A Homily – Second Sunday of Lent (Year A)

First Reading – Genesis 12:1-4 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 32(33):4-5, 18-20, 22 ©
Second Reading – 2 Timothy 1:8-10 ©
Gospel Acclamation – Matthew 17:5
The Gospel According to Matthew – 17:1 – 9 ©

(NJB)

Second Sunday of Lent (Year A)
Listen!

It is possible for the entire world to be blessed through the actions of a single person.

God, the creator of the universe, God does not intervene in human affairs. God does not show preference to one nation above another, one tribe over another or one person over their sister and brother.

God does not build nations, or intervene in their progress to make them great.

God does not distribute blessings and curses capriciously.

God has made every person, and the entire universe free.

Be mindful of this!

It is fitting to praise God. It is wise to trust in divine mercy; though do not expect God to rescue you from danger, and do not believe that God’s loves any one of God’s children more than any other.

You have heard this said:

God knows all things, God understands all things, but God’s knowledge is not an abstract knowledge of the particular details of individual events. God understands us, our person, our choices, our lives; God’s understands us even as we understand ourselves, only with a clarity that we could never possess.

Trust in God’s plan for you, and for creation, but do not wait for salvation. God made you well at the beginning, go and share the good news.

We are already saved, our salvation is a gift of grace, and no-one is excluded.

We have been given the power to know the truth and love goodness, we are asked to be kind and show mercy.

Let Jesus show you the way.

Know this!

Before the beginning of time, God’s saving purpose was at work in creation. All that we experience here was conceived in the saving will of God.

Let your mind dwell on this.

God has called us to be holy, at all times the voice of God can be heard speaking in the heart, calling to us, inviting us into a life of compassion and wellbeing.

God, the creator of the universe; God does this out of love. It was God’s plan from the beginning of time, that there would not be one of us, not one child of God, not one being in the whole of creation who is outside of God’s plan.

Jesus revealed this through the love he bore, he showed us the way.

Follow it!

The resurrection does not show us that God has abolished death as much as it reveals that the death of the body is merely a transition, which we all pass through on our journey toward the light.

Consider the Gospel for today:

As Christians we are bound to read it in the context of its truthfulness.

Let the Spirit of Truth guide us, even if it means rejecting the Gospel as it is written.

There may have been an event, when Jesus together with James and John went up the mountain by themselves.

It may have been that in this time Jesus taught his companions the essential message that his ministry was in keeping with that of Moses, the liberator, the law giver; and Elijah, the truthteller.

Something like that may have happened but the supernatural events described in the reading for today did not.

God, the creator of the universe, God does not engage in supernatural activities. God is the author of nature and of its laws. God does not violate these laws for any reason.

It may also be that Jesus wanted to connect his ministry to the mythology of Enoch, he may have taught this to the disciples, to preparing them for his passing and his eventual return.

Jesus did warn the disciples that his ministry would lead to his death, but like Enoch, the Son of Man, death would not stop him.

Jesus may have wanted them to believe this, just as he may have wanted them to believe that the ministry of John the Baptist was being carried on through him.

Be mindful!

Read the Gospel in such a way that you strip from it the fantastical elements, the magic and miracles if they are not treated as metaphors, elucidate nothing. Insisting they are real is contrary to the way.
First Reading – Genesis 12:1-4 ©

All the Tribes of the Earth Shall Bless Themselves by You

The Lord said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your family and your father’s house, for the land I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name so famous that it will be used as a blessing.

‘I will bless those who bless you: I will curse those who slight you.

All the tribes of the earth shall bless themselves by you.’

So Abram went as the Lord told him.
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 32(33):4-5, 18-20, 22 ©

May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.

The word of the Lord is faithful
and all his works to be trusted.
The Lord loves justice and right
and fills the earth with his love.

May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.

The Lord looks on those who revere him,
on those who hope in his love,
to rescue their souls from death,
to keep them alive in famine.

May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.

