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The Peace Pulpit

The truth of the Resurrection

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In the past, I used to think about the Resurrection -- and perhaps many of you did, too -- as a very important proof about Jesus. He had claimed to be the Son of God, and so the Resurrection proves that He really is who He says He is -- the Son of God, not just son of Mary and Joseph. That, of course, is an important part of the Resurrection, yet if you listen to today’s Gospel, those disciples at the beginning did not see it that way.

Follow Jesus' way in suffering and death by rejecting violence

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With our solemn procession, carrying our palm branches, we have begun the most important, most sacred, most holy week of our church year, and we have listened to the full account of the sufferings and death of Jesus. During this week, we are invited now to enter into the experiences of Jesus, to hear more deeply perhaps than ever before the words of Jesus, because this is the week when we can once more undergo the profound transformation that God calls us to as disciples of Jesus Christ.

Jesus teaches all humans how to listen to the God of love

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Last Sunday, you may remember we heard that short Gospel lesson from St. John that is so widely known, the 16th verse of the third chapter, John 3:16. The verse was, "God so loved the world that God sent God's only Son, and the Son so loved us that he gave himself for our salvation." When we heard those words last Sunday, perhaps they did not bring about within us an understanding of the price that Jesus paid. It sounds so simple in a way, "God so loved the world that God sent Jesus, and Jesus so loved us that he gave himself for us."

True prophets reflect the peace and love of Jesus

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As we listen to the lessons today, it seems to me that what might be a very important question for us to reflect on and to draw more deeply from the lessons is the question, "What happens when we don't listen to God's prophets?" God, as you probably know, continues to speak to every one of us so that in some way we can surface God's will in our lives, and the normal way that God does that is through the prophets. This is so clear in the Hebrew Scriptures and in that first lesson of today.

Ten commandments light the way to covenant with God

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Editor's note: Because Bishop Thomas Gumbleton was traveling last week, his homily for March 11 was late coming to NCR.

Sometimes when we celebrate the special Peace Mass, if you will, on occasion when we've been reflecting on the way that Jesus teaches us to bring peace into our hearts, lives and worlds, we want to choose certain lessons that we think might express that. Well, these are the lessons that were already assigned for this Sunday, and it's been my experience very often that if you go to the lesson of the day, you find lessons that God wants you to hear rather than you choosing certain lessons that you think God wants you to hear.

Learn to listen to and follow Jesus this Lenten season

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The lessons today fit in very well with what we've been doing all day, trying to listen to God as God leads us into the ways of peace. As we heard the first lesson, it might not seem at first like one that would be easy to accept as a way toward peace. In fact, it's a very puzzling and difficult incident. What kind of a God would tell a father to sacrifice his son? What kind of a God would almost torture Abraham by putting him to this test which is beyond understanding?

Confirmation helps lead the way to the kingdom of God

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Why we'd ask that question at this point -- because after all, you have really prepared over a long period of time for the Sacrament of Confirmation, so undoubtedly you're ready. Yet, it's important that I ask you: Do you want to be confirmed? Why? If you think about it, it's not just a ceremony that we're going through this morning. You could say, "Well, I want to be confirmed because everybody is prepared for it. We're going to have the ceremony, so I'll join in."

The church, like Jesus, should say 'yes' to new things

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I think it is most appropriate today to begin our reflection on the Scriptures by focusing especially on the first lesson, where Isaiah is trying to reassure people that God is about to do something new, if only they have the courage to respond to what God is doing. We should remember that these are people who have been driven out of their own city and land. Jerusalem was destroyed and the temple was left in flames. They had to go off into exile, and were in exile for 80-some years. By now, they had become accustomed to the way things are.

 




Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 43:18-19, 21-22, 24b-25

Psalms 41:2-3, 4-5, 13-14

2 Corinthians 1:18-22

Mark 2:1-12

Full text of the readings

 

What Jesus and leprosy can teach about marriage

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As Sr. Marie mentioned before our Liturgy, we celebrate today throughout the whole world a special day of celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage. It's World Marriage Day. Of course, we want to try to reflect on the Scriptures in the light of this special day, but as I read them over, I thought this would be a real challenge. First of all, from the Book of Leviticus, we hear all the rules and regulations about how to worship according to the Jewish tradition.

Mark's Gospel inspires us to draw out evil of every kind

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Now as we try to listen carefully to today's Scripture lessons, there are a couple of things that we need to put into context. First of all, as I mentioned in introducing the Gospel, this event comes right after Jesus has for the first time proclaimed, "The Reign of God is at hand. Change your lives." Enter into this Reign of God by undergoing an extraordinary, profound kind of upheaval in your life. You've got to overcome what was wrong and now follow the way of Jesus. Change your lives, because then you will enter into the Reign of God.

 




Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Deuteronomy 18:15-20

Psalms 95:1-2, 6-7, 7-9

1 Corinthians 7:32-35

Mark 1:21-28

Full text of the readings

 

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