Crucifixion necessary step to redemption

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?

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

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

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

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

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 And as the psalms insist in several verses, if this breath were to be withdrawn for even an instant we would return to dust.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

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.

Christ calls us to walk in truth

We were sitting watching his daughter’s hockey tournament (her team was winning). My friend and I had both been thinking that day about Robert Latimer, whose request for parole was not granted. Mr. Latimer’s story asks uncomfortable questions.

Know God within your heart, soul

Third Sunday of Lent (Year A) Feb. 24 (Exodus 17:3-7; Romans 5:1-2, 5-8; Psalm 95; John 4:5-42)

Is the Lord with me or not? A very human question — perhaps one we have asked many times. One might prod the complaining Israelites to remember all of the mighty wondrous deeds that God performed on their behalf in order to liberate them from bondage in Egypt. But people can have very short memories concerning acts of kindness, especially when God is the benefactor. What has he or she — or God — done for me lately?

We must place our trust in God

Second Sunday of Lent (Year A) Feb. 17 (Genesis 12:1-4; Psalm 33; 2 Timothy 1:8-10; Matthew 17:1-9)

Most people have a great reluctance, even fear, of being vulnerable. We like to control events and our environment. We insulate ourselves with power, wealth and relationships and a host of other things to give us the illusion of security.

God's grace extended to all

First Sunday of Lent (Year A) Feb. 10 (Genesis 2:7-9, 16-18, 25; 3:1-7; Psalm 51; Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11)

The Garden of Eden story has inspired centuries of interpretation and reflection. Unfortunately, not all of the interpretations have been helpful, for they have generated several ideas of very questionable theological value. Among them is the persistent idea that women are the weaker gender and the source of temptation. It has been called into service to paint humanity as totally depraved and sinful and to consign unbaptized babies to a non-existent limbo. Most of these interpretations burden the story far beyond its original purpose and they were often forged in the heat of theological conflicts.