John’s version of the cleansing of the temple has it take place in the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, not as part of the events of Holy Week. In John’s version, Jesus’ actions driving out the cattle and overturning the money changing tables doesn’t cause an angry response, but instead it raises questions. By what sign do you do this? The people recognized that Jesus was acting in the traditional way of a prophet. But […]
In Mark’s Gospel this week we hear Jesus remonstrate Peter when Peter misunderstands what true life is about. Peter imagines that the Messiah’s appearance will usher in a new world that is a better version of the present one, with the true King taking rule from the powerful and the rich. But Jesus has come to recreate the world and transform all relationships. It is in caring for others that we find the best version […]
The Gospel lesson for the First Sunday in Lent is traditionally the story of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. This year the lesson is taken from Mark’s’ Gospel and has his version of the story. As you might expect, Mark’s version makes its points in a sharp staccato rhythm. Each word means something and evokes an image of something extraordinary taking place. In particular this version presents Jesus as the new Adam, remaking our story […]
In this past year, it seems we’ve had the longest Lent ever. And now we stand ready to start Lent again before it feels like the previous one is over. But this Lent is different. It brings with it a promise that we can walk with Jesus and participate in hastening the redemption of our community. In Rhode Island the government is choosing a different strategy to vaccinate the population. Other states are working to […]
When we have an encounter with God, what do we do next? This week’s Gospel reading illustrates two different responses, that of Simon Peter’s mother in law and that of the people of the community and reminds us that Jesus’ purpose is often different from our desires. Learning to cooperate with God’s will is the most important work of discipleship.
In this weeks’ Gospel reading, Jesus is teaching the people when he is interrupted by a person with a spirit opposed to God; an unclean spirit. Jesus casts out the spirit, the demon, simply by ordering it to leave. He doesn’t invoke the angels, he doesn’t use the name of another person, he simply speaks and the spirit obeys him. How can we understand this in a modern era? Is there something here for us […]
This week we hear the second half of the story of Jonah – when he hears God’s call to go to Ninevah and call the people there to repentance. Jonah resisted God at first because the Ninevites were his enemies and Jonah wanted them to perish, not to repent and be saved. It’s an extraordinary story. And it reminds us that God expects us to stay in relationship with others, even our enemies, so that […]
We hear the story of the call of Samuel again and again in church. But we rarely discuss the judgment on Eli and his family that is explicit in that call. This story from scripture is one of many stories where God lifts up someone to role, and when that person turns aside from God’s path, God turns aside from that person and lifts up another to take their place. It’s a reminder for all […]
This week, the first week of the Season of Epiphany, we celebrate the Feast of Our Lord’s Baptism and hear how, when Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordon, he was fully revealed as God’s beloved Son. It is not just the full revelation of his identity to the world, but it is the revelation of God as it’s one of the only accounts in which all three persons of the Trinity are present […]
Each story of Christmas is filled with meaning and carries messages that speak to from across the centuries. This year, on this second Sunday in Christmas Season, we hear the story of the Flight into Egypt – how Joseph fled Herod’s wrath that a rival had been born. And this year we can reflect on the contrast between the earthly ruler and the heaven sent king.