be removed to preserve the vitality of the vine. As this pruning produces new tiny tender green tendrils they reach out in all directions from the vine. Gradually these tendrils develop into sturdy branches that allow the vine to flourish. Henri Nouwen says that this image of the ‘healthy need’ for pruning might help us to gain a new perspective on growth and suffering. With the ‘sap’ of Jesus’ Spirit flowing into us the painful rejections and loneliness and difficulties of our lives can become a means of growth as they prune away that which is not life-giving so that we grow closer to the One who is.   (Celebration, May, 2000 & 2006)

4th Sunday of Easter, cycle B

1st  Reading – The Acts of the Apostles  4: 8-12

Acts show us just how radically Jesus’ followers have been transformed by His risen presence.  Before, fear ruled their behavior; now they are courageous. They boldly proclaim Christ crucified and risen; in that process they too enter into the cycle of dying and rising.  Only the power of the risen Christ and his Spirit could bring about such a profound change in their lives. (Birmingham, W& W Workbook, 376)

The word for cornerstone in Greek could be more correctly translated as the head of a corner or the capstone or keystone. When building arches, Romans first constructed the two sides of the arch; the last stone to be set in place was the capstone which joined the sides assuring stability and endurance. This capstone was a powerful symbol for Christ for the early Christians. (Celebration, May 2003)

The name of a person is more than just an artificial ‘tag’ to tell one person from another. A name represents the fullness of a person. If we do something in someone’s name, we do it as that person would do it. As a Christian we are to act as Christ, to act in his name. To live this way is to find salvation (fullness of health). Salvation in the name of Jesus is not a ‘magic thing.’ It is a way of life. It is a way of love.

2nd  Reading – 1 John 3: 1-2

We are children of God.  By nature we are a creatures of God, but it is by grace that we are children of God.  It is like comparing paternity and fatherhood (Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, p. 73-74).  It is one thing to be created, and something entirely endearing and intimate to family.  We are called into this kind of relationship to God.  How do we answer?  How does God reveal Godself to you?  When you sense this, do you feel more like a child of God?  Take some prayful time to sit with these words and mull the questions.

The Gospel– John 10: 11-18

Imagine the scene.  It is first-century Palestine.  Each day the shepherd would take his flock out into the desert for the day’s grazing only to return to the sheepfold, a common enclosure with a low stone wall and gated entrance.  At day’s end the shepherds would bring their sheep to the fold to keep them safe from the dangers of the night: wolves and thieves.  Each night a shepherd was designated to lie down in front of the sheepgate so no one could enter without having to pass him first.  He was the protector of the flock – with his very life if need be. Each morning all the shepherds would return to this enclosure.  Each shepherd would whistle or call out the names of their sheep.  The sheep would know the sound of their own shepherd – they would not respond to anyone else.  Their shepherd would then lead them out to safely graze in the pasture; the sheep always followed their shepherd,

Jesus is the model Good Shepherd.  He cares for his sheep; they know his voice and respond to his voice.  There is ownership.  Jesus knows his sheep; he knows them by name.  He is in loving relationship with them, willing to lay down his life for their good.  We are to know Jesus’ voice and trust him unto death.

The early church adopted this image of shepherd for their leaders also. Like Christ, the leaders were to nourish and safeguard the flock.  The word pastor was derived from this image.  (Birmingham, W&W Wkbk Yr B, 378- 379)


Why am I not more like Jesus?

Father Bob’s last Sunday homily…


2nd Sunday of Easter B

Not all Pentecosts look the same. Embedded in our minds is the Pentecost described in the Acts of the Apostles with the rush of wind, the tongues of fire dipping down and the dove announcing the Spirit’s arrival.  In John’s Gospel, we have a more intimate telling of the story.  Jesus simply breathes on them and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” And in that moment, they are transformed by the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Jesus lives within them.

