On Ascension Day, God Has Done Two Things

Once upon a time, Fr. John finds three little boys sitting on a curb playing hooky from school. “Don’t you want to go to heaven?” he admonishes them. “I sure do,” two of the boys answer, but the third replies, “No sir.” “What’s the matter? You mean you don’t want to go to heaven when you die?” “Oh, when I die!” exclaims the youngster. “Of course I do, when I die. I thought you were getting up a crowd to go now.”

If we are faithful to the Gospel, where do we go when we die?

We often say, “ I want to go to heaven.” The Acts of the Apostles describes Jesus being lifted up and the apostles gawking up into the heavens. Many think heaven is in the skies.

If we believe this, then our favorite song is “From a Distance,” made popular by Bette Midler. “God is watching us. God is watching us. God is watching is us from a distance.” Is this what we believe? Seriously? No, God is NOT watching us from a distance. God is not watching us…God is intimately involved with us and in the person of Jesus, God has done two things on Ascension Day.

First, human nature enters heaven. The human personality of the second person of the Blessed Trinity walks into the glory of what we will know as eternal life.

Second, Jesus goes “more deeply into our world,” according to Bishop Robert Barron. He goes “to heaven so as to direct operations more fully here on earth.”

In his letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul prays that the eyes of our hearts be enlightened. If we allow ourselves to see with the eyes of faith, what might we behold? Heaven…heaven…it is all around us. But like the eleven, we doubt that idea that heaven is all around us, and, closer than we think. The word doubt for St. Matthew means “to stand in two ways, uncertain as which to take.” Like the Scarecrow and Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ, there is a “fork” in the yellow brick road. They are uncertain as which to take. But they stick together and choose wisely. Maybe that is how we can find heaven here on earth, stick together and know that Jesus is with us always.

The Lord is always present here, especially at the celebration of the Eucharist. We are his body and he gives us the great commission: baptize and teach. When we participate in these sacraments together we experience heaven.

The Rev. Fr. Dr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.

Ascension Day

Cycle A

2017

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Paraclete People

Once upon a time, a young woman enters the library and walks up to the reference desk.  The student librarian asks, “May I help you?”  “I am looking for the self-help books, please.”  “Well,” the librarian says, “I could assist you but that would defeat the purpose, would it not?”

Ok, question:  Are you a “pelagian person” or a Paraclete Person?”

There arose in the 5th century an Irish monk by the name of Pelagius.  He claimed that human beings have a natural tendency to save themselves.  We can fulfill our own destiny.  We are naturally good and we can do it on our own…in other words…we can “self-help” ourselves. His biggest opponent was St. Augustine.  Good works without God’s Grace are empty deeds. We are always in need of God’s grace, he says.

In other words, we need the Holy Spirit.  St. John names the Holy Spirit as “Advocate,” using the Greek word, Paraclete.  We all need someone to plead our cause. Literally, the word means, “called to the side of.”  The Holy Spirit is the “One Whom We Call to our Side to Assist Us.”  But be careful, warns theologian, Sister Barbara Reid.  This is not a cozy, comfy definition.  This Advocate nudges us out of the nest like a mother bird.  This Advocate stands by us but urges us, moves us “into mission,” so says the Dominican, Fr. Timothy Radcliffe.

To illustrate, Fr. Andrew Greeley tells the story of a young Irish girl who was orphaned at age fourteen.  A neighbor had relatives in America and wrote asking if they could take her in as a servant rather than let her be sent to an orphanage.  The American couple agreed, and paid for her passage.  When the girl arrived, the American couple greeted her at immigration. After having cleared customs they took her to their home.  During the evening meal they told her, “We really don’t need a servant, but we have room for another daughter.”  They become her Advocate!

We read in the scriptures that when the people of Samaria accepted the word of God they needed the Advocate! The Christians there had been baptized but still they did not receive the Holy Spirit.  So, the community sent Peter and John who laid hands on them so that they could receive the Holy Spirit.  We need people to lay hands on us so that when we feel lost, when we feel like orphans, when we struggle to get it together, we have an Advocate, someone to stand at our side to please our cause.  And how do obtain such a divine spirit?  St. Peter says that we take hold of the Holy Spirit through holiness of heart. Keep the commandments, Jesus says.  Grab hold of the spirit of the commandments and live them.

