Sermons, Proclaim
131 Articles at Lifeissues.net

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Articles

New! Will Your Money Put You Outside of God's Love?. (ordinary 31, 2022)

When a Roman tax collector goes looking for Jesus, Jesus already was looking for him. And Jesus had terrific news to give him. In our day, we must find ways to look for that same Savior, who already is looking for us. Finding him will be our greatest treasure.

Date posted: 2022-09-19

New! Jesus, the Pope and the Tax Collector. (ordinary 30, 2022)

Want to get on God's good side? Here are two strategies, and you won't believe what really works!

Date posted: 2022-09-17

The Absent Adversary. (ordinary 29, 2022)

This is, to be sure, a parable about praying without ceasing. But it is also an exhortation to care, to show up, to simply be present and ready to receive what we claim we want.

Date posted: 2022-09-15

Is It So Hard to Say "Thank You"?. (ordinary 28, 2022)

Grace is freely given even when gratitude is not obviously shown. Gratitude is a response to grace and may not be immediate or ostentatious. More often than not, we may not be aware of gratitude shown for grace that is freely given.

Date posted: 2022-09-12

Putting Our Faith to Work. (ordinary 27, 2022)

Faith is an elusive, sought-after commodity of the Christian life. Putting our faith to work makes it stronger and makes the world a better place.

Date posted: 2022-09-10

A Blind Eye and a Dry Tongue. (ordinary 26, 2022)

We accept faith, or grow our faith, not by dramatic events or fear of punishment, but by responding in our everyday lives through study, devotion and care for others, to the revelation that God has given us.

Date posted: 2022-08-13

The Sure Thing. (ordinary 25, 2022)

If only people of faith could show the same enthusiasm for giving that greedy people show for accumulating wealth!

Date posted: 2022-08-12

Welcome to My World. (ordinary 24 2022)

The stories of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin represent two-thirds of a trilogy of parables completed by the parable of the Prodigal Son. The first and third parables tell us something about God, to be sure, but the middle parable - involving women, a lost coin and living successfully above the poverty line - is set in our world. The Real World.

Date posted: 2022-08-11

Paul's Problem and America's. (ordinary 23 2022)

Paul had a difficult letter to write to Philemon, and today that letter about an escaped slave can provoke debate in the United States, where slavery is automatically associated with race. And while slavery is in our past, it created injustices that persist. Christians can influence the way society deals with those injustices by being a community that really displays the love of Christ.

Date posted: 2022-08-10

Unexpected Hospitality. (ordinary 22 2022)

In the ancient world, hospitality was a mutual exchange of favors. But in the teachings of Jesus, the practice became non-reciprocal. He challenges us to care specifically for those who cannot repay us: the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind.

Date posted: 2022-07-13

The Mystery of the Narrow Door. (ordinary 21 2022)

Perhaps there are some things more interesting than doors, but not many. Open doors are welcoming while closed doors are rude and foreboding. Doors represent opportunities, possibilities and challenges. Jesus says that we should "strive" to pass through the "narrow" door. Then he utters an ominous warning: Many "will try to enter and will not be able." What does he mean?

Date posted: 2022-07-12

The Fire of Jesus. (ordinary 20 2022)

After a quick reading of this text, we might dismiss it as being an obvious mis-remembering of what Jesus actually said. Perhaps Luke has injected his own political perspective into a conversation which, many years after the fact, he can only dimly recall. However, a closer look at Jesus' manic outburst is telling a[euro]* telling us that he said what he meant and meant what he said.

Date posted: 2022-07-11

Don't Be Afraid of the Thief. (ordinary 19 2022)

This is a message that challenges our fear, on a couple of levels. It challenges the fear that confronts us now -- fear of plague, loss, disease and death. And it challenges our hidden fear of Christ's return like a thief in the night -- and the loss that that will bring

Date posted: 2022-07-10

The Ripple Effect (ordinary 18 2022)

The parable of the rich fool leaves room to think about the good he could have done with his abundance and the positive ripple effect it could have had. This has implications for our churches.

Date posted: 2022-07-05

Prayer That Makes Sense (ordinary 17 2022)

Luke's telling of the "Lord's Prayer" is shorter than the account found in Matthew. Here, Jesus includes a couple of illustrations that help us to understand. Making sense of prayer is easier some days than others, but it should always be an important part of every believer's life.

Date posted: 2022-07-04

In Defense of Just Sitting and Listening for a While (ordinary 16 2022)

Sandwiched between the parable of the Good Samaritan and Jesus' teachings about prayer, the narrative about Mary listening while Martha works teaches us that study prepares us for our devotional life and for serving our neighbors. All of these things form a part of our struggle against evil.

