Sunday, March 30, 2014

Lent 4

John 6:1-15 - Laetare Sunday - March 30, 2014
God Tests the People He Loves
Jesus did signs.  We usually call them miracles or wonders.  They are the things that Jesus was able to do because he is God.  He healed the sick, cast out demons, gave sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf.  They are the things that we cannot explain according to natural causes.  But we don’t have to.  Jesus did not exercise his power and authority as the eternal Son of God made flesh in order that we might figure out how he does what he does — no, but rather why he does what he does.  Jesus did miracles for two reasons: 1) to have compassion on the people God loves, and 2) to direct them to where this love of God is constantly accessible to them.  That is why St. John calls them signs. 
A sign points to something.  A sign draws your attention to itself only for long enough to draw your attention away from itself and on to something else.  Take, for instance, the signs on the side of the road. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Lent 3

Luke 11:14-28 - Oculi Sunday - March 23, 2014
Blessed Jesus, King of Grace
After Jesus had been tempted by the devil in the wilderness for forty days, God sent angels who came and ministered to him (Matthew 4:11).  They strengthened him for his long journey to the cross where he would do even greater battle with the devil.  When Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane that, if it be his Father’s will, the cup might pass from his lips, an angel came and ministered to him and strengthened his resolve to drink it up (Luke 22:43).  So much was his resolve strengthened to fulfill what God wanted that he sweat drops of blood as he prayed, “Thy will be done.” 
His angels served him.  They served him in the weakness of his human flesh by strengthening him with the word of God for the mission he was sent to fulfill.  This mission was for the Son of God to suffer and die on the cross in order to save sinners.  Nothing could stop him.  His angelic servants fought for him by keeping him in all his ways (Psalm 91:11). 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Lent 1

Luke 10:17-20 - Invocavit Sunday - March 9, 2014
Rejoice in This!
This morning we give special attention also to these words from the 10th chapter of St. Luke’s Gospel, after Jesus had sent out seventy men to the places where he himself was about to go.  We read in Jesus’ name:
Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”  And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” 
These are your words holy Father; sanctify us by the truth; your word is truth.  Amen. 
The reason we are sinners is because the devil is a liar, and because our first parents believed his lie.  Now, we could curse them and complain about the misfortune they have caused us.  But before we do, we need to understand the proper definition of original sin.  We call it original sin not simply because it was the first sin committed by man.  We call it original sin because it is the origin of all the other sins we commit.  Original sin is the sin that all sinners of all time are equally guilty of.  We inherit sin not as a genetic defect that is not our fault.  No, we inherit sin as rebels who conspired with our first parents against God and his word.  Spiritually speaking, we were there with Adam consenting to what the devil was saying, and rejecting what God had spoken.  In other words, if it had been any one of us in the Garden with the devil, the story would be the same.