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We are God’s children



Short Thoughts 04 23 17

 Our gospel story takes us to the evening of Easter, as the risen Jesus makes his first “public” appearance to his disciples.  The first words from Jesus are “peace be with you.”  Jesus’ whole life and ministry was built around tending to the needs of others.  So naturally, his first words would be words of comfort and support for his closest friends.  He knew their inner struggles and the sense of loss that each of them was experiencing.  He wanted to let them know not so much that he was okay, but that they would be okay.  He is with them now and will always remain part of their lives.  More importantly, however, Jesus tells them that they are now to take over the mission that he started.  They are to show the world that the Emmanuel – God with us – is true and everlasting.  A new order of man’s relationship with God is now established.  We are more than simply God’s creation – now we are truly His children.

 Deacon Glenn

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The Kenosis of Life



Homily Holy Thursday 2017

Each of our readings today gives a different view on the purpose of Holy Thursday. Our first reading describes the Seder meal of the Israelites who were to soon flee Egypt. This was to be their last supper before their passing over to the Promised Land. But their true Passover was the protection that God assured them, as the angel of death would pass by them. The people found protection, guidance and yes even salvation in the Lord. Their first-born sons were spared death. They would also be given a new life as they were freed from the bondage of Egypt to begin a life with God and not pharaoh as their ruler. The Passover meal was not only remembered as a sacrifice but also remembered as food for the journey – the journey of life.

Our second reading reminds us of Jesus’ promise to be with us in and through the Eucharist. Jesus demonstrations to us that he will always be physically present with us, as he takes the bread and wine in his hands changes them into his body and blood. He reminds his disciples, and us, to do the same giving us not only a permanent reminder, but also the connection with Jesus to do the same the place of his place after he physically leaves this world. And like the Israelites, the Last Supper would remind us not only of the sacrifice but also as our food for the journey of life.

John’s gospel does not include the commemoration passage of the bread and wine changed into to the body and blood of Christ Jesus. Rather, it presents us with a very powerful and special aspect of Jesus who is the Messiah and the Emmanuel. Jesus washes the feet of his disciples. Washing of feet was one of the jobs only the lower level servants would do. It was a lowly and submissive duty. It was demeaning as the servant stooped to clean the dirty and beat up feet of the guests to the house. But for those who were on the receiving end it was uplifting and comforting. After all the cool water must have felt great as the dirt and grime of the roads were away from their sore, tired feet.

To me, this gospel sums up the mission and ministry of Jesus in concise way. He takes the meaning of Holy Thursday beyond a last meal to what Jesus’ life and ultimately what our life is all about – service through kenosis. In these last days of Holy Week – Holy Thursday, Good Friday and of course Easter Sunday, Jesus becomes the living definition of a Greek word – Kenosis. In kenosis one empties oneself by giving and sharing of who he or she is, what he or she can do for the benefit of others.

God wants everyone to share in his love and Jesus is that connection to share in his love on a human level. Jesus is the Messiah – the anointed one, the savior. Jesus is the Emmanuel – God with us. God wants everyone to experience the outpouring of His goodness and to truly come to know and be with Him. God sent us his Son to be with us in the human person Jesus to teach us how to love, to give and to empty ourselves so that others may thrive. Through his kenosis Jesus brings us not only to himself and the Father, but also give us the opportunity and the tools necessary to share in his ministry and bring others closer to God.

Yes, we cannot forget the words that Jesus spoke as we heard in the second reading. But the words together with the transubstantiation serve as food for us to be Christ Jesus – to be that person who came to serve and not be serve, to be that person who gives and gives and then gives some more. To the very end Jesus would give share of himself. Jesus showed that God does not hesitate to stoop to any level to lift us up, to comfort us, to care for us, to bring us into the love of God.

The people at the Last Supper are Jesus’ closed friends. They would soon be the first leaders of his church. He washed their feet to teach them what they are called to do – and not simply to clean each other’s feet but rather to serve by emptying themselves for the good of others. Jesus shows us that all servant hood start with him. We are to be Christ to others because he is Christ to us. We are to be Christ to others because we are filled with his love. Jesus always was a person of self-giving. By his action at the last upper, Jesus teaches us that God has stoop down so low as to allow humanity to share in his divinity.

All are called to serve and today we see the example of not just Jesus but his disciples receiving their call to serve. Though his kenosis Jesus invites others to share in his mission and ministry.

