Showing posts from October, 2017

Give to God the Image of God

Matt 22:15-22
An old proverb states, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. This is the kind of logic used against Jesus by the Pharisees in our Gospel reading today. The Pharisees are no friends of the Herodians, but since Jesus is a common enemy to both, they found a way to work together. So representatives of both groups come to Jesus with a trick question.

The Herodians were a faction at the time that was loyal to King Herod and they wanted to play nice with Rome. King Herod embarked on numerous impressive building projects, which included building cities for the pagan population living in the area. Herod even erected a golden eagle at the entrance of the temple, which was a symbol of Rome’s dominion. He also spent lavishly on gifts for Roman officials. The Herodians embraced this kind of politicking. They saw it as practical, and as the way to live with Rome.

King Herod did not impress the rest of the Jewish population. Erecting pagan buildings in the Holy Land was not making him an…

The uncomfortable wedding feast

Matthew 22:1-14
I saw a movie once called “Dogma” (1999). I’m not necessarily recommending the movie, but one part of the movie that was memorable what when the Catholic church unveiled their “buddy Jesus” statue. It is a comedy, but sometimes what we laugh at tells us something about ourselves.

The comedian George Carlin plays a cardinal and unveils the “Buddy Jesus” statue saying, “Now we all know how the majority and the media in this country view the Catholic church. They think of us as a passé, archaic institution. People find the Bible obtuse… even hokey. Now, in an effort to disprove all that, the church has appointed this year as a time of renewal… both of faith and of style. For example, the crucifix. While it has been a time honored symbol of our faith, Holy Mother Church has decided to retire this highly recognizable, yet wholly depressing image of our Lord crucified. Christ didn’t come to Earth to give us the willies… He came to help us out. He was a booster. And it is with…

Giving thanks in a broken world

Deut 8:7-18 Ps 65 2 Cor 9:6-15 Luke 17:11-19
The other day my family was at Kraay Family Farms near Lacombe. It is a fun place. We went through the corn maze, took a look at the animals, and we ran through the obstacle course. Then my boys lined up for a chance to fire a small pumpkin out of a cannon at an old school bus. As I watched a pumpkin shatter off the side of the bus a thought passed through my mind. … How can we have so much while people in the Sudan are starving? How can we have so much food that we fire it out of cannons, while other have nothing?

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. How can we celebrate thanksgiving when people in Mexico have been dealing with the aftermath of a massive earthquake, and those around the Gulf and in the Caribbean have been dealing with hurricanes? … My parents just came back from Las Vegas, which was a very different experience as a place people go to for fun. A friend of mine recently told me that in the last 477 days there have been 521 …

The Humility of Christ- Phil 2

Phil 2:1-13
In Paul’s letter to the Philippians today we are being taught something that is central to the Christian life. We are being taught about being shaped into Christ-like people. In the Western tradition this is called “sanctification”. In the Eastern tradition this is called “Theosis”. It is not becoming some abstract kind of “holy”. It is becoming like Christ. Paul says, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus”. We are to have minds that are Christ-like.

We are always in the process of having our souls shaped, but we do have some choices regarding what forces shape us. A stone is always in the process of being shaped, but it is shaped differently if we choose to leave the stone in a dry windy desert, or place it under a waterfall, or throw it into a volcano. Likewise, we can choose to sit in front of the TV and watch reality tv shows and have that force shape our soul. Or, we can choose to read our Bibles, or serve someone in need and have that shap…