Our Part …

Before we got to Easter, we needed to linger:

·    In the vulnerability of the basin and towel

·    At the remembrance and promise of the table

·    In the struggle and betrayal of the garden

·    In the shadows and shouts of injustice

·    At the bloody beautiful cross

·    In the silence of linen and spices and death

For without these, the empty tomb is just an empty tomb.

And then, Easter morning in the garden…sadness turned upside down. A sense of confusion. What just happened here? Where is he? WHOA…surprise of surprises; unexpected thrills. Some residual questions. Perhaps even fear, yes, fear. All of the emotions available to human beings…my, oh, my.

The Easter feeling does not end. It signals a new beginning, of nature, of spring, and brand new life and friendship, peace and giving. The spirit of Easter is all about hope, love and joyful living.

Easter is not about a people,

but it is about all people,

that God’s love and salvation are for all

who confess with voices, hearts and lives

that the tomb is empty because Jesus has risen

so that lives might be reborn

and that the name of Jesus

might be glorified

now and for all eternity.

He is risen. Alleluia!

Spread the good news to everyone, everywhere!

P.S. Dear Easter Bunny, this year could you please fill our eggs with health and happiness and deliver them to everyone that we love? Thank you.

 

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April 14 – 20, 2019

 

PA_SM Roberta Moser_1Feet stink when they’re dirty. That’s a human fact, not an observation. After a long, hard day, our feet have absorbed a pounding. If you wear sandals, they have been exposed to dirt everywhere. If your feet are in socks, they are likely to be sweaty. And then you have all the usual foot problems—corns, callouses, cracked heels. YUK!

In the time of Jesus, you usually washed your own feet after the host offered you a hqdefaultbasin of water. You knelt down, removed your sandals, washed your feet, and then dried them with a towel. If a host had servants, they might be delegated to do the job for you. This was a mark of high achievement in society: that servants washed the feet of your guests. But under no circumstances would the host wash the feet of his guests. The master would never stoop so low as to wash the feet of those beneath him.

Slaves washed feet. Masters never did. That’s why Peter is so shocked when Jesus stoops down and begins to wash the feet of his disciples. Everything was upside down. They should be washing his feet; he shouldn’t be washing theirs.

PopeJesus came into a world of dirty feet. “A person who has had a bath needs only to Coming to Christ is like taking a bath. We are made clean. But we are still in need of daily cleansing. Think about the last 24 hours…Maybe you’ve said things you ought not to have said. Maybe you have responded unkindly or too quickly. You have done things you ought not to have done. Let’s face it, you’ve not been perfect, nor have I. We need our “feet” washed.wash his feet.” Two different words are used here: one meaning a complete bath, the other meaning to wash something.

That’s why we need what Jesus offers. We need to be cleansed every day. We need salvation. Our ministries need salvation. Each and every day, no matter where we find ourselves, we attend to the needs of others, be they children, the elderly, the hungry, or the homeless. Each day we stoop down to wash feet. And I dare say, that because of you, the feet of the world are cleaner. AMEN.

Miracles are a double-edged sword.

Miracles are a double-edged sword.

Picture1He was back from the dead. In the first place, Bethany was a small village where everyone knew everyone, so no one could deny that Lazarus had died. It happened like this: He got sick. He died. And they buried him (period). Nothing out of the ordinary. What happened next made headlines. The Jerusalem Gazette put the story on Page 1. Jesus came along and raised him from the dead. That was startling enough. But no one could deny any part of it because it happened publicly. Lazarus was dead. Then he was alive again. Go figure. Something to scratch your head about.

We could argue about how it happened, but the basic facts were there for all to see. The Jewish leaders had a real problem on their hands. They can’t have dead men coming back to life. It upsets the normal order of things. If word spreads that this man Jesus can raise the dead, people will flock to him by the thousands. They will come from everywhere to see this man whose very word defeats death. To top it all off, word would spread to the Romans who didn’t like local uprisings. They frowned on charismatic leaders who attracted big crowds. If the Romans got involved, it would mean nothing but trouble for the Jewish leaders.

