Category Archives: Homelies

Easter Season April 23, 2017

Date April 23, 2017 or 1997 or 2006

In the Gospel of John we hear a dramatic story. It was the first day of the week. The first day, a powerful symbol of a brand new beginning. It was the very first day the church began its mission. It was the establishment of a brand new house, a house made of living stones. It is the same new beginning that occurs over and over as we are Baptized and when we become transformed by the power and spirit of Jesus Christ.

The disciples were discouraged, defeated, fearful, afraid and weak. They had locked the doors to the place where they were. Someone had taken the body of the Lord and they did not know where they had put him. During this moment of weakness, something very amazing, dramatic and remarkable happened. The Lord came and stood in their midst. “Peace be with you”. At the appearance of the Lord they literally exploded with joy.

Then he breathed on them. Receive the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Love of God and neighbor, the spirit of forgiveness. The spirit of Jesus Christ who died on the cross, once for all sinners. Before they could digest his appearance immediately followed the commissioning. As the Father has sent me so I send you. The whole course of human history was changed.

We are gathered here together in the house the Lord has built, as testimony to this change. The resurrection continues to occur here and now in Fayetteville Georgia in April 1997. Oh how many lives have been transformed throughout these many ages the spirit of Jesus Christ.

Think again for a moment about the place the disciples had retreated to. They were hiding in a house within a house. They had withdrawn into a place and within that place they had further withdrew into themselves.

John Michael Talbot composed a song called “My House”. It is a song which symbolically tells the story of how we each hide within our house. Our house. The house where we shelter ourselves so that no one can peer in and see who we really are. For we are often like the disciples a fearful and doubtful people. It is in the very darkness of our house, that we can encounter our beloved, the one who releases us from our greatest fears and doubts enabling us to journey outside our house where we can bring his love and peace to the people of this world.

Thomas was missing the first time Jesus appeared to the disciples. When the other disciples told Thomas about Jesus, he spoke as a man of courage and ignorance. Thomas was a stubborn seeker of manifest credentials.

Thomas symbolizes for us our human instinct to hide beneath a courageous exterior, the shell of a house, while below the surface we manifest both doubt and fear which challenge our faith.

A week later, despite the locked doors. One week later we find them again behind locked doors. These are the same disciples who had rejoiced only a week before. This message should give us great hope and joy. Here we have the first eye witnesses’. Our ancestors in faith, who had already seen the risen Lord, and still they where locked behind closed doors. Like these disciples, we too can expect weak moments. There is hope for you and me. Again Jesus began “Peace be with you”.

Then Jesus confronted the doubting Thomas in us all by calling Thomas from unbelief to belief. Next we hear the message that should be music to our ears. “Blessed are they who have not seen but believed”. This message is for you and I so that through this faith we may be transformed and have life everlasting in his name.

Jesus can penetrate any structure within which we hide:

No matter the size of the house or the sophistication of our culture, Jesus can penetrate any structure or barrier we can create. When we find ourselves retreating into the darkness of our house, is when the Gospel of John tells us Jesus will be there with us in the dark. No matter the depth of the fear, the denseness of the hiding place, or the inclination to doubt, Jesus will stand before us, if only we open our hearts to see his presence. “Peace be with you”. The peace that only God can give.

A peace we acquire when we freely turn control of our house, over to him and with Him begin to forgive those who have sinned against us.

With Baptism into the church we are forgiven, and within the traditional sacrament of forgiveness we are forgiven, and we the church continue to preach the forgiveness of sins in Jesus. It is in the forgiveness of sins that the Lord creates for us a divine indwelling.  A place of peace with our God and our neighbor. Forgiveness leads to a oneness of spirit and unity.

We have gathered together in this place, we call the house of the Lord. As we come to the altar, let us offer up and shed our individual house to the Lord, so that the one spirit will dwell within this community of believers, touching and guiding us with his spirit in faith. Then when we leave this place, we can go out in joy to love one another and our neighbors with the same mind and spirit of Jesus Christ.

