Lent, 2nd Sunday. Children suffer when they are separated from their parents by gay marriage or anonymous donation. We all have a yearning to both know our parents and be loved by them. God understands this yearning because He put it there. God knows that Jesus needs to hear his Father say, “I love you.” He said it once at Jesus’ baptism and now again at the Transfiguration. Jesus is clothed in his white Baptismal garment and radiating His true identity: “You are my beloved Son.” Jesus has to hold on to this truth as he walks the road to the cross, trusting beyond hope that His Father still loves Him.

Why would God sacrifice His Beloved Son for us? God sacrifices His Son so Abraham doesn’t have to. He gives Jesus for Isaac and for all of us. God provides the Lamb, and it’s the Lamb of God.

Baptism makes us God’s beloved Sons and Daughters. We receive the same garment and we are anointed with the same oil. God loves each Son like an only Son. Just like Jesus going to the cross, so it can be hard for us to believe in God’s love in the midst of suffering. “Father,” we need to say, “help me believe in your love for me. Help me live your love for me.” This is why we gather every Sunday morning to renew the truth of our Sonship – believe more fully in our Heavenly Father, let the truth of our Sonship penetrate our hearts. Then we are sent out as the Beloved Sons and Daughters to bring the good news to all the rest of God’s children. We tell them We know who you truly are: Beloved Children on the Road to Resurrection.

(1 Mar 2015)

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In a recent episode of the podcast BackStory,  host Ed Ayers presents his co-hosts with a puzzle. He gives them three different visions of the future and asks: What do they all have in common?

  1. Two guys, Mike Donovan and Gregory Powell, have been tasked with investigating an abandoned mining operation on Mercury. The conditions are so harsh that the men cannot even go outside. So they turn to the only one amongst them that can handle the intense heat of the sun: a robot called Speedy.
  2. There’s a helicopter pilot named Adam Gibson. He lives in a  place where animal cloning is practiced widely. Human cloning is still illegal but there’s a thriving black market in human clones anyway. Gibson gets embroiled in the shady world of human cloning and discovers that he himself has been cloned and the second Gibson has assumed his identity.
  3. A teenager named Marty walks into the middle of town and is surprised to find enormous advertisements being projected on the sides of buildings. “Jaws 19″ is on the movie marquee and cars whizz by through the air. Marty is absolutely floored by all this because up to this point he has lived in a  very different world.

Any guesses?

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Lent, 1st Sunday. In the time of Noah God washed the world clean of sin. Only Noah was in a relationship with God. He was willing to listen and so God was able to prepare and save him. Baptism washes the Christian clean and gives each one a new name and a new identity: the white garment of holiness, purity, and glory. God gives His life to us as a free gift. We spoil our garments when we grasp and take instead of receiving. Lent is a time to become fresh again. Sonia Singh rescues abandoned and abused dolls. She gives them a new face and a fresh garment. They are loved, and they know it. You are loved. Do you know it?

(22 Feb 2015)

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“If I Were the Devil” by Paul Harvey

If I were the prince of darkness, I would want to engulf the whole world in darkness.

I’d have a third of its real estate and four-fifths of its population, but I would not be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree — thee.

So, I would set about however necessary to take over the United States.

I’d subvert the churches first, and I would begin with a campaign of whispers.

With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: “Do as you please.”

To the young, I would whisper that the Bible is a myth. I would convince the children that man created God instead of the other way around. I’d confide that what’s bad is good and what’s good is square.

And the old, I would teach to pray after me, “Our Father, which are in Washington …”

Then, I’d get organized, I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting.

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Ash Wednesday. The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years because they doubted God’s love for them. Jesus is baptized and then wanders in the desert for 40 days while the Devil tries to make him doubt his Father: IF you are the Son of God… God won’t provide for you. God won’t protect you. God won’t be enough for you. Jesus rejects Satan’s lies and stands firm in the truth that He is the Beloved Son.

God is your Father and He will provide for you, He will protect you, and He is enough for you. Lent is an opportunity for us to accept God’s truth and reject the Devil’s lies. Lent is for growing in Love. We grow in love first by spending quality time with the God who loves us, talking and listening to Him say “I love you.” Once we have received God’s love, we share it: Almsgiving. Then we give up whatever we cling to because we doubt our Father. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.

(18 Feb 2015)

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Life in the modern world seems safe and reliable. The lights turn on when I flip a switch, my house stays warm, the internet works, and my garage door opens when I push the button. It works so often that we don’t really think about it. What would you do if your garage door didn’t open, your lights wouldn’t turn on, your furnace failed, or your internet stopped working? If you’re like most Americans, you probably don’t have a backup plan.

This world lulls us into a false sense of security. Machines will fail; it’s a question of when, not if. Let’s imagine for a moment that the next time you go to turn on your computer, it’s completely blank. No sounds, no lights, nothing. Dead. Chances are your computer stores data that is very valuable to you — family pictures, records, phone numbers and contact information, your college notes (OK, maybe you can afford to lose that last one). But data isn’t guaranteed. Do you have a backup plan?

If your computer died tonight,
would your data be saved?

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Ordinary Time, 6th Sunday. Leprosy was contagious, disfiguring, incurable, and caused a person to be separated from the community. In other words, leprosy is like sin. The Lord shares the effects of our sin and sacrifices himself to make us clean again. You love Jesus, but are you in love with Jesus? This Lent, let’s try to grow in love. Here’s how to do it:

First: Quality time with God for 10-25 minutes every day (prayer).
Second: Reach out in love to others (almsgiving).
Third: Give up something that’s getting in the way of love (fasting).

Let’s make this Lent a ‘love-ly’ Lent.

(15 Feb 2015)

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“The truth is that only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light. For Adam, the first man, was a figure of Him Who was to come, namely Christ the Lord. Christ, the final Adam, by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear. It is not surprising, then, that in Him all the aforementioned truths find their root and attain their crown.

He Who is “the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15), is Himself the perfect man. To the sons of Adam He restores the divine likeness which had been disfigured from the first sin onward. Since human nature as He assumed it was not annulled, by that very fact it has been raised up to a divine dignity in our respect too. For by His incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every man. He worked with human hands, He thought with a human mind, acted by human choice and loved with a human heart. Born of the Virgin Mary, He has truly been made one of us, like us in all things except sin.

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