 

While far from being Jesus, I let him work through me as I washed the feet of those here, who represent all of us today. But in a very special I washed the feet of our pastor and who leads us at our parish. I am here to remind us that Fr. John knows that he is a servant of Jesus. As he serves us he must allow Jesus serve him first, as Jesus did to disciple on that Thursday evening. Jesus empties himself into Fr. John in a special way through Holy Orders. As I washed the feet of Fr. John, I remind him of his calling to go out and wash your feet every day. Fr. John empties himself to meet the need you the children of God. But note when Jesus said do this in memory of me at the last supper, he was inviting all of us to be his servant to others. Each of us needs our feet washed to make that connection of kenosis. Only when we are connected to God by letting him empty himself into us we will be filled with God’s love. When our feet are washed, we will feel the kenosis of Christ, which cannot be contained but must flow out through us. We are now all servants of God to each other.

 

Deacon Glenn

 

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God’s love for us



Short Thoughts 04 16 17

 Happy Easter!  The resurrection of Jesus is the culmination of His earthly mission.  His resurrection brings purpose and meaning to His life and His death.  What a delight it must have been for Jesus, as He realized how His death was not simply a sacrifice, but a gift.  How much must have Jesus relished that His resurrection would show the world death is not an end, but rather a new beginning.  Jesus must have felt His divinity flow over the whole world creating a new dawn for humanity and creation.  Today, we celebrate the day, which changed the face of human nature by opening for us the invitation for us to share in the divine glory.  It is because of God’s love for us that Jesus was born, died, and rose for our sake!

 Deacon Glenn

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Jesus lived and died on day at at time



Short Thoughts 04 09 17

 Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week, is upon us.  This week is filled with events that define our faith and the practice of our faith.  As we look back, we see how Jesus came into Jerusalem as a revered leader.  Then we witness how He would subsequently be betrayed, labeled a traitor and blasphemer, resulting in His horrific death. However, His glorious rising from the dead shows us the true person and the true mission.  During this time of year, I often wonder what Jesus we thinking.  He must have realized the chance he was taking by entering the city filled with religious pilgrims and a leadership who was uncomfortable with his teachings and his popularity.  While being censured was a distinct possibility, would Jesus have considered death a reality?  How much did Jesus understand about his divinity?  While he would choose to follow the will of the Father, did Jesus know what the glorious resurrection would be like?  While Jesus is God, Jesus is also a human person who would live and die one day at a time.

 Deacon Glenn

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Jesus Gives Life



Short Thoughts 04 02 17

Today our gospel is the Raising of Lazarus. The story tells us that Jesus wept when he was told that his friend Lazarus had died. We know that Jesus used his divine powers to restore Lazarus’ life, but that is not the end purpose of the story. Jesus had human emotions like you and me. The death of a friend evoked a sense of loss, sorrow and pain. Jesus did not separate His humanity from His divinity. His two natures worked together in all of His actions. Jesus as God and as man does not want any of us to spiritually die. In a sense, he weeps every time any of us turns away from God. He wants us to have enteral life and that is why the Son of God took on human nature. Jesus came and melded the human with the divine. Jesus came to rectify humanity so that eternal life is an open invitation. Jesus raises each of us from being spiritually dead through his own personal sacrifice.

Deacon Glenn

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“I see”



Short Thoughts 03 26 17

Our human sense of sight or vision is so important to us that we often draw a parallel to it with the understanding or knowledge of something.   How often do we say “I see” when we mean “I understand.”  In our gospel today we hear about a man who is born blind and is given his sight through a miracle of Jesus.  His world opens up and he experiences life an entirely different way.  He now knows and understands the world around him more fully.  But the story is not simply about giving someone physical sight.  It is about opening the man, and in fact all of us, to knowledge and understanding of the presence and power of God in our lives.  This sight is received through Jesus the Christ who is the way, the truth and the light.  The story teaches us to see the world through the “eyes” of God.  Once we see, we can follow.  Once we follow, we help others to see so that they can follow.

Deacon Glenn

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Homily March 2017



Homily March 2017

Have you even been out on a hot sunny day…yes even though it is something we have not seen here in quite a while but still we can remember. Can remember that while you were in the heat the feeling for and need of water? There was a thirst and something inside say I need some water to drink. Jesus had that same feeling as he met the woman at the well. But his needs, as well as her needs, went much deeper than quenching their physical thirst.

I think it is important to set the stage for today’s gospel reading. At roughly the same latitude as Phoenix, Arizona, this area of the Middle East is often hot and dry. At noontime, the sun is beating down and most people are looking for shade in their tents or their simple homes or even under a tree. The community well is where you visited first thing in the morning, not during the heat of the day. But it is precisely the heat of the day that brings on a thirst for water. In part that is what caused the woman to go to the well even at that time. Jesus was also thirsty and needed to get some water to meet his physical needs as he continued on his journey. But for Jesus this occasion was to be more than meeting a physical need, he saw this as an opportunity to help one person see the hand of God in her life. The problem is that she, and too often each of us, could only see the visible and not the deeper reality. But it is God, though Jesus who engages her and us to look into that deeper reality.