 

Continue reading Miracles are a double-edged sword.

March 31 – April 6, 2019

 

 

March 31 – April 6, 2019

maxresdefaultAh, yes…desperate times call for desperate measures. Almost no one paid him any attention. He had been blind for as long as anyone could remember. And he had been in the same place, on the road outside of Jericho, sitting, waiting, hoping someone would see him beg and would be moved with pity or guilt to toss a few pennies his way. Motive didn’t matter, money was money, and in his case, quite literally, beggars could not be choosers.

No one puts “Blind Beggar” on their list of career choices. Outside of being a leper, it was the lowest rank in Jewish society. The blind had to beg unless they had a family who could care for them. This man apparently had no one, so day after day he sat there, eating the dust kicked up by the passing parade of people and animals in a hurry to get to Jericho to do business.

One day Jesus showed up, and the man’s life changed forever. Give Bartimaeus the credit he deserves. When he heard Jesus was passing by, he saw his chance and cried out for mercy. He even called him by his title, “Son of David.”

Here’s the thing: he admitted his need. He cried out for help. He would not be deterred by those who tried to shush him. He knew what he wanted Jesus to do for him. He asked for what he needed. He received his miracle. He immediately began to follow Jesus. Wow! What a mouthful!

For some time Jesus dealt with the blindness of his disciples. They thought they knew him better than they did. Not necessarily. But here is a poor blind beggar who sees better than they do. Having received his miracle, he follows Jesus down the road, not knowing it would lead to a Roman cross.

PA_SM Roberta Moser_1Bartimaeus stands for all of us. Whether we know it or not, we are hopeless and helpless until Jesus passes by. We’re getting close now. The Garden of Gethsemene is just up ahead. Have you met Jesus? Do you know him? And the greatest question of all: Will you follow him wherever he goes? Bartimaeus couldn’t have known what was ahead, but he knew enough to follow the one who had given sight to his blind eyes. Follow Jesus!

Lord Have Mercy

March 24 – 30, 2019

 

5898405-muslim-praying-hands.jpgOne of the most repeated prayers in liturgical worship is, “Lord, have mercy.” It is said again and again. In the morning, in the evening. It is always the same. What is the meaning of this constant prayer for mercy? It is hardly just a simple plea for pardon and acquittal. It is so much more than that. This phrase is used as a response to all prayers and petitions including those for peace, health, good weather, praise, thanksgiving. We use it on joyous occasions as well.

It is the word “mercy” that might lead to a limited understanding of Kyrie eleison. We tend to think of mercy in terms of justice so the “Lord, have mercy” gets interpreted as “Lord, grant us pardon.” But there is a much deeper meaning. It is a word for goodness, kindness, generosity and love. It could sound like this:

“Lord, be gracious, kind, generous, compassionate, bountiful, loving.” We know that God is all of these things. So when we pray, “Lord, have mercy,” we are simply saying to God: Lord, be to us as you are! Act toward us as you always do. We want you to be with us. No, we need you to be with us.

Having mercy is one of God’s most distinguishing characteristics. It is perhaps God’s main occupation. Mercy is at the heart of everything that God is and does and gives to us. Here’s what we know: The Lord God is Lord of all and is generous to all who call upon him. Even though it is Lent we still live in an Easter world. God’s generosity outruns our need and our want and our hope and our desire to endow us with every good gift, most wondrously the gift of new possibility.

There is no class structure. There is no exceptional entitlement, no riding in the back of the bus, no exclusion, men, women, conservatives, progressives. God is bringing the whole world to a new inclusiveness on the basis of God’s own generosity. And God is now calling us to engage that inclusiveness.

Now that’s something to think about. This week how will we respond to this

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Sister Roberta Moser, CSSF

generous love? What is ours to do to share this generosity with the world around us? Is there an “add-on” that we might be able to incorporate into our Lenten practice that brings to life Kyrie eleison? Lord, be to us as you are. Act toward us as you always do. We want you to be with us. Amen.