At the Eucharist, we remember that often we think we can “self-help” ourselves.  But here at the altar, we know that this type of thinking is just fantasy.  “There for the grace of God go I.”  So, admit it, we must always be Paraclete People, because without the Advocate, there is no salvation.

The Sixth Sunday of Paschal tide A

The Rev. Fr. Dr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.

Spirit

 

 

Finding the Voice of God

Once upon a time, a mother is reading a book about animals to her 3 year-old daughter. Mother: “What does the cow say?” Child: “Moo!” Mother: “Great! What does the cat say?” Child: “Meow.” Mother: “What does a lamb say?” Child: “Baaa.” Mother: “Oh, you’re so smart! What does the frog say?” And this wide-eyed little 3 year-old looks up at her mother and in her deepest voice replies, “Bud.”

The Voice of the Shepherd…”calls his own sheep”…”they recognize his voice.” How can I find the voice of God?

The word “voice” comes from the French and the Latin. The word means a “sound,” a “call,” or a “tone.” We like to listen to singers and musicians because of their voices. I like Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, and, yes, Lady Gaga, because of the tones or sounds of their voices. Jesus uses the word “voice” to make a connection with his flock. If we follow the voice it is because his voice resonates. If he finds us it is because he hears our call. Since now is a good day to talk about the voice of God, we might ask ourselves, “how can I hear or even find the voice of God?”

Primarily, we hear the Good Shepherd at the mass. For Catholics, the Eucharist is the most important event where we find the Divine Call. However, this may be one of the reasons why some people do not hear God. Seventy-five percent of Americans Catholics do not go to Church. But many times when we do attend mass in this country, the preaching is poor and the music is blah. If we concentrate on the beauty of the liturgy we would hear, we would find the tone of God’s voice.

We hear the Good Shepherd when we ponder the words of scripture. In the words of Bishop Robert Barron, we do not read the Bible, “We hear the Bible.” As Benedictines we pride ourselves on Lectio Divina, the slow rumination of the sacred texts. God speaks in the Bible and in the writings of Tradition. But if we do not take time to pick up the “Book,” or, if we hate the Church, we may be deaf to the Divine Call.

We hear the Good Shepherd in the community, especially our spiritual friends. When my father and I struggled hearing two surgeons turn him down for surgery, I turned to my spiritual friends, believe it or not, on FACEBOOK. I asked for prayers, and, I got a surgeon sent by the Holy Spirit and the intervention of the Servant of God, Dorothy Day. It has been six days now. The surgery was successful and my 85 year-old father grows stronger every day.

We hear the Good Shepherd in our consciences. Even Pope Francis speaks of that ancient Catholic practice of following one’s conscience. He says, the church has “been called to form consciences, not to replace them.” It must be an enlightened conscience where we discern with another member of the Church. But one’s conscience is inviolable.  [See uscatholic.org, “A controversial Catholic conscience]

In the words of St. Peter, “Save yourselves…” Listen to the tone of God’s voice. It speaks mercy especially at the Eucharist.

The Rev. Fr. Dr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.

4th Sunday of Easter

Good Shepherd Sunday

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Walking with “The Sacred Stranger” on a Warm Spring

Once upon a time, someone gives Sacred Heart Monastery a new motorcycle. Quietly one afternoon, two sisters walk into the garage. They get on the motorcycle and off they go. They do not even travel one mile when a police officer stops them. “Excuse, me, but you are going way too fast. Where are you coming from today?” “Officer,” we are two Benedictine sisters down the street. And we just got this new motorcycle.” “Well,” says the officer, “you are not obeying the rules of the road. What if you have an accident?” “Oh, don’t worry,” says one of the sisters. “Jesus is with us.” “Ok, that’s it,” blurts out the officer, “I’m giving you a ticket. Three people are not allowed to ride on a motorcycle.”

Riding with Jesus is always a sacramental moment. Recall the Catholic Catechism: “What is a sacrament?” “A Sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.” There are Sacraments with upper case “S.” There are sacraments with lower case “s.” Then, there are sacramental moments- those times when we touch, we see, we hear, we feel, we intuit the holy, and something inside happens to us.

