Sunday, March 16, 2014

Second Sunday of Lent 2014 Homily

Genesis 12: 1-4a
Timothy 1: 8b-10
Matthew 17: 1-9

The term “multitasking,” has been a part of the recent popular lexicon in our society.  Many believe that with the improvement in computer technologies, we can do several tasks at the same time.  Now I know someone who does a lot of different things on their laptop; however, when I address that person with a question or statement, there is a 15 to 20 second delay before I get a response.  I think that many of us are finding that, yes, we can do a lot more, but our concentration is being fractured.  And we are not as present to others as we should be.  And this is not exactly a new phenomenon; human beings have always had to deal with having too many things on our mind.  We sometimes are always thinking about other things in the future, rather than being present in the moment.

Let us look at today’s Gospel.  We heard how Jesus took, Peter, James, and John, his first disciples, up a high mountain; and there revealed himself to them as the Messiah, the Son of God.  The imagery Matthew the evangelist uses in describing what happened probably does not do justice to awesomeness of the event.  And how does Peter respond to the glory he is witnessing?  He is thinking about camping!  “Lord, let me set up some tents for you and your friends, sit down, put up your feet, and stay awhile!”  Peter was not being present to the moment, was not being mindful of what was happening; he was not being fully aware of the glory that was before him.  It took the Father delivering a verbal head slap to make them pay attention:  “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him!”

We all can sometimes let the normal daily cares, anxieties, worries of life get in the way of our being aware of God’s presence in our world, within ourselves.  Even here, as we gather together for this most perfect moment of prayer; we can let ourselves get distracted, thinking about recent tweets, planning dinners, deciding which sports we are going to watch, instead of focusing on what is happening here, right now  Because at this altar will occur an event just as important as what happened on that mountain.  Soon, ordinary bread and wine will be transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ!  How awesome is that? And soon we will receive Him in Holy Communion!  Are we aware of that?  Are we allowing ourselves to experience the power of what is happening here and now?

Buddhists describe us humans as having what they call “monkey minds,” skittering from one thought to another; never being still, never being present to the moment.  It takes discipline, it takes practice to quiet our hearts and minds, and let God speak to us, to experience His Presence.  On our own, it is difficult to succeed in this, which is why the Father gives us the grace through Christ Jesus; so that we will be open to receive His love and peace.  Like Abram, who was open to the Lord’s word, and was willing to set out on a journey into unknown lands; let us be receptive the God’s love and guidance, and set off again on our own journeys to the Father’s house, to that promised land which is the Kingdom of God.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Controversy Over World Trade Center Cross - A Franciscan Connection

On NBC’s Today’s show website,, was a story concerning a group called American Atheists, and their attempts to prevent the “World Trade Center cross” from being displayed in the “9/11” museum.  The WTC cross is a section of crossbeams, shaped like the Christian cross, which was discovered in the rubble of World Trade Center.  Many of the workers on the site, first responders, and visitors to site said they received comfort from seeing the WTC cross on the site.  The American Atheists filed suit, claiming that although the “9/11” museum is a private organization; is being located on land being leased from the government.  The group believes displaying the cross will violate the constitutional separation of Church and State.  A federal judge has ruled against their suit, but the group is appealing.

There is a Franciscan connection to this story.  Father Brian Jordan, OFM, a Franciscan Friar of Holy Name Province, was one of the many members of the clergy helping those working on the WTC site.  It was Father Jordan who blessed the WTC cross before it was moved to the 9/11 museum.  There is a story of that event on the Holy Name Province website.