November 29, 2020
Jesus tells his disciples, “Be watchful. Be alert.” But we are weary of watching for something we cannot even see that threatens our way of life. The danger was coming from China, then Europe, from Italy and then NYC. Now it is close to home. WNY is in the Orange Zone. Covid-19 is an existential threat to our health, to the economy, to society and to freedom. We are tired of being sentinels.
Isaiah cries out to God, “Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down…would that you might meet us doing right.” The Jews have returned to Jerusalem after being exiled in Babylon for 70 years. They find the city in ruins and the temple of Solomon destroyed. They are exhausted and overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task of rebuilding the place that had been their home. They appeal to God creator, “O Lord, you are our father; we are the clay and you the potter: we are all the work of your hands.” We too appeal to God to draw closer at this time of peril.
As we support one another by saying, “take care, keep safe,” St. Paul greets the Corinthians, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” St. Paul reassures the community that they are not lacking in any spiritual gift as they await the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. We too are endowed with all the gifts that are needed.
Jesus tells his disciples to “be watchful” near the end of his public ministry. It will come to an end with his arrest, crucifixion, and death on the cross. Their world will be shattered, and their faith shaken. Jesus wants his disciples to be mindful of his teaching, his continuing presence as the Risen Lord, and the new door that will open.
Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, our Apostolic Administrator, has sent a Pastoral Letter to all registered households in the Diocese. He writes:
“The Church is born in the shadow of the Cross. What appears at first appears to be the end is only the beginning. We come to such points in our lives when old ways seem to collapse. We may feel at a dead end, that our best hopes and expectations have been defeated. There and then the Lord encounters us, only to open another door – the door to his heart and to a new life of hope in him… If we enter the heart of Jesus with trust, we will have life to the full. “Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it” (Lk 17:32-33).”
Be alert. Jesus is opening another door for us – the door to his heart and a new life of hope in him.
I have been listening in my car to the senate confirmation hearing on Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. I am fascinated by the exchanges. Both republican and democratic senators can resist to give their political point of view for the folks back home but there are moments when you learn about our Constitution, philosophy of juris prudence, precedent, and system... READ MORE
In the “Empire Strikes Back” Princess Leia tries to warn Luke Skywalker: “Luke! Don’t it’s a trap. It’s a trap!” Jesus does not need a warning he know he is being set up. It is a trap. The pharisees are plotting. They send their disciples with Herodians to ensnare Jesus. They flatter Jesus then ask him: “Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or... READ MORE
Can we imagine someone hosting a feast on a mountain? We can if God is the host! We must remember in the Bible “the mountain” is the place where we encounter God. Isaiah uses the image of an earthly banquet to speak of God spreading a table of rich food and choice wines at the end time for all who accept his invitation to gather on the holy mountain. God “will destro... READ MORE
Wildfires threaten the wine region in Napa Valley, California. I have been to this area to see the vineyards. The beautiful weather late in September is delightful (bright sky, warm days, cool evenings). Visitors taste local wines during visits to the wineries and then enjoy wine in evenings with their meals. It is difficult to take in the fast-moving fires, the evacuation... READ MORE
During this stretch of beautiful late summer weather, I have been walking outside on the weekend. It may appear that I am talking to myself. I am! I am walking my talk. Homily prep. St. James writes: “We must be doers of the word.” Jesus says: “Not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” &... READ MORE