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Sunday, 23 October 2016
Passage: Luke 18:9-14
Duration: 15 mins 28 secs
As I read this week's Gospel I found my self humming "Clowns to the left of me! Jokers to the right! Here I am stuck in the middle with you." These lyrics were written by Bob Dylan who recently won a Noble Prize for Literature. In this week's Gospel, Jesus points out a way to be unfaithful while appearing faithful. He addresses those who have obedience dialed in and yet are still lacking. I imagine Jesus' sighing as he prepared to tell this week's parable and expect he enjoys Bob Dylan's music. This Sunday I'll reflect on all this and share a spiritual practice that helps us balance our faith. - Fr. Ed
Sunday, 16 October 2016
Passage: Luke 18:1-8
Duration: 13 mins 34 secs
Sunday is approaching and I am still wrestling with this week’s Gospel. Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem and tells the parable of the widow and the unrighteous judge to his disciples. We are told this is a parable about the need to be persistent in prayer, but it seems to leave many questions unanswered. Our holy and loving Father is not an unrighteous judge, and yet our prayers sometimes still seem to be unheeded. He promises to give justice to his people and not long delay. Thousands of faithful Christians in Africa and Middle East are crying out to him, and yet justice in this world is intermittent at best. Are we just not persistent enough, not patient enough, or praying for the wrong outcomes? And then there is the zinger at the end… “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Where do we find the persistence of the widow, to keep praying with faithfulness?
Sunday, 09 October 2016
Passage: Luke 17:11-19
Duration: 12 mins 9 secs
This Sunday's Gospel is Luke's account of Jesus' healing of ten lepers. One comes back to offer praise and thanksgiving. The other 9 were no doubt thankful, but they didn't come back. The one who did come back wasn't even Jewish. He was a Samaritan. Jesus is impressed with his response. He chose to return. His new normal began with Jesus and is centered on Jesus. The others were also blessed with a healing but chose another new normal. Being a disciple of Jesus involves a daily choosing of where our normal is centered. A profound religious experience isn't a guarantee of staying centered on God. King Solomon had two conversations with God and turned away in his old age. Jesus fed 5,000 and many followed looking for more bread. This Sunday I'll be exploring this week's Gospel and what is says about choosing a new normal. I hope you will join me in this reflection. - Fr. Ed
Sunday, 02 October 2016
Passage: Luke 17:5-10
Duration: 12 mins 4 secs
The disciples want an increase of faith so that they might have hearts to forgive others as many as seven times a day. That’s a lot of faith. Or is it really about the quality of faith they already have. Faith is a word with many aspects. Five major ones. Belief, Trust, Hope, Perseverance, and Obedience. Jesus answers their request for an increase in faith with an invitation to increase their obedience and see themselves as servants of God. Indeed a humble heart is a heart with an ability to forgive.
Sunday, 25 September 2016
Passage: Luke 16:19-31
Duration: 17 mins 12 secs
Our culture is consumed with the desire for more. Even as we mentally scold those who have too much, we still want more: More food, more money, more comfort, more security, more time, more vacation… even more information, more entertainment, more friends and more appreciation. These are the cultural waters we swim in, and if we are not intentionally swimming upstream, then our lives are pulled along in the current. In our readings this week we are challenged to swim upstream; to question our places of comfort, trust and security; and to embrace not the fear of insufficiency, but the provision of contentment
Sunday, 18 September 2016
This Sunday, we have a particularly challenging Gospel. It is a bit difficult to understand and it's a challenge to apply. It is the parable of the Unrighteous Steward who gets praised! Confused yet? How about if I say it's about money but not about money at all? Like I said, its a challenge to explain and a challenge to apply. A word like "Alignment" sounds a bit too much like biz speak, as in "our goals will be more readily achieved if we align our strategy, tactics, and resources to our core values." That's actually true -but not especially inspiring. That sentence is also a bit true of this week's Gospel, although I promise to stay away from the biz speak and try to sound more like Jesus. ;-) -Fr. Ed
Sunday, 11 September 2016
Passage: Luke 15:1-10
Duration: 8 mins 51 secs
This Sunday we move into Luke 15! This chapter is sometimes called the "mini gospel" as it contains three wonderful parables that reveal God's heart for those who have turned away and the great joy in heaven when even one person returns. Sometimes the Christian life can feel wearisome in its repetitiveness. Where is the progress? Why aren't our prayers answered immediately and why do I still stumble over the same sins? At moments like this, a little perspective helps. God is more patient and persistent than we are. Every time we truly humble our hearts and seek forgiveness, Angels rejoice. Every time. Further, the gospel teaches us there are no acceptable losses in the Divine economy. Every repentant heart matters.
Sunday, 04 September 2016
Passage: Luke 14:25-33
Duration: 17 mins 56 secs
What does it mean to be a disciple of Christ? What is the cost? Do we get to set boundaries between what parts of our lives and selves we are willing to offer to God and other parts we keep to ourselves? In our Old Testament and Psalm this week, the overwhelming divinity and sovereignty of God is balanced by the profound intimacy of His love and knowledge of us. In our New Testament and Gospel readings we are asked to be willing to give up anything and everything else to be a disciple of Jesus, and to let the ethics and priorities of God shape our own. Living in the presence of God means being open to a life of transformation.
Sunday, 28 August 2016
Duration: 15 mins 38 secs
This week’s readings begin with an Apocrypha reading from Sirach: “The beginning of human pride is to forsake the Lord; the heart has withdrawn from its Maker.” Then a reading from Hebrews: “Let mutual love continue.” And in Luke, Jesus tells the dinner party guests to stop jostling for seats of status, instead to humble themselves, and tells the dinner party host to stop inviting his equals, but to invite the poor, the lame, and the blind. When we lose sight of who we are in the face of God, we slip into the pettiness of politics with each other; striving and competing to be more important than our neighbors, but when we remember ourselves, we can see all people with the eyes of God.
Sunday, 21 August 2016
Passage: Luke 13:10-17
Duration: 18 mins 8 secs
It's hard to be jealous of someone who is utterly above one in skill or talent. Jealousy seems to be reserved for those we perceive as competitors or peers. We tend to admire those whose ability is clearly beyond our own. In this week's Gospel Jesus encounters jealousy as he heals a woman of an 18 year ailment. He did it on the Sabbath and that upset some folks. This Sunday I'll be reflecting on this amazing healing, the responses Jesus experienced, and the subtle impact of jealousy on our spiritual life. - Fr. Ed
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