Easter Sunday – April 12, 2020

Easter Sunday – April 12, 2020

Easter1A20.   Acts of the Apostles 10:34a, 37-43.  “God appointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power.  He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.  We are witnesses of all that he did.”  Peter goes on to say,   “He commissioned us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead.” Peter and the Apostles are proclaiming that Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior from God himself.   As Isaiah 42:1a & b proclaims, “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit.”

John 20:1-9.   Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark.  Mary did not understand that Jesus had arisen; she was in the dark.  She ran to the men, assuming as had often happened that grave robbers had stolen Jesus’ body.  When Peter and John arrived and saw that the linens were still there; and, if the grave robbers had been there, that is what they would have stolen because of its worth to them, the Holy Spirit helped John to remember that Jesus had  spoken of his resurrection.  “He saw and believed;” even though “they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.”  The earthly vault, the tomb, was powerless to keep Jesus locked into death.

Colossians 3:1-4.  “Think of what is above, not what is on earth.”  We also are able to break out of earth’s tomb of worldly human ways of thinking so to be joined by the power of the Holy Spirit into Christ’s resurrection into heaven.

1 Corinthians 5:6b-8.  This world leavens our lives “with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness.”  Leave that buried in the tomb of the death of this world to come alive to God’s living spirit of sincerity and truth.


Easter Sunday – 2017

Easter17.   Acts of the Apostles 10:34a, 37-43.  Peter, appointed by Jesus to lead the Church, speaks, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power.” “This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible, not to all the people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance.”  Here Luke, traditionally accepted as the author of the Acts of the Apostles, seems to see Jesus as man empowered by God but not God in himself.   Apparently for Luke that would be a later development.  The Apostles are witnesses to all he did while he walked this earth, to his resurrection to full life again, able to eat and drink.  Peter goes on to say: “he commissioned us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead.  To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”  Both the Apostles and the prophets are witnesses to believing in him will bring one eternal salvation.

John 20:1-9.  Jesus had foretold at various times that he was to suffer, be put to death and then arise.  It appears that no one, not even Mary of Magdala nor the Apostles, took him at his word. The last line of this Gospel says, “For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.” One commentary states that the Greek from which this gospel was translated indicates that it appeared that Jesus miraculously slipped out of burial cloths, leaving them empty of the body that had been in them, with the cloth that had covered his head, removed and placed in a separate place.  The word tomb is mentioned in this gospel seven times, I believe, to indicate the empty tomb with the stone rolled back is a physical witness to the resurrection of Jesus.  Peter’s authority and leadership is clearly accepted by John, since he waited for Peter, more important than he, to enter first.  John goes into the tomb “and he saw and believed” that the tomb was empty.

Colossians 3:1-4.  “Seek what is above,” “Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”  After Jesus had told his disciples that he had to suffer and die and then Peter rebuked Jesus for thinking that way, then Jesus in turn rebuked Peter saying, “You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” (Matthew 16:18)  We are people who live in this world, not in heaven.  This world can, and easily does, drown us in its way of thinking, feeling and acting.  The Holy Spirit, who is far more powerful than our good intentions and will power, can enable us to have Jesus as our life.  With Christ as our life, one day he will share his glory with us.

1 Corinthians 5:6b-8.  “Let us celebrate the feast, not with old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”  Yeast could be symbolically thought of as an evil, corrupting force; whereas being unleavened was thought of as growing in the purity of the “sincerity and truth” of Christ.  If we dine on the lamb, that is the paschal lamb that is Christ, the bread of our meal must be unleavened, i.e. pure, not corrupted by the evil of this world (Exodus 12:1-15).  We ought not to mix the sinful ways of this world with holy ways of God.


Palm Sunday – April 5, 2020

PalmA20.    Isaiah 52:13-53:12.   “Therefore I will give him his portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty, because he surrendered himself to death and was counted among the wicked; and he shall take away the sins of many, and win pardon for their offenses.”  It is unknown whether Isaiah meant this for himself or for another.  However, it seems clear to me that God wrote this through Isaiah to refer to Jesus, since it fits him so perfectly.  We sinners have a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, born into this world to die for us on the cross.

