Inclusive Text- Readings- Ezekiel 37: 21-28 / Psalm: Jeremiah 31: 10-12ABCD, 13 / John 11: 45-56
Think back to a time when you coordinated a project, knew something was wrong but could have gone right, messed up by others, but decided to take the blame and fall on the sword. You may have been involved to some degree knowing that everyone contributed their best but no other course could have been taken. It didn’t mean you had to suffer and die for it but perhaps you avoided going to the end because of fear. Something so minor in that sense, but what would happen, we would get through it, right?
On the other hand, as we know, Jesus had to go through it. Jesus in essence had to fall on the sword because so much was at stake. The soul of humanity was at hand. Jesus could have turned back and leave God, but he knew deep down inside it had to be done.
What were the times in our lives when we could not turn back? What forced us to make the decisions that we had made when it came to others? Could we have turned back? If we did, why? When we didn’t, what gave us the courage to speak up for the cause?
rev. Michael Theogene
Inclusive Text- Readings- Jeremiah 20: 10-13 / Psalm 18: 2-3ABC, 4-7 / John 10: 31-42
Inclusive Text- Readings- Daniel 3: 14-20, 91-92, 95 / Psalm: Daniel 3: 52-56 / John 8: 31-42
Friends, as I mentioned yesterday, remember at one time or another when you may not have felt welcomed. I am sure it has happened to us at one time or another. At the risk of sounding prideful, I have always felt that I can get along with anyone. However, there have been times when I was not welcomed, perhaps because of my friendliness. No matter what I thought of my actions in those moments, it was important not to take it personal and be aware of my lack of sensitivity to others needs in those situations, not my feeling of being unwelcome.
It reminds me of when two people are dating and it seems good and one party decided to break up the relationship, and states, ‘it’s not you, you are great, it’s me.’ Right away we blame ourselves for the breakup but in reality we are being called to live up to the real love of God in our lives and not blame ourselves or others and accept change.
rev. Michael Theogene
Inclusive Text Readings- Numbers 21: 4-9 / Psalm 102: 2-3, 16-21 / John 8: 21-30
Not with standing all of our faults, sisters and brothers, have you ever felt that you did not belong? Perhaps at some point in your job or among family, you may have felt that you did not belong. Sisters and brothers, when we lift up Jesus, the Son of Humanity, then and only then will we realize it is Jesus who serves at our feet. Jesus was able to accomplish this only with the help of the Father. Jesus’ willing sacrifice to suffer for all of humanity is the gift lasting forever. This gift freely given should never be taken lightly. Jesus knew who he was and whose he was. Do we see ourselves as Jesus saw himself? Do we see ourselves in the same manner as Jesus saw himself with God as part of creation? My only wish for myself is that I hope that I am living and walking as Jesus did. By being a testimony of the life and resurrection of the beauty of creation and our place in it. I hope I am living fully the gifts I have been given. For what is given freely, I give back freely to creation as best as I can to all I encounter. Are we the face of God? Are we paying it forward?
rev. Michael Theogene
Saturday of the Twentieth Week of the Year (August 22, 2015) Inclusive Lectionary Texts
Readings- Ruth – Chapter 2 verses 1- 3, 8-11 & Chapter 4 verses 13-17 / Psalm 128 verses 1-5 /
Matthew – Chapter 23 verses 1-12
Friends, oh, my goodness that’s it again. There is nothing I can say more that is not said best by the Master, Jesus. Just some thoughts of how the scripture touched me today. “They love respectable greetings in public, and being called ‘Rabbi.’ As for you, avoid the title ‘Rabbi.’ For One is your Teacher, and you are all sisters and brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your ‘Mother’ or ‘Father.’ Only One is your parent – the One in heaven. Avoid being called leaders. Only One is your Leader, the Messiah.”
Friends, recently on retreat at a monastery, I observed an Auxiliary Roman Catholic Bishop, who I am aware of, at the monastery also on retreat. I was impressed that this individual was not, at any time, in any clerical garb or sit in any place of prominence. The Bishop was, for all intent and purposes stated, a person, a human being as all of us seeking the way to God. When I introduced myself to the gentlemen, I think he was surprised that anyone recognized him. I was most impressed by that.
This had also brought to mind, when my wife and I were in the Roman tradition, our home community had two Roman Catholic deacons, who as I observed would serve there mass as deacons, at later masses, but would either come and sit by themselves or attend with their spouses, never giving the suggestion that they were any different. They were different to some degree but not separate from the rest of us.
When I worked for a city agency where I was a community affairs person working as a religious outreach specialist, I worked for the agency I was representing to the city’s vast and grassroots religious and clerical community. I once had to attend a meeting in a city in Connecticut where I was helping, along with my supervisor to help build a program similar to our city’s relations with said religious leaders.
Accompanied by a well known Baptist pastor of a well known congregation, needless to say, between the three of us, he noticed how my supervisor was treating me. He observed my supervisors insecurity and his need for prominence and the need to be addressed by his rank/title.
Weather I agreed with it or not, that pastor told me that my supervisor was my master and that only for this time or when I dealt with him, was when I had to give him obedience and no other time. This reminds me of the Rule of Saint Benedict. The rule gives me the ability to give up my will, not out of control of others or myself, but in the control, I exercise my free will to be able to decide my nature which in essence makes me free.
