Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Prv 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31
1 Thes 5:1-6
Mt 25:14-30

You may have noticed over the last couple of months that the economy has taken a slight turn for the worse. OK, a big turn for the worse. Many economists claim that this is the worst the economy has been since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. I hate looking at the statements I get about my 401K, I don’t think it can lose anymore money, but it always seems to lately. This isn’t exactly an inviting time to try and invest your hard earned money. The mattress is looking better and better all the time. But in some way I suppose we have to continue trying, hoping that eventually our investment will pay off.
In the Gospel today a man going on a journey gives each of his servants an amount of money, each according to their ability. The first seems to have been a wiz as he finds a way to invest his master’s money and double it from 5 talents to ten. Another servant who was given two talents finds a way to double that. The third servant, however, well he is reluctant to entrust his master’s money to the vagaries of the market, so he simply buries it, so he can give back the amount he was given. We, my brothers and sisters, are much like that servant. Our Master has given each of us a talent, a gift, a gift we can share with the world to help bring about the Reign of God. Too often we look at that gift we have received in the same way we look at our money in this time of economic crisis. We are reluctant to invest because we never seem to see any return. So we bury our talent, keeping it to ourselves and maybe, just maybe, a few others. The return on our investment may be small. But it’s better than throwing our gift out there to the world when it seems to accomplish so little. The question we need to ask ourselves is what is too little. I don’t care how wondrous and great your gift may be, you will not change the world. You don’t have to. If your gift touches one person, just one, and makes a difference in that person’s life, that’s enough. That the greatest return on investment you could hope for.

Deacon John
Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Nov. 16, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

Ez 47:1-2, 8-9, 12
1 Cor 3:9c-11, 16-17
Jn 2:13-22

Today we celebrate a moment in history, the dedication of the Lateran Basilica. St. John Lateran is considered the mother church of Christendom. This is the pope’s main church, the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome, an important place, an important sacred space for all Christians. We also celebrate to a lesser extent our own parish church, the sacred space we gather in to celebrate the Eucharist. These sacred spaces are meaningful, and important, as a place for the People of God to gather. But as our second reading from 1 Corinthians reminds us, the Church building, the sacred space, is not the Church. The Church is more than a building, more than a space, the Church, my brothers and sisters is us. You and I, we must remember that we are the Church. The building is important, but without the gathering of the people there, it means little. The Church must go beyond the four walls of the building, the Church must not be limited by mere space. The work of the Church is to envelope the entire world, enfolding everything into the sacred space that is the Church. We gather in the Church building, our sacred space, to worship and celebrate. We leave the Church building to take the Church to the world.
Deacon John
Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome
Nov. 9, 2008

Sunday, November 02, 2008

All Souls Day

Wis 3:1-9
Rom 6:3-9
Jn 6:37-40

Death. A subject we would rather not think about. We know it is there, waiting for each of us, but it still isn’t something we like to think about. What happens when we die? That subject has haunted humanity since we were able to think, since we became self-aware and realized that this is our ultimate fate. This entire weekend is centered around death, around what happens to us when we die. Halloween, followed by All Saints Day, followed by today, All Souls Day. We remember those who have gone before us, honoring and asking for prayer from those who are with God, praying for those whose fate is, for us, uncertain. Indeed, we dedicate this entire month to remembrance of those gone before. We think about them, and we are forced to think about our own mortality. I must admit that I have spent a lot of this past year thinking about death. Nothing like being diagnosed with a life-threatening, incurable disease to get your attention. It compels you to think, to wonder and to pray. You hope to hear another word, survivor.
Survivor, one who has faced death and lived. Through the grace of God and the miracles of modern medicine, I can claim that title, survivor. My mortal life has been spared for now, but the ultimate question remains, what happens when this reprieve ends? Not just for me, but for all of us. What happens when our time finally runs out? By God’s grace we can all claim the title survivor. Jesus tells us in the Gospel reading that none of what God has given to Jesus will be lost. We, my sisters and brothers, have been given to Jesus, we belong to him and we will not be lost. Through our baptism in Christ we rise with Christ, We die with Christ, and conquer death with Christ. The risen Christ dies no more, death has no power over Christ. We have been given to Christ, we die with Christ, we rise with Christ, and death has no power over us. In Christ, we are survivors.

Deacon John
The Commemoration of All The Faithful Departed (All Souls Day)
Nov. 2, 2008