John 18:1 – 19:42.  Jesus the Nazorean is the human name for Jesus.  He answers:  “I AM,” which is to say that not only is he human but also divine.  “When he said to them, “I AM,” they turned away and fell to the ground.  In doing so, unconsciously through the power of God, they recognized for the moment his divinity.  That was only for the moment since from that moment on, they we were to treat him viciously.  Simon   Peter was ready to put up a fight but Jesus , wishing to offer himself willingly, was ready  to be a sacrifice for our sins, saying, “Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?”

Pilate asks Jesus, “What you done?”  Jesus answers that he claims to be a king but not of this world.  Jesus claims to testify to the truth.  I understand Pilate’s response, “What is the truth?” to mean that he believes there is no such thing as truth.  That particular group of Jews that were rabidly intent on killing Jesus was a select group that had much to lose if the ordinary Jewish people were left to follow Jesus and not them.  They pressed Pilate to execute Jesus or else they would make great trouble for Pilate with Caesar.  Pilate, out of fear of them, handed Jesus over to them to be crucified.  By forcing Pilate to acquiesce to the killing of Jesus, although it is out of an evil and vicious intent, they have unknowingly and unwittingly become a part in our redemption.  To those who think only as humans think, they seemed to have won.  However, they only have deceived themselves.  The truth is that the victory belongs to the Redeemer and we who are redeemed.  Because there is a God, in the end evil is always self-destructive.  The victory always belongs to God and to those who live in union with God’s Will.  God is the truth or the only genuine reality.  All else is a lie and will perish in the end.

Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9.  Jesus, the divine Son of God, is at the same time the human Jesus of Nazareth, who, because he is as human as we are, is able to sympathize with our weakness. “So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.”  In his divinity Jesus was all-knowing and therefore was never in need of learning anything, but in his humanity he was as human as we are.  All through his life Jesus knew that that he was born to suffer and die for us on the cross but what we know in our minds needs more time to be accepted by our hearts.  Our human nature is to defend our lives and do our best not to have our lives taken from us. Nevertheless, Jesus learned from his suffering to offer up his life as a sacrifice for us in obedience to his Father’s will.  In Luke 22:42-44, Jesus said, “’Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.’  And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him.  He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground.” “And when he was made perfect, (that is as any human being can become holy as God is holy) he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” Jesus’ obedience on the cross has opened the entrance to heaven for us.  Jesus said in John 10:7a, “I am the gate for the sheep, and in John 10:8, “Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.”

Palm Sunday – 2017

PalmA.  Isaiah 50:4-7.  Here Isaiah prefigures Jesus.  “I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting.  The Lord God is my help.”  We speak of Jesus’ Passion because he was passive to the abuse and horrors others poured out on him for the sake of offering himself up as a sacrifice to redeem us from our sins.  It was God the Father’s will that he did this.  There is no shame in pleasing God.

Matthew 26:14 – 27:66.  Judas Iscariot, chosen by Jesus to be an Apostle, sells Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.  Jesus could have stopped this treachery easily but instead freely delivers himself to be offered as a once-and-for-all oblation for our redemption.  At the celebration of the Passover meal with his apostles, he offers himself up liturgically as a ritual sacrifice, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”  He gave the cup to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is the blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.”  Even though he himself was standing there, it was his  very own body and blood for the sacrifice for our redemption.  How is bread and wine his body and blood?  It is so because he, God, said so!