Date posted: 2022-07-03

Get Dirty (ordinary 15 2022)

Jesus told a parable about our ability to receive a seed from God and produce an abundant harvest. If we are good soil, we'll be amazed by what is created.

Date posted: 2022-07-02

Our Limited Minds, Our Weary Souls (ordinary 14 2022)

Even though Jesus teaches us that we can never fully understand God, we can use our intellects to gain a deeper perspective on what God reveals. All people, despite education or sophistication, can find rest for their souls in Jesus.

Date posted: 2022-07-01

The Middle Way Isn't the Easy Way (Ordinary Time 13)

Having told his disciples for the second time what would happen to him in Jerusalem, Jesus sets his face decisively for that city. We're told about three people who want to follow Jesus "but" - but want to put their own conditions on discipleship. As he is starting out with the Twelve, Jesus has to rebuke two of them who want to punish a city that refused to receive him. Those two extremes, of halfway commitment and fanaticism, are to be distinguished from a total commitment to follow the way of Jesus.

Date posted: 2022-06-04

It's Difficult to Be a Father! (Father's Day)

It's easy to become a father; it's hard to be a father. As Christ loved and led the church, so fathers must love and lead the family. The path to such a worthy position is a serious pilgrimage of growth and development from self-focus to selfless focus. There need be no apology for such fatherhood - it is of God.

Date posted: 2022-06-03

Good Bread (Corpus Christi)

Of all the aromas that emanate from a kitchen, none matches the nostalgia-inducing scent of a freshly baked loaf of bread. Yet, many people avoid bread today because of health concerns. Bread is bad, say many nutrition experts. Today's gospel text takes another view, and even goes so far as to advocate for what the reading describes as the "Bread of Life."

Date posted: 2022-06-02

The Triune God is Calling, Calling, Calling (Trinity Sunday)

The Christian idea of the Holy Trinity is derived from a careful reading of the Bible, and it's not just theological inside-baseball talk meant to confuse outsiders. Rather, it's an important way to understand who God is and what God is calling us to be and do.

Date posted: 2022-06-01

Planting Forever (Pentecost 2022)

The church has already been planted. We need not wait for it to happen again. We have been given what we need. May we go forth and proclaim it again, and again, and ....

Date posted: 2022-05-28

The Love of Divine Prayer (Easter Sunday 7)

Jesus's final act is to pray for his friends and disciples. We are invited to the kind of intimate relationship Jesus has with God, not as eavesdroppers, but as active participants in a lifestyle of divine love.

Date posted: 2022-05-26

Jesus Sends Us Into the World (Easter Sunday 6)

Jesus sends us out to do ministry in a world that can be anything from hostile to apathetic towards our work. Jesus has sent the Advocate or Holy Spirit to guide and teach us. Despite the problems we might face, Jesus offers us peace.

Date posted: 2022-05-20

Standing Around Doing Nothing (Ascension)

Jesus taught the disciples that the kingdom of God was at hand, and they all had a part to play in it. The kingdom continues to this day, and we all have a part to play.

Date posted: 2022-05-19

Love's Daily Choice (Easter Sunday 5)

Loving others is a choice we must continually make.

Date posted: 2022-04-19

Parents -- Partners with the Lord (Mother's Day)

Even though Mother's Day is not a religious holiday or spiritual observance in origin, the Bible certainly gives evidence that motherhood and parenthood are God's training ground for Christian values.

Date posted: 2022-04-18

Sheep Get Like Shepherds, and Shepherds Like Sheep (Easter Sunday 4)

There's no question that those who encounter Jesus in the Gospel of John are transformed, but the gospel also seems to show that Jesus, God's presence on Earth, is transformed as he comes to understand what it means to be human. Say what you like, but this is good news!

Date posted: 2022-04-17

Why Praise the Lamb? (Easter Sunday 3)

This text consists of two hymns of praise to the Lamb, Christ and God by the heavenly hosts, but no reason for these praises is given. If we put these hymns in the context of the whole of Revelation, we see that the Lamb will open the scroll that reveals God's "game plan" for the world, a plan that ends with the defeat of evil and the heavenly city coming down to earth.

Date posted: 2022-04-16

Seeing Isn't Believing (Easter Sunday 2)

When we cannot see the future clearly, we are challenged to make a leap of faith. But Jesus will support us when we believe his words and trust his instructions.

Date posted: 2022-04-15

From Dark to Dawn to Light (Easter Sunday)

Today's reading tells us that Mary Magdalene awakened on Easter morning "while it was still dark." As the text goes on to explain what she does next, the reader learns that her actions and those of Peter and John are a template for how we often journey from dark to dawn to the full light of the knowledge of God in Christ Jesus. This is where we are today: in the light of Easter morning!

