April 15, 2018
“He stood in their midst!” But even with the greeting “Peace be with you” the disciples are startled and terrified thinking they are seeing a ghost. He asks “Why are you troubled? Why do questions arise in your hearts?” He invites them to touch him. He is not a ghost! Calmed by his words and what is strangely familiar the disciples, while still incredulous, are yet full of joy and amazement.
Jesus appears to them in his resurrected or spiritual body. He shows them his wounds and asks if they have anything to eat. He restores the bond and renews their friendship. Jesus begins to help them understand what is happening by explaining the words he spoke to them and the deeper meaning of Sacred Scripture that the Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day. “He opened their minds.” What we discern in this appearance (and in other appearances of Jesus after his resurrection) is foundational and reoccurs in the church. Essential elements are peace, presence, and purpose. The Risen Lord calms fear and instills peace. Jesus is present in the “breaking of the bread” when they/we reflect on the Word of God and share Eucharist. Jesus then commissions his disciples to go to the nations “from Jerusalem” preaching repentance of sins and forgiveness.
Pope Francis has just released an exhortation entitled “Rejoice and Be Glad” that aims to “re-propose” the universal call to holiness. Pope Francis explains what Jesus says with great simplicity what it means to be holy: “living simply, putting God first, trusting Him and not earthly wealth or power, being humble, mourning with and consoling others, being merciful and forgiving, working for justice and seeking peace with all.” Our call to holiness is, at the same time, a witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It surprises us. Jesus makes a whip, turns over tables and expels people from the holy Temple. The area is both a courtyard with access to sacred space for worship and a thoroughfare for visitors to move in and out of the city of Jerusalem. Pilgrims need to exchange offensive Roman coins (with images of the emperor or deities) in order to purchase an animal for sacrifice. ... READ MORE
We are troubled by our first reading from the Book of Genesis: the testing of Abraham or the binding of Isaac. “Horrified” might be a better word to describe our reaction to hearing God asking Abraham to make “your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love” a holocaust, an offering. God’s intention is to test the devotion of Abraham. An angel of God is ready to int... READ MORE
I had breakfast yesterday with ladies from Magnificat – women who gather in the Spirit and give witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They were talking about a meeting in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina and the ensuing flood. They saw some of the devastation and heard both stories of the breakdown of law/order and of selfless giving and sacrifice. A woman said a dre... READ MORE
“Moved with pity” may not be the best translation. Most Greek manuscripts use a Greek word meaning: “filled with pity or compassion.” But other texts use a Greek word meaning: “angry.” When the leper comes to Jesus, kneels down, and begs him: “If you wish, you can make me clean,” Jesus is angry not at the leper but against the evil forces that have made thi... READ MORE
“On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John” Mark 1:29. Early travelers to Capernaum had recognized the beautiful remains of the ancient synagogue but where was the site of Simon Peter’s home where Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law? Twenty five years ago Italian excavators discovered a house beneath the ruins of a Byza... READ MORE