Who knew? The Messiah and his way to life

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12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C: June 23, 2013
Zech 12:10-11, 13:1; Ps 63; Gal 3:26-29; Luke 9:18-24

Right before today’s Gospel reading comes the account of the feeding of the 5000 that we heard three weeks ago on the feast of Corpus Christi—when our Lord Jesus was surrounded by a great, hungry crowd of 5000 men, plus women and children, in a remote location, and he miraculously fed all of them starting with just five loaves of bread and two fish.

And after this, he took his disciples apart by themselves to pray. Because he has a very important question to ask them; and he wants them to be able to hear, not the din of the world, but the quiet voice of his Father and of the Holy Spirit. (more…)

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Vivir por fe como ciudadanos del cielo

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II Domingo de Cuaresma, Año C: 24 Febrero 2013
Gn 15, 5-12.17-18; Sal 26; Flp 3, 17—4, 1; Lc 9, 28-36

En nuestra segunda lectura hoy, oímos que San Pablo nos presenta dos imágenes contrastantes, de cómo vivir en este mundo. Como creaturas corporales, con necesidades y sentimientos físicos, para nosotros es fácil caer en la trampa de ver sólo lo físico—y formar nuestras vidas sólo para seguir propósitos físicos. Y estamos rodeados por los que viven así. Es fácil caer en vivir como si nuestro dios fuera nuestro vientre, y pensar sólo en cosas de la tierra. Si vivimos así, nos hacemos en efecto, como el apóstol dice, enemigos de la cruz de Cristo.

Es fácil caer en esto; pero nuestro Señor Jesús quiere que vivamos de otra manera, con otro propósito. (more…)

To see with the eyes of faith

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2nd Sunday of Lent, Year C: Feb. 24, 2013
Gen 15:5-12, 17-18; Ps 27; Phil 3:17–4:1; Luke 9:28-36

In our Gospel reading today, we hear the account of the event we call the Transfiguration of the Lord—as we do each year on this Second Sunday of Lent. Why does the Church present this event to us each year at this time? And to answer that, we will do well to ask first: Why did the event happen at all? Why was Jesus transfigured in appearance before the eyes of three of his disciples?

Immediately before this reading in the Gospel according to Luke, in the middle of chapter 9, our Lord Jesus asked his disciples about whether they know who he is. And St. Peter confessed that he is the Messiah of God. And immediately Jesus began to explain to them that he would have to “suffer greatly and be rejected… and be killed and on the third day be raised.” (more…)

Sigue a Cristo en el agua del bautismo

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El Bautismo del Señor, Año C: 13 Enero 2013
Is 42, 1-4.6-7; Sal 28; Tit 2, 11-14; 3, 4-7; Lc 3, 15-16.21-22

Cuando viajamos como pelegrinos cristianos a la Tierra Santa, uno de los sitios que buscamos es el del bautismo de nuestro Señor Jesús. Sabemos que San Juan Bautista bautizaba en el río Jordán, y hay unos puntos a lo largo del Jordán que se sugieren como sitios posibles. Y cuando llegamos, normalmente queremos tocar el agua, o aún entrar en el agua. Hay algunos que son bautizados allí en el Jordán—o probablemente rebautizados, si son cristianos que no entienden como nosotros que el bautismo es un evento transformativo de una sola vez y no repetible. Pero es natural querer seguir a Cristo en el agua. (more…)

Follow Christ into the waters of baptism

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The Baptism of the Lord, Year C: Jan. 13, 2013
Isa 42:1-4, 6-7; Ps 29; Titus 2:11-14, 3:4-7; Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

When Christian pilgrims visit the Holy Land, one of the many sites that we seek out is the location where our Lord Jesus was baptized. We know that John the Baptist was baptizing in the Jordan River, and there are a few different spots along the Jordan that are suggested as possible locations. One of these is a location in the present-day country of Jordan, called “Al Maghtas,” just a little to the east of the current course of the Jordan River, where excavations in the mid-1990s uncovered the remains of a number of church buildings built starting around 500 AD to mark this very spot. (more…)

In darkness, choosing the path to joy

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3rd Sunday of Advent, Year C: Dec. 16, 2012
Zeph 3:14-18; Isa 12; Phil 4:4-7; Luke 3:10-18

We hear St. Paul say in our second reading, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!” Rejoice: Gaudete! It is from this verse that this Gaudete Sunday takes its name. But how should we take these words of his? Is this just superficial, like glitter or tinsel or wearing rose-colored vestments? Is St. Paul just an overly cheerful person, a Pollyanna?