March 10 – 16, 2019

Lent recalls times of wilderness and wandering, from newly freed Hebrew slaves in exile to Jesus’ temptations in the desert. God has always called people out of their safe, walled cities into uncomfortable places, revealing paths they never would have chosen on their own.

The defining journey of biblical faith begins in the departure of Abraham and Sarah back in the book of Genesis. They were dispatched by God to leave their safe place, to go to a new land yet to be given, to get a new name, to be blessed by God, and to be a blessing to others around them. They went! And their family, generation after generation, has gone. And we, finally in their wake, must travel beyond safe places to the gifted end that God intends, hopefully to be blessed and to be a blessing on the way. On the way…perhaps to the neighborhood of shared resources, of inclusive politics, of random acts of hospitality and intentional acts of advocacy and justice, of fearless neighborliness that is not propelled by greed or anxiety or self-preoccupation. Just reaching out to others with open hands.

Psalm 121:1-2 tells us this:

“I lift my eyes to the hills, from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” This is designed exactly for travelers who face a demanding, risky journey. It is an assurance as well as an affirmation that the journey we now undertake is not by ourselves alone. We are surrounded on the way by the God of all trust, the God who kept Abraham and Sarah safe, the one who walked all the way to Jerusalem with Jesus, all the way to Friday and on through Sunday.

We are on this Lenten journey accompanied by the remarkable assurance that the God who summons us is the God who goes along with us. In myth, literature and sacred traditions, the call to journey comes at an important turning point in life. When the hero answers the call, huge changes are set in motion. On Ash Wednesday, we heard the call: Now is the day of salvation!

So, try this: put your whole heart in, take your whole heart out, put your whole heart in and shake it all about. You are at a turning point: metanoia (conversion).

What will your huge change entail? Make the journey. Carry on!

 

March 17 – 23, 2019

March 17 – 23, 2019

 

March 17 (St. Patrick)

Today’s “wearing of the green” in honor of St. Patrick, along with all the green parades with their bagpipes and blarney, is part of a folk ritual that announces the death of winter and the coming of the spring green. On this day, Irish and wanna-be-Irish all toast the saint of Welsh birth who became the missionary to the isle of saints and scholars. He is the patron saint of Ireland, of parades and all things green. Even if you’re not Irish or Catholic, this is a day to celebrate and to enjoy that God is not the God of the sad or mad. No other saint’s fest day is so associated with play and make-believe. Pubs overflow and parades defy bad weather as good friends party and good times abound. If holiness is properly understood as sharing in the divine nature, then joy in God’s mystical mirth needs to be included. Woe to those who practice a drab religion, for the road to heaven is made for parades!

March 19 (St. Joseph)

What St. Patrick’s Day is for the Irish, today is for the Italians. As the Irish celebrate with parades and partying, Italians celebrate the feast of their patron with the St. Joseph Table. This tradition began centuries ago in Sicily at the time of a long famine. The starving families turned to prayer, asking the help of the patron of families, especially Italian families, St. Joseph. Their prayers were answered and the famine came to an end. As an act of gratitude, the people decided to make offerings in his honor of what was most precious after the famine: food.

Today’s St. Joseph Tables continue that tradition by displaying favorite dishes of food that are works of art, both in taste and beauty. By custom, since the feast comes in Lent, no meat dishes are served among the glorious masterpieces. At the end of the celebration all the food is given away to the poor. Many groups host these tables in church halls, in homes where people enjoy and share their food with others.

The concept of “saints” might be difficult for some to understand. Saints, as seen by the Catholic Church, are ordinary people who have lived extraordinary lives. Because of this they have been raised up as examples for us. We, too, are ordinary people who are being called to do extraordinary things as we continue to work toward the spiritual renewal of the world! Carry on…and do saintly things.