November 12, 2017 | This week we read the saga of the ten bridesmaids, five of which are ready. They come to the night in question and they discover they have no oil in their lamps and have to make a last-minute run to the corner shop to replenish their supply. We can only imagine their disappointment when finally they return to discover that they have missed the big event altogether.
November 5, 2017 | The priests and scribes were living the high life: strutting and preening, soaking up honours, decked out in splendor. Sure they were scriptural whiz-kids. But where was the love? They were star performers of ritual. But their praise was hollow. They had the brains, but not the heart. They used their offices to coerce, not to serve. That was at least until Jesus came on the scene. He finds the priestly enjoying all of this privilege they seem to think they had earned. In a blunt straight talk he approaches them and states, whoever wants to be first, must first become a servant…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.
October 29, 2017 | This week we overhear one small part of a conversation between Jesus and the religious authorities. Sort of like listening in on a family argument, but with much higher stakes. Feeling offended and quite likely threatened by Jesus, they fight back with the only weapons available to them: what they have learned and their way with words.
The Pharisees take their best shot and try to catch Jesus off guard but it backfires on them. It has been suggested that if we thought of this as a baseball metaphor, we might say that the Pharisees throw Jesus an easy pitch and he hits it out of the park. But as always there is a twist in the interpretation that Jesus responds with.
October 22, 2017 | In the reading this week from the gospel of Matthew, we are confronted with the Pharisees, a group who are depicted as a scheming bunch, who are attempting to trap Jesus in his own words as if he were some kind of amateur politician. Jesus, however, constantly turns the tables on his attackers often leaving them speechless and the bystanders amazed.
October 15, 2017 | The reading we hear this week from Matthew’s gospel is rather jarring to say the least. An invitation to the wedding feast goes out, but the original invitees find all sorts of excuses for not attending. Who turns down the invitation of the king? Even if one is not a particularly strong supporter of a particular ruler, don’t you think you would show up out of curiosity, or just to rub elbows with the wealthy and powerful? Oh, the enthusiasm would not be the same, but you would likely go just for the experience — particularly if the consequences of NOT going were as dire as they play out in the story Jesus tells today.
October 8, 2017 | We hear in our gospel reading this week how in a village between Galilee and Samaria, Jesus met a group of people with leprosy. And they cried out for mercy – just as they did when anyone came near them. In their sickness, in their loneliness, in their poverty … They reached out for help. And Jesus responded in a way that far exceeded anything they could ever have expected. Instead of tossing them a few coins or a bit of food (things which might seem to help but were really only answering the symptoms of their sickness) Jesus went to the problem itself, and healed them.
They were cleansed, and the last picture we have is of them scurrying down the road (off to the priests who would certify their new condition)…all that is except one.
October 1, 2017 | We all have good intentions, don’t we? But as Jesus teaches us in the gospel reading from Matthew, our intentions don’t really matter. It’s our actions that are grounded in and flow from our relationship with God that count – individually and as a community.
September 24, 2017 | In Matthew’s gospel this week we are presented the vision of divine generosity. The business practices in this parable seem rather strange. Giving workers varying hourly wages that might lead to a class action lawsuit today but this is the way of God’s kingdom. God responds to our needs and this isn’t always fair in terms of rational calculations. Grace is given to respond to our deepest needs, regardless of when or how we come to God with our needs.
September 17 | In our reading this week from Matthew’s gospel we hear Peter ask Jesus, “How often should I forgive, Jesus?” Of course, Jesus’ response to Peter’s question doesn’t really provide an answer but rather points out the misdirection of the question itself. How many times should we forgive? The issue is not how much or how often we are asked to forgive or should forgive. The act of forgiveness is already a limitless, measureless act. Forgiveness is never not present in our lives and in our relationships. That’s the issue. Forgiveness is part and parcel of the Kingdom of Heaven. It’s a constant. It’s not optional. It’s not a choice. We want it to be -- and that’s at the heart of Peter’s question.
September 10, 2017 | Relationships are important. Oh, we may minimize them and say, "It really doesn't matter how I relate to the person sitting next to me in the church pew or the one sitting at the desk next to mine at work." All that matters, we think, is that we do the job well, get home, feed the kids supper, help with homework, and then go to bed to start the day all over again tomorrow. We have too much to do to stop and consider relationships—or do we?