4th Sunday Lent March 15, 2015

4th Sunday of Lent March 15, 2-015

Two Irish mothers, Kate and Lorna were talking about their sons.  ‘My Frances is such a saint says Kate.  He’s kinda like the Pope, he works hard, doesn’t smoke, and he hasn’t so much as looked at a woman in over two years.’

Lorna responds, ‘Well, my Patrick is a saint himself. Not only hasn’t he not looked at a woman in over three years, but he hasn’t touched a drop of Guinness or liquor in all that time.’

‘My word,’ says Kate, ‘You must be so proud.’  ‘I am,’ said Lorna, Lord have Mercy I am so blessed.  In fact my Parish is throwing a big St Patrick’s party Sunday afternoon.  We are so excited we just heard he will be paroled in time to attend and I am bringing along a six pack of Guinness.’

Even when we are dead to our transgressions:

Listen again to Paul to the Ephesians.  God who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ — by grace we have been saved.

On March 14, 2015, Pope Frances in his sermon said, “no one can be excluded from the mercy of god”.  How many of us have heard Pope Frances has declared next year to be an Extraordinary Jubilee, a Holy year of Mercy?  It will begin on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and will come to an end on November 20, 2016, the date when the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King.

Mercy and Grace

Mercy and Grace, the Catholic’s Church’s counter punches to judgment and sin.

In the reading from 2 Chronicles we hear of the infidelity and abominations of the people of the nations polluting the Lord’s temple.  We hear the messengers of God were despised, scoffed at and rejected by the people.  And we are told the destination to which the people were carried – captives to Babylon.

Chronicles gives us a very graphic picture of humankind’s ability to fall deeper and deeper into sin and away from the practice of faith.

Bronze Serpent Mounted on a Pole – Look Up!

But to top this all off in the Gospel we are reminded about the story of our nature in the desert.  It went by fast and we might have missed it.  On the way out of slavery to the Promised Land the people Israel, once again lacking in faith and trust in Moses leadership became disgusted and loudly complained.   The people complaining were being bitten by poisonous snakes and they cried out to be saved.  God commanded Moses to mount on a pole a bronze serpent.  Snake bitten Israelite’s who were repentant were and looked up at the bronze serpent on the pole would recover.

So must the Son of man be lifted up so that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.

The World preferred darkness to Light:

This is the truth, the light came into the world.  The world preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil.  Everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed.

Why does man keep secret the location of their evils acts and hide their faces?

One may ask, why does ISSIS video record the evil they are engaging in and broadcast it to the world?  Perhaps the more profound question is!  Why do they seek to keep secret the location of their evil acts and cover and hide their faces?  Whoever lives the truth comes to the light so his works can be seen as done in God.





6th Sunday Ordinary Time – February 15, 2015

6th Sunday of Ordinary Time:  February 15, 2015

Leviticus:  We hear the story of the leper.  It is a symbolic story about more than just a leper by also one who is unclean and a result a threat to the whole community.  In those days one who is suspected of being unclean must be brought to Aaron or a priest.  If one is found to be leprous or unclean they shall keep his garments rent (torn), his head bare, and he shall muffle his beard, cry out unclean, unclean.

He shall dwell apart, making his abode outside the camp.

Unclean Unclean:

Why would our church place this reading, the week end before Ash Wednesday, the day the season of Lent begins.  Perhaps it might be good and even necessary for the people of God to begin to reflect upon any unclean illness that may have invaded our hearts during the recent months or years?  Lent will provide us with 40 days to clean the house we live in.  We know the place where no one can see.

A great threat to health:

At the time, one with leprosy was a great infectious threat to the health of a community.  If the illness was not dealt with the whole community would suffer.  So perhaps we are called to reflect upon the kinds of leprosy that has invaded our society in 2015.

In the 1990’s the Lord sent me to bowls of Atlanta to encounter the lepers of that daypeople with HIV/AIDS.  Although I did not know it at the time I was sent there to confront the one who looks back at me in the mirror.

Current Day Lepers:

Friday, as I visited the prison I was reminded of the current day Lepers.  So many young men imprisonedHeads shaven, tattoos all over, wearing white uniforms clearly marked “Prisoner”, living in an abode outside the community camp.  As they walk around the grounds, they are required to hold their hands behind their back as if to say unclean, unclean.

