CACINA

The Metanoia Road

3rd Sunday of Easter, 4-15-18

Acts 3: 13-15,17-19; Psalm 4: 2-9; 1John 2: 1-5, Luke 24: 35-48

I will go out on a limb a little here, and hope that most everyone knows the story in Luke about “the Road to Emmaus”. It’s all in the very last chapter of Luke’s Gospel. Luke tells about a group of at least 5 women finding the tomb open and empty on Easter morning. They told the apostles, but the men did not believe them. That same day, two of Jesus’ followers left Jerusalem and started out, feeling sad and discouraged, on the 7 mile walk to Emmaus. Jesus joined them on their walk, but they didn’t recognize him. Jesus then interpreted the scriptures to them, explaining all that Moses and the many prophets had fore-told about him.

When they arrived at Emmaus, the men eagerly invited him to sit down to eat with them. But when Jesus took the bread and blessed it, they suddenly recognized him, and he disappeared. Usually we end the story with the verse “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked and opened to us the scriptures?” But that is not the end of the story. Our Gospel today is what immediately follows.

Much of the time Jesus spent on earth, as the “historical Jesus” in the Gospels, he spent physically moving about. In a different way, he moved people around a lot too. He moved them from pain and disability to health. He moved people from doubt to belief. He moved people from confusion to clarity. He moved people from sin to grace and mercy. He moved those fishermen right into being fishers of people.

I would define a church as a group of people who want to be moved to love more, to be kinder and more compassionate, to being more generous, to better understanding the Risen Christ in their own lives. And when people choose to make their church a place of that type of movement, something else happens. People want to help other people, people outside of their church group, to move closer to Christ and make all those other good moves, too. And all the people begin to understand that this journey we are on moves along easier with a better understanding of Scripture. It just makes sense to follow Jesus’ lead on this!

So when the two men return to Jerusalem from Emmaus, they share their experience with the Risen Lord with the apostles and other disciples, when suddenly Jesus appears in the room. They don’t understand; they are terrified and Jesus has to show them his hands and feet and have them touch him, and he eats some fish in front of them to prove he is real. And once again, he explains the scriptures. He continues this time, and reminds them that he had told them it was their job now to teach repentance, for the forgiveness of sins must be preached in his name to all the nations.

But we have a language problem. “Repent” seems to imply that we have already done something wrong, regret it, and now want to behave differently. But Biblically, this is not all there is to it. In the gospels, the Greek word used for repentance is metanoia. Literally this means to do an about face, to turn around, to face in an entirely new direction.

So, metanoia means to move us beyond our present mindset, beyond our present way of thinking.  To repent is to let the soul, which is the image and likeness of God within us, re-configure us so that we are so overwhelmed with compassion and love that indeed we do turn and change how we think, how we understand, how we order our priorities, and how we react.  We must move past regret focused on our mistakes, and respond like Peter, in our first reading.  He meets some of those men who coerced Pilate into killing an innocent Jesus merely to make the social, economic, and political structure of the day benefit them a little longer.

Amazingly, Peter was so filled with compassion and love that he would joyfully lead them to repent and have their sins wiped away. The Catholic Church leadership was traditionally rooted in Peter, who clearly understood deeply and acted out “All Are Welcome Here – even the murderers of Jesus.”   It is a tradition to be proud of, and continued; to welcome man or woman, clean or addict, poor or rich, whatever color or race or sexual orientation, political affiliation, education level, ignorance quotient and so on and so on.  Only metanoia-style repentance can produce that level of welcome.

By now it is becoming clear that Jesus’ followers have to change. They no longer can be just followers of Jesus. They must begin to preach the Good News of Forgiveness and New Life in Christ. For mature Christians, Scripture and the Eucharist are sources of the necessary strength and connection with Jesus. That is what Jesus left his disciples. But many people today have never studied Scripture or been taught the meaning of the Eucharist. And those people will be the next generation of the church only if we want them to join us on our journey down the metanoia road.

Think about how those disciples felt that night, together with the Risen Christ. What is it they will go and do as a result of this experience? They will build a new “Way” for believers to worship and act out in faith. How were their lives different than before? They become bold and articulate, eager for difficult challenges. The life journey of those two men going to Emmaus Easter Day was certainly very different than the one they had planned. Spiritual leadership is about taking people on a journey, and every single Christian must participate fully in spiritual leadership before their joy will be full. What will be your first step on this journey? Where will you begin?

