Some Thoughts for the Third Sunday of Advent
- Old Testament: Zephaniah 3:14-20
- Canticle: Isaiah 12:2-6
- Epistle: Philippians 4:4-7
- Holy Gospel: St. Luke 3:7-18
Texts in Summary:
We continue our Advent readings with a second week of John the Baptist.
It’s Gaudete Sunday, one of the two Sundays when rose is the appointed liturgical color. (If you’ve ever wondered why your Advent wreath has three purple or blue candles and one pink one, it’s for this weekend. This tradition is slowly falling out of favor, though. I know of exactly one Lutheran parish that even has rose-colored vestments, and more and more parishes are dropping “the pink one” from their wreaths.) The name comes from the Latin entrance chant, which in turn is taken from this week’s Philippians reading:
Continue reading “Repentance and Fire: Advent 3C”
A Homily for the Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
Texts: Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32; Philippians 2:1-13; St. Matthew 21:23-32
Grace to you and peace from God our Heavenly Father and Christ Jesus our Lord, the truly obedient Son. Amen.
In my mind, I am amazing. No, really, I’m studious, disciplined, innovative, and generous. In my imagination, I wake up every morning at 5:30 to pray, exercise, and study. I stick to a mostly-vegetarian diet. I’m quick to give away money to anyone in need, ready to stand out on the street protesting for justice, and then I spend my evenings quietly reading while drinking tea.
Or at least, I will. Starting just after this next episode. Or tomorrow. Ok, when we get to Advent and start the new liturgical year: consider it a resolution.
The truth is, despite my best intentions, I stay up too late re-watching the same tv shows I’ve already seen five times, which means I’m definitely not up at 5:30. Despite the large number of prayer books on my shelf, the only times I’m able to really stick with the Daily Office are when I’m on retreat. And I never happen to have that spare single dollar bill on me to give to those in need.
Continue reading “I Go…Or, I Want To…”
A Homily, delivered to the Deacons of the ELCA’s Region 9
Texts: Philippians 2:5-13; St. John 13:1-17
Grace to you and peace from God our Heavenly Father and Christ Jesus our Lord, who came not to be served but to serve. Amen.
On Maundy Thursday, 2013, Francis, then the newly elected Bishop of Rome, celebrated the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. The time came for the foot-washing rite, and the new pope removed his chasuble before adjusting his stole, setting it on his left shoulder, crossing his chest, and hanging at his right hip. (I would say that the symbolism was obvious, but I didn’t notice he was essentially vested as a deacon until Deacon Adrainne Gray posted about it on social media.)
More than the stole, Francis also dramatically expanded the ritual to include women for the first time in the Vatican’s recorded history. Both of these are habits Francis developed during his time as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, and every year in his papacy, he has extended the rite to include more and more people on the margins of the Church: women, inmates, home-bound elders, and even Muslim refugees. Continue reading “Christ the Deacon”
A Homily for the Fifth Sunday in Lent
Texts: Philippians 3:4b-14; St. John 12:1-8
Grace to you and peace from God our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus, the Christ, the Anointed One. Amen.
What does it mean to share in Jesus’ suffering?
How do we share in his death?
The Church has spent the past two thousand years asking this question. As soon as the ink was dry on Paul’s letter, someone asked,
Now what? What am I supposed to do?
Over the centuries, we’ve come up with some pretty weird answers. Continue reading “Of Anointing and Suffering”
A Homily for the Second Sunday in Lent
Texts: Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18; Philippians 3:17-4:1
Grace to you and peace from God our Heavenly Father and Christ Jesus our Lord, who conforms us to his glory. Amen.
What made Abram so special?
This wandering Aramean frequently gets a one-on-one audience with the Almighty. Why?
Three chapters before today’s lection, the Lord calls to Abram, telling him to take his nephew and his wife and move across the barren desert to Canaan. God pledges, “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great….”
Shortly thereafter, Abram – having left Canaan for Egypt to avoid a famine and fearful for his own life – gives his wife Sarai to Pharaoh. Abram didn’t even make it a full chapter before he decided to sell someone out to save his own skin; he’s not exactly a stand-up guy. Nevertheless, Melchizedek, the priest-king of Salem, delivers God’s blessing to Abram. Today, as we read, the Lord again appears to Abram and promises that Abram and Sarai, who are aging rapidly, childless, and anxious about their legacy, will produce a family that outnumbers the stars in the heavens.
This blessing reassured, Abram and Sarai settle down, trust in the Lord, and live happily ever after.
Continue reading “So Shall Your Descendants Be”