CACINA

FRIDAY OF THE SECOND WEEK OF ADVENT

FRIDAY OF THE SECOND WEEK OF ADVENT

Inclusive Lectionary reading: Isaiah Chapter 48 verses 17-19 / Psalm 1 verses 1-4, & 6  Matthew Chapter 11 verses 16-19.

Friends, we are never really satisfied, are we? It is so much easier for us to point fingers towards others. We blame others for our problems, never really addressing our concerns to ourselves. It’s always everybody’s else’s fault, but mine! Does this sound familiar? It sure does to me. When we point a finger at someone, there are three others pointing back at us. How by our example will we simply show who we are? It is not for the purposes of trying to prove to people who we are, if so then we missed the point. It is by our example by being living witnesses of Gods word, and by this then we are made blameless in the sight of God. Be blessed.

+ Michael Theogene

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THURSDAY OF THE SECOND WEEK OF ADVENT

THURSDAY OF THE SECOND WEEK OF ADVENT

Inclusive Lectionary reading: Isaiah Chapter 41 verses 13-20 / Psalm 145 verses 1 & 9 -13AB  Matthew Chapter 11 verses 11-15.

Sisters and brothers, during this meditation, I wish to briefly tell you of a friend of mine who is suffering from the usual vision loss that most older adults are beginning to have.  Glaucoma, cornea repair, night blindness, macular degeneration and among many others.  This is not necessarily pertaining to my friend but shows what we all possibly may suffer from as we get older. Does this sound familiar? On this day is the memorial of Saint Lucy, virgin & martyr is celebrated is the reason why I bring this friend of mine up. St. Lucy’s cause, if you will, was for improved eye sight, better vision. Physical vision! My friend just received surgery in one eye and will receive surgery in the other in the next few days as the first eye heals. I myself, never having any eye conditions as such, I can only imagine the fear of only being able to use one eye as he has found challenging. Balance issues and all of the sought. The same with those among us who at birth or at a later time who have lost their ability to fully see, physically.

 However, as it has been said, as you lose the ability of one of the senses, your other ones become heightened. So, if we had lost the ability to see, would our hearing take over to a certain extent?  

Who is the person or persons that we have seen or heard about in our lives that have lost the ability to function in an area of their lives, and have responded be something greater than they already are? To be not only great, but spectacular? As Jesus was possibly a disciple of John worshiping in the same community, who’s name do we call out? To be a prophetic voice may not be for everyone, but we all have a voice to a certain extent. Also, without passing the buck, who calls out our name?  Will our voice be heard and remembered as we challenge others and ourselves? Who sees and hears us? Who really sees and hears the  message of God we are proclaiming through whatever it is we learned to compensate for in our lives.

(rev.) Michael Theogene

TUESDAY OF THE SECOND WEEK OF ADVENT

TUESDAY OF THE SECOND WEEK OF ADVENT

Inclusive Lectionary reading: Isaiah Chapter 40 verses 1-11 / Psalm 96 verses 1-3 & 10AC, 11-13 /  Matthew Chapter 18 verses 12-14.

 

Who in our lives have we dropped everything for? Have we ever reached out to find a teacher or friend in our past who made a difference in our lives? When have we reached out for the one? Sisters and brothers, we have to remember that sometimes in our lives we have to be mindful that the one person who may be missed, neglected, suffering, or forgotten among us needs to be recognized. We need to be the light that leads them out of the darkness. If we have their permission, and if appropriate, we can help guide those among us who may not only be lost, but forgotten, bullied, those suffering from mental and emotional illness, and those lonely who have no one to turn to.  Sometimes the need of the one can outweighs the needs of many.  Others in society may have a different opinion about who are worthy. Society has created a “throw away” culture for who they decide do not fit in.   What happened to  “we are all children of God”?  God is in everyone not just who we decide.

+ Michael Theogene

Looking for Joy

4th Sun Lent 3-11-18

2 Chronicles 36:14-16; 19-23 Ps: 137:1- 6; Ephesians 2:4-10; John 3:14-21

I struggled for days with this ….I wrote at least 3 different homilies…all of which ended in the recycle bin. Be glad!  Then I had an altogether brilliant idea.

