Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Road to Emmaus ... The First Mass?

Was the Road to Emmaus the first Mass as we know it?

It might just have been.

For starters, there are two disciples gathered together.  

Second, along with the unrecognized Christ, they discuss the Old Testament and the events of Jesus' life, including His death and Resurrection.  We obviously do that in our first and second readings, and our Gospel. 

Third, it is clear that Jesus is interpreting these events for the disciples, which is akin to the homily our priests give.

Fourth, the disciples do not realize they are in the presence of Jesus ... just like some people at our Masses today!

Fifth, and most powerful, Jesus breaks the bread with them.  This is the highlight of their journey, and is also the highlight of our Mass.

And lastly, after their encounter, the disciples go forth and proclaim the Resurrection of the Lord ... which is exactly what we are supposed to do after our Mass!

I hope you are all having a joyous Easter season!  God Bless you!


Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Perplexing Passion of Palm Sunday

I'll admit ... I've always been confused on Palm Sunday.

It is a happy day? A sad day?  Neither?  Both?

The name itself ... Palm Sunday.  It sounds happy to me.  (At the very least, neutral, right?)

Jesus enters the city of Jerusalem and people rejoice, shouting "Hosanna!".  In my mind, that is a beautiful scene.  I mean, wouldn't you smile if people rejoiced when you entered your town?

Then I think of the image of Jesus, our Savior, atop a foal. What a sad image that must have been to see our King riding such a meek animal.  Imagine a government official, or very important person, entering a town today riding a small bike with training wheels instead of a caravan of impressive limousines.  It would look awkward, silly, and a certainly not have the pomp and circumstance representative of that person's status.

And while the people are shouting praises at Him, Our Lord must be thinking about his upcoming death.  

In fact, that scene itself is pure irony on many levels.   

The people that are blind to the story are the happiest, even though their desired storyline pales in comparison to what God will give them. Meanwhile, the One who knows all must have have been carrying the weight of reality on His shoulders - despite knowing what a Glorious story He was about to write.  

So, like most days in Lent, I chalk it up as a mostly sad day leading up to the happiest day in the history of mankind.   

Except when I think of it as a mostly happy day that led to the saddest day in the history of mankind. 

Which, of course, then led to a really, really happy day...

God Bless you, and hope you have a very spiritual Holy Week!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Four Questions about the Transfiguration

The Transfiguration is one of the most amazing stories we read in our Gospels.  Unfortunately, even as I grow to understand it more and more each year, it always leaves me with some questions ...
  1. Why did Jesus only bring three Apostles with Him?  Why not let them all see the Glory of Father and Son?
  2. What did God's voice sound like?  I mean, they heard God!  Mark describes how white Jesus' clothes are ... I wish he had also described God's voice.
  3. What mountain were they on?  Some scholars think it was Mt Tabor, some think it was Mt Hermon.  
  4. After the event, Mark tells us the three Apostles wondered what "rising from the dead" meant.  Why did they not ask Jesus more about that until they understood more?  Or did they ask Him, and He didn't explain further? 
Some of these are not for us to know right now.  Maybe someday.  

For now, we are left pondering the wonder of this miraculous event, and contemplating how we, too, can change to become more like Christ.

I hope you are having a Blessed Lent.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Once again, I am an idiot

As I circled the church on Ash Wednesday, I was getting more and more frustrated.  

There was not a parking spot to be found - in the Church parking lot or the street - and I was not a happy camper.  I mumbled to my dashboard, "Who are all these people?  Ash Wednesday is never this crowded!"  

After finally finding a spot way down the street, I trudged through the snow to the Church to find seats anywhere.  In fact, there was barely any room in the narthex to stand.  

Plus, I was now late.

To say I was not in the right state of mind to start the Blessed season of Lent would be an understatement.  

In fact, it wasn't until the second reading that it hit me.  

I had been given exactly what I asked for.

Those of you that read this blog regularly know that every Christmas and Easter, I pray that all of those people that pack the church on those two Holy Days return for our "normal" masses.  

And there, right in front of me, was a full Church.  In the past, Ash Wednesday ... if we were lucky ... filled the main part of the church.  But it is normally 1/2 to 3/4 full and never standing room only.  

Yet God had called others to this mass - maybe even those I prayed for.  And instead of immediately thanking Him, and praising His work, I was selfishly frustrated because I couldn't find a parking spot.

What an idiot I am.

God must have had His head in His hands watching me.  I am just lucky He is so forgiving.

I hope you are all having a Blessed Lent.  Please join me in praying that God will continue to call people to His church.  (And open the eyes of those that already go!)  God Bless.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Jesus, Leper and You Switcheroo

In today's Gospel from Mark, a leper approaches Jesus and asks to be made clean.

Jesus, as we know, agrees and cleanses the poor man.  

At that point, Jesus and the leper pull the old switcheroo.  The leper, who previously could not be part of his community because of his disease, was now free to rejoin society.  Jesus, on the other hand, who previously went from town to town, now had to remain in deserted areas because of His popularity.

Why is Jesus so popular?  Because despite telling the leper to "tell no one anything", the now-clean man cannot contain himself.  He preaches about Christ so well, that Jesus could not enter towns anymore.  And people still sought Him and found Him where He stayed.  

But in another reversal, Jesus tells you, and me, the exact opposite.  He asks us to spread His word to everyone.  The question is ... have we had the same effect that the leper had?  

Or is it another switcheroo?

God Bless you.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Understanding Alone is Not Enough

In today's Gospel, Jesus drives an unclean spirit out of a man in Capernaum.  

That spirit teaches us an interesting lesson.

It would be a fair statement to say that that spirit understood who Jesus was.  After all, he correctly stated that Jesus was the "Holy One of God".  (In fact, he recognized it before many of Jesus' followers!)

But "understanding" alone is not enough.  That spirit did not serve the Lord, or act in a way that was pleasing to Him. 

In many ways, that spirit is alive in the world today.  There are many people who understand that Jesus is Christ, but who do not act with love, or live His words.  And worse, they go about inflicting others with this "spirit" - just like that unclean spirit did back in Capernaum. 

Perhaps we even do the same from time to time.

So my prayer today is that God strengthens us all with His Spirit, so that we may not just understand, but always do His will and reflect His light. 

God Bless you.