The Emmaus* story is a collection of sacramental moments. We might be interested to know that the main character, the Risen Lord, meets two fascinating people. Luke names one of the persons as “Cleopas.” In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, Cleopas is the uncle of Jesus. And according to the scripture scholar, Fr. John O’Donahue, the other person on the road to Emmaus is his wife, “Mary,” who stands with the other women at the cross. For our homily today, they are the first couple to experience deep sacramental moments as they meet “the Stranger” on the road. “The Stranger,” as Benedictine Sister Verna Holyhead calls him, explains the true meaning of the scriptures and something burns inside them. “The Stranger” walks with them along the road and something burns inside them. “The Stranger” enters their home for the evening supper and something burns inside them. “The Stranger” breaks the bread and vanishes from their sight. “And it happened,” these sacramental moments one after another after another set their hearts aflame!

Ever have a sacramental moment in which God set your heart on fire? Has the Holy ever stopped us in our tracks?

Allow me to share with you a sacramental moment. One month ago, my dad’s doctors diagnose my father with esophageal cancer that spread to one lymph node. They tell him that surgery is not an option due to his age- chemotherapy and radiation are the only ways to treat this condition. I post on FACEBOOK asking for prayers for my father and a friend of mine who is an alumnus of Benet encourages me to contact his brother who is a thoracic surgeon at Advocate Christ in Oak Lawn. He performs these surgeries all the time. I give Dr. Paul Gordon my father’s contact information and he tells my father to come in and see him on April 26. Now, backing up a little, I will share with you that I am praying to the Servant of God, Dorothy Day, for a miracle. She is an oblate of the abbey. The very day that Dr. Gordon asks to interview my father is April 26- the sixty-second anniversary of Dorothy Day’s oblation to St. Procopius Abbey. There are no such things as coincidences and my dad needs a miracle. And I expect one just like Cleopas and Mary expect a miracle on the road back home.

It is possible to encounter “The Stranger” who is really “The Sacred Stranger” and walk home with burning hearts. But we need to let go of the old tired stories. Cleopas and Mary had to let go of their old hopes and dreams that Jesus would be a Messiah-Political King. I need to let go of my need to cure dad and tell him what to do. I need to let God take over and guide the surgeons and the nurses. I need to understand that allowing “The Sacred Stranger” who is Spirit is a Benedictine grace-filled moment. In the words of St. Peter, when we invoke the name of God we find reverence on the journey. We tell stories. We break bread. It may be two, three or more of us. When these sacramental moments appear, they stop in us in our tracks. We are never alone- Jesus always accompanies us! He is faithful to the end and we can be faithful too. Alleluia!

*Emmaus in Hebrew [‫חמת‬‎ Hammat] means, “Warm Spring.”

The 3rd Sunday of Easter A

The Rev. Fr. Dr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.

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Wounds

Wounds. They are injuries to living tissue. They hurt. They scar. They heal slowly. And if wounds are public, people stare. Or, they whisper about us when they see them especially if they leave deep red scars. Someone once said, “Wounds are liked locked doors.”

Dr. Alyce McKenzie, professor of preaching at Perkins School of Theology, says: “…When someone…is locked in, someone else has to be locked out.” When the disciples lock themselves in, they also think that they lock everyone else out of the room, maybe Thomas, and then of course, the Risen Crucified Christ. The Lutheran pastor, Dr. Gordon Lathrop says, “You don’t have to knock very hard on any door in your parish to find some sort of agony behind that door.”

What if our wounds are really the essence of being Christian and Catholic? Sister Verna Holyhead quotes from the agnostic poet and essayist, Charles Peguy who tells a story about a man who dies and arrives at the Pearly Gates. “The recording angel [says} to him, ‘Show me your wounds.’ ‘Wounds?’ [replies] the man, ‘I haven’t got any.’ And the angel [asks] ‘Did you never think that anything was worth fighting for?’”

St. John the Evangelist tells us about the wounds of the Eleven and the early disciples. They are in mourning, fearful, and trembling behind locked doors. They struggle to believe the words of some of the women who claim that Jesus is alive.

St. Luke the Evangelist tells us about the wounds of people in the streets. Those sick or with unclean spirits lay on mats and cots hoping to touch or hear healing words of the disciples. Those in the streets even hope that the shadows of the apostles fall upon them to be healed.

St. John tells us about his wounds. He tells his fellow Christians about his exile to the penal colony on the island of Patmos. They exile him for believing in Christ. To support his mission of preaching the Gospel the Lord grants him visions. The visions form the beginning of the Book of Revelation. They confirm his faith.