Date posted: 2022-04-14

Jesus Saves Us Even From Ourselves (Good Friday)

Because many people have heard the Good Friday story so often, they may think they know it through and through. But what they overlook in the story can be as important as what they think they already know.

Date posted: 2022-04-12

Follow the Muddy Footprints (Holy Thursday)

Jesus sets a simple example of service -- not only of giving service, but of receiving it. He shows those who claim his name how to treat one another. In this tableau of enacted love, the church and the world are shown what it is to live in anticipation of the kingdom of God coming amongst us.

Date posted: 2022-04-11

Never Forget (Palm Sunday)

The memory that binds a community together is not necessarily a photographic representation of the past. Remembering often means reliving the ways in which a community came together to support each other to create a new way forward.

Date posted: 2022-04-10

Restore Our Fortunes, O Lord (Lent 5)

Psalm 126 is a historical psalm, probably related to the return of the Israelites from the Babylonian exile. Having experienced the release from captivity, the people need God to restore them once again. What God did for them, he can do for us.

Date posted: 2022-03-10

Rolling Away Our Disgrace (Lent 4)

The disgrace of Egypt lasted for decades among the people of Israel. After they crossed the Jordan, God directed Joshua to roll away the disgrace. God heals us of such things as addiction, unhealthy religion and damage from racism, even though the effects can be long-term.

Date posted: 2022-03-06

What Have We Learned? (Lent 3)

God speaks to us -- maybe even especially so -- in the midst of disaster.

Date posted: 2022-03-04

Look to the Skies! (Lent 2)

If we begin our Lenten journey in a spirit of discouragement, it is good to remember Abram and Sarai's discouragement when God's promises were not quickly fulfilled. The signs of God's faithfulness are all around us if we but look. More importantly, taking part in God's great promise may be the first step to believing God and having it reckoned to us as righteousness.

Date posted: 2022-03-02

Spitting at the Devil (Lent 1)

Luke's account shows that even after Jesus had rejected the devil's offer of world power. Jesus' temptations continued all the way to the cross. As we begin Lent, we're reminded that temptations will continue through life, that we will sometimes fail and that because of Christ's faithfulness we can get back up when we fall.

Date posted: 2022-02-26

Instructions for Lent (Ash Wednesday)

The prophet Joel offers guidance that fits Ash Wednesday perfectly: Return, learn, gather and pray

Date posted: 2022-01-18

Is Jesus Just Stringing Us Along? (Ordinary Times 8)

After Jesus describes the values that should be in operation in the reign of God on Earth, he offers his followers several specific rules for living that should result in a world full of compassion, wisdom, mercy, generosity and love. Each one is a pearl of great price. And each one is a gift of grace.

Date posted: 2022-01-16

... To You That Listen (Ordinary Times 7)

Jesus aims these hard teachings at ... you who listen. Are we listening? What shall we who are listening do? How shall we "be," in this increasingly polarized world?

Date posted: 2022-01-14

Be a Blessing (Ordinary Times 6)

The Beatitudes demonstrate God's commitment to valuing the people he created. Will we hold up our responsibility to show love to each other?

Date posted: 2022-01-12

Change: of Occupation, of Direction, of Life (Ordinary Times 5)

Jesus calls Simon Peter from fishing for fish to fishing for people. This remarkable exchange illuminates how there is hope for everyone, especially those who, hailing from the margins of society, see themselves as sinful and worthless. Jesus is looking for exactly them ... and he's still looking today.

Date posted: 2022-01-10

God's Infuriating Grace (Ordinary Times 4)

The fact that God loves all people has not always been well received. But because of God's love for us, we have a responsibility to grow into maturity, including healing our emotions.

Date posted: 2021-11-22

This Blessed Day (Ordinary Times 3)

In matters of the spirit, we can get lost in the past or the future; it's only in the present that we encounter God.

Date posted: 2021-11-19

Like It Matters (Ordinary Times 2)

The first sign Jesus performed in the Gospel of John is invisible. Only the servants whom no one is paying attention to really see what Jesus is about. What's this to you and me? Well, maybe God doesn't have to call our attention to every divine action in our lives, but rest assured, God is involved, God is among us and God cares not only that we find a way through troubles, but that we enjoy ourselves on occasion as well.

Date posted: 2021-11-17

Like Us in Every Respect (Baptism of the Lord)

It seems at first that Luke downplays the fact that Jesus received a baptism of repentance for sins. Christians zealous to defend Christ's divinity haven't always stressed his genuine humanity strongly enough. But the Bible is clear about him sharing our vulnerability and suffering, and his fellowship with sinners. In reality, Luke doesn't downplay Jesus' baptism but emphasizes that the sinless Jesus was baptized with sinners as part of his saving work. We're invited now to reflect on who Jesus is for us today.