God works in in subtle ways. He often uses common and ordinary things in life to bring us into a deeper reality of his realm. Water and the thirst for water are something that all of us know. Water is essential for life. We innately know it, and we naturally seek it out. God has used water as a symbol of his presence with us since the beginning of time. The spirit flowed over the waters at creation. The great flood of Noah was not only purifying action, but also a new beginning. Jesus changed water in to wine, he thirsted on the cross, and water flowed from his side after his death as lance pierce his side. Water gives life, can cause death but always transforms.

The woman at the well was transformed as she realized that she truly needed and desired the living waters of eternal life. She was seeking to quench a thirst that would not be fulfilled with the ordinary actions of her life. She was transformed as she admitted what was holding her back from allowing God to be the center of her life. Who are her five husbands?   Perhaps symbolically they were greed, envy, hatred, disrespect, lack of compassion or some other self-serving self-centered desires? We must ask ourselves, who are our five husbands holding us back from God in our lives? The woman was transform as she found that her thirst was not for ordinary water, but that is was for the living water that Jesus had to offer. She let God into her life and realized that God is always: understanding, merciful, compassionate, forgiving, but most importantly loving. By opening herself to Jesus, she now could become an instrument to spread the good news. All of this happened because Jesus approached her and offered to open her eyes to see the ordinary of life in a very extraordinary way. God is always there for us. Jesus keeps coming to us in our daily lives. Jesus will give us the water we need to quench that thirst. Best of all Jesus is there in ordinary, the routine and the essentials of daily life. We truly see God’s hand in everything.

Deep in each of us there is a thirst for God in our lives. There is the thirst for eternal life. There is the thirst for living that image and likeness we are created into. There is a thirst to be Christ to one another. Like the woman at the well, we must admit what is holding us back and blocking us from tasting that deeper reality in our lives.

So what was Jesus’ true thirst that day – that another person come to find God in their lives, that another person leaves behind their past and discovery the good news. What do you thirst for? Is it a taste from the water bucket or a taste of the transforming power of Jesus? Next time you touch the waters of the baptismal fount ask yourself that question. Feel the living water and accept his personal invitation to transform your life to be his true disciple by proclaiming the good news through your words and actions.

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Water of Life



 

Short Thoughts 03 19 17

Our gospel calls us to transform our perception of what is truly life sustaining. God works in the subtlest of ways. He encounters us through everyday life and then puts his hand out to take us into a deeper reality. Water is essential for life. Jesus knows it, and so does the Samaritan woman whom he encounters at the well. While searching to satisfy a thirst for water, Jesus points out a parallel thirst. He knows that deep down, each person has a longing to find and be with God both here and in eternal life. The woman finds her need for everlasting life fulfilled by discovering Jesus’ offer to experience God’s love, mercy, and compassion. Just as important, however, Jesus fulfills his own thirst, which is to fulfill His mission by inviting people to encounter God in their lives. Jesus sacrifices, gives and shares of Himself so that our thirst for eternal life is satisfied.

Deacon Glenn

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Transcend space and time



Short Thoughts 03 12 17

 The Transfiguration was another manifestation of God’s real presence among us.  Jesus, as the Son of God, chose to physically demonstrate His divinity by transfiguring before His closest disciples. The Son of God, Jesus the Christ, took on human form but never lost His divinity.  He chose to show them His glorified body.

 Our God is not a distant God, and He offers us the opportunity to be in relationship with Him.  God wants us to know that our relationship is ongoing and will be even more glorious in eternal life. God invites us to be part of and share in His magnificence.

 In a way words that cannot fully describe, Jesus lets us know that the human body will be transformed and perfected through him.  Jesus throughout His life invited people to be with Him and share in what He has to offer.  In a special way today we see how Jesus’ offer transcends time and space.

 Deacon Glenn

 

 

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Subtle Temptations



Short Thoughts 03 05 17

 Our first Sunday of Lent explores the reality of temptations.  We all have temptations to follow some type of false god. Daily temptations might include not considering the needs of other as expressed through lack of courtesy.  They may be taking advantage of others to achieve personal gain.  Perhaps our temptation is making personal gains, (whether wealth, power, fame, or beauty) the driving factor of our life.  Jesus was tempted in the desert to forsake his mission and to seek a self-centered easy way of life.  While the devil might not be offering us the kingdoms of the world or the ability to have everything we want, we are challenged every day with trying to follow the commands of Jesus to love God and neighbor.  In the most subtle and sublime ways we place aside love of God and neighbor for “it’s all about me.”  Lent is a good time to see the temptations in our life and practice guarding against them.

 Deacon Glenn

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