And the same thing happens to us.  For we are members of a Church founded by and upon the Apostles.  We hear the word of God as they shared it.  And most significantly, as they sat around a table as Jesus shared his body and his blood, so do we. …

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3rd Sunday of Easter, cycle B

Jesus hands feet

1st Reading: Acts of the Apostles 3: 13-19

Jesus is called the “author of life” – what does that mean for you?  Mary Birmingham points out that this term is a very ancient Christian term.  The Greek word for ‘author’ means “captain” or “leader.”  Jesus is the new leader, the new captain of life’s vessel, who leads the people, just like Moses, out of bondage into a new promised land – Jesus is the fulfillment of the liberation foreshadowed at the Exodus event – Jesus is the fulfillment of all that God has ever planned for humankind. (W&W Wrkbk Yr B, 363-364)

St. John of the Cross said, “The soul lives where it loves.”  Think about that.  Jesus lived here among us because of love.  And that is why he died too.  Are we supposed to feel this tremendous guilt that Jesus had to do this for us?  I don’t know if God wants us to feel that way.  Jesus only reaches out in love, only wants to repent and turn to him.  He doesn’t want us wallowing in our guilt and self-loathing.  He wants us to embrace the love.  Let our souls live in that love.  How can we be different living that way?

2nd Reading: 1 John 2: 1-5

What does it mean to you to call Jesus an “Advocate” – a parakletos ?  An advocate is someone who pleads our case before a court of law – one who intercedes for us. It is someone whom we call to be by our side as our helper and counselor. It is someone who “lends his presence to his friends.” Jesus is this kind of friend. (Wm Barclay, The Letters of John and Jude, 36-38)

Jesus is also called our ‘expiation’ for sin – here we must be careful of the meaning. In the Jewish sense, sacrifice was used to restore our relationship with God. It was God forgiving us and providing the means of restoring our relationship with God.  Scholars also point out that the word could be translated as ‘disinfection’: Jesus shows us what God is like and disinfects us from the taint of sin – from the darkness and bondage of sin.  Jesus is the reconciliation, the means, by which God reassures us of His love. And as this writer, John, sees it – this work of Jesus is carried out not just for us, but for the whole world.

The love of God is broader than the measures of our human mind. God’s salvation has wide enough arms for all. (Wm Barclay, The Letters of John and Jude, 39-40))

The Gospel: Luke 24: 35-48

From Living Liturgy, 2003, 120:

Jesus “was made known” in the breaking of the bread and in repentance and forgiveness. Forgiveness, then, is an encounter with the risen Christ . . . it is our witness to the resurrection: “I forgive you.” Our belief is not some elite intellectual exercise but an embodied faith expressed in actions. We need to walk and talk like a forgiven people. Repentance-and-forgiveness is not just for Lent; it is Easter-activity! Forgiveness is a virtue that enables us not to allow past hurts to determine our decisions and actions in the here and now. Forgiveness opens up the space for creating together with the one forgiven a new future . . . It allows for new life – calls for new life and new possibilities.

Think of all this and pray for God’s Spirit to enliven and guide us as we are sent out at the end of our Eucharist “to love and serve the Lord.”  (Birmingham, W&W Yr B, 365-373)

The gospels struggle with expressing the risen reality.  It was not just another phase in the history of Jesus of Nazareth.  In a real sense he was totally “other”, living now the indescribable life of God.  And yet he was the same person and in some ways objectively identifiable.  However, the resurrection was known principally by its fruits, the faith proclamation of unlettered fishermen.  It changed people’s lives and continues to do so.  To watch people move from a state of alienation to conversion and a new direction in life is the clearest proof of the risen Christ  (Faley, R.  Footprints on the Mountain, p, 309).