Date posted: 2021-11-15

Defusing Unexploded Bombs (Epiphany)

Many forces in human life can shatter families and ruin friendships. But we can defuse explosive situations by showing gentleness and patience, speaking the truth in love, and forgiving others as Christ has forgiven us.

Date posted: 2021-11-13

Setting Expectations (Holy Family)

Holidays, celebrations and traditions set our expectations for who we are and what we will experience. If we can pause and ask ourselves what we need, perhaps we can see ourselves and the season in new ways.

Date posted: 2021-11-11

In the Beginning (Christmas Day)

If you were asked to tell the story of Christmas, you'd probably mention a long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, shepherds and sheep, a sky full of singing angels, the wise men from the east, the inn with a "No Vacancy" sign and of course, a very pregnant Mary and a concerned Joseph. But today's gospel reading doesn't mention any of these events. What's going on?

Date posted: 2021-11-09

The Gifts Given Before the First Christmas (Advent 4)

Two remarkable women, each carrying a miraculous child, meet. That meeting leads to prophecy and joy and blessings. God's word and blessings come to us in many ways, and when we are faithful and obedient, God uses us to bring his message to a world desperate for hope and peace.

Date posted: 2021-11-07

The Lord's Bright Blessing (Advent 3)

It's difficult to be cheerful when there's so much left to do this holiday season, especially when we're trying to make up for all we missed last year due to the pandemic. The last thing we need is someone telling us not to worry - unless it's the apostle Paul, writing to Philippi from death row in Rome - whose message of joy should serve us as well now as it did 2,000 years ago! Don't worry. Rejoice!

Date posted: 2021-11-05

Begin With the End in Mind (Advent 2)

Peak performers are visualizers who see, feel and experience things before they do them. In Christian life, God offers us a vision and then helps us to achieve it.

Date posted: 2021-11-03

The Advent of Hope (Advent 1)

Many self-proclaimed prophets have predicted the end of the world and the date of the Second Coming. But that's a fool's game. The job of Christians is to watch with Christ and respond to the wounds and needs of people, trusting that we can leave the ultimate fate of the world to our loving God.

Date posted: 2021-11-01

Now and Then and on the Way (Christ The King)

For the writer of Revelation, there is One who is God today and was God yesterday and is the God who is coming - coming from the future. God's future, the resurrection of the dead on the last day, has already begun with the Easter resurrection of Jesus Christ. Those who know that Christ is king form a community to call all people into God's future.

Date posted: 2021-10-30

Who Needs Sacrifice? (Ordinary Times 33)

These passages, remote as they may seem to modern and postmodern ears, reflect a reality about the human condition that speaks as insistently to us, today, as it did to the early church finding its identity in Christ.

Date posted: 2021-10-29

Jesus the High Priest Who Offers Forgiveness and Purification (Ordinary Times 32)

In both the sacrificial system of the Hebrew Bible and the sacraments of the Christian faith, God works to bridge the broken relationship between God and humanity.

Date posted: 2021-10-27

Open the Gates of Glory (All Saints)

Psalm 24 invites us to join the processional through God's holy gates into the living temple. The call and response of the psalm invites us not only to witness, but to take part in the glory of the Lord. We don't need to pack a suitcase.

Date posted: 2021-10-26

Ten, Two or One? A Scribe, the Kingdom of God and You (10/31/21 Ordinary Time 31)

In this exchange with an earnest and well-meaning scribe, Jesus teaches the scribe, and us, not only what is the greatest commandment, but what is the one overarching purpose of every commandment.

Date posted: 2021-09-18

Sightings (10/24/21 Ordinary Time 30)

In this exchange with an earnest and well-meaning scribe, Jesus teaches the scribe, and us, not only what is the greatest commandment, but what is the one overarching purpose of every commandment.

Date posted: 2021-09-17

A Race to the Bottom (10/17/21 Ordinary Time 29)

James and John ask Jesus to "do whatever they ask of him." Jesus uses their asking for places of honor in the kingdom as an opportunity to talk about true discipleship, which is seen not in positions of glory, but in places of service. Indeed, for followers of Christ, it is a "race to the bottom" - not seeking to be recognized so much as to be in service for God.

Date posted: 2021-09-16

Be Careful What You Ask For (10/10/21 Ordinary Time 28)

Rather than teaching us that we can buy our way into heaven, that we can keep our money as long as we don't love it or offering a message about grace, Jesus calls us to take a risk to build up treasure in heaven.