Our soul is waiting for the Lord.
The Lord is our help and our shield.
May your love be upon us, O Lord,
as we place all our hope in you.

May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.
Second Reading – 2 Timothy 1:8-10 ©

God Calls and Enlightens Us

With me, bear the hardships for the sake of the Good News, relying on the power of God who has saved us and called us to be holy – not because of anything we ourselves have done but for his own purpose and by his own grace. This grace had already been granted to us, in Christ Jesus, before the beginning of time, but it has only been revealed by the Appearing of our saviour Christ Jesus. He abolished death, and he has proclaimed life and immortality through the Good News.
Gospel Acclamation – Matthew 17:5

Glory and praise to you, O Christ!

From the bright cloud the Father’s voice was heard:
‘This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.’

Glory and praise to you, O Christ!
The Gospel According to Matthew – 17:1 – 9 ©

His Face Shone Like the Sun

Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone. There in their presence he was transfigured: his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared to them; they were talking with him. Then Peter spoke to Jesus. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘it is wonderful for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ He was still speaking when suddenly a bright cloud covered them with shadow, and from the cloud there came a voice which said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. Listen to him.’ When they heard this the disciples fell on their faces overcome with fear. But Jesus came up and touched them. ‘Stand up,’ he said ‘do not be afraid.’ And when they raised their eyes they saw no one but only Jesus.

As they came down from the mountain Jesus gave them this order, ‘Tell no one about the vision until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.’
Second Sunday of Lent (Year A)

Homily – 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C), Feast of the Most Holy Trinity

First Reading – Proverbs 8:22-31 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 8:4-9 ©
Second Reading – Romans 5:1-5 ©
Gospel Acclamation – Revelation 1:8
The Gospel According to John 16:12-15 ©

(NJB)
The reading from Proverbs today speaks to the eternality of God’s wisdom, as well to the basic division of the God’s into more than one co-eternal being.

The author of Proverbs speaks of Wisdom as the personification of one God’s primary attributes, and as God’s constant companion and co-creator of the universe. In Greek Wisdom is Sophia and the name connotes a feminine nature within the Godhead. Wisdom is often associated with the Holy Spirit, God’s spirit, or the Spirit of Truth, a force for good which has been poured out on all creation.

However, in this reading the narrative concerning active nature of Wisdom as co-creator and co-builder of the universe is more directly connected to the Son of God, God’s Word the Logos, who is a representation of God’s reason in the world, and whose name connotes the masculine nature within the Godhead.

Wisdom and Reason are the anima and animus of the Godhead.

Sophia or Logos, Son or Spirit, the idea behind this is clear. The eternal God, creator of the universe, God is undivided and one, but for our sake we speak of God in regard to God’s attributes, attributes which god is never separated from: reason and wisdom, justice and mercy, and love.

Be mindful of how the reading for proverbs ends, it speaks of God’s delight in the company of the sons of men.

Be mindful of how, in God’s wisdom, God loves us, God loves us without qualification as to our righteousness, or our errant ways.

God loves us, is with us always, and delights in who we are.

God loves us a parent loves a child, God loves us as a friend.

Therefore when you pray, do not speak to God; the creator of the universe as if you were a courtier.

God is not Emperor, God is not King, God is not Lord. God is mother, father, sister, brother, friend and neighbor. God is the stranger in our midst.

God knows full well about the glory of creation, God neither requires nor desires our praise, but thanks in consideration of the cost in terms of pain and suffering that God bears on our behalf to maintain the created order for our sake.

Listen!

God knows what is actually in our heart when we boast of God in praise and song. God knows the depth of our belief, and our unbelief, God knows when we are true and when we are false.

God knows the measure of our faith and doubt. God loves us and forgives us just the same.

Be mindful of what the psalmist says. Reject the false characterization of who God is.

God has no enemies.

Be mindful.