A Sign of Hope By: Debbie O’Brien

lone crocus

     When I went to work today, it was a grey, chilly morning.  I can’t say I was full of enthusiasm and hope for the day.  After all, even when you know you are part of doing good work, working can be a bit of a drag.  As I rounded the corner to my office, I saw a lone orchid colored crocus standing tall and waving slightly in the breeze.  Seeing that tiny little flower changed my whole outlook on the day.  Hope for spring…hope for a good day.
     And I really did think…this is a bit of what Easter is in our everyday lives.  Much as we wish to live in the intensity of closeness to Jesus that we experience in Holy Week, and the excitement and joy of Easter’s amazing revelation, few of us can really do that each and every day.  But our faith encourages us to be Easter, as Fr Bob said in his Easter homily, in our world each and every day.
     And so I come back to the lone orchid colored crocus standing alone on a grey, chilly day.  A sign of hope…for spring, for sunshine…and a reminder that being Easter for another person doesn’t need to be a big deal.  We just need to stand tall, maybe sway a little in the breeze…be a little unexpected hint of color on a grey day…and be a sign of hope for one person who needs to know that this day doesn’t have to be cold and grey…there is hope because love is alive!

2nd Sunday of Easter, cycle B

1st Reading: The Acts of the Apostles 4: 32-35

Every Easter season we read from Acts; it is the ‘Part-2’ of Luke’s story.  It is a very idealistic and dramatic narrative of the early community. Through the power of the Risen Lord, we are empowered to share life and possessions, rather than horde ‘things.’ Luke in these types of summaries is holding up an ideal for all of us to consider.  Historically, we know that in these early communities all private ownership was NOT utterly renounced. Sharing and caring for each other was the way, however, for the Christian to ‘live’ Jesus’ resurrection. It still is today.  (Celebration, April, 2000)

A triumphal picture is painted in Acts.  Such an ecclesiology, taken in isolation, will leave Christians perplexed when their institutions begin to close, when their churches are being abandoned for lack of members, and when their overall numbers in the world begin to get smaller (Brown, Raymond, The Churches the Apostles Left Behind, p. 70-71).  Not to be a party pooper, but we know from Paul’s letters that there was discord and difficulty behind the success of the growing community.  Isn’t there always?  It is Christ that gives us strength and hope…as Psalm 118 says this week, “His mercy endures forever.”

2nd Reading: 1 John 5: 1-6

John’s community was not only persecuted, it was divided. It was being split by people who could not believe in the Incarnation (the Gnostics). Those who broke away did not believe that the human Jesus could be one with the powerful Presence and Spirit of God, both through his baptismal calling and power (the water and the Spirit) and through his humanness and suffering (the blood, his life-force). Further proof of their error was their behavior and lack of love shown toward one another. They would not accept the reality of Jesus Christ nor his way of love. (Mary Birmingham, W& W for Year B, 355-356)

Reflect on that word ‘begotten’.  The word is based on the Greek word monogenes, which means “pertaining to being the only one of its kind or class, unique in kind.” John was primarily concerned with demonstrating that Jesus is the Son of God and he uses monogenes to highlight Jesus as uniquely God’s Son—sharing the same divine nature as God—as opposed to believers who are God’s sons and daughters by adoption.  Jesus is God’s “one and only” Son.  But this is also speaking about US.  This is the kind of intimacy God wants with us.  We enter into this relationship.  We are one of a kind, unique, and loved by our Creator.

The Gospel: John 20: 19-31

Belief isn’t something we have and then that’s it. There is always room to grow in our belief – or our unbelief. The story of ‘doubting Thomas’ is the story of all of us. May we all come to a profound faith in “Our Lord and our God” as Thomas did. Note also that it says the ‘disciples’ were behind closed doors. The Spirit is given to all those gathered, not just the Twelve. The mission of all disciples, empowered by the Spirit, is to extend to others the forgiveness and life that Jesus offers us through his death and resurrection. Where the Spirit is present, the Risen Christ becomes visible.  (Living Liturgy, 2003, 116-117)

The faith of Thomas was not based on an empty tomb, but on an encounter with the living Lord.  We can learn from Thomas:

1st, we see the importance of community – we can miss a lot if we separate ourselves from community. When sorrow overwhelms us, it is then that we need to seek that we can “seek the heart and mind of Christ” in other believers.

