Are You The One?

Third Sunday of Advent (A)

There is something about being confined against our will, even if only for a time, that invites us to stop and reassess our lives. The young Francis of Assisi, captured and imprisoned after a battle; the young Ignatius of Loyola, recuperating after being injured in battle: both of these men were led to ponder their lives and ask themselves if they were moving in the right direction or not. Something similar happens to many of us: an illness, a time in jail, or simply the gradual aging of our bodies, can be occasions to stop and take stock of our lives and how well we have honored our deepest commitments.

In today’s Gospel reading, we meet John the Baptist. When we last saw him (last Sunday), he was boldly proclaiming the need for repentance by the Jordan River, and announcing that this Jesus of Nazareth was the long-awaited Messiah. But now John, in prison, has a question for Jesus. “Are you the one who is to come, or must we wait for another?”  Continue reading “Are You The One?”

Full Of Grace

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

In the years following the writing of the books of the New Testament, a number of other writings appeared in Christian circles. Some of these offered to tell their readers “the rest of the story”, as Paul Harvey famously said in his radio broadcasts. These books promised to fill in what was missing in the Biblical accounts.  Continue reading “Full Of Grace”

The Little Ones

Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent

chimayoWe hear a great deal from Isaiah during Advent, and rightfully so. So many of his prophecies breathe with the spirit of the Advent season. Today’s reading is no exception. We are promised that God’s people will find comfort, for they have paid double for all their sins. God will lower the mountains and fill in the valleys to make a highway for them, so that they can be brought home at last. The people may see themselves as little, as failures, as having no hope. But God has not forgotten their plight, and they will be rescued at last. God will act like a shepherd for all the people, seeking out the lost with great care, and saving them. Continue reading “The Little Ones”

Rise and Walk

Monday of the Second Week of Advent

dscn0257As we read through the Gospels, we see stories of healings and other miracles of Jesus come up again and again. Today’s Gospel presents us with one of those healings.  Jesus does not heal as a means of “showing off” or “showing up” anyone else. His miracles are given to us as signs and invitations. Our Gospel passage today is one that makes this clear. Continue reading “Rise and Walk”

Announcing The Jubilee

100_1077And I can tell by the way you’re searching
For something you can’t even name
That you haven’t been able to come to the table
Simply glad that you came

When you feel like this try to imagine
That we’re all like frail boats on the sea
Just scanning the night for that great guiding light
Announcing the jubilee

– Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Jubilee

Second Sunday of Advent (A)

Tucked away among the many commands given in the Law of Moses are two rather interesting ones that would seem downright dangerous to our way of thinking, if we took them seriously. One is the provision for a Sabbath Year – every seventh year. On the sabbath year, the soil was to be given rest and some debts were to be forgiven. The second command is for a Jubilee Year every fiftieth year – in other words, the year coming after seven weeks of years, the “Super Sabbath” year. On the Jubilee Year, all debts were to be forgiven entirely (ponder that one as you finger your credit card or pay your mortgage or student loan) and all slaves were to be freed (how different our history would have been if we had followed such a ‘primitive’ law).  These laws, among others, were intended to make Israel a sign for itself and other nations of who their God was and what He intended to do for Israel and, through Israel, for all humanity.  Continue reading “Announcing The Jubilee”