When we say that we are judged as righteous and at peace with God by faith; we mean to say that our trust in God’s promise of peace and in the restoration of the whole world, a promise made plain to us through the life and teaching of Jesus, our faith in this promise allows us to lead lives that are righteous and in keeping with God’s will.

If we trust in God we will find peace, despite how we may suffer as we work for the restoration of the world; if we trust we will persevere in our quest to bring justice to the broken and downtrodden.

Let us not be boastful in this, but confident that the trust we have in God’s plan for the entire human race is itself faith in the vision of God’s glory, in the glory of mercy and the glory of love.

God is glorified in us, through right relationships, through the good we bring to each other.

When we are able to see the glory of God present in the lives of the other, when we can see it present in the lives of enemies and competitors, then the glory of God will be magnified in us, manifested in the love and care we show toward one another.

Be mindful of the supernatural when you encounter it in scripture. The meaning is always metaphorical, allegorical. It stands for something else.

Consider the nature of prophecy, it is never a prediction of the future, it is always a commentary on current events. In this case it is a commentary on justice and the nature of the good.

Saint John of Patmos claims a certain authority, it belongs to him insofar as he speaks the truth. the authority does not belong to him in his errors.

All of the saints, including the apostles and the disciples of Jesus, including those who walked with him and were closest to him, all of them erred, there is no denying it.

To error is a part of the human condition.

The central error of this passage from the Apocalypse is this: John pretends to have been given a revelation of things to come, but the future is not written, because God has made us, and the entire creation free.

We are from coercion and independent beings. Prophecy is not of the future, it is vanity and hubris to think that it is so.

This Gospel reading comes to us on a day the Christian calendar marks as the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity.

What can be said about it.

For 1,700 years the Church has professed a belief in God, the creator of the universe that is “Trinitarian” in nature.

Christianity asserts on the one hand, that there is one God, one creator, one center of all reality; and on the other hand that God is three distinct persons.

Christians have always pointed to such passages as this in John to justify this claim, and yet there is no logic to it. The arguments for a Trinitarian God are absurd on their face.

The notion that there is a rationale for such a faith claim in this passage of John is also a claim without basis.

To the first part:

The Trinitarian God has three persons; the father, the son, and the spirit. They are all three, uncreated and co-eternal, omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent. They are co-extensive in all of their attributes, where any part of the Godhead exists (God exists in all times and all places), the fullness of God exists without division.

This is to say that God is one, not three, but one.

Christian doctrine asserts faith in a Trinitarian God, but it will not admit that in the Godhead there is any division, distinction or differentiation. Christians have always acknowledged the logical fallacy of such a position, but have sidestepped the implication that this view is in error by asserting that it is a mystery, and that the believer must trust in the reality considered by the words.

This is unnecessary. God is no less God if we consider God in god’s oneness, rather than in light of the metaphorical trinity.

The Church did a disservice to all Christians when it formed a creed around its Trinitarian beliefs, which subsequently became a litmus test for all of those who wished to enter the church, or be in sacramental union with it.

It was a bold move of balderdash, requiring all Christian to confess their belief in a falsehood, a lie wrapped in a mystery which the Church could not explain and the people could not comprehend.

To the second part:

Far from pointing to the unity of three persons in the Godhead; the narrative in John speaks to the distinctions and differences in the figures of the father and the son, and in the spirit. It speaks of the son as an agent of the father, and the spirit of truth as a figure commissioned by the son to continue the education of the believing community.

It is all very arcane, and it does little to illuminate the central message of Jesus’ teaching, which is this; to love one another, as God loves us.

Our faith in God, in the loving God who created and sustains all that is, our faith in the son-ship of Jesus, in his mission, in the way, cannot be forced to be dependent on our acceptance of these Trinitarian absurdities.

God is one, God is one in Christ, as God is one in all of us.
First Reading – Proverbs 8:22-31 ©

Before the Earth Came into Being, Wisdom was Born

The Wisdom of God cries aloud:

The Lord created me when his purpose first unfolded, before the oldest of his works.