2nd, Thomas was honest – and even bold. When he had doubts and questions he did not deny his doubts “by pretending that they didn’t exist.” He took them directly to Jesus. In John’s Gospel when all of Jesus’ followers agreed that it was dangerous to go back to Jerusalem, Thomas says: “Let us go also to die with him (11:16).”  Yet, when Jesus tries to warn his friends at the Last Supper that he would have to leave them — that he would go to his Father’s house and that they knew the way — Thomas spoke up: “We do not know where you are going; how can we know the way (14:5)?” After demanding his own experience of the Risen Lord, he is the one who gives the ultimate faith statement: “My Lord and my God!” (Celebration, April 2005, and Quest, Spring 2005)

Note: Jesus is recognized by his wounds. How many of us have come to ‘see’ Jesus because of our wounds? We do not often see auras or visions or angels. If we are indeed Christ’s body in this time and place, then our wounds, too, have meaning and can be “luminous signs.” Perhaps it is in our woundedness that we are most like Jesus and most like one another. Our ‘witness to resurrection’ may be our willingness to embrace all of life – even our wounds and difficulties. We do this not to be masochistic, but rather to show that we are in the midst of being healed, of being forgiven, of receiving peace. We can become healers, too, for one another —  “wounded healers” like Henri Nouwen would say — so Jesus can continue to work through us and through our simple wounds.   (Celebration, April 2002)

At the end of this gospel story, John writes that he has told this story so that “you may come to believe . . . and that through this belief you may have life.”

But the word John uses for belief is not a noun – but a verb! In fact, John never uses the noun faith or belief; he uses the verb 98 times! John is not concerned with an inward system of thoughts, but an active commitment to trust in Jesus and in his word. This is what it means to be a disciple. It is the very reason the Father sent Jesus and why Jesus came: “that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life (John 3:15). Jesus’ whole life, ministry, death, and resurrection are oriented to this one outcome. This is why Jesus persisted in the face of conspiracy, rejection, abandonment – and it is why Jesus came that Easter morning to those who were locked in fear – and then again to Thomas. It is also why he continues to come to us offering us his peace.  (“Working with the Word”, Zimmerman, 2006)

Deacon Tom’s Easter Vigil Homily

My friends, tonight the Church celebrates the holiest of all the nights of the year, the night on which Our Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead; and in so celebrating, the Church also celebrates the beginning of a new creation.  When we came into the church this evening, everything was dark.  We began by lighting the new Ester fire, and from that fire the new Easter candle was lit, signifying the light of Christ – Jesus Himself, Who said, I am the Light of the world.  In a few moments, we will bless the new water for Easter.  And if we look at the first reading in the very beginning, from the very first chapter and first verse of Scripture, we hear first that it was darkness and that the Spirit of God hovered over the waters.  The darkness and the waters were the two things that were present at the very beginning.

They are signs of death and they are signs of sin.  It was out of darkness that God made His first point of creation; the first element in the created order was light.  And the second thing from which all the rest of material creation came was the order that came from the chaos of the water.  The two things that life requires are light and water, and these are the two things that we see at the very beginning of creation.

So tonight as we continue with this Easter vigil, we have before us the Easter candle, which in a few moments will be plunged into the Easter water to bless the water, to bring forth new life, the new life which is ours in baptism, of which Saint Paul wrote in the reading that we heard in his Letter to the Romans, that all of us who are baptized into Christ Jesus are baptized into His death and into His Resurrection.

We enter into the waters, we are buried with Christ in the waters of baptism, and we rise with Him to new life from the waters of baptism.

As we ponder these two elements and we look back again to the first chapter of Genesis, we see that it is the Spirit of God that is upon the water.  In the Gospels, the Holy Spirit is defined by two different things – fire and water – the two things that we see this evening.  Our Lord tells us that He is the light of the world and anyone who follows Him will have the light of life in them.  Jesus speaks about that light, and Jesus tells us that we must be baptized by water and the Holy Spirit.  Saint John the Baptist, recall, said that he baptized with water but one is coming after Him who will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

And when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples at Pentecost, it was in tongues of fire.

