Fourth Sunday of Lent

03-26-2017Weekly Reflection

"Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him." The prevailing theology of Jesus' time led people to believe that any kind of disability was a punishment from God. So Jesus' disciples assumed that the man born blind suffered that affliction because of someone's sin: either his parents' or his own. But Jesus sets the record straight. Not only did he reject the idea that the blindness was a punishment for sin; he also went so far as to suggest that this very trial was an opportunity for God's glory to be revealed.

And sure enough, it was. Jesus worked a miracle of healing for the man who followed his directions and "came back able to see." So it was that the "works of God" became "visible" through a man who was blind! But, ironically, not everyone had the eyes to see the miracle. The Gospel tells us that "there was a division among them" as they debated whether this remarkable healing was really an act of God.


Third Sunday of Lent

03-19-2017Weekly Reflection

"But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth." Are we true worshippers? Do we praise and honor God the Father in the way Jesus described to the Samaritan woman at the well? It seems that this woman was caught up in logistics about WHERE to worship more than HOW to worship. Her people worshiped in one place, the Jews in another. She was puzzled by this and, even though she could see that Jesus was a prophet, she challenged him because she thought perhaps he wasn't a true worshipper of God. The Lord's response to her was to shift the focus away from a particular physical location for honoring God. In essence, he told her that what mattered was that we worship God by being filled with his Spirit, "the Spirit of truth, [who] will guide you to all truth," as Jesus will say later in John's Gospel (16:13). This woman, whose life was marked by such a sad string of broken relationships, had been missing the point.


Second Sunday of Lent

03-12-2017Weekly Reflection

"When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid." Peter, James, and John already knew Jesus. They had been following him, learning from him, watching him for quite some time. But what took place before their eyes at the Transfiguration was unlike anything they had yet witnessed. This was not just a miracle or a message: this was a supernatural vision. When Jesus' face suddenly "shone like the sun" and two ancient prophets appeared and spoke, and a heavenly voice announced the true identity of their friend and teacher, these three disciples nearly fainted in fear. It must have been too glorious, too strange, too astonishing to handle.

But Jesus "came and touched them" to rouse them from their prostration. He told them, "Rise, and do not be afraid." What a beautiful moment. The Lord realized that his friends were overwhelmed. He had compassion on their meager ability to comprehend what was really going on. He allowed them to participate in this moment of revelation to help them understand who he was, but he still understood who THEY were--imperfect human beings who could not be expected to completely understand the ways of God.