To confirm the faith of those locked in the Upper Room, the Risen Crucified Christ shows the disciples his hands and his side. He begins with Thomas. I do not think that Thomas doubts the Resurrection. But I do believe that he stood between a rock and a hard place. Whom is he to believe, ten men who are cowards, or, a few women whom society does not count as credible? So, to prove that he is alive, Jesus shows Thomas all his wounds. “Grope me,” he actually says, “grope me as a blind person gropes in the dark; know that I am real.”

I believe that unless we allow each other to see our wounds, resurrection is not complete. The wounds of Christ are everywhere in our liturgy. Look at the Paschal Candle. They contain the five wounds of Christ. Look at the altar. At the consecration, the bishop pours chrism oil first in the middle of the table and then around at four corners signifying the five wounds of Christ. And from this altar, we receive the broken body and the poured-out-blood of Christ.

Wounds. Jesus has them. We have them. They hurt. They scar. They are Christian. They are sacramental.

 

Abbey Church Crucifix

The Rev. Fr. Dr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.

Second Sunday of Easter 2016

 

Fresh Batches of Dough

Once upon a time, sometime ago, I shopped for an Easter card.  While I enjoy beautiful Easter cards with deep theological messages, one caught my eye and made me laugh.  Picture a photograph of the 1950’s with mom in the kitchen preparing the dough for Easter bakery.  She wears an apron and smiles broadly down at her daughter who stands beside her looking up at mom.  Under the picture the caption reads: “Moms mentor their daughters the best to prepare for the holidays.  One holiday, Fannie learned how to crack an egg, how to add the flour and yeast, why to preheat the oven, and, oh, that it’s best to unplug the beaters before licking them.”  Inside the card read: “Oh, Happy Easter.”

In the words of St. Paul, “Clear out the old yeast, so that you may become a fresh batch of dough.”

During the forty days of Lent, what kind of old yeast did we uncover in the tombs of our lives?  St. Paul tells us that the old yeast smells like “malice” and “wickedness.”   Malice is nothing less than nastiness and meanness.   And wickedness runs the entire gambit from plotting evil to stupid tomfoolery.  But, hey, this Easter, and on Easter Day we need to hear a good word.

So, how do we become fresh batches of dough?  Remember, a little yeast leavens all the dough.  The answer might be found in Peter’s exhortation in ACTS.  Jesus “went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil for God was with him.”  His works and his mission were so dynamic that not even a tomb could contain him.  In fact, when we study St. John’s words closely, we understand that the Risen Crucified Lord rose right through the burial clothes.  And just last month, when scientists travelled down into the Holy Sepulcher as they were cleaning it and excavating it, the electromagnetic field was so strong their equipment shut down.

The Risen Crucified Risen calls you and me to be fresh batches of dough by doing good and setting people free.    St. Paul is correct in his advice today on Easter Sunday.  If we want to really sort things out for the next fifty days, what if we learn a lesson from our Jewish brothers and sisters who celebrate Passover this week?  That advice is this:  out with the old and in with the new.  In Judaism, in the days before Passover, the entire refrigerator is cleaned out.  Everything is pitched, including open food packages, cans and containers.  Clean up the old habits.  Open the doors of those closets and basements.  Sweep out the cobwebs.  Vacuum the corners.  Pull open the stone that covers the tomb of our hearts.  Stop that evil habit of mind; live sincerely.  So, to show the world that we are sincere we now stand and turn to the font of life to renew our baptismal promises.

The Rev. Fr. Dr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.

Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

2017

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Were Women Present at the Last Supper?

In the latest US Catholic magazine online, Alice Camille posits a fascinating question: “Were women at the Last Supper?”[1]  Her answer is that they were there in “the typical capacity.”  She bases her response on 21st century Palestinian meal practices and on how women are mentioned in the Gospels.  First, she relates a story from a male friend working in Palestine. A Palestinian staff member invites her friend to his house.  Since there is a male guest in the house, the wife and children remain outside.  They eat afterwards.  Also, Alice contends that when a woman is named or spoken about in the Gospel stories it is because she breaks a boundary or a “protocol” and therefore she is remembered in the story.  Take for example, the hemorrhaging woman who touches the Lord’s tassels, or, Mary barging into the dinner and anointing Christ’s feet.  If women were present at the Last Supper we would have heard about them, she claims.  However, she ends the article with these words, [they] “were present in the typical capacity: serving food and removing dishes—always attentive to every word they could catch from the Teacher’s lips.”