Rather they put gall in my food, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. (Psalm 69:22)  At the Last Supper, Jesus says, “I tell you, from now on I shall not drink this fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father.” (Matthew 26: 29)  The cup of wine at the Last Supper is a cup of Jesus’ life and love for us.  The wine mixed with gall given Jesus on the cross is the wine of hatred and envy.  The cup of Jesus’ prayer in his agony in the garden is a cup of pain and extreme sorrow.  “Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again, ‘My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done.’” (Matthew 26:42)  The very reason for Jesus’ coming into this world was our redemption through his passion and death.  Jesus in his humanity, recoiling at the approaching excruciating horror that he was to suffer, had made his prayer but was always willing to submit himself to his Father’s will .  Because of his own humanness, he recognized the reason for the Apostles’ failure to stay awake, by previously saying, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”(Matthew 26:41b)

There is a something of a parallel between Peter and Judas, in that both betray Jesus out of a faith in themselves and not God.  The difference is that, when Judas recognized that he had betrayed innocent blood, he despaired and hung himself because he, who was the basis of his own life, had failed and he did not have a spiritual life by which he could turn to God for forgiveness.  Peter, weeping bitterly, was open to having a merciful God that enabled him to find his way back to that same God.

The Jewish authorities first needed to convict him by their own law.  Jesus, saying, “From now on you will see ‘the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power’ and ‘coming on the clouds of heaven,’” offers them ample evidence of his claim to divinity and so they convict him of blasphemy.  However, at the same time they reject ample evidence of his claim to divinity in the multitude of miracles he worked and for which they tried to convict him by working some of those miracles on a Sabbath.

The Jewish authorities handed Jesus over to Pilate the governor, appointed by Rome to rule over the Jewish people of Jerusalem because the Romans had taken away from the Jewish authorities the power to execute anyone.  Pilate, knowing that his authority from Rome rested on his ability to keep the peace, “seeing that a riot was breaking out,” handed him over to be crucified by the Roman soldiers.  The soldiers tortured and belittled Jesus, taking great sadistic pleasure seeing him suffer at their hands.  Likewise, everyone who came by Jesus on the cross reviled and mocked him, acting as though he were helpless; when in reality he was willing offering himself up as a sacrifice.

Philippians 2:6-11.  The footnotes from The New American Bible, With Revised New Testament(1987), p1340, states: “Perhaps an early Christian hymn quoted here by Paul.  The short rhythmic lines fall into two parts, vv6-8 where the subject of every verb is Christ, and vv9-11 where the subject is God.  The general pattern is thus of Christ’s humiliation and then exaltation.” The footnote on v6 states: “Either a reference to Christ’s preexistence and those aspects of divinity that he was willing to give up in order to serve in human form, or to what the man Jesus refused to grasp at to attain divinity.”  The rest of the notes are worth consulting, especially that of v10 (”every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth”): “a reference to the three levels  in the universe, according to ancient thought, heaven, earth, under the earth.”

5th Sunday of Lent – March 29, 2020

5LA20.    Ezekiel 37:12-14.  The Hebrew people had been taken away into captivity by the Babylonians but now they are released.  Now through Ezekiel the Lord God speaks who raises up his people from the world of their captivity that was like a grave for them.  God gives them renewed life by returning them to their own land.  The Church gives us this reading as a way to prefigure Jesus’ own death and resurrection that will raise us who were dead because of sin but now have a resurrection to new life because Jesus has redeemed us from our captivity to sin.

John 11:1-45.   When Jesus heard that Lazarus, whom Jesus loved dearly, was ill, “He said, ‘This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’”  He did not go immediately but “remained in the place where he was for two days.”  Then Jesus said, “Let us go back to Judea.”  Then his disciples warned him that the Jewish authorities were ready to kill him if he returned.   Jesus says in his own mystical way that the light of the world was with him, which is to say he knew that he was doing what God the Father wanted of him.  In last week’s gospel Jesus said the illness happened “so that the works of God might be made visible through him.”  Jesus again asserts that here Lazarus’ illness was deliberately allowed to progress to death so that the works of God might be made visible.  Thomas, ever-the-down-to-earth realist, says that, in returning now to Judea, death awaits them there. In Bethany Jesus meets Martha who is clearly disappointed that Jesus did not return to cure her brother but instead let him die.  Despite her disappointment in Jesus, Martha says, “I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” Next Mary came expressing that same disappointment with Jesus, saying, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  Jesus, in his humanity, was deeply troubled and wept that he had to let Martha and Mary suffer such great pain in the death of their brother.  When Jesus came to the cave where Lazarus was entombed, he had the stone taken away.  Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days.”  “Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God.’”  Then Jesus, speaking to God the Father, said, “Because of the crowd here I have said,” “that you always hear me,” “that they may believe that you sent me.”  Then Jesus cried out, “Lazarus, come out,” and Lazarus who was dead for four days, “came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands.”  The Jewish people, who saw “what he had done, began to believe in him.”  The glory of God was plainly visible to all.  Jesus was without a doubt the Messiah, the Christ.  The pain of death became the joy of the resurrection.  In Lazarus’ death and resurrection, Jesus was prophesying his own death and resurrection.  John 11:47-48 reads, “So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, ‘What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs.  If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation,” which is to say the chief priests and the Pharisees wound lose their authority to the Romans or to Jesus.  No thought was given to the fact that (John 9:16b) a sinful man cannot do such signs nor (John 9:31-32) that God only listens to a man who is devout and obedient so that he could open the eyes of a man born blind in last Sunday’s gospel.  The chief priests and the Pharisees were blinded by their desire to keep their authority and all the privileges that went with it. So they plotted to kill Jesus who was far more popular with the people than with the chief priests.