No, St. Paul is writing this letter from prison! He is probably imprisoned in Rome and is awaiting trial; he doesn’t know whether he might be executed. (more…)

What kind of king is Jesus?

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Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Year B: Nov. 25, 2012
Dan 7:13-14; Ps 93; Rev 1:5-8; John 18:33-37

In our Gospel reading today, it is the morning of Good Friday. Jesus had been captured and questioned during the night by the Jewish authorities—but, because they are not authorized to carry out the death penalty, they have brought him to the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, seeking his execution. And so we hear Pilate’s initial questioning of Jesus.

He begins by asking, “Are you the king of the Jews?” And do you notice that Jesus does not answer this question directly? Instead, he asks Pilate a question: “Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?” Who is questioning, and who is being questioned, has been reversed. Now it is Jesus examining Pilate: his heart, his thoughts, his intentions, his identity. How ready is Pilate to accept Jesus as king? (more…)

Jesus isn’t asking for your vote: He is pouring out his life for you, in mercy and grace

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29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B: Oct. 21, 2012
Isa 53:10-11; Ps 33; Heb 4:14-16; Mark 10:35-45

  • Five weeks ago, we heard the first time in the Gospel of Mark when Jesus told his disciples about his coming Passion (8:31). Peter had just confessed that Jesus was the Messiah; and then, after Jesus tells them that he will suffer and die and rise again, Peter begins to rebuke him.
  • Four weeks ago, we heard the second time that he told them about his Passion (9:31). That time, they were too afraid to ask him any questions, but instead took to discussing among themselves who was the greatest.
  • And in our Gospel reading today, Jesus has just predicted his Passion a third time, in greater detail than before. And how do they respond? James and John come to him and ask him for a favor: that in his glory they might sit one at his right and the other at his left.

They don’t seem to be getting the message! (more…)

Jesus has a couple questions for you

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24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B: Sept. 16, 2012
Isa 50:5-9; Ps 116; James 2:14-18; Mark 8:27-35

Caesarea Philippi is a long way from here—located in what is now called the Golan Heights, to the northeast of the Sea of Galilee, where the states of Israel, Lebanon, and Syria come together. And it was a long time ago that our Lord Jesus led his disciples there, out of the territory of their own Jewish People, into pagan, Gentile territory. And there he, the teacher, asked his disciples a question: “Who do people say that I am?”

It was long ago and far away, but surely that question was just as strange then as it is now. For they, like we, were concerned with violence in their world; they faced economic problems; they were struggling with who should govern their land; on top of their own personal problems. (more…)

¿Qué significa seguir al Mesías?

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XXIV Domingo Ordinario, Año B: 16 Septiembre 2012
Is 50, 5-9; Sal 114; St 2, 14-18; Mc 8, 27-35

Cesarea de Filipo está muy lejos de aquí—en el área ahora conocida como los Altos del Golán, cerca de la frontera de los estados actuales de Israel, Siria, y Líbano. Y fue hace muchos siglos que nuestro Señor Jesús guió a sus discípulos allá, fuera del territorio de su propio Pueblo Judío, hasta territorio gentil y pagano. Y allá el maestro les puso una pregunta a sus discípulos: “¿Quién dice la gente que soy yo?”

Aunque fue hace muchos siglos y muy lejos, seguramente su pregunta pareció tan extraña como ahora. Porque a ellos, como a nosotros, les preocupaban la violencia en su mundo, y los problemas económicas, y la cuestión de quién debería gobernar a su país; y, por supuesto, sus problemas personales. (more…)