What would they hear and be surprised at as they walked in and out of the room?  They would have gasped at Jesus getting up from the couch and putting on a towel to wash the disciples’ feet.  “He performs menial tasks like us,” they would say, “even cleaning dirty feet.”  They might even have stopped and stared as they walked in and out of the room.  Then the women would hear Jesus tell the Twelve that what he did is a model of ministry.  The women would smile at that line.  They would hear Jesus dismiss Judas and they would wonder why he left only to find out that he betrayed him.  They would hear Jesus tell Peter that he would deny him.  The chatter outside the room would be astounding.  They would wonder why Jesus told them that when the shepherd is struck down, the sheep will scatter.  They wonder about that line because if any remain with the Lord at his Passion, it is the women who remain to the end even to witness the burial plot.  Coming in and out of the room, I wonder how the women reacted to the words St. Paul wrote for us tonight, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”  Since women and children ate dinner after the men, when they sat down for their meal did they finish the cup Jesus blessed and thus joined themselves to Christ at his Last Supper?

In the words of the writer of Exodus, “It is the Passover of the Lord.”  For Christians, the account of the first Eucharist begins the sacred three days.  Not only were the men intricately involved in those three days but so were the women disciples.  And I suspect that the women caught more words that fell from the Master’s lips because Jesus allowed them to break those protocols to be members of the kingdom.

At this Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, we all need to catch words from the Teacher’s lips.  Since we are all here to celebrate the Eucharist in remembrance of Christ, I hope we hear the words we desperately need in our lives.

[1] http://www.uscatholic.org/articles/201704/were-women-last-supper-30977?utm_source=April+10%2C+2017&utm_campaign=April+10%2C+2017&utm_medium=email

The Rev. Fr. Dr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.

Holy Thursday Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper

2017

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Lord, where are you?

Who in the world has not told the Lord, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died?” I tell God this all the time. My brother dies at the age of 57, where are you, Lord? Last week, we find out that my dad has cancer. Lord, where are you? I know you ask this same question. Your husband goes in for surgery and he dies from a blood disease. You get a phone call only to hear that your child dies suddenly, or, that your son has a stroke. “Lord, where in the hell are you when these things happen?”

How can we begin to answer this question? We can look to this Gospel (the raising of Lazarus in John) to find out what Jesus does when he encounters a crisis. What does he do when his friend dies? He cries. Then, he gets perturbed. Then, he is disturbed. Those words really mean, “to snort with anger.” Twice when they tell him the news that Lazarus is dead and when they show him the tomb, Jesus snorts with anger. Jesus is angry at death, and decides that it does not have the last word. Notice that Jesus channels his righteous anger into prayer and action. The Father hears his Son’s prayer and Jesus raises his friend from the dead. Notice also that Jesus does not go into the tomb nor does he unwrap his friend, Lazarus. In the words of an early Christian writer, the Lord asks the Church to “Untie him and let him go…” back into the community of believers. This is how cancer walks begin. This is how water bucket challenges start. This is how people form organizations that raise money that fight MS, cancer, ALS…the list is endless.

So where is the Lord when crisis hits? I find the Lord in the support I receive from the Church. When I announce on FACEBOOK, “Please pray for my father who has esophageal cancer,” Eric calls me to tell me that he has the same cancer. John calls me to tell me that his father, his uncle, and his grandfather died from it. It is the Church who responds. They help untie me and they tell me to go and fight it. I do not believe that God sends cancer. I do not believe that God sends any disease to test us like puppets on strings. Jesus does not allow death and the tomb to conquer either him or his friends. In the words of the prophet Ezekiel, “I will put my spirit in you that you may live.” We Christians are people of the resurrection, according to St. Paul. What my father needs now from me, what my friends with MS and other debilitating diseases need are words of resurrection and life.

At this Eucharist, it is ok to be angry at death, at cancer, at a stroke, at MS and at all those crises that affect our lives. Jesus demonstrates to us that righteous anger gets things done and he asks us to untie those still wrapped in burial clothes.

The Rev. Fr. Dr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.

5th Sunday of Lent

Cycle A

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In Memory of Brian P. Franks

1959-2016

Do Not Become a Respectable Prisoner of Received Images!

