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Musings from the High Desert
10 minutes | Dec 28, 2020
Here's what may be a different way to look at the infancy narrative in Matthew (with and eye to Luke and John into the bargain), and a different way to conceive of "messianic prophecy.
7 minutes | Dec 1, 2020
Raised on the Sabbath
Luke 13:10-17 is a simple passage with two major lessons for us. First, the leader of the synagogue was wrong: healing and compassion are the hallmark of God, and they should not be withheld even on the Sabbath. Secondly, the woman who had been infirm for 18 years was, in a sense, raised from the death of her condition to new life. Listen in.
9 minutes | Nov 29, 2020
The Holy Spirit
In this tightly wrapped package from St. Paul we hear about the work of the Holy Trinity in the church, in our lives, and in the world. In a few short sentences, St. Paul gives us a basic understanding that we can learn and see at work in our own lives.
9 minutes | Nov 23, 2020
The Rich Fool
The Rich Fool is one of the pivotal parables of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke, which is the only Gospel in which it occurs. There is a clear turn in the parable which leads to the rich man as being called "fool," but the word itself means more than simply a nonsensical thinker. It refers to someone who is not prudent, not wise, making judgment about the wrong things in his life. Listen in as we move with this person through that change and why it is so important for our own lives.
9 minutes | Nov 16, 2020
The Good Samaritan
The parable of the "Good Samaritan" needs a new look for our age. Specifically we have to look again at how the original audience would have heard this, and then we will be prepared to hear it for our time. Listen in.
11 minutes | Nov 2, 2020
Unmercenary Saints Zenaida and Philonella
We remember the unmercenary saints in the proskomedia—Cosmas and Damian, especially, whom we commemorate this weekend—but I would draw your attention to the earliest of the unmercenaries, the sisters Zenaida and Philonella. There are lessons for us here. Please listen in for what we can learn from these wonderful unmercenary saints who practiced medicine in Thessaly in the first century.
9 minutes | Oct 26, 2020
Learn Their Names
In Luke 16, we find the only parable in which a name is given to a character: Lazarus - "God helps." The contrast with the rich man who remains unnamed is very important as we consider the meaning of this parable for our lives. We're called to not only help but to understand others in our midst and beyond. This is part of our mission as pointed out by this special parable.
8 minutes | Oct 12, 2020
More Than One Way to be Raised from Death
In Luke 7:11-16, we have to look again at the recipient of the healing. Widows had an ambivalent place in society at this time: on one hand they were sidelined for a number of reasons, and yet the injunction to care for widows from the Old Testament pertains as well. So in this case there is not only a physical and spiritual reason for the raising of the son, there is an economic one as well, which should teach us that there is more than one way to be "raised from death."
7 minutes | Oct 11, 2020
Generosity Grounded in the Emptying of Christ
We have to consider 2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9 together to get the full message St Paul has for us. The generosity he expects from the Corinthians is grounded in the emptying of Christ to which he has referred at 8:9 (and which we find also at Philippians 2:5-11). This movement beyond ego and selfishness is to be the reason for the generosity of the Corinthians, and it will eventually redound to the glory of God.
7 minutes | Oct 5, 2020
The Golden Rule
Our Lord starts from the so-called "Golden Rule" but develops it in a way that clearly reflects how we as Christians need to respond to it: through emphasis upon an ethic of compassion and gregariousness, not based on reciprocity, which is the way of the world. This is a hard saying, but we need to not only hear it but take it to heart.
9 minutes | Oct 4, 2020
A Look at “Unequally Yoked”
This is a difficult message on several levels. Paul here is not talking about marriage between Jews and Christians, but rather about marriage between those who are involved in other religions. We have to remember the context: Corinth, which was full of alternative religions, especially those known as "mystery religions." There is some relationship between Christianity and the mystery religions, but beware, says St. Paul: don't be confused by them. That's the basis of his statement about not being "unequally yoked" with unbelievers. We unpack this idea in this homily.
15 minutes | Sep 28, 2020
Learning from the Fishermen
Sometimes you hear passages from the Gospels and they roll past you. Usually we just hear that Christ called fishermen to his disciple band and don't think more about it. But what about fishing on Lake Gennesaret; what can we learn from this? Let's look at fishing in order to discover what it might mean for them...and for us.
10 minutes | Sep 27, 2020
It is always important to check the precise words St Paul uses in his addresses. In 2 Cor. 6:1-11, he appeals to his experience and that of the other Apostles and accompanists, and then he appeals to his and their behavior as a way to encourage the Corinthians to live out the Gospel. This is a message for us as well.
8 minutes | Sep 21, 2020
To See the Face of Another Person Is to See the Face of Christ
The Shema is central to Judaism to this day; in this passage Jesus puts the love worship of the one God together with the love of humanity and, for that matter, all of creation. This is the yoke that he lays upon us; this is the heritage we bear from our Judaic background.
7 minutes | Sep 20, 2020
Faith and Works Go Together
It's very important to recognize the background to the Letter to the Galatians. St Paul wants them to understand that legalism is not the answer to how one becomes Christian, a reminder from his previous teaching. Listen in.
8 minutes | Sep 14, 2020
All the Promises of God Find Their “Yes” in Christ
St. Paul to the Corinthians a second time: All the promises of God find their "Yes" in Christ. Fr Gabriel explores this opening salvo from St. Paul, what it means given his background, and explores with particular interest the notes about being sealed in the Spirit as a proclaimer of the Gospel.
7 minutes | Sep 7, 2020
The Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers
The so-called parable of the Wicked Vinedressers comes up each year in our lectionary and frequently we register its meaning, along allegorical lines. We're all familiar with that interpretation: the Owner is God, the Vineyard is Israel, and so forth. But what if we turn back to the notion that all of Christ's parables have to do with the Kingdom (or Ruling) of God. Let's take a look at this parable from that angle this week and see what news it has for us today.
8 minutes | Sep 6, 2020
How to Live out Our Christian Faith in the Culture We Inhabit
Etymology is not theology, of course, but in some cases it really helps to sharpen our understanding of what is required of us, particularly with regard to behavior. In these two short verses from St. Paul, we receive a good deal of counsel on how to live out our Christian faith in the culture we inhabit.
8 minutes | Aug 31, 2020
The Wrong Question
This passage has a twist in it which we may not often recognize: the question the young man asks is the wrong question. As a responsible and faithful member of the covenant people he would or should have known that eternal life is the promise of God for his people. So Jesus turns the question over and responds to make the young man focus on this life.
11 minutes | Aug 29, 2020
St. Paul on the Resurrection
This is St Paul's great chapter on the resurrection, but what we need to notice at the outset is that he is not claiming to make any of this up, but that it rests on the firm foundation of a tradition which he has passed on without addition, without subtraction, and without comment on the initial proclamation. The tradition is embedded in verses 3-6 which are definitely pre-Pauline and which Paul learned as the core of his Gospel (verses 1 and 2). This is of great importance to us!
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