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Homily March 11, 2018-the 4th Sunday of Lent

Posted in Called, change, christian, Faith, gospel, inspirational, scripture, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on March 9, 2018

4lentOnce again like last week our attention is directed towards respect for the temple and sanctuary..We see the abuses of the temple and the messengers and prophets sent by God to them to correct them. We see as punishment God inflicted them with to be conquered and carried off to Babylon. Their banishment lasted seventy years.4lent3

4lent5In the gospel, we see Nicodemus come to Jesus in the night and seek to learn from Him. Here we see Jesus proclaim his death and resurrection and that those who believe in him may have eternal life. And so it is that those who believe and are baptised received God’s mercy and love and have eternal life. It doesn’t mean we will not die, but that we share eternal life now and will transition a different form in the future. The only problem is that some will not accept 4lent6the light of life but instead choose the darkness of evil staying in the dark and rejecting God’s mercy. It is in the dark and darkness that evil thrives and bad things come into our world. Only one thing in history has stifled evil and only when believers believe in its power, the power of the crucified savior. Throughout history, we see many examples of the fight between light and darkness, good and evil. Jesus has saved us and the constant reminder to all of us is the cross that we see everywhere.

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Homily the 3rd Sunday of Lent at Sts Francis and Clare parish, Wilton Manors, Florida

Homily at Holy Trinity Parish, Herndon, Va on March 4, 2018- the 3rd Sunday of Lent

Posted in Called, change, ecclesiology, Faith, homily, Repent and believe, Resurrection, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on March 4, 2018

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Thursday of the First Week of Lent (February 22, 2018)

Inclusive Lectionary Text

Readings: Esther C:  verses 12, 14-16, 23-25 / Psalm 138 verses 2-3, 7-8 /

Matthew Chapter 7 verses 7-12

Sisters and brothers, what is it that we should ask for? Should we ask for a million dollars? Are we able to really ask for whatever it is that we would like? Jesus put it out there, so why can’t I have it? What is it that we really are asking for or should be asking for?

As with most of us in our lives, we have family members and or friends that may be seriously ill. With the few that I have seen with my wife and close family, I would like to share one such experience.

My nephew was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. For two months doctors could not figure out what was wrong with him. He was driving home from work one evening and his wife kept calling him and he kept telling her that he was only 5 minutes from home. As time went on, hours went by and as his wife kept calling, he kept stating that he was only 5 minutes away. Long story short as the police were called and his location was made known, my nephew was past the border line of the neighboring state, several hours and miles away from home. My nephew was having seizures. Many white spots were found on his brain and lungs. Through many tests after two months, they finally were able to determine what was wrong.

I think Jesus may have been explaining that we can come to the Creator, our Father for anything, but we should ask for things on a spiritual level. Asking for things, as Jesus tells us, on a heavenly basis with the hope and faith that God will hear and answer our prayers.

My nephew is doing better. He is not cured, but his attitude is one of love and acceptance. Our prayers were answered. As the illness may progress, and he may have not been physically healed, but my nephew and the families faith has been strengthened and joy is in their midst. In the midst of this sorrow, there is joy. With speech therapy to correct speech slurs and medication, our prayers were answered, not how we wanted them to be but in a deeper profound way. We were all brought to a deeper spiritual level. God’s blessings.

rev. Michael Theogene

Wednesday of the First Week of Lent (February 21, 2018)

Inclusive Lectionary Text

Readings: Jonah Chapter 3 verses 1-10 / Psalm 51 verses 1-2, 10-11, 16-17 /

Luke Chapter 11 verses 29-32

“…because they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.” (Luke 11: 29-32) Friends, as most of you may have heard, today the well-known evangelist Billy Graham passed away at the age of 99. In my brief existence of 46 years, I can remember hearing the evangelist preach doing what he did best, announcing the good news of Jesus the Christ. Rev. Graham with guidance from God, of course, brought many back to God. All who may have felt lonely, rejected, and unknown, they came to the awareness that someone loved them.

Jonah preached to the people of Nineveh to have the people change their ways. Jesus does the same, not necessarily meaning that he was greater but by having everyone understand that the kingdom of God is here now. Jesus makes clear that one can no longer wait to come to God when they are perfect, or when they have more time, or when they retire. The kingdom of God is in the here and now. One is greater here now because the mission continues. Preach the good news.

Who is it that I go to who helps me center myself back to God? Is it my priest/pastor? Is it my bishop or someone in my congregation, community or family? Who is my spiritual guide? Do I allow myself to listen to others with an open mind? Am I able to speak to others without wanting to put my own thoughts and views?  Do I refrain from being judgmental and self-righteous?

Let us be mindful that we may see the signs of our times and the prophets and prophetess walking among us. Are you leading people back to the One source?

rev. Michael Theogene

Tuesday of the First Week of Lent (February 20, 2018)

Inclusive Lectionary Text

Readings: Isaiah Chapter 55 verses 10-11 / Psalm 34 verses 3-6, 15-18 /

Matthew Chapter 6 verses 7-15

Sisters and brothers as we read in today’s psalm, ‘…let us exalt God’s Name together! I sought Our God, who answered me and freed me from all my fears.’ (Psalm 34: 3-4) How do we talk to God? Do we only talk to God when there are stressors in our lives? How often do we keep the conversation going? Do we feel scared or embarrassed to talk to God?