Who can save me?

This Friday I was told the story of an angry at the world young man 14 years old.  After lashing out in vain he finally asked an old inmate if he could talk with him privately.  He wanted to know if it was possible that he would ever get out of this prison.  He was guilty of murder and had received a life sentence.   Who he asked – can help me was the young mans question?

Paul gave the answer.  Try to encounter everyone, not seeking my own benefit, but being open that many may be saved.  Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.  Who is that man?  Jesus Christ the only source of power to save.

Listen to the story.  A leper came to Christ, kneeling down, begged him and said, if you wish, you can make me clean.  What we might miss, unless we reflect on the circumstance the leper found himself, is that he not only had a serious illness but was ostracized from the community to which he could not return.  The penalty was a double edge sword that cut through to the heart.

Why I ask, would this be the scripture for this week when a young man 14 years old facing life in prison ask would ask?  – who can help me?

This weeks scriptures and the season of Lent are dedicated to encourage us to reflect on a life and death struggle.  Heaven or Hell which do we seek?  The state of our cleanliness will determine which camp we will be assigned.

Forced outside of camp:

There is an irony in today’s Gospel I don’t want us to miss.  Jesus warned the leper sternly to not tell anyone.  Jesus knew if he told people his cover would be blown and His mission cut short.  Jesus came for all sinners and knew this would take some time.  Sure enough Jesus cover as the Messiah was blown.  It made it impossible for Jesus to enter town openly.  Jesus was forced out of the camp to where the lepers of the world reside.

Outside the camp in deserted places is where the unclean reside.  As a result of Jesus healing the leper – the leper was transformed and the people came to him from everywhere.

Jesus calls us – come follow me.  We know this so well.  But do we know where he was?  Outside the campFor so many of us the camp is that place where we are comfortable and feel safeJesus says come follow me – come outside your camp to where I am among the sinners I came to save.

Maybe this Lent some of us will not only give up something, but just maybe we will walk outside the camp to encounter the people Jesus calls to save as imitators of Christ.


2nd Sunday Ordinary Time January 18, 2015

2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time  January 18, 2015

What are we yearning for?  What is the source of our yearning?  What is the dream that can fill our emptiness?  Can we hear the sound of our spirit crying out from the depths of our hearts?  Are we able to listen with eagerness and hope?  Will we take the risk to listen to the voice calling from within our hearts?   Will we open ourselves to the voice of the tears of joy and sorrow that flow down our cheeks?  Will we look with eyes fully open to the truth that surrounds us?

Listen!  Do we have our spiritual ears on?  Do we hear the voice of the one who loves us, who forever calls us?  A voice that never ceases even when doubt and emptiness invades our world?

What are we searching for?

What are we looking for?  What are our dreams made of?  What on earth are you looking for today?  Why are we here?

The desire for God is written in the human heart.  We are created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw us to himself. God never gives up on us.  Only in God will we find the truth and happiness we never stop searching for:

He never ceases to call us to seek him, so as to find life and happiness.  But this search for God demands of us every effort of intellect, a sound will, “an upright heart”, as well as the witness of others who teach him to seek God.

Who said this?

Listen – I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.  I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.

Who is calling us?

Are we open?  Are our eyes open?  What in heavens name are we looking for?  Who is calling us in the midst of the night?  Who is calling us by the name that speaks music to our ears?  Do we not know that our body is a temple that embraces the Holy Spirit dwells within!

That each and everyone, of us is created in the image of God from the very beginning!  And God said, it is good.  Do we not know that our earthly body was designed to a temple for our spirit.  That during the creation of this body it receives a soul that will live forever.

Samuel was the son of Hannah who was baron and prayed for a child.  In thanksgiving she turned her beloved son over to the Lord by giving him to the priest Eli.  Eli and Samuel were to become the last Judges of Israel.  Eli became a father to Samuel.  We know the story Hannah’s dream heard his father call as he slept.  “Here I am”, you called me?  Go back to sleep.  Three times – how long it takes us to understand the voice that speaks from within!   Speak Lord for your servant is listening.  I am ready to hear your voice.  There is a reason you are undergoing this time in your life.