Romans 8:8-11.  “Brothers and Sisters: Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells within.”  We must understand the term ’flesh’.  Genesis 1:26-27 says God created man in his divine image and Genesis 2:7 says, “The Lord God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostril the breath of life.”  John 1:14a reads: “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”  Luke 2:6 says:  “While they were there, the time came for her to have her child,”Jesus, who is God made flesh while still remaining God.  Flesh in itself is not bad because flesh was made by God and God saw that it was good.   What is bad is that we allow ourselves to be ruled by our flesh so that we become slaves of our flesh. Our spirit, which is God’s life within us, ought to rule us instead.  Biology, the science of physical living things, lists us as homo sapiens, that is the human animal.  God sees us, if we choose to belong to God, as his sons or daughters.  Our life is a choice we live daily.  Do we choose to be just an animal of this world, living in the flesh and not in the spirit; OR do we live daily as a son or daughter of God?

5th Sunday of Lent – 2017

L5A.  Ezekiel 37:12-14.  “Thus says the Lord God: O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them.” “O my people!  I will put my spirit in you that you may live.”  Where there is death, natural or spiritual from sin, God gives life.  “I will do it, says the Lord.”  Our God is very much alive, active and present in our lives.

John 11:1-45.  “This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”  Remember when Jesus said of the blind man last Sunday, “it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.”  Jesus gave sight to the blind man and now resurrects Lazarus so to give glory to Jesus and to bring people to believe in him.  “Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what he had done began to believe in him.”

Look how fully human Jesus is in his humanity that he weeps at the death of Lazarus and is so deeply perturbed and troubled throughout the whole scene of his dealing with the death of Lazarus.  How much Jesus loves!  He loves each one of us as he loved Lazarus.  Our God is not a sin tabulating machine, but a loving brother; a diligent, caring Father.

“Jesus told Mary, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ (Messiah), the Son of God.” For Lazarus, Jesus is the resurrection and the life.  Jesus fulfills God’s prophecy in Ezekiel.  Jesus makes it clear that a person can die physically but still will live forever spiritually in heaven if one believes that Jesus is the One who can raise us from the dead because he is Messiah and God.

After Jesus decided to go to Bethany, which is close to Jerusalem, to be there for Mary, Martha and the deceased Lazarus,  “the disciples said to Jesus, “Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you, and you want to go back there?”  Jesus not only wants to resurrect Lazarus to give glory to God and to promote belief in him as God the Savior but also soon afterwards, to offer himself on the cross for our redemption, the reason why he came into this world.  After Jesus says, “’Let us go to him (Lazarus).’  So Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, ‘Let us also go to die with him’”.  Jesus sends a strong message with the death and resurrection of Lazarus as to his own imminent death and resurrection.  The power of God conquers sin and death.  The victory belongs to God and to those who entrust themselves to him.

