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The Peace Pulpit

It is not easy to be a disciple of Jesus

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I think we can gather from our listening to the Scriptures this morning that the message today is about being a disciple of Jesus -- our call to follow him -- and maybe some of us are somewhat like Elisha. We say yes, but then we hesitate, and we're not so sure if we really want to be this disciple of Jesus. But if we listen carefully and turn to God for help, I think we can leave the church today with a firm commitment to be disciples of Jesus, which could mean radical change in our lives.

Who do you say Jesus is?

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As I mentioned in introducing the Gospel, it's kind of a confrontation because Jesus is demanding of his disciples after he's been with them for maybe a year, year and a half, close to two years: "Who do you really think I am? What do people say about me?" You heard the answers, but then he confronts them directly: "Well, OK, who do you say I am?"

We do what we can; Jesus does the rest

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Later this afternoon, as Father [Don] Walker announced last Sunday, this parish, together with Our Lady of Grace will have a procession with the Blessed Sacrament and celebrate Benediction at the end of that procession. Many of us, I'm sure, remember days long ago when this was very common: Corpus Christi, the Peace of the Body and Blood of Jesus, where we have outdoor procession and we walked around in the streets, publicly acclaiming our belief that that piece of bread was really and truly the body and blood of the Son of God.

We must be open to the spirit and love of God

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I'm sure all of us have noticed over the past few weeks now how many times Pope Francis comes into the news because of the kind of unusual things that he's begun to do, the way he's carried out his understanding of the role of what it means to be the bishop of Rome. One of the things that he did quite recently that I find very instructive, especially as we reflect on the Trinity today: He was at St. Peter's Square and, of course, as is so often, there were tens of thousands of people there and at one point, they all began to cry out in unison, "Francesco! Francesco! Viva Francesco!"

First disciples create a model for dealing with contention in the church

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Sometimes things are happening in the world around us that provide a very good context to listen to the Scriptures, as we're doing this morning during this liturgy. What's going on, you may have heard about, is controversy within our church. This past week, there was a demonstration [in Detroit] of people who call themselves Fortunate Families. They were demonstrating in front of the archbishop's office because they're families who have committed gay members within them, or lesbian members.

We must reach out, teach others God's Spirit

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Many times we have spoken and heard the Gospel at different times express ideas about the reign of God, the kingdom of heaven. What do we mean by that reign of God, what Jesus spoke about at the very beginning of his public life? "The reign of God is at hand. Change your lives. The reign of God is ready to break forth into human history in its fullness." We can speak about the reign of God as God's dynamic role of saving love over all of creation, over each one of us, over all of humanity, where God's love becomes the dynamic force energizing all of us and all of creation.

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August 29-September 11, 2014

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