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Showing posts from April, 2017

The Road to Emmaus

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This painting shows a depiction of the Disciples walking with Jeus on the Road to Emmaus.  I find it interesting the symbols in the painting...subtle reminders of  The Cross, the hand resting on the invisible shoulder of Jesus, and more.  They stand to remind us that God is with us, even when we do not recognize His Presence.  We'll talk about that next Sunday at worship.

THE DEATH OF JESUS

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Antonio Ciseri's painting of Jesus in the tomb with his followers and his mother. At about 3:00 PM, Jesus let our a loud cry and died. Joseph of Aramithea permits the body to be interred in a prepared tomb in his garden. For his goodness, Joseph will be hounded out of Jerusalem and he will move to England.

GOOD FRIDAY

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GOOD FRIDAY. Early in the morning, Jesus is condemned to death by crucifixion. His disciple who betrayed him, Judas, hangs himself. At approximately 9:00 AM, Jesus is condemned. Jesus is brought to Pilate, who tries to avoid his death by using a custom to have one of two prisoners freed and the other punished. Pilate asks the people to choose between Jesus and a criminal who has committed awful crimes: Barabbas. The people of Jerusalem choose to free Barabbas and crucify Jesus. Pilate relents to the custom, although he states that he "finds no fault" in Jesus. Jesus, who has been whipped and is wearing a crown of thorns, is paraded through the streets carrying his cross. The route through which he is taken (The Via Dolorosa) leads to Golgotha, the "place of the skull," where hi is crucified at about noon. By 3:00 PM, Jesus is dead. By 6:00 PM, Jesus body is interred in a tomb in the garden of Joseph of Aramithea, who later flees Jerusalem to England to escape pers…

MAUNDY THURSDAY

This is the day when tragedy strikes.

Jesus goes into Jerusalem to eat The Passover Meal with his disciples.  They are directed by Jesus to an upper room where they prepare the meal.

When the hour is come, Jesus ends the meal with the breaking of bread and sharing of wine, which prefaces the Christian Church's practice of The Eucharist, or Holy Communion.  All the disciple share, but Judas, who Jesus sends away after he takes the bread.  The Gospel of John tells us that, "When Judas had taken the morsel of bread, he went out, and it was night."

So, The Scriptures tell us that the meal lasted until dark.  "And when they had sung an hymn, they went out."  Judas has already gone, and we know it is night: both physically and spiritually; it was night.

While praying in The Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus is arrested after being betrayed by Judas.  He is then taken before the Sanhedrin where he is abused and questioned all night.  They are trying to prove he is blasphemo…

WEDNESDAY OF HOLY WEEK

Wednesday of Holy week: the Bible is silent.

I am reminded of the marvelous novel SILENCE, by Shusaku Endo: a story from the 1600's in which a Catholic Priest, Fr. Rodriguez, is imprisoned in Medieveal Japan.  His crime: claiming Christ.  The thing which will allow his release: to deny Christ by trampling on an icon of Jesus; which, in the end, he does after years of crying out to Jesus to speak to him and tell him what to do, but Jesus is silent.  Only after he curses Jesus, does Jesus speak to him and let him know that Jesus' mission is to bear our betrayals and sins.  The silence of Jesus finally leads him to understanding and to faith.

Mother Teresa's confessional letters to her confessor are collected in a little book called Come Be My Light.  Pope John Paul II allowed these letters to be published so people would know how much Mother suffered from the Silence of God.

St. John of The Cross titled these dark moments when God is silent: when God seems remote, La noche o…

TUESDAY OF HOLY WEEK

On Tuesday of Holy Week, Jesus travelled from Bethany to Jerusalem where he has more confrontations with the priests.

Following that, he and his disciples go the The Mount of Olives, where Jesus talks with the crowd and teaches them.  On the way there, he is hungry and stops at a fig tree to get some figs.  The tree is barren, and he curses it, and it withers.  He compares the fig tree to people who are barren of spiritual fruits in their lives.  The example of the fig tree reminds us that we are called to bear the fruit of our spiritual life in terms of how we influence the world about us.  We are called to bear fruit.

While Jesus is teaching, darkness is encroaching.  Judas leaves the disciples and goes to the priests and Sanhedrin and negotiates to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.

Followin his teaching at The Mount of Olives, Jesus returns to Bethany where he will stay all night, and all Wednesday, so far as we know.

MONDAY OF HOLY WEEK

Well, it's five twenty on the Monday of Holy Week.  By this time on that day, Jesus had already entered Jerusalem on a donkey, with palm branches being waved and people shouting "Hosanna."  At the end of the parade, he was confronted by the Priests and Pharisees and Saducees who questioned his authority.  He told them he would reveal the source of his authority if they would answer one question: did John's authority come from man or God.  Knowing that, if they said "man," John's disciples who followed Jesus would probably kill them, and that if they said "God" it would reveal their complicity in having John killed as blasphemy and they would be killed; they chose silence.  Jesus then refused to answer their question.

Shortly after that, he went into the temple and dealt with the money changers rather harshly.  This was a blow to the temple rulers, for it was a prime source of their lavish incomes and lifestyles.  They firm up their intention t…

Saturday Night before Palm/Passion Sunday

Saturday night before Palm/Passion Sunday leaves me in a quandary: do I try and preach a typical sermon on Palm Sunday, or do something different.  I've probably read dozens of sermons on Palm Sunday this week and the week before...but none of them spoke to me...

By "speaking to me" I mean that none of them did anything special for me...none of them touched me in the way I wanted them to.  There were all sorts of approaches to the day and week, but none of them made me want to stand up and say "Eureka"  "I have found it."

So, I've decided to approach the week from two dimensions: the historical and the theological.  I'll be talking about the events and how they have shaped the teachings and practices of The Church over the last two thousand years.

I hope you'll join us for this Sunday

We may just find ourselves on a cobblestone street in an ancient city shouting "Hosanna."