From everlasting I was firmly set, from the beginning, before earth came into being.

The deep was not, when I was born, there were no springs to gush with water.

Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, I came to birth; before he made the earth, the countryside, or the first grains of the world’s dust.

When he fixed the heavens firm, I was there, when he drew a ring on the surface of the deep, when he thickened the clouds above, when he fixed fast the springs of the deep, when he assigned the sea its boundaries – and the waters will not invade the shore – when he laid down the foundations of the earth, I was by his side, a master craftsman, delighting him day after day, ever at play in his presence, at play everywhere in his world, delighting to be with the sons of men.
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 8:4-9 ©

How great is your name, O Lord our God, through all the earth!

When I see the heavens, the work of your hands,
the moon and the stars which you arranged,
what is man that you should keep him in mind,
mortal man that you care for him?

How great is your name, O Lord our God, through all the earth!

Yet you have made him little less than a god;
with glory and honour you crowned him,
gave him power over the works of your hand,
put all things under his feet.

How great is your name, O Lord our God, through all the earth!

All of them, sheep and cattle,
yes, even the savage beasts,
birds of the air, and fish
that make their way through the waters.

How great is your name, O Lord our God, through all the earth!
Second Reading – Romans 5:1-5 ©

The Love of God Has Been Poured into Our Hearts

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, by faith we are judged righteous and at peace with God, since it is by faith and through Jesus that we have entered this state of grace in which we can boast about looking forward to God’s glory. But that is not all we can boast about; we can boast about our sufferings. These sufferings bring patience, as we know, and patience brings perseverance, and perseverance brings hope, and this hope is not deceptive, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given us.
Gospel Acclamation – Revelation 1:8

Alleluia, alleluia!

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
the God who is, who was, and who is to come.

Alleluia!
The Gospel According to John 16:12-15 ©

The Spirit of Truth Will Lead You to the Complete Truth

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘I still have many things to say to you but they would be too much for you now. But when the Spirit of truth comes he will lead you to the complete truth, since he will not be speaking as from himself but will say only what he has learnt; and he will tell you of the things to come.

He will glorify me, since all he tells you will be taken from what is mine.

Everything the Father has is mine; that is why I said:

All he tells you will be taken from what is mine.’
10th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – The Most Holy Trinity

Void

Void
 
I stole the future, and stuffed it into a sack of visions
 
I wandered through the webs of time, careful as a spider
 
Spinning
 
I wove strings of possibilities, each lighted thread a snare
 
I hid in truth’s shadow, orbiting the event horizon
 
Stretching
 
I shut my eyes against the dark, and I whispered to the void
 
While I slipped beyond the veil of knowing
 
Unbecoming I
 
 
Given at the New Shit Show Minneapolis
Tatterwood Gallery
2017.07.21
 
#Poetry
#NewShitShow
#TatterwoodGallery

Attached to a Phone Cord

It was an image out of time

 

A man walking with telephone in hand

 

The long handset at his right ear

 

The bulky base hanging from his fingers

 

At his waist, the curling cord

 

Like a bandolier across his chest

 

A long cable trailing along the floor

 

A slender, flat worm, fixed to the wall

 

Shifting as he paced around the room

 

Watch, as from time to time he switches

 

The parts of the phone form hand to hand

 

Pausing for a moment to cradle the handset

 

Between his shoulder and his ear

 

The phone base swings from left to right

 

The handset mid-sentence, from right to left

 

An archaic dance, a vision from childhood

 

When we were tethered by the cable

 

To the phone, by the cord

 

Within which electrons flow

 

As now they pass right through us

 

Ten thousand conversations at a time

 

Binary signals in the ether, invisible fingers

 

Digital ones, and zeros, drawing pictures

 

Touching nerves

 

Inside us 

 

Given on the open mic at:

 

The New Shit Show, Minneapolis

The Fox Egg Gallery

2016.10.21