“Stop Holding On To Me!”

Tuesday of the Octave of Easter: John 20:11-18

 

It is easy for us to sympathize with Mary Magdalene in this Gospel story today.

From the time she first encountered Jesus – when He freed her from those seven demons that tormented her (Luke 8:2) – she loved Him with a love that was at once chaste and passionate. A combination that people, past and present, would dismiss as impossible – which is why rumors persist in some quarters about Mary Magdalene and Jesus having had some form of relationship, perhaps marriage.

It was her love for Our Lord – at once chaste, passionate, and insatiable – which led her to follow Him all the way to Calvary, to be near the Cross with Him, to see where He was buried, and then to come with two other women on that first day of the week to finish anointing His body. Even when they encountered an empty tomb and were filled with amazement, not knowing what to make of it, Mary Magdalene remained. Peter and John came and went, but she remained. She would not stop looking until she had found Him. Continue reading ““Stop Holding On To Me!””

The Cross of Autism

Palm Sunday (C)

The Lord said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness”. I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.  – 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10

For this post, I am doing something different. I offer you a post by Aimée O’Connell, the founder of The Mission of Saint Thorlak, called “The Cross of Autism”.  Although her post focuses on the experience of people on the autism spectrum, it can also apply to anyone seeking to follow the Lord more faithfully in their lives. I include this not only because I find it quite well-done, but mainly because it is an example of how autism ministry is not only about what the Church as a whole can offer to those with autism, but also about what those with autism can offer the Church as a whole.

And so, without further ado, here it is! Continue reading “The Cross of Autism”

Social Sin, Social Healing

Fifth Sunday of Lent (C):  John 8:1-11

 

At first glance, this Gospel story may seem like last week’s Parable of the Prodigal Son. A person appears who is guilty of a serious sin. This person is shown mercy, much to the consternation of those who claim to uphold the Law of Moses.

It is tempting for us to explain such stories by pointing out a contrast between the compassion of Christ and the apparent harshness of the Law of Moses. Law versus Gospel. But the reality is not so simple. The Law is not as harsh as some believe it to be. The Gospel is often quite demanding, if we take it seriously and try to live it out sincerely. Continue reading “Social Sin, Social Healing”

From Anxiety to Love

Third Sunday of Lent (C): Luke 13:1-9

Perfect love drives out fear. – 1 John 4:18

As we pick up the story of Jesus as told by St. Luke, Jesus and His disciples are making their way through Galilee and headed for Jerusalem. Jesus has been telling His disciples that, in Jerusalem, He will suffer, die, and rise again, in order to bring repentance, forgiveness, and salvation to all who will believe in Him.

On the way, they meet people who tell Jesus how Pilate, the Roman governor, had butchered some Galilean pilgrims as they were offering sacrifice in the very Temple itself. Why did these people say this to Jesus? Were they troubled by His preaching about being reconciled with one’s enemies, and so brought up this atrocity, as if to say, “What about this? How can we be reconciled with people who would do such things?” Were these people trying to warn Jesus that this might not be the best time for a Galilean rabbi who had attained some notoriety to appear in Jerusalem? Or, was it the age-old question of why such atrocities happen – and why did they happen to these people? Were they somehow being punished for some serious sin? Or, if this was “just one of those things”, where was God in all this? Continue reading “From Anxiety to Love”

Amazed by God

Second Sunday of Lent (C): Luke 9:28-36

 

Maybe I’m amazed at the way you’re with me all the time,
Maybe I’m afraid of the way I love you.

Maybe I’m amazed at the way you help me sing my song,
Right me when I’m wrong-
Maybe I’m amazed at the way I really need you. 

– from Maybe I’m Amazed, by Paul McCartney

It’s amazing how you can speak right to my heart
Without saying a word you can light up the dark
Try as I may I could never explain
What I hear when you don’t say a thing

– from When You Say Nothing At All, by Don Schlitz and Paul Overstreet

 

Peter, James and John are on a mountaintop with Jesus. Jesus is praying. Suddenly, they see Jesus’ glory, and then see Moses and Elijah with Him. They are amazed and awestruck. They are left without words in the end, and tell nothing of this to anyone.

How can we, in our time, get a sense not only of what this was about for those who witnessed it, but of what it can say to us in our own time? Continue reading “Amazed by God”