Paul tells us our body is a temple that holds the Holy Spirit – our soul created by God at the moment of our conception.  We are not our own but we were created to participate in an encounter with the spirit of God’s dreaming.

Behold the Lamb of God said John the Baptist.  And his disciples followed him.  They knew the significance of the word Lamb and they followed him.  What are you looking for?  Come and see said Jesus.  So they went.  Jesus called his first disciples who followed.  Everything that happened to you has prepared for this day.  Nothing is for naughtOnly in God will we find the truth and happiness and we never stop searching.

Christmas 2014

December 25, 2014

We gather this Christmas day in a nation proud to be known as the land of the free and the braveYet spiritually we have become a nation bitterly divided. We have become a nation where our national leaders regularly abuse the meaning of words.  Whenever I hear someone say, let me be clear, I suspect the words that will follow may be intended to confuse.  When I hear someone say they will be transparent, I know they may intend to misrepresent the truth.

Then when confronted with the truth, the truth seekers are attacked and marginalized.  Freedom of speech, religion and the right to life are being attacked with the intention of being removedThe modern world now speaks in ways to confuse and divideThe great divider of humanity wants to gain the upper hand and each year renews his attacks against the only source it cannot defeatthe light of truth that comes into the world each year during the darkest night Christmas.

We should know from the very beginning; humans were tempted by the great deceiver to take ownership of the tree in the garden and play God.  This original spiritual attack known as original sin cannot be ignored by humankind.  As a result, then great temper demands forever again to be recognized expecting the fallen nature of man to comply.

Yet it is the promise of the Light that comes into the world on the darkest and longest night.  To remind us each year the corner stone rejected by a man rejected and crucified, dying  only to be raised up destroying death.

In the very beginning humanity lost possession of the good:

In the very beginning humanity had lost possession of the good; and thus, it was necessary for the Son of God, to come into the world as a baby and later to suffer for our sin, taken up and given back to us.  Just as the darkness closed in, it was necessary for the light to come; to fulfill scripture setting captives free. Humanity awaited this Savior, prisoners and slaves in need of a liberator.

Are these things minor or insignificant?  Did Love not move God to send His Son to descend to earth in human form and visit while humanity was in a miserable and unhappy a state opening the doorway referred to as the eye of the needle!

Am I in trouble?

4th Sunday Advent December 21, 2014

4th Sunday of Advent  December 21, 2014

Children are you ready to listen with your whole body and spirit?  Take a moment and place your hand over your heart.  Can you feel your heart beating?  Monday I had an echo cardiogram.  There was a computer screen right next to where I laid.  I could look into my heart and watch the chambers of my heart beating as it was sending life sustaining blood to every part of my body.

God wanted me to learn something about today’s scriptures.  Lay your hand upon your spirit and listen.  Paul spoke to the Romans, Brothers and sisters: To him who can strengthen you, according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ.

Paul became the message he was sent to deliver:

What did Paul just say?  Did I hear it right?  Paul said “My Gospel” and the proclamation of Jesus Christ.  How could Paul call it “My Gospel”?  What can this mean?  How can we interpret Paul’s message.  Paul did something unusual and we need to understand how deeply the Gospel had penetrated  Paul to the heartIt had entered his blood stream and he had surrendered to the Gospel to the degree he had become the message he was sent to deliver.  Paul took ownership and became one with the Gospel proclaimed by Jesus Christ.  Paul had become the spirit of the Gospel and taken ownership for it.

Think about yourself.  Have you accepted the story?  Has the story penetrated your heart and entered your blood stream?  Maybe more than you think?

Children Someone is Coming – Make Haste

It’s almost here!  Children, do you know what I am talking about?  Someone is coming and wants you to let its spirit into your heart.  This special someone comes as an infant so we will not be afraid.  This baby wants to enter your blood stream and bring you new spiritual life to your whole body and soul.  Are we ready to let Him in?

I remember when I was about five.  We had decorated a real Christmas tree.  I can still remember the lights and the tinsel.  We had carefully set out the nativity manger under the tree and placed the three kings all the way across the room.  My dad set a star on the top of the tree – we knew so the kings could find their way to the manger in the dark.