Date posted: 2021-09-15

Welcome the Child (10/03/21 Ordinary Time 27)

Jesus welcomes children: both literal children and the inner child in all of us.

Date posted: 2021-09-14

All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name (9/26/21 Ordinary Time 26)

When the apostle John catches others healing others in the name of Jesus, he tries to put a stop to it, but Jesus will have none of it. We are on the same side. God's audacious aim is to save the whole world. Therefore, whoever is not against us is for us. Isn't it just like God to be merciful and hopeful about everyone? Including us.

Date posted: 2021-09-13

Wisdom From Above (9/19/21 Ordinary Time 25)

Our text contrasts a false self-seeking "wisdom" with "wisdom from above" that leads to good relationships. The whole letter of James focuses on right behavior, and says little about Jesus by name. But in light of traditions about wisdom in the Hebrew scriptures that Christians used to speak about Jesus, we can see the letter's encouragement to live with wisdom as another way of speaking about following Jesus.

Date posted: 2021-09-12

What Makes Us Sick? (8/29/21 Ordinary Time 22)

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) strongly believes that junk food is dangerous to one's health. You don't need to be a foodie, the agency says, but you shouldn't be a junkie either. But in today's scripture reading, Jesus seems to disagree. He has a radical theory about what truly makes us sick.

Date posted: 2021-08-24

How to Answer Peter's Question (8/22/21 Ordinary Time 21)

Some followers of Jesus began walking away from him in response to something he said that they found difficult and confusing. But Peter said he and others of the Twelve would stay because they knew Jesus is the Holy One of God. Followers of Jesus today are challenged to follow Peter's example and commit themselves fully to Christ.

Date posted: 2021-07-23

Running on Time (8/15/21 Ordinary Time 20)

The Bible speaks of four dimensions of time: past, present, future and eternity. But it is in the present where time most closely touches eternity.

Date posted: 2021-07-22

Imitating God (8/08/21 Ordinary Time 19)

The life of faith is not just a matter of awe and reverence for God and Jesus and the Holy Trinity; nor is it only a matter of having the correct answers to theological questions. The life of faith, Paul tells us, calls us to do the hard work of imitating God.

Date posted: 2021-07-21

Healing Our Hungers (8/1/21 Ordinary Time 18)

As in other places in scripture, John draws a connection between food and faith. Jesus came as the bread of life, who feeds our spiritual hunger. One way to respond is to heal our relationship to physical food.

Date posted: 2021-07-20

No Crowd-Funded King (7/25/21 Ordinary Time 17)

Our tradition refers to Jesus as "king" ad infinitum, and that is fine and good and certainly not ad nauseam - but this passage offers us some surprising insights about the kind of king he might be. What kind of king is he - and what kind of subjects are we to be?

Date posted: 2021-07-06

The Labor of Compassion

Compassion is a way of seeing, of feeling, of seeing again, and then of doing.

Date posted: 2021-07-05

The Big Picture

During the past century, scientific investigations have revealed the vast extent of our universe in both space and time, raising questions about the significance of our lives on this single planet. Our text from Ephesians is about the meaning of our lives and the whole creation from a different standpoint, that of faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. God's plan is for "all things" to be united in fellowship with Christ.

Date posted: 2021-07-03

Good Trouble

Christians face rejection when they work for justice on behalf of the powerless. But Jesus found, in his hometown, that his own words and work caused offense.

Date posted: 2021-06-22

Taking Jesus at His Word

In this account of Jesus healing two people, we see two common threads: taking Jesus at his word and admitting that one's need is greater than one's resources. Regardless of how far medicine and science and knowledge advance, we should never keep Jesus out of the picture.

Date posted: 2021-06-22

The Question Game

It's annoying when someone repeatedly responds to a question with another question. Try it sometime, but only if you want to be considered an irritating and egotistical boor, or evasive and non-responsive. Yet, in today's gospel reading, all of the spoken words between Jesus and his disciples are questions! What's going on?

Date posted: 2021-06-08

A Most Extraordinary Ordinary Time

We are confident that we have access to something greater than the body, in this life, even though the body and physical reality are really all we can see and really know, because "... we walk by faith, not by sight." Faith is a walk, not just something we claim to see. We claim life beyond physical reality by way of how we walk while in the body.

Date posted: 2021-06-08

Who’s Your Daddy?

By grace we are all adopted into God’s family.

Date posted: 2021-05-18

Holy Spirit Ears

Experiencing the Holy Spirit is a community event, not a moment of private spirituality. Communication requires community participation, both of speakers and listeners. Speakers need listeners if they are to be understood.