My dear friends, for those among us that may not believe in talking to God as often or are unwilling or unsure let me simply say that it doesn’t take much. The Our Father is a universal prayer that sings the praises of the One Source. The many names of God, as we have all often heard them, show us the countless many names on how we respond to God. Jesus’ relationship with the Father shows his intimacy with knowing who he was and whose he was. Jesus showed who he belonged to. Jesus shows us that, as the Father was very close to him, in the same manner we are to make God close to us. Abba God, my dearest, my love, God as mother and father, the source of all life. In essence, daddio, dad, the Creator is how Jesus address our God.

So when we pray, do not babble like the others. Work on your intimacy even more, so when you say God, our father, our mother, Creator God, Creator Spirit, Spirit God, God- our mother and father hallowed be your name, etc..,say it with meaning, slowly reflecting on the gift that our God has given us.

As Pope Francis has recently encouraged Christians to do in especially praying the Our Father is to revise the part that says ‘…and lead us not into temptation.’ but instead to say ‘…and let us not fall into temptation…’. How can God lead us into temptation?

Remember from the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday the priest or minister while signing your forehead with ashes stated, “Remember that you are beloved and to love you shall return! Thoughts to ponder! Be blessed!

rev. Michael Theogene

Monday of the First Week of Lent (February 19, 2018)

Inclusive Lectionary Text

Readings: Leviticus Chapter 19 verses 1-2, 11-18 / Psalm 19 verses 7-9, 14 /

Matthew Chapter 25 verses 31-46

Matthew 25. This reading is well known that is synonymous with all of our everyday travels and encounters.  In essence it is the corporal works of mercy and when we fail to do it for our struggling sisters and brothers, not only do we disappoint God but we are short siding ourselves. We all know that at any moment many of us are a check or two away from being homeless.  Giving away our money may not be what we all can do but we can all give our time to help whether it is a neighbor or volunteering. If we keep focused on the needs of the world around us, we can always find someone who needs our love.  Even if someone selfishly wanted our attention and really didn’t need it, we still should minister to that person. As the Venerable Mother Catherine Elizabeth McAuley (foundress of the Sisters of Mercy) said, “It is better to relieve a hundred imposters, if there be such, than to suffer one really distressed person to be sent away empty.” God bless you!

rev. Michael Theogene

Homily for Holy Trinity Parish, Herndon, Va. on February 18, 2018 the 1st Sunday in Lent

Posted in Called, change, christian, forgiveness, homily, religion, Restoration, Resurrection, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on February 18, 2018

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First Sunday in Lent (February 18, 2018)

Inclusive Lectionary Text

Readings: Genesis Chapter 9 verses 8-15 / Psalm 25 verses 4-9 / 1 Peter 3:18-22 /

Mark Chapter 1 verses 12-15

Friends, as we must remember in light of recent events, we must hold fast and secure to the thought that our God has not and will not forsake us in light of these recent tragedies. The 17 lives lost in Parkland, Florida, a horrific tragedy as someone said to me recently, “we have become so desensitize to it’. As many have voiced, when is this going to stop? Not taking away from this, but it brings to mind all those who die each and every day due to some kind of violence. Violence in our major streets, violence done to women, people dying in worn torn countries, when does it end? Also past mass shootings in our country that have occurred at concerts, night clubs and schools. Everyone everywhere is asking that same old question, “Why?”

Watching the local and national news, I have been very impressed by the young students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas H.S. who, not only going through this tragedy, but have become student ambassadors for change. This is not only for themselves and the community but for the country. They are trying to make a difference the best way they can or know how.  They are challenging not only themselves, but politicians on all levels.

I agree, as some of you may be thinking, not one entity or individual or party is to be blamed but the blame, the onus is on all of us. We all have a part in it. Maybe we all have allowed it. God has promised to shield us by not letting such occurrences happen from God’s standpoint. The rainbow has been the covenant that we are God’s and God belongs to us. The rainbow has not protected us from each other, has it? Where there is complacent behavior, disaster is sure to follow. When and where it comes or in what form doesn’t matter, but it finds its way to us.

This does not mean that we must live on pins and needles but to be mindful more than ever before of the climate we are in today. As the psalms tell us God’s ways will ultimately prevail. Sisters and brothers we must continue to be faithful not only to God but to ourselves and others.

One student in particular David Hogg has been a vocal voice, if you have noticed him on the news circuit. A student at the school, David obviously has not been complacent. It doesn’t matter where they all were before but they have all unfortunately become immersed into this debate. To me David has shown outstanding leadership by working as a team in organizing along with other students and parents taking a positive action to make change. In the scriptures, it shows that the example we are to be following as a community. Is the example of Jesus, doing, living and working together in community making a difference. Even Jesus himself knew that he couldn’t and wouldn’t be able to do it alone. He needed the help of others and God.

rev. Michael Theogene