Archive for July, 2009

John 6:1-21

July 27, 2009

This morning I simply want to tell you a true story. It arises out of today’s Gospel reading of the feeding of the 5,000. This is perhaps Jesus’ greatest miracle.  Some try to explain it away, saying the Gospel writers wrote symbolically, to foreshadow the Eucharist. Others say that Jesus’ act of generosity with the five loaves and two fish inspired all the rest to pull out their own hidden stores of food. Others accept it at face value. In any case, Jesus said of this and his other miraculous deeds, “Truly, truly, I say to you, those who believe in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will they do, because I go to the Father.” I used to think, “Who has ever healed people with the consistency of Jesus? Or fed multitudes? Or driven out demons?” Then I thought, “Yes, but he worked at the end point, so to speak, like the Good Samaritan. Since then we, Jesus’ followers, have worked our way up stream to cut off the flow of wounded people at the source, before they are wounded, or sick or needy. This story is an instance of “doing the works that I do and greater works than these will they do….” (more…)

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Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

July 19, 2009

These are sobering readings for a person in my position.  Anyone who aspires to be a spiritual leader gets fair warning in today’s first reading.  God expects us to nourish his flock and keep it together.  I can’t help but ask myself, am I doing that?  When I first went to Hawaii I marveled at the lush green pastures, and commented on the cattle, how well fed they were.  “If the cattle had only this grass,” I was told, “they would starve to death.”  It turned out, that grass was all water.  So I worry: am I preaching truth or am I watering it down to where God’s flock is being starved?  This morning I want to share my thinking about being a faithful shepherd. (more…)

Mark 6: 1-13

July 5, 2009

Does prayer have the power to heal?  I believe it does; but I have lots of questions.  For instance, did Jesus heal every person, every condition, that came to him – I mean apart from this group of skeptics in his home town?  Did no one have Type I diabetes in his day?  Or pancreatic cancer?  Or clinical depression?  Even today’s reading suggests that, except for their doubt, he could have cured any disease they brought to him.  In his home town, where everyone thought they knew him, he could not overcome the power of their negative expectations.  In every other case, however, the Gospels report uniform success.  Are we meant to take that at face value, or is there perhaps something deeper going on here? (more…)