Date posted: 2021-05-17

Rolling the Dice

After the death of Judas, the disciples met, nominated two candidates to replace him, prayed and then cast lots. That seems like an odd way to go about the work of the Lord. But regardless of what method we use to call leadership in the church, prayer is essential, as well as faith that it is God who strengthens us and makes us equal to the task.

Date posted: 2021-05-16

Filled to the Brim

Jesus wants us to be completely flooded and fulfilled with joy. Such filling happens when we practice self-giving love."

Date posted: 2021-05-03

It's Always Pruning Season

Using metaphorical language, Jesus describes himself as the true vine and God as the vine dresser. And he insists that his followers stay connected to the vine so they can produce good fruit. What this requires is pruning away whatever gets in the way of that vital task.

Date posted: 2021-04-28

The Hired Hand

Summary: The hired hand as a heroic, perhaps mythic figure, is ingrained into the fabric of American's history, especially in the West. Often, hired hands were nomadic, working on a ranch in Wyoming in the summer and Arizona in the winter. Jesus mentions the hired hand in today's gospel reading, so the concept is worth another look. What we find out is that possibly Jesus himself was a hired hand. Or does he really fit this definition? Perhaps there is, as Jesus suggests, a crucial difference between himself as the "Good Shepherd" and a hired hand.

Date posted: 2021-04-19

Bearing Witness to the Resurrection

Just before his ascension Jesus had some last words for his disciples. One statement, "You are witnesses of these things," had special significance for the disciples, and it has special significance for disciples today. Being a witness is not optional. We ARE witnesses; we need to consider how we bear witness to the Resurrection.

Date posted: 2021-04-13

The Encouragers

Life includes plenty of sources of discouragement, but encouraging others is a true Christian ministry. We can encourage others by building them up, praying for them, stating the vision and offering direct words of encouragement.

Date posted: 2021-04-10

The Last Word (Easter Sunday Homily)

In this passage we see how people react to the Resurrection, to the knowledge that it's true, it really happened, Jesus really is risen ... risen indeed! And it is not the reaction that we ourselves have come to take for granted.

Date posted: 2021-03-31

God Never Finishes (Good Friday Homily)

Of all the gospels, John's is the most descriptive regarding Jesus' suffering during the Passion. When Jesus announces that "it is finished," he speaks those words in relief and faith in what God does in the Cross. After Jesus' death, the blood and water that come from Jesus' side represent God's grace from a desolate situation.

Date posted: 2021-03-31

Do You Know What He Has Done to You? (Holy Thursday Homily)

Humble service is at the heart of Christian discipleship.

Date posted: 2021-03-31

Memory Aid

Our favorite hymns not only speak our faith but are also memory aids. In his letter to the Philippians, the apostle Paul includes a Christ hymn to help them remember that God not only took human form but also adopted the outlook of a slave to descend into misery and then was elevated to the highest height.

Date posted: 2021-03-23

Jesus the Priest

According to Israel's tradition, Jesus, from the tribe of Judah, couldn't have been a priest. But our text is about his preparation to be a high priest "according to the order of Melchizedek," as the preceding verses make clear. Through the trials and challenges of his ministry, he was able to make the perfect and final sacrifice, giving up his own life and rising again to reconcile sinners to God.

Date posted: 2021-03-16

Not-So-Secret Formula

God's formula for salvation includes grace and faith. When you put the two together, the result is good works.

Date posted: 2021-03-09

What Breaks God's Heart Should Also Break Ours

When Jesus overturned the money-changing tables in the Jerusalem temple, he was showing us how to be angry about the right things. He didn't focus on individuals there but, rather, on entire systems that oppressed and cheated people. Our work to fix what's wrong in our world also should be aimed at unjust, broken systems.

Date posted: 2021-03-03

Jesus Teaches Discipleship

Jesus understood our need for instruction. He offers himself as a model and teacher. But are we willing to follow someone who tells us we must "lose our life"?

Date posted: 2021-02-23

The Facts and the Acts

Today's reading comes from the first chapter of the Gospel of Mark. If you haven't read the Gospels before, Mark is a good one to start with, in part because it gets to the point so quickly.

Date posted: 2021-02-18

The Healing Touch

Jesus touched a man with leprosy and healed him, and then instructed him to say nothing to anyone about who had healed him. But the man proclaimed it to everyone he saw. This man who could previously go nowhere now moved about freely; Jesus, who had been going anywhere he wanted, could now no longer go into town openly. Jesus paid a price to heal, and he paid a greater price when he went to the cross for us all.

Date posted: 2021-02-10

That Subversive Sabbath

Sabbath time is a different quality of time - and that's subversive!

