Ascension of the Lord (Year A) May 4 (Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47; Ephesians 1:17-23; Matthew 28:16-20)

When is God going to topple the totalitarian regimes of the Earth and banish dictators? When is God going to restore democratic governments and put an end to human rights abuses? These are some of the questions in our own minds today, similar to the ones the followers of Jesus were asking: When are you going to eject the hated Romans from our land and restore the Kingdom of Israel? But God is not in the business of king making.

Just say yes

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Have you ever said no to God? Consciously, that is, and deliberately. Very likely, most of us have a constant “no” running through our bloodstream, even when we think we’re saying yes. But occasionally we may be aware of ourselves saying no.

Jesus is a constant reality

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Sixth Sunday of Easter (Year A) April 27 (Acts 8:5-8, 14-17; Psalm 66; 1 Peter 3:15-18; John 14:15-21)

Even while some were rejecting Jesus and persecuting the Christian movement, the message of hope was breaking out into the regions of Samaria. It is intriguing that many of the Samaritans — so at odds with their fellow Jews — were some of the first to receive the faith. The words of Jesus had a special appeal to those excluded or on the margins.

Walk the path of love, patience, humble service

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Fourth Sunday of Easter (Year A) April 13 (Acts 2:14, 36-41; Psalm 23; 1 Peter 2:20-25; John 10:1-10)

People are rightly outraged and upset when there is a grave miscarriage of justice such as a false accusation. But the most disturbing injustice of all is when an innocent person is executed.

Crucifixion necessary step to redemption

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Third Sunday of Easter (Year A) April 6 (Acts 2:14, 22-28; Psalm 16; 1 Peter 1:17-21; Luke 24:13-35)

How does one make sense of the absurd, tragic and senseless? The early Christians had their work cut out for them.

Do bodies go to heaven?

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My friend Eleanor and I went to the garden show, exploring things of the Earth, how they grow and flourish. Eleanor, who’s battling illness, said she’s been wondering about the resurrection of the body.

True peace is harmony with God

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Second Sunday of Easter (Year A) March 30 (Acts 2:42-47; Psalm 118; 1 Peter 1:3-9; John 20:19-31)

What an ideal community — a veritable utopia! We might suspect that the early Christian communities were not quite as rosy as Luke paints them. Paul’s letters are certainly a dissenting voice. But even allowing for Luke’s often idealistic and enthusiastic portrayal of community life in the early days of the Christian movement, it is clear that it was something very exceptional.

We share in Christ's divine origin, destiny

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Easter Sunday (Year A) March 23 (Acts 10:34, 36-43; Psalm 118; Colossians 3:1-4; John 20:1-18)

Peter’s conversation with Cornelius, so unexceptional to us, would have been stunning and even disconcerting to most of his contemporaries. Cornelius belonged to a different nation, ethnic group, religion and system of values. He was also a Roman officer — a member of the hated occupying army — and Peter was not only in his house but was relating to him the wonderful account of God’s power manifested in Jesus.

Suffering for others a sign of faith

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Passion Sunday (Year A), March 16, 2008 (Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalm 22; Philippians 2:6-11; Matthew 26:14-27:66)

We can endure almost anything if we know that we are doing what is right and that our suffering has meaning. The Suffering Servant figure in Isaiah’s prophecy was one such individual.

Faith in God brings eternal life

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Fifth Sunday of Lent (Year A) March 9 (Ezekiel 37:12-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8:8-11; John 11:1-45)

The Spirit of God — the Divine Breath — first appears in the opening lines of Genesis. It is an instrument of creation as it blows across the chaotic primal waters. This same spirit (or breath, as the Hebrew word is the same for both) made humans into living beings. And as the psalms insist in several verses, if this breath were to be withdrawn for even an instant we would return to dust. So it seems that there has never been a time when we were without this spirit, and yet the readings seem to suggest that it is something new.

Jesus will lead us through darkness

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Fourth Sunday of Lent (Year A) March 2 (1 Samuel 16:1, 6-7, 10-13; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41)

Glamour, good looks and glitz are the reigning values of much of our culture. Appearance is everything and is the standard by which one’s worth is judged. If only as much time, money and energy were expended cultivating personal qualities and the inner life.