Romans 8:8-11.  “Brothers and Sisters: Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.  But you are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.  Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”  If someone is ‘in the flesh’, they follow what their flesh tells them to do, i. e. they obey the desires that come to them through the flesh or they belong to the desires of the flesh.  The Spirit of God dwells or lives in those who are baptized or invite the Spirit into their lives.  The Spirit gives us the desire to please God and leads us to reject the desires of the flesh.  He leads us to belong to God and to nothing else.  Those who belong to the Spirit live righteous lives that are in accord with God’s will for us.  The Spirit of God will then raise our dead bodies to eternal life.

4th Sunday of Lent – March 22, 2020

4L20.    1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a.   The Lord was ready to choose his king over Israel.  Samuel looked at Jesse’s first son, Eliab “and thought, ‘Surely, the Lord’s anointed is here before him.’” “But the Lord said to Samuel,” “Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart.”  David, the last of the sons who was left out tending sheep, was brought in before God who “said, ‘There—anoint him, for this is the one!’”  Human sight is infinitely limited because our human vision cannot see the fullness of the truth, of reality.  We can so easily think that what we see is all there is.  That is the lie the devil nourishes within us.  God does not have our human limitations.

John 9:1-41.   The people of Jesus’ times thought that any bodily deformity or defect was the result of our sin or that of generations before us.  When questioned, “Jesus answered, ‘Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.’”  Our physical, mental or emotional difficulties require that we go to God for help rather than depend on ourselves.  What we lack can make us all the richer, impelling us to fill  what is lacking in ourselves by sending us to the one who lacks in nothing that is good, our loving God.  Jesus is the light of the world, since in his light God, the Father is made visible.

When Jesus saw a man born blind, “he spat on the ground and made clay from his saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes.”  The blind man went and washed, and came back able to see.”  Genesis 2:9 reads: “Out of the ground the Lord God made various trees grow that were delightful to look at and good for food.”  The Lord made the ground and it was good.  Out of that same goodness that is the earth, he still makes and does many good things. The blind man washed and was able to see.

The Pharisees refused to see the goodness of God in Jesus.  If they did, they would have had to surrender their authority to God and have lost some of the earthly goods they were obtaining by their making of themselves the supreme authority on earth.  “Then Jesus said, ‘I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.’” The ways of this world that are self-service but not giving service to God are the ways by which we blind ourselves to the ultimate truth that is God.  By whose authority do we claim to assert the things we think and say are true: by God’s or by ours?

Ephesians 5:8-14.  “You were once darkness, but now you are in the light of the Lord.”  Jesus who is the light makes us ambassadors of the light.  He who ascended now commissions us through the Holy Spirit to bring his light to the world. “Live as children of the light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.”  Darkness swallows us up and renders us lost in a material body that cannot see in the truth of eternal life.  If we continue to live in the coffin that is the devil, we will be in eternal darkness.  Jesus is the sunlight of eternal happiness.  Reality is eternal truth; the lie can be gratifying for the moment, since enables us to invent a world that is pleasing to us. It is so easy to be fooled.  What feels so good is all too inviting. We must deal with the truth or reality as it is and not what we wish it to be. It was not easy for Jesus on the cross; and nor for us with our feet planted on the ground of the real world. The Holy Spirit strengths us.  It is not easy because the darkness of this world and the devil can be so deceptively convincing and leave us lost in the darkness forever.  The Holy Spirit brings us the life of Christ.  Only he is the truth and the light.  All else is darkness and deception. Remain with him; his eternal victory is always ours!

3rd Sunday of Lent – March 15, 2020

3L20.   “In those days, in their thirst for water, the people grumbled against Moses.” “The place was called Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled there and tested the Lord, saying, ‘Is the Lord in our midst or not?’” Obviously, the Israelites were experiencing something of a lack of water and so they complained about not having an adequate supply of water.  In effect they were demanding that God miraculously supply the water.  In effect they were testing God to prove that he was with them and truly cared for his People.  It was then and still considered sacrilegious to demand that the Almighty must do what human beings tell him to do. This event was remembered often later to show the hard-heartedness and doubt that the Israelites had at times, despite the fact that the Lord had often show his goodness to his People.

