Seeing is Believing: Sunday of St. Thomas

John 20:19-31; 1 John 1:1-7 Genesis 2; Exodus 3 The Lord is risen! Truly, he is risen! This Sunday we hear about the response of that little group in the upper room: “When they saw the risen Lord, they were glad.” And we also hear the words of the elder John, who draws us, in the twenty-first century, into that gladness—“we are writing this that our joy may be complete.” But then…

Palm Sunday: Being a Donkey

Philippian 4:4-9; John 12:1-18 Numbers 22; Zechariah 9:9 When fishes flew and forests walked And figs grew upon thorn, Some moment when the moon was blood Then surely I was born; With monstrous head and sickening cry And ears like errant wings, The devil’s walking parody Of all four-footed things. The tattered outlaw of the earth, Of ancient crooked will; Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb, I keep my secret still.…

Fourth Sunday of Lent and St. John Climacus: Following the Foremost Forerunner

Readings: Hebrews 6:13-20; Mark 9:17-31 Genesis 14:14-20; Genesis 22:16-18; Isaiah 52: 13-53:6 Usually, when we hear the word “forerunner,” we think of John the Baptizer, who prepared for the coming of the Lord.  But our epistle reading for this fourth Sunday of Lent tells us that we have an even greater Forerunner—Jesus himself, the one who has run the perfect race, entered into Hades, vanquished death, assumed the resurrection life, and gone…

Without Precedent! (Second Sunday of Lent)

Hebrews 1:10-2:3; Mark 2:1-12; Psalm 101 (102 MT), Daniel 7. More than twenty years ago, when I was fairly new to teaching, I had one year in which I cobbled together four lectureships at different institutions.  Each of them had a different character—one was secular, one was evangelical, one was a liberal arts college run mostly by Anglicans, and one was Catholic. In the latter, I met, for the first time, some…

Forgiveness and Fasting: Cheesefare and Forgiveness Vespers

Romans 13:11-14:4; Matthew 6:14-21 Isaiah 58:1-11; Sirach 28:1-7 “Give me tears, O God, as once Thou gavest them to the woman that had sinned, and count me worthy to wash Thy feet that have delivered me from the way of error. As sweet-smelling ointment let me offer Thee a pure life, created in me by repentance; and may I also hear those words for which I long: “Thy faith hath saved thee,…

“Hastening to that Fatherly Refuge:” The Sunday of the Prodigal Son

How is it possible that the good creation which God entrusted to us has become for many a means of enslavement? How is it possible that the creation, which God called “good,” and which he meant as a lovely nexus of signposts towards him, we have turned into ends in themselves, idols that can never satisfy? But it has happened! Here we are, earth-beings made after the image of God, and instead…

Going to the Dogs? The Seventeenth Sunday of Matthew

Matthew 15:21-28; 2 Cor. 6:16-7:1; Dan. 7 Today’s gospel reading, at first blush, is a scandal. How is it possible that Jesus could even seem to have refused anyone who came to him for help? Yet, working from the rules that I learned in grad school of contemporary Biblical scholarship, this passage, above all others, has a claim to be authentic even among skeptics. Who in the early Church would fabricate such…