Thursday, March 31, 2016

Holy Breath

"He breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'" (John 20:22)  To make the gift of the Spirit as vivid as possible, the Risen Christ breathes on the gathered disciples. Christ's Spirit will enable them to be Christ and to carry on his work. The Risen Jesus continues to breathe New Life into today's Church so that we can be Christ for our time. 
(These tiny daffodils are so short the camera was on the ground.  They are afraid to risk 24 degrees and frost.) 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Saint for Our Time

Thomas' skepticism has earned him a place in our dictionary: "doubting Thomas" and made him the patron saint for our time (John 20:19-31.)  Many scientists, many "modern" people for that matter, are skeptical about religion.  Many people are skeptical about the discoveries of science.  Many are skeptical about our politics.  
Thomas didn't believe that his fellow disciples had seen the Risen Christ.  "Unless I see....," is our mantra as well as his.
Jesus says, "Happy are those who have not seen and still believe."

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Sun Beats Ice

This is the first morning that the sun entered my room after being too far south all winter.  I realize that the sun hasn't moved, but when I try to imagine the earth tilting back towards the south my horizon refuses to budge. 
That was a few weeks ago.  The ice visible through the windows is melted now.  The increasing sun has done its job.  Our Easter Sun melts our cold, cold hearts.

Sunday, March 27, 2016


Christ, our Morning Star,
has risen from the dead
and spreads the light of his peace through all mankind.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Kissing the Cross

If this were not Good Friday, we would be celebrating the Annunciation.  When God took on human flesh God embraced all humanity.  As God-Made-Flesh hangs on the cross he gathers into himself  the pain and suffering of the entire human race and transforms it into New Life. 
(Clicking on the picture enlarges it.)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Burying the Dead

Jesus is laid in the tomb, the 14th Station of the Cross, in the Church of St. Martin de Porres on the island of St. Martin.   Years ago at a funeral I was celebrating I saw a parishioner in the congregation who was not related to the deceased.  I asked her what brought her to the funeral.  She replied, "My mother told me that burying the dead was one of the corporal works of mercy,"

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Hidden with Christ in God

"Now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God," says St. Paul in his Letter to the Colossians (3:3.)  This week we might keep our minds and hearts in that Other World where Christ is embraced by his Father.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Through 21st Century Eyes

Through 21st Century Eyes
The stone is rolled back
from the empty tomb,
not to let Jesus out,
but to reveal that Jesus is not there.
He has passed through a membrane
into another dimension,
the Other World that is woven
into and through our world.
In the days that follow
the Risen Christ passes at times
back through that membrane
to appear to his closest friends:
first to Mary of Magdala,
then to his other disciples.
With surprising Easter ease
he draws us now and then
into that peaceful Other World.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

1st Day of Spring AM

Happy First Day of Spring!!  A gorgeous Palm Sunday snow.  About 4 inches in my yard, but as you see in the picture it didn't lay on sidewalks and roads which were warm from the last few weeks of warm days. 
So much for not showing any more pictures of snow. 
"The best laid plans of mice and men so often go awry."

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Into Your Hands

Luke softens the harshness of the Crucifixion to help us understand that surrendering to God, along with Jesus, brings forgiveness and peace.
When he is nailed to the cross, he prays, "Father forgive them," a forgiveness that reaches down 2,000 years to reconcile us also to our loving Father.  To the criminal hanging beside him, Jesus tenderly promises, "This day you will be with me in Paradise."
As he is dying, instead of a cry to God of near despair, Jesus prays, "Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit."  Jesus surrenders his entire self to the Father.
He offers us as well.  The dying Jesus gathers into himself the entire human race and offers us back to our Father, reconciling us to our loving God and enveloping us in the peace of Paradise.

Friday, March 18, 2016

First Sign of Spring

On my walk yesterday morning this little cluster of colt's foot greeted me.  The first sign of spring in our neighborhood!
Lent is Spring.  The word comes from an old word for "lengthen." It refers to the lengthening days at this time of year.  Like these tiny flowers, Lent announces that New Life has begun.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


I was tired taking pictures of snow and intended not to put anymore on this blog.  Then a few nights ago we had this surprise snow.  A melting lake and four cold naked chairs that don't want to look at each other.
The scribes and Pharisees have no shame.  They drag this woman caught in adultery before a crowd (John 8:1-11.) In their determination to catch Jesus out, they treat her as a pawn.  Jesus is so angry at them that he bends over and doodles in the dirt to calm himself down.  He would love to just ignore them.  (There are lots of explanations of what Jesus is doing writing in the dirt.  This is the one I like best.)  Finally he says, "Let whoever is sinless throw the first stone." 
To the woman, Jesus says gently, "Neither do I condemn you."  But he doesn't condone her adultery.  "Go and sin no more."  He treats the worst sinner among us with the same mercy.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Serial Divorcee

Yesterday was Michaelangelo's birthday.  This is a picture of one of his sculptures from a calendar that I bought in Italy in 1987.
For my birthday a friend sent me a brief article from Magnificat  for February 26 in which Father Anthony Giambrone writes how amazing it is that the first person to whom Jesus reveals that he is the Messiah is a "serial divorcee." (John 4)  He goes on to point out that she has not only been divorced five times, but has given up trying.  Jesus observes, "the one you have now is not your husband."
The fact that John in his Gospel records this scene as well as the scene of the woman caught in adultery (8:1-11) indicates not only that Jesus was accepting of such sinners, but that the early Christians were accepting of such sinners (or he wouldn't have included it his Gospel.)  We pray that today's followers of Jesus might really follow him.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Women Mourning

Another of the striking stations of St Martin de Porres Church.
"Large numbers of people followed him, and women too, who mourned and lamented for him.  But Jesus turned to them and said, 'Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep rather for yourselves and for your children.  For look the days are surely coming when people will say, "Blessed are those who are barren, the wombs that have never borne children, the breasts that have never suckled!"  Then they will begin to say to the mountains, "Fall on us!"; to the hills, "Cover us!"  For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?'" (Luke 23:27-31)
Jesus predicts the destruction of Jerusalem.  If this is the way an innocent person is treated, how much worse it will be for a guilty city!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Free Mercy

"The quality of mercy is not strained;
  It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
  Upon the place beneath.  It is twice blest;
  It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
  ....In the course of justice, none of us
  Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy."
    (Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice)

The father in Jesus' parable simply welcomes the prodigal son home, embraces him and has a party.  No hesitation.  No conditions.  God is always bathing us with love.  All we have to do is be open.  If we relied on justice, getting what we deserve, we would be lost.  "We do pray for mercy."

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

We Must Celebrate and Rejoice

The son who stayed at home resented his father's welcoming the prodigal son back home.  (15:1-3, 11-32)  The Pharisees and scribes resented Jesus' welcoming tax-collectors and sinners.  Some Catholic bishops, priests, and lay people resent our considering welcoming divorced and remarried faithful to communion.  The father in Jesus' parable says to the resentful son, "We had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come back to life, was lost and has been found."  If the resentful son had stayed home, not out of obligation, but out of love for his father, he would surely have learned mercy from his father.