Posts

Showing posts from June, 2011

Faith like Rebekah

Rebekah, daughter of Bethuel, is an incredible woman of faith.  We don't usually hear too much about her.  No doubt she expected to live and die in Paddan-Aran (in modern Iraq).  People did not generally move around as much as we do today.  However, God had other plans for Rebekah.  One day she is out getting water at the village well and her life changes for ever.
  As she comes to the well, a man asks her for a drink of water.  She does not know that this man serves her relative, Abraham.  Nor does she know that the servant has come to find a bride for Isaac, Abraham's son.  In an act of gracious Middle Eastern hospitality, she offers to give the stranger a drink.  But she does not just stop there.  She waters the camels as well, going above and beyond the call of duty!
  This is exactly what Abraham's man had prayed for, a kind and caring woman who exceeds expectations.  The icing on the cake is that she is related to Abraham!  Rebekah takes a huge leap of faith.  She…

The Holy Trinity

This Sunday we celebrate Trinity Sunday- the one, yet three-ness of God.  For centuries, Christians have proclaimed their belief that God is one.  Yet in that One are three separate and equal beings: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (or Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer).

The Trinity is one of the hardest concepts to understand.  How can there be only one God but three persons within the one?  It defies human logic and physics.  St. Patrick used a three-leaf clover to explain it.  Mrs. Mailloux (my freshmen religion teacher at Nazareth Academy) used three lit matches that made one flame to explain it. 

Others have turned to human relationships to explain it.  For example, a woman can be a mother, and daughter, and a wife.  Such an explanation seems to flirt with modalism-- the (heretical or unorthodox) doctrine that the Persons of God are not permanent but that God "morphs" into each of the beings as needed.  And, of course, one can have more than three "hats&qu…

Pentecost

Originally Pentecost was a harvest festival, the Jewish Festival of Weeks.Fifty days after the Passover, by the Law of Moses, all Jewish persons were to be in Jerusalem to celebrate the feast (Leviticus 23:12-22).This explains the presence not only of Jesus’ followers but also of Jews from all over the Mediterranean.There they worship at the Temple and offer the first fruits of their harvests.The offerings would be dedicated in thanksgiving for God’s bounty.Prayers would be offered for continued prosperity. As the disciples gather for the Festival, a strange thing mystifying happens; the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in them just as Jesus promised.Jesus ‘ disciples are made bold and begin to tell the good news of Christ.By the Spirit’s power the eleven speak in foreign languages.Those gathered are able to hear the disciples in their native tongues.The disciples’ message of salvation through Jesus’ death and resurrection is made available for all to understand and embrace.Th…

Ascension Day

Today is 40 days after the joyous celebration of Easter.  Forty days have passed since we heard the wonderful news that death could not keep Jesus in the ground; the tomb where he was laid is miraculously empty.  Today we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension, Jesus' return to God's eternal Kingdom.  Along with Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, and All Saints' Day, the Ascension is one of the seven principal feast days of the Church.
When you go to the Holy Land, there is a little silo-looking building.It sits on the Mount of Olives, facing Jerusalem across the KidronValley.Several thin taper candles provide the only light.At the very center of the building is a place in the floor that is marked off by a border. Inside the boundary, like a picture in frame, is the impression of a single bare foot.Legend has it that this foot is no ordinary foot, however.Tradition has it that this footprint is all that Jesus left behind as He ascended into heaven to take …