Dining and dying with sinners

Palm Sunday = Passion Sunday (Year C)

The criminal on the neighbouring cross cried out – ‘This man has done nothing wrong’. Pilate had a sign attached to the cross above the head Jesus – as was the custom in the Roman Empire, to provide the charge that had been made against the victim of crucifixion – this man was a rebel; thief; murderer; run-away slave; etc. The accusation against Jesus reads ‘King of the Jews.’ This was meant to be ironic, since clearly he was not the king of the people who accused him of making claims to deny support to the Empire, and leading the people astray. The criminal was correct – no, this man had done nothing wrong – except forgive sins, heal and offer new hope and life to a people who desperately needed it.
There was an appropriateness in the fact that Jesus died between two sinners / criminals. He had after all spent the last few years almost exclusively in their company. He seemed good at finding all the wrong kind of people to hang out with. He even seemed to prefer the company of sinners. Perhaps he was trying to teach us something there?

6.00pm – Play MP3 – 6’31”
9.30am – Play MP3  – 6’08”
6.00pm – whole liturgy

Recorded at St Michael’s (9.30am and 6pm)

Skubala – and knowing Christ

Week 5 in the Season of Lent (Year C)

Paul, the Pharisee, after giving us his impeccable credentials for ministry within Judaism, then goes on to say why all of that – as impressive and amazing as it is – was as nothing compared to knowing the power of the resurrection at work in our life. We can know the same. And we can move beyond the need to have scapegoats and people to blame (like the crowd dragging the poor woman caught in the very act of adultery – by herself?) to experience the true nature of the law and righteousness.

Play MP3

Recorded at Sacred Heart, 9.30am (9’24”)

The lost sons

The fourth Sunday in Lent (Year C) – Luke 15.

We have been pondering during Lent what it means to be in right relationship with God. Today we are reminded in the readings of the desire of God for us to have a full and complete life. We begin with the book of Joshua and the movement from the wilderness and the manna in the desert into the settled and rich life of the promised land – which is a sign of the new creation (2nd reading). Finally the Gospel gives once again the richest and perhaps the most famous of all of the parables of Jesus. Over the centuries even the best name to call this parable has been the subject of considerable discussion. Its most common name in the English-speaking world comes from a marginal note in an early edition of the Latin Vulgate Bible – the parable of the Prodigal Son. In German it is usually called ‘Der Verlorene Sohn’ – the Lost Son, which goes well with the first two parables in Luke 15 – the lost sheep and the lost coin. But what is clear, is that whatever name we give the parable, it needs to acknowledge that this rich parable is about more than a single character: all three (father and both sons) are significant and teach us invaluable lessons across our journey this Lent.

Play MP3

Recorded at St Michael’s, 9.30am (10’16”)

Encountering the Sacred Tetragrammaton

Lent – week 3 (Year C) – Exodus 3:1-16

During Lent we travel with specific characters. In the first week we have journeyed into the wilderness with Israel as they pondered their past and looked toward their future in the promised land – and then stayed in the wilderness with Jesus as he spent 40 days facing ‘the satan.’ Last week we looked at the faith of Abraham cutting a covenant with God, and then the glory of Jesus as he was revealed (with Moses and Elijah) before the disciples on the heights of a mountain. Now, we focus on one of those witnesses and we observe Moses as he encounters the Lord in the burning bush on the side of another mountain – Horeb/Sinai. Moses has been in the wilderness for some years after fleeing the household of the Pharaoh and lived with a priest of Midian. So he was familiar with the area and with the worship of the local gods. So when he comes across this bush that is ablaze – yet not being annihilated or destroyed – he must wonder which of the gods is responsible. So he moves forward to investigate and instead encounters the one that the Rabbis will only ever refer to as the Sacred Tetragrammaton – the one who knows him by name, who knows his ancestors and has seen the affliction of his people; he has heard their cry; he knows of their suffering. So what might happen when we encounter the one who identifies himself as ‘yo he va he‘?

Play MP3

Recorded at St Michael’s 6pm (11’25”)