Ascension of the Lord (Year A) May 21 (Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47; Ephesians 1:17-23; Matthew 28:16-20)

We can only imagine what it would have been like to walk and talk with the risen Jesus for 40 days. What did His followers talk about? What did the Lord teach them? If only someone had taken notes!

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

The Samaritans fare rather well in the pages of the New Testament. Despite the fact that there was considerable antipathy between the Samaritans and the Judeans, they are often portrayed as eager and open to the words of Jesus. The tension sprang from their questionable ethnicity and theology. In the eyes of the Judeans, the ethnic purity of the Samaritans had been compromised by intermarriage with non-Jews.

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Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year A) May 7 (Acts 6:1-7; Psalm 33; 1 Peter 2:4-9; John 14:1-12)

Tension and misunderstanding in church communities is nothing new. As the faith continued to spread, more people from disparate backgrounds joined the community, which often gives rise to friction and resentment.

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Fourth Sunday of Easter (Year A) April 30 (Acts 2:14a, 36b-41; Psalm 23; 1 Peter 2:20b-25; John 10:1-10)

Many terrible things are done by ordinary, otherwise decent, people. It is easy to demonize a few villains and lay the blame on them, but what about when many have a hand — directly or indirectly — in the crime? Most of the time this is due to ignorance. People are not really aware of the true state of affairs or the consequences of their actions. Reality is refracted through a lens of fear, prejudices and commonly held opinions — usually wrong. Many are easily manipulated by purveyors of misinformation (lies) and demagogues.

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Third Sunday of Easter (Year A) April 23 (Acts 2:14, 22b-28; Psalm 16; 1 Peter 1:17-21; Luke 24:13-35)

A rapid survey of the world reveals a very distressing panorama of violence, cruelty and injustice. The question that many shout heavenward is, “Where is God in all this?” But God is many steps ahead of humanity and is far more powerful than the worst that they can do.

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Second Sunday of Easter (Year A) April 16 (Acts 2:42-47; Psalm 118; 1 Peter 1:3-9; John 20:19-31)

Unity is a source of great power and strength both for good and for ill. Totalitarian regimes of all types force their people to be as lockstep as possible. There is no room for individuality or independent thinking. We rightly fear this sort of unity, although there has been a disturbing drift in its direction in recent years.

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Resurrection of the Lord (Year A) April 9 (Acts 10:34a, 37-43; Psalm 118; Colossians 3:3-4; John 20:1-18)

There were no elaborate theologies in the preaching of the apostles. They kept their proclamation focused on the main points: who Jesus was, what He did and what He was going to do. Jesus had been baptized by John, then anointed and empowered by the Holy Spirit. His whole ministry was given to helping and healing people. God had vindicated Him and ratified His deeds and words by raising Him from the dead. He appeared to His followers and talked with them. 

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On the Second Sunday of Lent, the Gospel was the story of Christ’s transfiguration on a mountaintop. Only three men of faith — Peter, James and John — accompanied Jesus as He was transfigured between Moses and Elijah. The three disciples were ordered to tell no one of the event until after Christ’s resurrection.

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

The job description for a prophet of the Lord is fairly simply but very exacting. He is no longer his own man; he belongs to God. This means that his own opinions, prejudices, plans and desires must be set aside. Rather than having a bully pulpit to hold forth on his favourite issues, he is strictly a spokesman for God and expresses the views of the one who anointed him. 

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Fifth Sunday of Lent (Year A) March 26 (Ezekiel 37:12-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8:8-11; John 11:1-45)

For many people, dying far from home in a strange land, especially as a captive, is too grim and sad to even contemplate. 

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Fourth Sunday of Lent (Year A) March 19 (1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41)

There are two ways of viewing the world in which we live and of experiencing life. The first is typically human and consists of looking and judging by outward appearances. Things that please the eye are accepted and praised, while unpleasing things are rejected and reviled. That is the way many people pass judgment on the world and on other people. Our culture, with its obsession with beauty, youth, bodily perfection and flashiness, thrives on this tendency. 

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In this final stretch before Easter, let’s return to where we began — looking at the entirety of Christ’s way of being, as an integral whole of truth, goodness and beauty. Any other way risks removing something essential. 

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Third Sunday of Lent (Year A)March 12 (Exodus 17:3-7; Psalm 95; Romans 5:1-2, 5-8; John 4:5-42)

Is the Lord among us or not? This petulant expression of anger and doubt was the first sign of the rebellion and unbelief that would plague the Israelites during the entire journey to the Promised Land. At times it would threaten to rupture their relationship with God entirely. 

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Second Sunday of Lent. (Year A) March 5 (Genesis 12:1-4; Psalm 33; 2 Timothy 1:8b-10; Matthew 17:1-9)

Since the beginning of time, many people have been forced to flee and abandon their homes and land for a new life elsewhere. Sometimes the hope is very basic: survival. Marauding armies, plagues, social chaos and famine can make survival difficult or impossible. At other times, hopes for a better life for children and descendants can impel people outward. Our own times have witnessed the mass migrations of peoples and the arrival of many immigrants and refugees from all over the globe. 

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First Sunday of Lent (Year A) Feb. 26 (Genesis 2:7-9, 16-18, 24, 3:1-7; Psalm 51; Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11)

Lack of trust in God is at the root of most human evil. In the ancient teaching story of the Garden of Eden, the man and the woman were placed in the midst of an abundant garden with all of their needs met. But the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was strictly off-limits. The day they ate from that tree was the day that they would die. 

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