There was a chill in the air and snow falling outside the window.  Though, it was early in the evening, it was dark outside.  My older brother and I, where so anxious, we wanted to go to bed earlyWe knew it was the night of all nights.  The night the angels would sing when our savior was born.  It was the night love would penetrate the darkness of human tragedy.  It was the night a Saint would fly around the world in the form of Santa Clause and his sleigh with gifts full of love.

Once in bed I tossed and turnedThen unexpectedly, my brother said – I hear him!  Can’t you hear him!  My hands and my feet began to sweat.  Could he really be in the house while I was awake?  Can’t you sense it?  Love is on it’s way!

Does anyone Love me?

No matter how crusty, cantankerous or dubious we have become we all seek to be loved. Christmas eve and Christmas day people will pour out of homes and attend Church.  The dream and story are real and they know it some where in their spirit.  This is a day of rebirth of hope and love. 

Do not be afraid!

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.  The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary.

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”.   We know the story – the Gospel became one with Mary and its blood flowed through her heart to her son and they became as one with the spirit of love.

Set yourself free to embrace the story so all who encounter you encounter Christ.  Hurry Up – Merry Christmas.

16th Sunday Ordinary Time: July 20, 2014

Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time:  July 20, 2014

How many want to know if the Holy Scripture is still relevant to our world to day in 2014?  Let’s examine today’s scripture readings.

Wait!  Thousands of Rockets have been fired into Israel targeting civilians, women and children.  These rockets are being fired from tunnels near schools.  Israel has begun a ground invasion into Gaza where rockets are being found stored in schools and in numerous tunnels..  Malaysia Airlines flight 17 was shot down by a missal over Ukraine.  298 are reported dead, men, women, children and infants.  Among them are 24 Americans.  Thousands of Central American children are crossing our southern boarder with Mexico.  Our federal government is shipping these children to various States across the country without informing the recipient states.

Abortion / Healing Necessary:

Two weeks ago I attended a retreat for women who have had abortions.  These women where dealing with real anger, shame, frustration and abandonment because of the pressure within our culture to end “It” and move on with life“Its no beg deal – It’s a woman’s right to choose and she alone can make that choice“It” and “alone” does not begin to satisfy ones inner spirit of peace and truth.


Today’s scripture seeks to open our eyes and ears to what the secular progressive humanism world does not want us to know – the truth.

From antiquity the book of Wisdom speaks to us.  For your might is the source of justice; your mastery over all things makes you lenient to all.  That those who are just must be kind; and you gave your children good ground for hope that you would permit repentance for their sins.  Tears are made of water that can wash us clean.

And when the complexity of the modern world begins to strain our spirits and distress our souls we listen to Paul speaking to the RomansThe Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groaning. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the groaning Spirit, because he intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.

Time to Groan!

I don’t know about you but it is time for me to Groan – for I haven’t a clue how to pray for a solution to the mess humanity is creating for it self.

All of the above is reinforced with the Truth Jesus Christ taught through the parable about the Weeds and the Wheat.  By the master’s design the weeds and the wheat will grow up together until harvest.  Think of it this way.  You and your children were born to encounter the world we live in today.  There is hope, there is always hope.  There is never a day that does not contain the spirit of hope.

We walk by faith not by sight – our experiences of evil and suffering, injustice and death seem to contradict the good news.- they can shake our faith to its foundation and become a temptation against it.  The spirit intercedes over and above our own pain and intercessions with ineffable groaning.  Words we cannot express as we wait for the final removal of the chaos that surrounds us and the restoration to wholeness and integrity.

Kingdom of Heaven – a mustard seed:

Listen again to the words of hope.  “The kingdom of heaven – yes the Kingdom in 2014 – is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field.  It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants.  It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.”  The smallest of seeds – hope – becomes a secure home in the midst of a chaotic world.

Yeast Too – worked until flexible:!

The kingdom of heaven is like Yeast that is used to make bread – Yeast is alive.  It is a microscopic fungus that is brought back to life when water is added and it is mixed with three measures of flour to make dough.   It must be kneaded, a process of being pressed and stretched with the heal of the hand, folded over, rotated and then repeated again and again.  This is work and what is required until the dough becomes elastic and smooth.

