Monday, March 19, 2007

St. Joseph

2 Sm 7:4-5a, 12-14a, 16
Rm 4:13, 16-18, 22
Mt 1:16, 18-21, 24a

What does it mean to be righteous, to be a righteous person? I’m relatively certain that the life St. Joseph led is not the life he had planned when he asked Mary for her hand. An average man, ready to live an average life, until everything was turned upside down. We know next to nothing about St. Joseph, little is recorded in the scripture about him. There exists, to my knowledge, no record of anything that Joseph said. But perhaps this lack of knowledge speaks volumes to us about him. Joseph didn’t plan to live the life he did. But he lived the life he was asked to live, quietly, with dignity. He could have ranted and raved and walked away, but when asked by God to take on this life, to be the nurturer of the Messiah, Joseph quietly set about his task. Joseph lived as God asked, did what he had to do, without complaint. Joseph was righteous. May we all see his example and be the same.

Deacon John
Solemnity of Joseph, Husband of Mary
March 19, 2007

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Fourth Sunday in Lent

Jos 5:9a, 10-12
2 Cor 5:17-21
Lk 15:1-3, 11-32

He came back. That’s what matters, he came back. Yes he ran off, living a life of dissipation, wasting all of the gifts he had been given, throwing away the inheritance that was his, the inheritance that would keep him safe and well. But, in the end, he came back. His life certainly could not have sunk any deeper into a morass. Living among Gentiles, he was caring for pigs, watching these unclean beasts live better than he was living. His only hope? Throw himself on the mercy of his father, accept whatever retribution was his due, then work like a slave to repay in some small way all that he had thrown away. He had to have been afraid, he was certainly ashamed, but in the end, he screwed up his courage and he came back. He came back to find a father waiting, waiting for his return, wanting nothing more than to have his son come home, no matter what he may have done. He came back and that was all that mattered. All the rest was forgiven, none of it mattered any more, because he came back, he finally came back.
How many times in our lives do we find ourselves in that position, ashamed, afraid, wanting to come back, but uncertain of the welcome, if any, that we will receive. We have been given a great inheritance that all too often we simply throw away. We throw it all away and we are sure that we are lost forever. So we stay away, sinking farther and farther into the morass we make of our lives, certain that we cannot, will not, should not be forgiven. We are afraid and ashamed and we stay away, until, until we realize that we have no where left to go. To quote the poet/songwriter Paul Simon, “Here I am, Lord, knocking at your place of business, I know I ain’t got no business here. But you said if I ever got so low I was busted, You could be trusted.” We’re low, we’re busted, and despite our fear and our shame we turn to our God, and ask to come home, ready to pay whatever price. And all God says is “What took you so long?”

Deacon John
4th Sunday in Lent
March 18, 2007

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Second Sunday in Lent

Gn 15:5-12, 17-18
Phil 3:17—4:1 or 3:20—4:1
Lk 9:28b-36

Every baby that is born has one thing in common with every other baby born, they all have potential. Now they may not all have the same potential, some may be potentially great leaders, some scholars, some athletes, some artists. Talent, of course, plays a role, but perhaps more importantly, there must be desire, I can have all of the potential in the world, but it does me little good if I do nothing to develop that talent so that I may live up to my potential. If I don’t work at it, my potential will disappear. Potential is what the gospel today is all about. Jesus takes Peter, James and John to the top of a mountain where he prays. But as he prays he changes, he is transfigured in front of their eyes. They get just a brief glimpse of the glory that is the Second person of the Trinity, the glory that is God. The potential in the story isn’t Jesus’ potential, he is the Son of God. It is the potential that is shown to the followers of Jesus, the potential they have of being in that glorious presence always. Jesus wanted them, and us, to catch just a glimpse of the glory that we may see, that we may share, that we have the potential of sharing eternity with. We all have that potential, the potential to share the beatific vision, but, we have to work at it. Yes, God’s love is a gift, freely given, but we must make the choice to accept it. We must work to live out the call that God gives to each of us, the call to follow, to live that love. We have the potential, if we choose to develop it. During this Lenten season, let us strive together to reach our potential, to stand in the glorious presence of our God.
Deacon John
Second Sunday in Lent
March 4, 2007