Date posted: 2021-02-01

End the Isolation

In the story of the demoniac in the Capernaum synagogue, we are shown someone who can be found in the midst of the community of faith, yet who is isolated and all alone. When Jesus heals, Jesus restores the relationships between God and all of us. It may not occur to us that people in our midst feel isolated even when they're sitting in our midst. But it happens. For that matter, some of us may not have figured out we're the ones who feel apart and lost. We have a part to play in the healing, in the restoration and in the salvation.

Date posted: 2021-01-30

And Now the News

Mark doesn't waste words in getting to the heart of his message. The Baptist's arrest reminds us of dangers as Jesus comes proclaiming God's kingdom. Because the reign of God comes near, people are called to change their thinking and become part of that movement. And Jesus calls four fishermen to be the first of many to be instruments of the reconciliation that he brings.

Date posted: 2021-01-20

Unexpected Calls

Over half the calls that Americans now receive are unsolicited messages from spammers and scammers. But such annoyances should not prevent us from answering the call of God.

Date posted: 2021-01-12

The Breaking News of Jesus' Baptism

Jesus didn't explain why he felt he needed John to baptize him, but the act revealed who Jesus was and what his mission would be. Although Christians have shed blood over how to do and understand baptism, the important thing to remember is that baptism marks our individual entry into the communal mission of the church to spread Christ's good news.

Date posted: 2021-01-04

John's Christmas Story

John's message that the Word became flesh matters to us because God has identified with our human weakness, made a commitment to us and stands in solidarity with the ways the world harms our bodies.

Date posted: 2020-12-21

The Mystery of the Incarnation

The apostle Paul's letter to the Romans was written to Christ-following Gentiles who had attached themselves to Jewish congregations in Rome. Paul wants them to know that the incarnation means the reign of God has dawned - and not just for them but for the whole cosmos - and that they can live in the Kingdom of God today.

Date posted: 2020-12-16

Am and Am Not

The "I Am" statements in the Gospel of John define who Jesus is. In this passage John the Baptist, a witness to the light, defines himself with a series of "I Am Not" statements. These should lead us to consider who we are and who we are not, and help us become better witnesses to the light.

Date posted: 2020-12-09

Comfort!

Having lived through the 2020 pandemic, and as we continue through Advent, we are reminded through the ancient words of Isaiah that God is bigger and stronger than anything we may face in our lifetime. Add to that the knowledge of God's desire for us to be comforted, and we find hope in new and unexpected ways.

Date posted: 2020-12-05

Waking and Watching

Jesus concludes his discourse to his disciples about the future with a brief parable and the lessons they are to draw from it. We are to be alert, knowing what is going on in the world and thinking God is there. We know something that those first disciples didn't realize at the time: that God's work of new creation has already begun with the cross and resurrection of Christ. Knowing that, we are to watch for the signs that God is completing that work.

Date posted: 2020-11-23

Did I Do That?

What is striking about this tale of sheep and goats is that neither of them know Jesus. Neither sheep nor goats recognize him when he comes to them.

Date posted: 2020-11-18

When the Church Doesn't Make It to the Church on Time

In the parable of the bridesmaids, the church does not fulfill its identity as "salt and light." The foolish bridesmaids miss their chance to be the church in the world.

Date posted: 2020-11-03

It's What's Happening Now

Some Christians look to Revelation as a roadmap to the future that only they understand, despite what our Lord has told us about the futility of guessing about the end of the world. But on All Saints Day, we recognize that Revelation is about the present. In this present and eternal now, God's saints are gathered around the throne, encouraging us, interceding for us and celebrating God's triumph with us, as we all strive for the prize by living according to the precepts of the Sermon on the Mount.

Date posted: 2020-10-27

Gotcha Questions

A question about taxes was designed to damage and discredit Jesus. But he slipped out of trouble and revealed a new understanding about what belongs to God.

Date posted: 2020-10-17

An Invitation*

God is gracious. God is just. We often emphasize the first and ignore the latter. This parable includes both grace and justice. The good news is that God's grace is offered to all. We do a disservice to God and to God's grace if we believe there are not consequences for rejecting that same grace.

Date posted: 2020-10-06

Whose Church?

It's natural for Christians to refer to the congregations they belong to as "my church," but thinking that we really "own" the church can be a problem. In our text from Matthew, Jesus tells a parable directed at the religious authorities of his time in Jerusalem who acted as though they owned the temple and the community associated with it. Even though he was rejected by those authorities, Jesus has become the foundation of the church that is called to proclaim him.

Date posted: 2020-10-01

A Vignette From the Vineyard

Jesus uses a family drama to offer some hard teachings about faithfulness, and he gives us a snapshot of life in the church and the world that is just as applicable now as it was then.