The natural tension within the unity of the whole church.  Weeds left unchecked can choke the wheat.  So they must be kept under control even if not eliminated.

Water, kneading, stretching to restore flexible hearts that open:

We, you and I each have a spirit dwelling deep within, yeast that is very much alive although some yeast has dried out.  All of us require the addition of water and kneading to restore within us sufficient elasticity we open our hearts and allow the Holy spirit to dampen our dry spirit and smooth out our rough edges.

The human church needs constant reformation and positive action to continue the quest to achieve individual and community holiness.  Yet we must avoid unrealistic purism or anglicism.  This is the elusive but needed balance.    A single parable cannot say everything.  The kingdom is a mixed body; patience is necessary and we must trust the sifting to God.


5th Sunday of Easter May 17, 2014

May 17, 2014 5th Sunday of Easter

This week end we are honoring our High school and college graduates. I suspect you graduating seniors know you are standing in a double doorway. One door is closing and you can’t stop it while another door is simultaneously opening. And you can’t go back!

Many emotions are running through our minds. But you are not at all alone. Your teachers, those known as your parents, family, friends, even us folks at Church and your family who are looking down from heaven are caught up in the reality one can not turn back the clock.

Today’s scriptures are focused on this same reality. Even Jesus Christ and His disciples had to face the reality it was time for him to leave.

Do not let your hearts be troubled:

Jesus knew one day he must confront his disciples with this reality. When one knows this is our last time together, one chooses the most valuable and wisest words they have to offer. “Do not let you hearts be troubled.” I have to go Home! We know these words we have lived them. Your Father who loves you sent His Son to tell you. It is time for me to go home. “Do not let you hearts be troubled.” I am going to prepare a place for you! And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to myself.

What you young people don’t know and even the disciples didn’t understand is that you are far more prepared than you know. Remember Jesus words. Amen, Amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.

Jesus had to leave them alone, for the power of the spirit planted within their soul to be unleashed and lead them to discover the spirit within that will lead them home.

The Holy Spirit finds ways to teach us this truth through many ways if only we open our spiritual eyes and ears. While I was in the diaconate formation program the good Lord placed me as a witness to the workings of His spirit.

Parkinson’s, Loss of Hearing and Alzheimers:

Put on your spiritual ears!

My dad had six brothers and they lived in the second largest Belgium settlement in the USA. My dad told many stories about when he was a boy.  He and his brothers got into confrontations with young men of other nationalities around the neighborhood. When one brother got in over his head, the call would go out, Chuck, Al, Fred, Rudy, Zuke, and Ernie and the cavalry would soon arrive. Mt dad and his brother Al played high school basketball together. They were best men at each others weddings. They lived and raised their families in the same town they grew up.

Now My father had Parkinson’s disease and was no longer able to drive or get around without help. To make things more difficult, my dad he was losing his hearing. My mother had had a stroke and to communicate with her one had to play a good game of charades. When she wanted to speak she often couldn’t recall the word or words she wanted to use.

Are you listening? In the last months of my Fathers life, one day when my dad was home from the nursing home, my Uncle AL and his wife, Aunt Jane came to visit my mom and dad.

I want you to paint this picture clearly. My dad was almost stone cold deaf. My mother had suffered a stroke and one needed to be able to play charades to understand what she wanted to say. My Uncle AL was more stone cold deaf than my dad and was suffering from Al-timers disease. My Aunt Jane had an even worse case of Alzheimer’s.   In the living room of my parents home sat these old people, who were an integral part of each others lives. They all talked at the same time. Lord knows what my aunt Jane was hearing. And my mother was as engaged as she could be.

They Paused, smiled and laughed:

Then they paused, great big smiles came across their faces and they would laugh until they cried. Then they did it again and again.

These were old people in their eighties. I was listening to a celebration of life!  My dad’s brother Al and his wife my aunt Jane had driven from Eagles Lake in Michigan to my dad’s home in Mishawaka, Indiana. My Uncle Al’s hearing was worse than my dad and my aunt Jane had  Alzheimer’s.  We weren’t sure if she knew who she was.