John 4:5-42.   Jesus, tired because of his long journey, stopped to rest at the well that Jacob, long ago had given to his son Joseph.  The water from the well which God had given to Jacob to sustain human life is now superseded in importance by the grace that gives spiritual life that is given by Jesus, who sits at the same well.  John’s gospel often relates two levels of thought at the same time: the first, simply the plot of an ordinary event, such as just Jesus setting at a well; the second, a lesson with a deep spiritual meaning, such as Jesus is now the one who is giving the water or grace of eternal spiritual life which is infinitely more important than the water that sustains physical life.  This sinful woman does not dare draw water in the cool of the morning because the other women that draw water then would mock her for her sinfulness.  So she comes at noon in the high heat of the day to avoid them.  Her thirst for ‘the living water’ is even greater because of her sinfulness.  Jesus clearly reveals himself to be the Messiah, the Christ.  Jesus speaks on that deeper level of meaning, when his disciples try to get him to eat physical, saying, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work.”  Next he speaks of the one who sows the seed of faith, the sower and secondly, the reaper, who gathers the crops for eternal life, i.e. the people who have grown spiritually, who are ready to receive the rewards of eternal life.  Jesus then sows the seed of eternal life by preaching to the Samaritans “who began to believe in him because of his word.”

Romans 5:1-2, 5-8.  Jesus says, “Through our Lord Jesus Christ” “we have gained access by faith” to the grace of “peace with God” that gives us “hope in the glory of God.”  “And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” “God proves his love for us in that while we still sinners Christ died for us.”  The water that gives us grace, a share in his divine life, is the love that God has for us.  Jesus dwells in us giving us his love, his life to us so that daily we grow in him.

2nd Sunday of Lent – March 8, 2020

2LA20.   Genesis 12:1-4a.   To Abram God says, “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you.”  In last week’s reading Adam and Eve had the potential of being the parents of a paradise world but they sinned and brought the great struggle against sin to all of us to be able to regain the paradise of heaven.    From Abram God promised a great nation who will be enabled to lead the world out of sin.  And in later times all peoples would find a great blessing in the Hebrew peoples that God established through Abram.

Matthew 17:1-9.  On top of the high mountain close to God, Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James, and John.  Moses representing the Law and Elijah, the prophets, were there conversing with Jesus.  Peter wished to give high honors to them. Then God the Father spoke from a bright cloud, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”  The word ‘listen’ here means, ‘Hear what he has to say, then go and do it.’   The authority of God himself spoke through the cloud.  God was to form a new people from Jesus who is still leading his followers, called Christians, though this world to heaven.  The great power of this mighty event left the apostles prostrate and fearful.  Jesus, who is the essence of peace, said, “Rise, and do not be afraid.”  This vision was probably given to these three apostles to prepare them for the resurrection to come.

Romans 5:1-2, 5-8.   “God saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus.”  We have been given salvation which  we struggle to hold on to every day in Christ because the forces of this world seek to tear it out of our hands.   Jesus calls us to a life that is not of this world.  A life that is without death, eternally filled with the brilliance that is his presence.

2nd Sunday of Lent – 2017

2A17                         Is. 49:3, 5-6.  Israel was first chosen to be God’s people and they alone, as the text says, “You are my servant, Israel, through whom I show my glory.”  However, through Isaiah, God later expands the call to other peoples, telling Isaiah, “I will make you a light to the nations that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth” and not just to the tribes of Jacob.

John 1:29-34.  John presents Jesus as the sacrificial offering who will redeem us from our sins, when he says, “Behold, the lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.”   John gives testimony that Jesus is the Son of God.   Also he contrasts his baptism as being merely of water but Jesus’ baptism as being infinitely superior because he baptizes with the Holy Spirit.

1 Cor. 1:1-3.  Paul addresses “the church of God that is in Corinth, to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy, with all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.”  This is Paul’s way of saying that not just Jews but all people, who recognize Jesus as their Lord, are God’s people.  We who belong to Jesus are made holy in him.  The blessing at the end says that we as God’s people can bring God’s blessing to one another.