Second Sunday after Pentecost: Discipleship and Doom

Readings: Romans 2:10-16; Matthew 4:18-23; Isa 53:2-5 This weekend, two weeks beyond Pentecost, we get into the brass tacks of our faith, and commence our reading of Matthew. The particular emphasis of the gospel of Matthew is one that has been especially difficult for western Protestants. It is in this gospel that we hear of Jesus’ commendation of the ethics and standards of the Torah; it is here that Jesus goes to…

Holy Pentecost: Water, Light and Living Words

Acts 2:1-11; John 7:37-52; 8:12; Genesis 11:1-10; Joel 2:28-32; Ezek. 36:24-28. Seeing! Feeling and Tasting! Hearing! Pentecost is a multi-sensory feast, just as our liturgy engages all the senses. Its narrative in Acts 2 has connections with multiple passages in both the Old and New Testaments: some of these are made obvious, and others are merely implied. Together with the story of the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and…

At Odds With the Power-That-Be! The Sunday of the Blind Man

John 9:1-38; Acts 16:16-35; Psalm 2; Daniel 7 As we move towards Ascension Day, that high point of the great story when our Lord reveals his might and glory, takes our humanity up on high, and presents it to the Father, we hear, on this Sunday of the blind man, two stories of conflict between Jesus (and his followers) and the world. We have been set up for these stories by our…

The Sunday of the Paralytic

John 5:1-15; Acts 9:32-42; Micah 4:1-7 St. John Chrysostom, in his 37th Homily on the Gospel of John, reminds us of how the Scriptures speak to us: “GREAT is the profit of the divine Scriptures, and all-sufficient is the aid which comes from them. And Paul declared this when he said, “Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written aforetime for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come, that…

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…