We see, then, that there is life on two different levels for us. There is our natural life and there is supernatural life, the natural life which we receive from our parents, and the supernatural life which is given to us in baptism, which is the grace of God that was won for us in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

And so in our lives, when we see what has happened to us, we are conceived in sin and we are reborn into life.  We go from darkness to light.

We go from being plunged into the waters of death to rise in baptism, to having that new Water, Who is the Holy Spirit, welling up in us to eternal life.

In our lives, we go from our sins – the choice of darkness and of death, the very things that we see before God brought order into creation – and when we come forth, whether it be in baptism or from the confessional, once again we have within us the light of Christ and the grace of God welling up to eternal life.

Therefore, Our Lord speaks to each one of us and says, You are the light of the world.  Jesus is the light of the world, and yet Jesus tells each one of us that we are the light of the world.  Jesus also says, “If the light is in you, then everything is bright; but if your light is darkness, how dark it is.”  On this night of the Resurrection, Our Lord has dispersed the darkness.

Jesus has broken through the chaos of death, and Jesus has won for us the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. He has called each one of us then to choose life, to choose supernatural life, to reject sin and to live according to the grace of God.  Each one of us baptized into Christ shares already in His Resurrection, and we are called to live in this world of darkness as the light of the world, to live holy lives, to live Christ-like lives, to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, to inspire us, to fill us with His light and with His love.

That is the gift Our Lord has won for us.  It is the gift that we already share.  It is the dignity that is ours: the call to be saints, to be children of the light, to reject darkness, to reject death, to reject sin, and to live lives of holiness, to be the light in the darkness of the world in union with Jesus Christ raised from the dead.  To be channels of Peace.

Deacon Tom’s Good Friday Homily

Good Friday, a dismal day, a day for reflection and often for sadness at the terrible price that Christ paid for us.  It is a day to find some time alone and to put aside the easy pleasures of the flesh.  A day to fast, abstain from meat and to use these things to help us focus on what has happened.

When we hear the gospel account, we may even feel that we are right there as it is happening and feel the same shame for turning away from Jesus, in our own selfish ways, just as his disciples ran away from him when he needed them most.  When we read the gospel account we can ask ourselves, “Have I ever betrayed a friend?  Have I laughed at one of my friends at school behind their back just to join in with the others?

Have I jumped on the gossip wagon at work and thrown in a juicy story that was handed to me in confidence just so that I could be part of the action?  Have I coldly refused to help someone who needed me because I judged that they did not live up to my expectations?

My friends, Jesus was supposed to be the Messiah, the one who would lead the Jews to freedom, but he was arrested like a common thief.  Have any of you ever been present when the police have arrived and arrested someone?  Put the handcuffs on and marched them away struggling?  Believe me, it is not like watching it on television.  There is a terrifying reality to it, a feeling of helplessness in the face of the power of the authorities that can leave you feeling disoriented and afraid, even when you know they are not there for you.

When the mob took Jesus, he certainly did not live up to the disciples’ expectations at that moment.  He was a failure as the kind of Messiah they expected, he was supposed to be the one in charge, and so suddenly in their shock and fear they decided he was not worth risking life and limb for, and they ran away.  But still, even as we remember the shame of the disciples, even as we remember our shame, we gather and pray together on this Good Friday.

When we look at the gospel account, we may see in the words the image of Christ’s suffering from the cruel scourging, the piercing thorns, and the terrible nails.  Then we may remember each sin of ours that made the lashing sting, made his blood flow, and made the suffering of his sacrifice for us increase.

When we come forward shortly to reverence the cross of Christ with a kiss or a touch, to reverence that cross which was the source of so much of his pain, we will surely feel the sorrow and the bitter tears of our own failures.  Then we will come face to face with our responsibility for all that happened to the one who sacrificed his life for us.

At the Last Supper Jesus reminds his disciples that they call him Lord and Teacher and he tells them that it is right that they should because that is what he is!