Date posted: 2020-09-23

Measuring Success

In this parable, a landowner recruits workers throughout the day to work in his vineyard, but pays everyone the same daily wage regardless of the number of hours they worked that day, which angers those who labored the longest. How do we measure human value? Can human worth be measured in time or money? The parable warns against allowing one's self to be reduced to a reward for one's work and indicates that the kingdom of God has other metrics.

Date posted: 2020-09-16

Forgiveness Reps

Summary: Jesus wants us to get stronger and healthier by making the decision to forgive. He then challenges us to turn that choice into an ongoing process, based on a willingness to forgive others because God has forgiven us.

Date posted: 2020-09-10

The Other Presence in the Room

We cannot avoid conflict in the church. In our conflicts we allow our egos to do damage to the church and its witness. If we imagine the risen Christ with us in our disputes, would we treat each other in better ways?

Date posted: 2020-09-01

You Win Some, You Lose All

The cross of Jesus has a hard but necessary lesson to teach us: that, although life inevitably ends in death, it is in death that eternal life has its beginning.

Date posted: 2020-08-25

In the Midst of the Storm

Summary: Jesus is with us in the storms of life. We need to keep our eyes on him and trust him in everything.

Date posted: 2020-08-04

Tripping Over Treasure, Knowing Your Pearls

The queasy feeling we may have that a new reality is about to break through is justified. Jesus unabashedly announced that he was the forerunner of a new age. These three parables give us hints as to how this new reality will break through, and how we can prepare ourselves for it.

Date posted: 2020-07-21

Into the Weeds

Our prayer each week, the very reason for us to gather to do this liturgy, which means "work of the people," is to create the conditions so that we, like Merton, can come to realize the fullness of the beauty of our own humanity in concert with those around us. We gather to facilitate an environment where each person shines like the sun and the kingdom of heaven becomes ever so much clearer.

Date posted: 2020-07-16

Get Dirty

Summary: Jesus told a parable about our ability to receive a seed from God and produce an abundant harvest. If we are good soil, we'll be amazed by what is created.

Date posted: 2020-07-07

Our Limited Minds, Our Weary Souls

Even though Jesus teaches us that we can never fully understand God, we can use our intellects to gain a deeper perspective on what God reveals. All people, despite education or sophistication, can find rest for their souls in Jesus.

Date posted: 2020-06-29

Like Water for Strangers

Hospitality is among the most ancient of human traditions. On the most basic level, it's about providing the essentials of life for another person, especially another person who's on a journey. Food, water and a roof over the head: the essentials.

Date posted: 2020-06-22

God Likes Sparrows - But Loves You and Me

As Jesus prepares his disciples to proclaim the Good News to the world, he reminds them to always remember that each human being is precious in God's sight. That truth should inform how we live today, how we do ministry and how we encounter every person we meet, including people we don't much like.

Date posted: 2020-06-18

All Together Now

Sometimes the desire to take all the credit means we're not good collaborators. No one was more qualified to take all the credit than Jesus, yet he made his disciples collaborators in the work of the kingdom, and even called out twelve apostles who would assume great responsibility for making choices as collaborators. If Jesus could share the credit with these ordinary people, shouldn't we do the same?

Date posted: 2020-06-10

From Death to Life

Our Christian celebration of Pentecost - remembering the Holy Spirit and the infant church - turns a harvest of death, the old way of living, into a harvest of life, an alternative way to live and love.

Date posted: 2020-05-29

The Sermon I Wish I Didn't Have to Preach

When we face suffering, we reject the prosperity gospel - the understanding of suffering as punishment for sin - as well as a martyr's complex. We seek God's strength in the midst of our suffering, and we hope for the resurrection.

Date posted: 2020-05-13

The Fulcrum of Our Faith

Our confession of Jesus as God's Son provides the firm foundation for our faith. It is to place ourselves in the position of having to make a decision, one way or the other, for him or against him - not so much to decide between competing medical theories of his birth, but to decide whether we are ready to stake our lives on him. Are you ready to do that today?

Date posted: 2020-05-04

Metaphors Galore: A Shepherd, a Gate, a Lamb

To the people who heard him, sometimes Jesus seemed to speak in riddles they just didn't understand. But even if Jesus' listeners were metaphor-challenged, we don't have to be. We can figure out the message of grace, love and abundant life that Jesus wants us to grasp.

Date posted: 2020-04-27

What Are You Worth?

We may wonder about how other people in our lives and in society in general evaluate us. A more important question, though, especially because of our sinfulness, is what value we have for God. Our text tells us that we are so valued in God's sight that the Son of God gave his life to restore us to fellowship with God. This was, in fact, God's plan "before the foundation of the world."

Date posted: 2020-04-22