Actually, it wasn’t the idea that was so brilliant. It was the color of these vestments that was brilliant.  Whew!  Rose with a glow! What is the point of this rose?  This happens twice a year, once during Advent and once during Lent.  It is the half way mark in those liturgical seasons.  It is when the mood lightens at little.  It is Joy breaking through the somber tone of the waiting in Advent, breaking through the examination of our lives and our faith in Lent.  But why joy??   The “why” of the joy never sticks in my brain quite as well as “the what”.

So we look for joy in the readings. The first reading is about how the people of Judah lost their faith and ended up captives in Babylon.  Nothing so joyful there (but they do finally return home).  The Psalm is a lament, a song of loss and regret, grieving for the city of Jerusalem, which has been destroyed. No joy there.

Ah, but we have the 2nd reading, from St. Paul, who was writing the Good News of the Resurrection to people in the city of Ephesus.  They were hearing this for the first time!  Perhaps, just perhaps, we could put ourselves in that frame of mind, and see if we can find the joy there that seems to elude us.

So, what does Paul say? First thing is that God is rich in mercy.  Mercy, as we talked about 2 weeks ago, is when God does not give us what we deserve.  We sin, we fail, we do what we know we shouldn’t do, we don’t do what we know we should do, and still God is not ready to pounce on us with punishment.  Why not?  Because, Paul writes, God has “great love” for us.  Everyone benefits from that great love.  Being loved is what the human spirit needs more than any material thing.  In fact, God loves us – greatly – even as we are in the middle of the worse moment of our lives, when we are behaving really badly.

Paul says that at that moment, when we had our backs turned on God, God saved us. God rescued us from ourselves and raised us up and seated us in the heavens with Christ Jesus, so very much more than we might dare to expect or even hope for.  Paul calls this “grace”.  Grace is when God gives us what we do not deserve.  God’s plan is to show us the immeasurable riches of grace.

Now, that is amazing…and pretty joyful the more you think about it. I know of no one who finds a child or employee or student who are behaving at their very worst, knowingly being disobedient or disrespectful, and then takes them off to a place filled with joy and showers them with love.  The joy-filled riches of grace are beyond counting, but they are not locked up in a bank, and never tarnish or lose their value.

If fact, God is ready to give us what no human really deserves, and that is to be with God for ever, face to face in real, pure love and joy. Paul makes it clear; we are saved by grace from punishment.  We cannot earn enough bonus points on our credit cards to get a trip to eternity with God.  Paul says it two different ways to make sure we get it: first, “By grace you have been saved through faith,” and second, “It is the gift of God; it is not from our actions or behavior, therefore no one may boast” (no one is better than the others).

Faith without good deeds, of course, is dead, as James wrote in his short letter (read it sometime). Faith is only real and alive in our lives when we are doing the good things that we were created to do.   Paul wrote that God created us for the good works that already are waiting for us to do; we should find meaning and discover our very lives in doing good things.  Grace seems to bring about this desire to act out in love.

People want joy, but they look in all the wrong places. Paul tells us the right place to look.  We find joy when we believe God.  Some people confuse joy with happiness or good circumstances.  But, joy is a gift from God, and not dependent on where you live or beauty or strength or even good health.  Joy is the result of accepting the “great love” of God. We wrap God’s love around us, we feel it, we deeply breath it in, we cling to it when we have nothing else.

Our Gospel reading backs Paul up. It also says that God did not send his Son into the world to condemn or punish us, but that we might be saved through him; and whoever lives in God’s love and joy comes to the light that their good works may be clearly seen as done through God.

So we continue on toward Easter. Ahead is the difficult half of Lent – facing the cruelty and selfishness that sometimes enters the human soul.  We have to admit how low our price is for betrayal, how quickly we let fear overcome us, how we use others for a small moment of gain.  But joy is an act of rebellion against the darkness, and so, for today, we focus on the joy of the triumph of the cross, and the power of love to overcome even death.