Sisters and brothers in our society today, we ourselves give in sometimes to wanting that place of honor or title. What we achieve yes is good, as long we offer it to God for the betterment of humanity. We have to be very careful and aware even at the slightest times we give in to this. We have to be mindful of our ego and pride. How we address others can make a difference on how we may help bring someone to the path of God’s love or we can be the ones helping to turn them away. It’s about humility and the reward that we do for others. We should not want the thank you or the acknowledgement that what I did for you today, allows me now to run the other’s life. I do this, I do that, I work in this shelter, I do that. We can accept praise, but be humble in regards to it. (We must also be mindful of having a false sense of pride)
We need not remind others what we have done for them. Friends we are only as good as the last act we performed. It is not about reminding others of what we have done but has that act of love brought them closer to God. Peace
michael (aka- rev. Theogene)
Friday of the Twentieth Week of the Year (August 21, 2015) Inclusive Lectionary Texts
Readings- Ruth – Chapter 1 verses 1, 3-6, 14-16, & 22 / Psalm 146 verses 5-10 /
Matthew – Chapter 22 verses 34-40
Friends, that’s it. These scripture readings seem to say it all. It’s all about the unconditional love that God has for us. The love shown to us by God is a deep immensity that we try to imitate. A love that is shown in the same way Jesus shared in his love to the Father. We can most definitely find this difficult at times. We see the example of Ruth towards her mother-in-law Naomi. In this same instance God does the same with us. Wherever we go, wherever we dwell and where we will die, Jesus ensures us that God will always be with us. To come to worship God in God’s presence everywhere and anywhere, God meets us where we are. God touches us when we least expect it. Hopefully, if we are really doing what is required of us and loving our family our neighbor as we would ourselves, sums up the entire Bible, in my opinion. Being challenged to love unconditionally, even those whom we may have conflicts with is what the message is about. The God who comes to us in the good and bad, when sad, depressed, and lonely, excitedly happy and overjoyed, God suffers and laughs with all of creation. God will always be with us, on our side, just the way we are, not the way we think we should be. God will take care of whatever has to change in us. All we have to do is say “yes Lord” and God will do the rest.
rev. Michael Theogene
Monday of the Twentieth Week of the Year (August 17, 2015) Inclusive Lectionary Texts
Readings- Judges – Chapter 2 verses 11-19 / Psalm 106 verses 34-37, 39-40, 43 & 44 /
Matthew – Chapter 19 verses 16-22
Friends, I don’t know about you, but I have asked myself that very question of myself from time to time. I never seem to get a response either of myself or from somewhere else. What must we do to inherit eternal life? What must I do in order to be good? If we have been doing the required works of what we believe is expected of us, then what must we do then to be complete?
I think it goes beyond what is presented before us. In Jesus’ infinite wisdom he spoke of these things as a stepping stone, probably knowing full well that it would always eventually include more things. Of course, if we do not love God by not loving our neighbor, or giving up what keeps us loving fully, (i.e. possessions) then we ought to work on it. We have to find the necessary tools in order to work with.
I think sometimes it’s us who can’t give up our old ways, our old thoughts, and our old self. I think it can be me sometimes sayings I can’t change now, I am not ready, I will change later. A lot of us sometime say that we are not ready now. We are so afraid to change, we are so afraid of the unknown, we choose to stay the way we are.
In my life, I am finishing school course work that has taken me six years. I was going to be on the ten year plan. I certainly was not going to complete it as most do in three to four. I remember even while working secular employment, the pressures and deadlines for assignments were difficult. In my earlier years in this study, I would get so paralyzed in writing a major paper, would end up not doing it, asking for an extension and then suffering still in doing the assignment. All I did was delay my suffering. I would become so fearful in doing the paper that I hurt myself and others around me.
My wife has taught me a saying that she would always say to her students. Fear, what is fear? Fear, F.E.A.R. is false evidence appearing real. It is when we allow fear to enter our lives and take hold, paralyzing us, keeping us away from all that is good is when we are not doing what is required of us. Doing the corporal works of mercy, fully loving ourselves and others, living with compassion and mercy and being non judgmental is then and only then that we truly give up ourselves. Not just hearing this, but doing this as best we can is why we don’t go away sad.
rev. Michael Theogene
Inclusive Lectionary Texts
Readings- Proverbs – Chapter 9 verses 1-6 / Psalm 34 /
Ephesians – Chapter 5 verses 15-20 / John – Chapter 6 verses 48-58
Sisters and brothers wisdom in this passage is referred to as a woman who has built her house, prepared food and drink and set a royal table. She sends out an invitation to those who are simple to come and share her food and drink and discuss how to walk the path of understanding Gods ways. The discussion continues with Paul’s guidance about how to conduct oneself by using your time well, allowing yourself to be open to the Holy Spirit, meditating on psalms, hymns spiritual songs, being joyful in your heart. He goes on to say always give thanks to God for everything. It concludes with Jesus saying He is the bread of life and we must eat his body and drink his blood in order to have life. What controversy this caused. What does it mean? I believe Jesus was trying to tell us that we must feast on the example of Jesus life. He lived every second of his life serving God. It was never about bringing attention to him. It was about how much God loves us unconditionally. Jesus wanted us to feed on his life so that we were nourished in God and in turn others can feed on our lives and experience Gods love and pass it on. So let us feast on the richness of God’s beauty and love found in others and in ourselves. We are the body and blood of Christ.
rev. Michael Theogene