December 09, 2018
It was a very moving service at the National Cathedral with living Presidents of the U.S.A. and world leaders and dignitaries listening to the words uttered at the funeral of George H. Bush. So many beautiful words were said in song, in prayer, in reading of Sacred Scripture, in homily and in eulogy. “Eulogy” means “good words.” Today in the Gospel according to St. Luke, the evangelist lists the powerbrokers of that day: Tiberias Caesar, Roman Emperor; Pontius Pilate, Governor of Judea; Herod, Tetrarch of Galilee; Philip, Tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis; Lysanias, Tetrarch of Abilene; Annas and Caiaphas, High Priests. Yet the “word of God” comes to John the son of Zechariah in the desert. John goes throughout the whole region of the Jordan proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. John who receives the word of God is a prophet preparing for the coming of “the Word” Jesus Christ.
John the Baptist, a preacher and precursor of the Word, follows the example of Baruch, a minor Jewish prophet and secretary of Jeremiah, a major prophet. He speaks to the Jewish people, recalling both the Exodus and Exile, of God “bringing them back … for God is leading Israel in joy by the light of his glory, with his mercy and justice for company.” St. Paul is a wordsmith too. He writes to the Philippians: “And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the Day of Christ.”
Like St. Paul, George Herbert Bush was a letter writer expressing his encouragement and love. Speakers at his funeral acknowledged that George H was less eloquent as a public speaker and more engaging personally speaking one to one. He was a man of faith and of service. His pastor quoted a saying: “Preach Christ and when necessary use words.” For all of us who have heard and received “the Word” we are commissioned to live the Word.
In the last of the Harry Potter movies, Harry goes on to meet Professor Dumbledore in a place, a space beyond death but before “moving on.” We know Harry is fascinated with magic. The Headmaster says to Harry that words are the greatest magic! Words can transform. During the season of Advent, we can be attentive to the words of John the Baptist as we ready to celebrate the coming of God’s Incarnate Word of love.
30th Sunday Ordinary Time B How do you react when you see and hear a beggar on the street asking for money? I become uncomfortable. I may stop. I may keep on walking by and then feel guilty for not having more compassion. Bartimaeus (the name means: Son of Honor) is a blind beggar on the side of the road from Jericho to Jerusalem. He cries out: “Jesus, son of David, h... READ MORE
29th Sunday Ordinary Time B James & John ask a favor of Jesus. They want Jesus to save places of honor for them when Jesus comes into his glory – when the Kingdom comes. The other 10 apostles become indignant! They want those places too! Jesus tries to explain to them: “Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among y... READ MORE
Just in time. Jesus is setting out on a journey, a man runs up, kneels and asks: “Good Teacher – What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Aware of his sincerity, Jesus asks if he observes the commandments. He replies: “From my youth.” Jesus looking at him “loved him” advising: “Go sell what you have, give to the poor (you will have treasure in heaven) then ... READ MORE
In the Gospel according to St. Mark, Jesus begins his ministry in Galilee preaching. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near, repent, and believe in the good news.” (Mk 1:14) But soon Jesus attends a Synagogue service in Capernaum and teaches. “The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the s... READ MORE
26th Sunday Ordinary Time B John has too much time on his hands and he is a tattletale. He tells Jesus that someone is driving out demons and using Jesus’ name. “We tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” Jesus does not seem at all concerned. “Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because belong to Christ, amen, I say will surely not lose his... READ MORE