ArchivesTag : Christian
Most nights I wake in the dark hours, around three o’clock, the time of deepest silence, the time when people often die. I can’t sleep again, so I pray. Lately I’ve understood that there’s a cycle in prayer, like a wheel of fire: Ask, Listen, Discern, Act; Ask, Listen, Discern, Act; Ask, Listen, Discern…. And the fire? That’s thanksgiving, and praise.Full Story
Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10, 38-42, Gospel for Sunday, July 18.Full Story
When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village. As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9, 51-62; reading for Sunday, June 27.Full Story
I’d like to write a play about Paul. I think it would open just before the end, with Paul in chains, in prison, an old man, awaiting an inevitable sentence of death at the hands of Nero – although, as always, hopeful of life. He’s alone. Or at least, he says he’s alone, although he’s dictating a letter to Timothy, his beloved. He asks him to come and see him before he dies.
Bring my cloak, he tells him.
Bring my books, especially the parchments.
The first time I made my defence, everyone abandoned me. No one took my part. May God not hold it against them.
But you, come!
And greet the family of Onesimus. He served me well, and now he is dead; executed for Christ – and for me.
Is he asking Timothy, his beloved Timothy, to die with him?
That’s the play.
Once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They answered, “John the Baptist; but others, Elijah; and still others, that one of the ancient prophets has arisen.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The Messiah of God.” He sternly ordered and commanded them not to tell anyone, saying, “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.” Luke 9, 18-24, Gospel for Sunday, June 20.Full Story
When the crowds found out about it, they followed him; and he welcomed them, and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed to be cured. The day was drawing to a close, and the twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away, so that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a deserted place.” But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish – unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” They did so and made them all sit down. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. And all ate and were filled. What was left over was gathered up, twelve baskets of broken pieces. (Luke 9, 11-17; reading for Sunday, June 6, Feast of the Blessed Sacrament)Full Story
In turning the church decisively toward the Gentiles, Paul created the need for the gospel accounts. A new and growing population of pagan adherents who knew nothing of law or prophets needed not just Christ, as incarnated in Paul by the Holy Spirit, but also the historical Jesus. They needed the stories; they needed to know who this man was, this man on whom their faith was based. Hence the demand for the gospels. And the interesting thing about the gospels is this: they can be assumed to go well beyond what Paul himself knew about the life and teachings of Jesus. So without knowing it, Paul created demand for information about the historical Jesus whom he himself hardly knew. Like all revolutionaries, he could not have known the consequences of his own revolution.Full Story
I’d forgotten how beautiful this city is. And I’d forgotten how seductive the Moslem cultures of the Mediterranean are: the wild taxi rides (no seat belts), the tender stillness of those old streets as light fades from the sky, and a few boys still kick a soccer ball around despite the dusk and the muezzin makes the last call to prayer as a deeper silence falls on this usually cacophonous city. There’s a tenderness, a sweetness to this culture.Full Story
When he [Judas] had gone out, Jesus said, “now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once…. I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13, 31-33a; 34-35; reading for Sunday, May 2.Full Story
“My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. The father and I are one.” John 10, 27-30; reading for Sunday, April 25.Full Story