We please God with forgiveness

Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) June 1 (Deuteronomy 10:12-13; 11:18, 26-28, 32; Psalm 31; Romans 1:16-17; 3:20-26, 28; Matthew 7:21-27)

What is most pleasing to God? Deuteronomy insists that loving and serving God alone, walking in God’s ways, brings happiness and gives life. The author defines loving and serving God as absolute loyalty and a refusal to incline one’s heart or mind towards other gods. Indeed, the Deuteronomist considers idolatry the worst of all possible sins, provoking God’s anger and punishment.

    Jesus is the source of life, sustenance

    Body and Blood of Christ (Year A) May 25 (Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14-16; Psalm 147; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; John 6:51-59)

    Meeting the demands of hunger and thirst is the most basic of human drives. Physical survival must be ensured before people turn to those things we consider of a higher nature: self-expression, society, culture, the quest for knowledge and so on. And yet there seems to be a problem right from the beginning of human history as recorded in the Bible. Humans allow hunger and thirst — the basic drives of life — to crowd out and obliterate their relationship with God.

      God does not conform to human understanding

      Trinity Sunday (Year A), May 18 (Exodus 34:4-6, 8-9; Daniel 3; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; John 3:16-18)

      A sudden change in perspective or a new view of reality can be shocking and unsettling for many. Suddenly the conventional wisdom is no longer so wise, and reality is far more complicated than we ever imagined.

        The Spirit dwells in hearts of those who do good

        Pentecost (Year A) May 11 (Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 104; 1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13; John 20:19-23)

        What was the “real” giving of the Spirit like? The Gospels present us with two distinct but rather inconsistent possibilities.

          Live as the Lord's disciples

          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

            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

              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

                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

                  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.