Once upon a time, a man sits down at his desk to begin the day’s work when a co-worker runs breathless into the office.  “I was almost killed outside!  I had just walked out of the deli where I buy my egg salad sandwich every morning.  Suddenly, a police car comes speeding down the street, chasing another car.  The other car stops right in front of me and two people jump out and begin shooting at the police.  I hit the ground and could hear bullets whizzing over my head.  I’m lucky to be alive!”  After a moment of silence, the man at his desk asks, “You eat an egg salad sandwich every morning?”

In the words of Meister Eckhart. When the inner senses are dull and blurred, you can see nothing in or of yourself; you become a respectable prisoner of received images.

Look at the anointing of David as king.  Samuel asks to meet Jesse’s sons to choose a new king.  Many thought (including the prophet) that God would choose the oldest.  But God does not choose the oldest, or the biggest, or the strongest or the most obvious of the sons of Jesse.  Even the prophet Samuel is uncertain.  This leads God to say Samuel and to all of us- Do not judge anyone from appearance or from his or her lofty stature…

Look at the culture of first century Palestine. Ancient culture dictates that the oldest is always the greatest of leaders.  Ancient culture dictates that the man born blind must have been a sinner and deserved his blindness.  But God does not see as humans see.  God does not perceive reality as God perceives day to day events.  Jesus refutes nonsensical piety and announces that the man of the Gospel is blind so that God can demonstrate his power.  And in curing the man of his congenital blindness, Jesus exposes the blindness of his parents.  Jesus exposes the ignorance of the visitors to the temple who deny his cure.  Jesus exposes the hypocrisy of the religious leaders.  By taking simple items like mud, spittle and water, Jesus cures the blind man to demonstrate God’s power over human prejudice.  The blind man is so changed that even his neighbors do not recognize him.

To illustrate- two days ago, the New York Times ran an article entitled, “The Jihadi who turned to Jesus.”  Bashir Mohammed is a 25-year-old Kurdish man who fought for an offshoot of Al Qaeda.  He was recruited by other young men to go in search of God.  Repulsed by the atrocious killings on both sides of the Syrian war, he realizes that something is very wrong.  He escapes from the military group he fights with and he and his wife flee to Turkey.  And that it happens.  His wife, Ms. Rashid, as she is known, falls desperately ill.  He calls his cousin in Canada, the same cousin who recruited him to Al Qaeda, who now is a Christian, and he asks him for prayers for his wife.  His cousin tells Bashir to put the phone up to his wife’s ear.  His cousin prays a healing prayer.  A few days later Ms. Rashid improves.  Today, both are Christians.  Bashir’s temper disappears and he ascribes his faith to the prayer and hospitality of the Christian community in the Turkish town. Both know that following Christ comes at a great price.  They simply say, “I trust in God.”[1]

This is not a story to prove that one religion is better than another.  The reverse can be true also.  The main point that I want to make is that God teaches us about who is blind and who can see.  And in teaching us about blindness the Lord chooses the least obvious people to demonstrate his power:  David, the youngest in Jesse’s family, the man born into a family whose parents have no backbone, and Mr. Mohammed and Ms. Rashid who come to know God in a totally different context, one of peace instead of war.

We come here to the Eucharist all the time with our eyes filled with the mud and spittle of life.  At the Eucharist, Jesus seeks us out.  He tells us to go and wash.  When we do go and wash, we see life differently.  We change.  People may not recognize us.   People will say that we’ve become someone else.  Let them eat their egg salad sandwiches.  Jesus will find us and he is the only one who matters.

Laetare Sunday  (Rejoice!)

Cycle A

The Rev. Fr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/24/world/middleeast/the-jihadi-who-turned-to-jesus.html

Magenta Purple Vestment

St. Benedict, a Model for Us!

So, who can be saved?  St. Peter asks Jesus this same question 2,000 years ago.  We ask it today.

God saves us through faith in Christ.  Dr. Paul Wadell argues that it is through faith and friendship we are saved.  Dr. Elizabeth Johnson argues that our salvation grows strong because we are members of the Communion of Saints, hence “friends of saints and prophets.”

The life of our Holy Father St. Benedict models goodness and virtue.  In a Benedictine community with a hundred-fold around us we build a “friendship of character.”  This is not suppose to make us feel good.  This ought to be help us build the good, the common good.

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