Sixth Sunday of Easter

Greek has a way of saying things that we lack in English. The grammar in today’s gospel bears special attention because it tells us that God’s love is always a concrete act, something real and tangible. There is nothing abstract about it. God loves Jesus. Jesus loves the Father. The Father sends the Son to us and Jesus comes to us in love. Jesus tells us to love one another. In today’s gospel St John is not speculating about God’s love but telling us what actually happened. Jesus came to us because of love and then lived that love in concrete ways. Our challenge is to make our loving action concrete in the world, to make it something real in real deeds. Friends of Jesus first, touched by his expansive love, we have the power to befriend the cosmos. In just such ways practical love reveals transformed hearts, spacious hearts as open as the heart of Jesus, hearts with the creative imagination for deeds that are concrete and real. Can we make that love real where we are? Resurrection love is real. It flows into action. Are we up to the challenge?


Fifth Sunday of Easter

Remain in me, as I remain in you. These words represent the deep heart’s core of Christian spirituality. The challenge is to make room in our lives for the divine indwelling. To make room for the real presence of Christ in the world. The vine is Christ. He is our root. The Father is the vinedresser. We, as disciples, are the branches: and we are meant to allow the Christ-life in us, the resurrection life, the life of the Spirit, to produce good fruit. And who are the branches that are cut away? Those who knowingly refuse to bear fruit in the world. Those who knowingly betray the Trinity. Do you see the implications for Eucharist? Do you see the implications for lives characterised by justice and loving-kindness?


Fourth Sunday of Easter

Today we reflect on part of the story of Nicodemus who came to Jesus one night. In the part of the story we have here Jesus is talking to Nicodemus who hadn’t really understood what Jesus was trying to teach him. Unlike the woman at the well in the next chapter, Nicodemus didn’t get the message. He didn’t get what Jesus was saying about spiritual rebirth and its necessity for entering God’s Kingdom. But this rebirth is the fruit of Jesus being lifted up. Here we are confronted by the meaning of Jesus’ Cross and Glory! Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to save it: there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). He is the light! Are we ready to come to the light, so that everything we do may be clearly seen as done in God? Are we ready to walk in the light?


Third Sunday of Easter

Jesus’s passion and resurrection transformed the table of Jesus the prophet into that of Jesus Christ the Lord and made it the springboard for the church’s universal mission.  If we are to be disciples who take seriously Jesus’s Easter greeting “Peace be with you!” and who offer this peace to one another around the eucharistic table, we need to create a space in our lives and our hearts where such peace with God and with our sisters and brothers can truly be at home.


Second Sunday of Easter

The disciples were hidden away in a room with the doors locked. They were afraid. In so many ways, today, we are exactly like them. We too face the challenge of living resurrection life in a world opposed to God, a world full of doubt and unbelief. Some of us probably think that an appearance of Jesus would make all the difference. But today’s gospel paints a different picture. It took more than a post-resurrection appearance for Thomas to be convinced. Faith blossomed for Thomas when Jesus spoke to him personally: seeing and even touching, it seems, is no guarantee of faith! We too are challenged to make the leap of faith. What is needed is a personal encounter with the Living Christ, the Resurrection Lord. Faith comes from hearing the word of the Risen One and by extension from hearing gospel teaching proclaimed with integrity in the community of faith. May each of us hear the Risen One addressing us personally today, and may each of us embrace the Living Word of God with faithful love and true attention! Let faith blossom in the world! Embrace the power of resurrection!


Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

Two different early traditions are at work in John’s account. The first is the tradition that Mary Magdalen, drawn there by her grief and her love, discovered the empty tomb. She reports this to Peter and the other disciple, the only men to show up at the empty tomb. Magdalen challenges all of us to see Christ and all reality with the eyes of the heart, with the eyes of love. She invites us to come to an ever-deepening faith in the transforming power of love. The second tradition concerns Peter’s visit to the tomb to which John adds the race between with the other disciple, noting the latter’s act of faith. At that point in time they still did not understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. But the story is not finished. We need Ascension and Pentecost if we are to fully understand.

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

The unnamed woman’s anointing of Jesus might seem a little thing, but it is the most any of us can do: she recognizes Jesus, and gives all she has for him, not understanding completely that her actions helped to prepare the King, first for his death and then for his triumph, but knowing somehow that he is the Messiah.  We, too, are called to recognize Jesus the Messiah in faith, not simply as a conquering hero but as a servant willing to give himself up to death for us.



Fifth Sunday of Lent

Jesus tells the parable of a grain of wheat.  When it is dropped into the earth, the seed “dies”.  But in the warmth and moisture of the earth, new life breaks out.  If we wish to follow Jesus, we must empty ourselves of self-centeredness, of the instinct for self-preservation at the expense of our sisters and brothers.  From seeds buried in the warm love and service of others, and watered by fidelity to our baptismal commitment, the Christian community grows into the mystery of the death and resurrection of Jesus.


Fourth Sunday of Lent

By visiting Jesus at night, Nicodemus avoids the daylight that might reveal him as associating with a man who is unpopular with the religious institution.  To be unafraid or unashamed of professing our friendship with Jesus by the way we live always brings hard demands.  We often prefer the false safety of darkness to the light of Christ that exposes, for example, our selfish, racist, sexist, or violent selves.  Lent is designed to drag us out of darkness into the Easter light of Christ through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.


Third Sunday of Lent

The contemporary church cannot consider itself beyond the reach of Jesus’ whip or overturning hands.  When church leaders connive with unjust civil leaders, when fundraising takes precedence over faith raising, when we refuse to tolerate alternatives to religious practices and institutions, then ecclesial “cleansing” is needed by prophets driven by the Spirit of Jesus.  For us who are living stones in the Temple of Christ’s Body, Lent is also a time for cleansing the deep personal sanctuary of our hearts, for driving out of our lives whatever clutters our discipleship.