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March 4, 2018 - Our Jar, His Well

Third Sunday of Lent – Year A Readings

Scripture Readings 

The story of the Samaritan woman is narrated by John as a personal conversion story. Even though John tells it as a personal story, he does not tell us the name of the woman. Perhaps John was being intentional. This way, this is the story of every person. Her story can be your story and mine as well. Like the Samaritan woman, we all have a jar. In this jar we keep that which is most precious to us – family, friends, job, home, possessions, hobbies. Sometimes, this jar might be empty. The jar describes us – it is the sum of all that we are. That day, the Samaritan woman came to fill her empty jar with water. The irony is that Jesus does not merely fill her jar. Rather, Jesus led her to the well. The jar… she left that at the feet of Jesus. What does this story mean for me? What could it mean for you? Three things: 

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February 25, 2018 - God Embraces Our Unknown

Second Sunday of Lent

Scripture Readings

There are at least two instances where people have asked me to pray for the unknown. In both cases it was test results awaited for cancer. Nothing unnerves us more than the unknown… the unknown when someone loses their job… the unknown when divorce hits… the unknown when someone loses their spouse… the unknown when someone is awaiting for a transplant… the unknown when someone is deployed… the unknown when someone we know battles addiction… the unknown when someone is diagnosed with terminal illness. 

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February 18, 2018 - Giving-Up & Emracing

First Sunday of Lent

Scripture Readings

There is a ninety year old parishioner whom I visit every so often. She takes Lent very seriously. The other day when I visited her she winked at me and said, “I am giving you up for Lent!” It was one of those rare times when I did not have a comeback. I said to  her that I was going to tell on to the entire parish. She smiled. Humor aside, I think the story highlights our obsession with “giving up” during Lent. Often, Lent becomes all about giving up. Sometimes, the  very thing that is integral to the Lenten spirit is also the cause of its demeaning. Equating Lent with “giving up” or penance-for-penance-sake destroys the spirit of Lent. 

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February 11, 2017 - Imitating the Out Stretched Hands of Jesus!

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time 

Scripture Readings

As powerful as the story of the healing of the leper is in today’s gospel reading, I want to begin with Paul in the second reading. Pauls says, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ!” (1 Cor 11:1). Paul makes this statement as a conclusion to the question of believers eating food offered to idols by an unbeliever. This was a complex issue for the early Christians and it will long to explain it in this homily. The point I am trying to make is that Paul refuses a black and white answer. Rather, he says that he’d rather eat the food placed before him by an unbeliever so that he does not displease the unbeliever. On the other hand, if a believer would be scandalized by Paul’s behavior, he would rather not eat it. Thus he concludes, “… I try to please everyone in every way, not seeking my own benefit but that of the many, that they may be saved” (1 Cor 10:34). Paul imitation of Christ lies in this - that he does not seek his own benefit but of others, so that they might be saved. His imitation of Christ is not about saving himself. His imitation of Christ is that they might be saved!

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February 4, 2018 - Antidotes to Drudgery

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings 

Of all the weeks, this was not the week that I wanted to deal with a scripture reading from Job. In today’s first reading Job reflects on life and says, “Is not man's life on earth a drudgery?” (Job 7:1). Drudgery is a very distressing word. It is an immensely burdensome state of being. I have just returned from home seeing the drudgery of my ninety year old father. My heart breaks to see him this way. He sleeps almost all day, wakes up to eat, use the the bathroom, pray a little and then back to bed again. All the medication he takes to stay alive… it is depressing for him and my family. My eighty year old mother said to me the other day, “Does this have to be how our last days are? Dad sleeps most of the time and I walk about the house like a ghost.” Its called drudgery. As I left home this time, I did not feel that I was merely leaving home. I felt that I was abandoning my parents. My life still has meaning. My ministry is still my life. I am surrounded by very some supportive people and a lovely puppy. But to me life seems like drudgery right now. I won’t be surprised if there are people in this church who feel like my father, my mother or I feel at the moment. Drudgery is real.  

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