Today the reminder of Jesus’ crucifixion makes us suffer sadness and shame and he would tell us today that we are right to feel these things because that is where our remorse must begin.  Because just as at the Last Supper, where Jesus went on to say, don’t just call me Lord and Teacher,

learn from me and do as I do, sacrifice for others.  Today Jesus tells us don’t just feel sorry for the sins we have committed but do as he does.  Commit some good instead, lift our heads up from the sadness and accept the sacrifices we must make for the good of others, gladly, just as Christ has sacrificed himself for us.

Even while Jesus was dying he took the time to make sure that Mary, his mother, and John, his beloved disciple, would take care of each other.

This is the Jesus who looks out for others even in his own dire need.  This is the Jesus who is our Lord and Teacher and says, “Do as I do!”  This is the Jesus who says reach out to others, put others first so that your own sorrow and shame fades away in the joy of serving God’s people.

And, how can we find the strength to do this?  At the Last Supper Jesus gave us his body and blood to strengthen us, and even though today is the only day of the year on which we do not celebrate the Mass, we still have the most wonderful gift of Jesus, the chance to receive him in Holy Communion.  Come forward to receive him, not in gloomyness and sadness, but in the joy of knowing that with the Lord in your hearts you can face the challenges of sin and suffering and overcome them.  Come forward knowing that the sadness we feel is only something to learn from,

so that the joy that Christ wants us to feel may be so much greater.  Jesus said, “I came that you might have life, life in abundance.”

The price of that life we gained was high, but it is a life we know we will have for all eternity.

Our salvation and our eternal joy are guaranteed through the sacrifice of Jesus.  We have been saved because that price was paid today, a day we truly can call Good Friday.

We can still hear an Alleluia!

Father Bob’s Easter homily…


Easter 2015

If you listen carefully, you can hear a bit of awkward early Christian history. Did you sense the competition between the disciple whom Jesus loved and Peter?  At first the communities headed by Peter and the beloved disciple whom we usually refer to as John were not united, so there is a rivalry between these Christians played out in stories concerning their leaders.  Not a bitter, antagonistic rivalry, but brotherly, gotcha, elbow between the ribs kind of rivalry.

You can see it throughout the gospel of John. All Gospels tell the story to Peter’s denial, but there is a certain impatience in getting to it in John’s passion.  Peter goes to the beloved disciple for help throughout the narrative. Come to think of it, naming himself the disciple whom Jesus loved kinds of loads the dice.  And then comes the story of the resurrection.  They are told by…

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Holy Saturday Thoughts By: Kris Rooney

Holy Saturday

     I was reading about a man who suddenly lost his faith. He said he, “…woke up to discover that God had died during the night. It was a weird sensation, a terrifying absence beyond anything I had ever experienced before. God was gone – just like that, overnight. I waited, to see if I was mistaken. Weeks. Months. But no. God was dead. At first I just felt numb. But as the realization finally sank in, I felt utterly lost and alone,” (Valusek, Jay, “Can There Be Spiritual Direction Without God?” in Presence, Vol. 20 No. 4 Dec. 2014).

In my head I thought: How does this happen? God is never absent from us. It is us that turn away from God, not the other way around. But this man is convinced God is dead. How did he get to that place of completely losing hope? It occurred to me that this was how Jesus’ friends felt today. Holy Saturday. Jesus is dead. It is terrifying. Gone – just like that. It must have been numbing. They must have felt lost and alone. There was no hope. Some hid. Some ran away. Everything had gone out the window because Jesus had left them.

But what was happening with Jesus? They laid him in the tomb, all bound up and rolled the stone over the hole. He was in complete darkness, alone except for maybe a few spiders or a mouse. It was in the dark aloneness that hope-filled amazement happened! It’s still a bit of a mystery how exactly it all worked, but Jesus rose from death. Jesus conquered it. All we know is the stone was rolled back in the morning and Jesus wasn’t there. Life came in the darkness.

Eventually, Jesus showed himself to his friends, his disciples, in the light of day. The risen Christ made all things new again. I am hopeful that the man who lost his faith might find that God was not dead. It is hard to hold on to that when in the dark, when we are in that terrified, numbing, lost and alone state. May Christ come into all of our dark places and give us hope-filled amazement. Let us wait in hope for the coming of the Lord.