November 27, 2017
November 26, 2017 | This week begins our Advent season with the theme that compares the world’s “economy” and God’s desire for peace and justice for all people–especially those on the margins. What is the price for looking out for “our own” and what is the benefit to “making change” in the ways God invites us?
We listen to the words from the Prophet Isaiah and his foretelling of the coming of a king and then Mary’s announcement that she is to give birth to that king spoken of so long ago. The very one who would come to scatter the proud, fill the hungry, lift the lowly and offer new life to the hopeless.
November 19, 2017
November 19, 2017 | This week’s passage from Matthew’s gospel celebrates a king; for today is the day in the church year when we celebrate the reign of Christ or Christ the King Sunday. It seems appropriate then for us to ask what kind of king is Jesus? Jesus lays aside all that would normally be associated with a king, like fine robs of silk and crowns of gold and instead picks up a shepherd’s crook to seek out the lost wherever they may be. He is a king who provides for our every kind of need. Will we follow his lead and use our own talents and time to carry on the examples that Jesus gave us?
November 12, 2017
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 6, 2017
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
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
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 16, 2017
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
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 2, 2017
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 26, 2017
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.