HYPERLINK “” alzheimer’s.

There they were, in my folks living room visiting. They would all speak at once. My dad and his brother couldn’t hear.

Then they would all stop talking. Big smiles came across their faces as they laughed. Then they would all speak again, followed by silence, smiles and laughter. They did it again and again. I just happened to be there – the Lord was teaching my soul to hear and see!  It didn’t seem to matter what technically was understood. What mattered is they were celebrating life, giving thanks and remembering the blessing and graces God had given them.

Only when it was all over I asked – how the heck did my Uncle Al and Aunt Jane find their way to my parents house? Do not let your hearts be troubled. They we saying goodbye.

Amen, Amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. You young people put on your spiritual eyes and ears because the spirit that lives in you is going to lead you on to works greater than these.

One can only guess they must have been imagining. Treasured stories buried deep within the heart. That they could neither hear or understand the spoken message was of little importance.

Jesus message is not about religion or church buildings.  It is about opening our hearts to the promise, by reaching out to one another and wrapping our arms around each others neck and saying, I love you with all my heart! Then we could unleash on our world, the works Jesus promised we could do – greater than these.  Healing and forgiveness:

Holy Thursday April 17, 2014

Holy Thursday  April 17, 2014

Holy Thursday the day Jesus celebrated the last supper with his disciples.  On a day set aside by the Jewish people for the retelling of the story of the liberation of the Israelite s from slavery in ancient Egypt.

Ten Plagues:  Blood of a Lamb / Doorpost:

From the book of Exodus we hear the command that Moses and Aaron are to tell the Whole Community of Israel.  God helped the Children of Israel escape from slavery in Egypt by inflicting ten plagues upon the ancient Egyptians before Pharaoh would release his Israelite slaves.  The tenth and worst of the plagues was the death of the Egyptian first-born. To help the Israelite’s escape this tenth plague, a year old lamb without blemish was to be slaughtered and it’s blood applied to the two door posts and the lintel of each house.

Seder Meal — the Night Every Fist born struck down:

On this night, I will go through Egypt striking down every first born of the land, both man and beast.  This day shall be a memorial feast for youIt is called the Seder meal and is to be remembered, shared and celebrated with pilgrimage to the Lord, as a perpetual institution.


We hear in the Letter from Paul to the Corinthians, what I received from the Lord I handed on to you.  Do this in remembrance of me until the day the Lord comes in glory.  Paul was confronting difficulties which had arisen within the Corinthian community.  Rival factions were excluding the poor from the Eucharist in the place of the more wealthy and influential.  Elitism had penetrated the Corinthians community.  Elitism was preventing the wealthy and influential from sharing the sacred Eucharist with the downtrodden, the poor, the stranger and the outcast.

There was a young engaged couple who were to soon be married.  They each had a serious problem the other knew nothing of.


The young man was very concerned that if his bride discovered he had such stinky feet she would not sleep in the same room.  He approached his Father and asked for advice.   His father suggested he wash his feet each night and then put on socks before he went to bed.

The young lady was also concerned that her husband would refuse to sleep in the same room with her if he discovered how stinky her morning breath was.  She asked her mother for advice.  Her mother told her to develop a habit of waking up early before her husband to prepare breakfast and on the way go to the bathroom and brush her teeth before he got out of bed.

For the first six months of their married life things went along smoothingly.  Then one restless night of tossing and turning the young husband woke up at 4 AM and discovered he lost one of his socks in the night.  As he frantically searched the bed for this lost sock, he bumped his wife, who awoke, sat up and asked him.  What in heaven are looking for?  He replied, Oh my, you swallowed my sock!

Stinky Pride:

All use us have some hidden stinky business about us.  For some, it’s our feet, others our breath and for others it’s our pride.  Today our Lord calls each calls us to love one another even tough we each suffer from one form of stickiness or another.

If we are not careful stinkiness can penetrate our own church.  We are called to reflect upon how inclusive we really are to the people of our community and to strangers.  Those who hold positions of control and influence are called to reflect and ascertain that they themselves have not become an impediment to the inclusion of Gods people. 

