The Word in Peace, Good Friday: Take Comfort in Discomforts

Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Luke 23:46; Psalm 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-17, 25; Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9; John 18:1-19:42

“Yet it was our pain that he bore,
our sufferings he endured.” - Isaiah 53:4

I woke up groggy and congested, starting a cloudy day alone.

It’s Good Friday.

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The Word in Peace, Holy Thursday: Christian Trifecta!

Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14; Psalm 116:12-13, 15-18; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-15

“Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do. Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.” - John 13:12-16

You know what I love about the Holy Thursday mass readings? This is the only time that all three readings describe three unique events that are central to our Catholic faith.

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“Were you there” (a Holy Week photo)

Were you there

“The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is laid in the tomb.” Mural detail from Loop-bound platform, 18th St. Pink Line station, Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Justin Sengstock, August 29, 2011.)

Lent 20/30: Lucy Mull

by Lucy Mull
Lucy is a CTA 20/30 member living in Massachusetts.
Their exit has no grace or mystery.
It’s a little death, hanging dry and measly
like a fruit inside them that never ripened. 
God, give us each our own death,
the dying that proceeds
from each of our lives:
the way we loved,
the meanings we made,
our need.
For we are only the rind and the leaf.
The great death, that each of us carries inside,
is the fruit.
Everything enfolds it. 
- Rainier Maria Rilke 

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The Word in Peace, Palm Sunday: With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Matthew 21:1-11; Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalm 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24; Philippians 2:6-11; Matthew 26:14-27:66

“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” - Matthew 27:46

Jesus knew a thing or two about the finicky nature of human fidelity. This weekend’s readings bear witness to that. In fact, the reading covering the Passion starts with Judas’ initial act of betrayal (Matthew 26:14).

It is easy to key in on Judas. He performed the ultimate act of betrayal by selling his spiritual leader to his death for 30 pieces of silver. The name “Judas” remains a synonym of the word “traitor,” along with “Benedict Arnold” and “Quisling.” But after taking a closer look at the readings today, betrayal was something of a common theme.

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“Dirty little secret”: Our Johannine church

P03-24-14_15.53We are in late Lent. The weekday Gospel readings are now all John, all the time.

And why not? We are bearing down on Holy Week, and John’s Jesus lives in a “Wanted” poster. They’re always trying to kill him, but can’t quite grab him; they seek to arrest him, but the hour hasn’t arrived. And so on. The liturgical point is that the hour will come.

I have a confession. I don’t much like John’s Jesus.

He has beautiful moments: “I am the resurrection and the life” (11:25). Or: “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you” (15:12). Or: “I am the vine, you are the branches” (15:5). Or: “I pray…so that they may all be one” (17:20-21).

Or this one above all: “Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?’ She thought it was the gardener and said to him, ‘Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’” (20:15-16).

But overall, John’s Jesus can be…well…tedious and arrogant. He expounds on his oneness with God. He demands that everybody and their grandma acknowledge it. He is disappointingly prone to context-free utterances about his exalted mission. At face value, he seems the type to stride into some random diner in some random part of town, shouting “Do you not know that I am he?!” when you just want to eat your pie and pay your bill. No wonder everybody had enough. Read more of this post

Lent 20/30: Francis Beaumier

by Francis Beaumier

Francis is an IT librarian and young progressive Catholic living in De Pere, Wisconsin – where he’s a member of both the Catholic Church and the Metropolitan Community Church. He is a member of Dignity Young Adult Caucus (DYAC).

I’ve always fought with Lent. Why would the church put such a focus on sin and suffering at a time when so much is happening with the transition to Spring (at least here in Wisconsin)? As part of my cranky reaction to Lent, I generally give a dismissive answer when someone asks, “What are you giving up for lent?” “I’m giving up,” I reply. It’s an answer that’s part “none of your business,” part “you’re asking the wrong question”, and part “oops I’m not quite sure what I’m doing for Lent yet.” But now with Lent more than half over, I’m ready to spill the beans: I’m trying to be more mindful this Lent. (This particular Lenten promise gets really fun when you happen to lose focus on a Sunday morning: “pardon me, I gave up mindlessness for Lent, but it’s Sunday, which doesn’t really count, so I’m really not paying any attention today.”)

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