Jesus Took a Towel – Basin – Water – Got down on His knees:

In the Gospel Jesus handled two stinky problems.  Jesus took a towel and wrapped it around his waist, poured water into a basin and began washing his disciples feet.  Jesus models for us the role of a true servant.

1st We hear Peter object, “Master are you going to wash my feet?  You will never wash my feet!  Stinky!  Unless I wash your feet, you will have no inheritance with me!  – Master then wash me head to toe.  2nd Jesus washes of Judas’s feet which sends a powerful spiritual message.  Jesus washed the feet of all his disciples.  Jesus did not exclude Peter for his stinky pride or his betrayer Judas.  We are called to ponder whose feet we would exclude?

If I wash your feet ………… God became servant:

Do you realize what I have done for you???  If I, the Master, wash your feet, then you should wash each others feet.   He came to as the Son of God to be a servant, he suffered and died giving his whole body and blood leaving us an example that we might follow in his footsteps.   We are each called to wash the feet of another – yes even those who have stinky feet, stinky breath and stinky pride.

Palm Sunday April 12, 2014

April 12, 2014 Palm Sunday

Though Jesus was in the form of God he did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped.  Rather we are told he emptied himself.  In our world today many want to play the role of God.  Jesus had the wisdom to know his job was not to play the role of His father.  Rather he emptied himself!  The question for us today is what heck does it mean to empty oneself and what happens to one who is empty?

What the heck is Empty Oneself?

Empty is the place where creation of new life beginsEmpty is the place where hope livesEmpty is the place (like spring) from which new life explode anew.  When one is empty God’s creative hope can fill the space, thus opening the possibilities of an encounter with new life.

In the reading from Philippians, Paul tells us Jesus did not selfishly cling to his exalted position.  He emptied himself.  He was able to take on the form of a slave in human likeness and appearance.  He was able to set his face like flint as he marched to Jerusalem.  He steeled himself to endure the worst humanity can dish out while humbling himself, becoming obedient to death on a cross.

He cam to fulfill Prophecy – a trusting Lamb:

He fulfilled what the Prophet Isaiah foretold of in the Suffering Servant Songa message of hope passed.  I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting.  Jeremiah who told of a trusting lamb lead to slaughter.

Paul wants us to contrast the actions of Jesus and Adam.  Adam chose to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree as he grasp at equality with God.  Rather Jesus took on Adams’ human condition, and with it bore our slavery to sin and corruption.

In the beginning was the word.  In the beginning how many could see the word?  How just much space did the word occupy?

Where would we look to find Hope in the World today?

Where would you look to find hope that new life is possible?  Today’s scripture describe what we encounter when we encounter hope.  Can anyone describe for me what they would expect to find in an empty container?  Have any of us encountered a situation in life we would describe as we came up empty?  When something that is empty is something that contains nothing becomes a room to be filled with Hope.  Conversely, many of us have met people who are full of something!  ( modern selfie?? )

Marks Gospel marks a final turning point for Jesus.  He knew it was time to move onTime to face the most serious phase of his lifeTime to empty himself completely.  Time to humble himself and fulfill the will of his father.  Time to suffer through his passion and his death on a cross in obedience to his Father.

Handing Over His mission to Who / Whom?:

During this final Passover feast he would hand over his mission to his disciples.  Along with Gifts his disciples and followers where initially unprepared to receive.  The creation of a new covenant, the sacrament of Eucharist and a handing over of the reins of the new ChurchA church that was to born from the water and blood that flowed from his side to the ground from the cross.

The empty tomb:  Where Hope is Encountered:

All of of this took place so that we would encounter and empty tomb.  The place where hope lives.  The end of the Gospel of Mark and the place where the possibilities of new life explode before us.  Empty the place where an end is the beginning becoming something new.  Empty the fact, that Mark’s ending of the Gospel leaves the reader with a startling realization!  We each have the opportunity to conclude the gospel by living out its values.

What is the next spiritual challenge, the spirit is calling each of us to individually and collectively face up to in obedience to the will of the Father?