Sunday, April 24, 2011


Bartolomeo Schedoni, Women at the Grave, 1613


I’ve heard the alleluias…the choir…the trumpets. I‘ve seen the palms…the lilies…the cross.

But there is no end to Easter when we contemplate the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection.

It’s not a myth or folktale. It’s a bona fide, God-at-work miracle.

Jesus tortured, lifeless body - his pericardium was pierced by a spear - was wrapped in linen and embalmed with seventy-five pounds of aloe and myrrh. The corpse was laid in a cave. The tomb was sealed with a huge stone and placed under military guard.

Yet Jesus rose from the dead!

An event widely witnessed and reported. An event that changed world history. An event with remarkable staying power.

It happened 2000 years ago, but the miracle is repeated - in the present - each time a human heart is reconciled with the Creator…each time someone claims the power of his Holy Spirit and your promise of eternal life.

Thanks be to God!

…for the enduring, transforming power of Easter.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Holy Week II

Contemporary Passion Play ~ Sordevolo, Italy

This is THE week!
Holy Week.

The week when God the Son lived out extraordinary lessons of trust, courage, sacrifice, service, humility and forgiveness. Extraordinary love.

This is THE week!
Holy Week.

The week when God the Father worked the astonishing, unexpected resurrection miracle. Clearly an act of God, contrary to our understanding of nature. Astonishing love.

This is THE Week!
Holy Week.

The week when God the Spirit renews our hearts.

Thanks be to God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy Week I

Russian Painter Vasily Petrovich Vereshchagin, 1869

I’m a slow learner, Lord. We’ve been working on this for five decades, but I have more questions:

Why did Jesus leave his family, his ministry, even give up his life?

I’m beginning to understand…

…so that we would appreciate what he was willing to forfeit - the sacrifice he willingly made to restore our relationship with God.

Why did Jesus endure betrayal, humiliation, torture and death?

I’m beginning to comprehend…

…so that we would grasp the depth of his love for us - the pain he willingly endured to absorb our sin and mankind’s evil.

In understanding Jesus’ sacrifice, we come to know your love for us. In believing the resurrection miracle, we are a state of grace.

Thanks be to God! Thanks be to Jesus! Amen.

Artwork credit

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Triumphal Entry

They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (John 12:13)

Dear God,

On Palm Sunday we sing HOSANNA!

…but do we really understand what we're cheering for?

Jesus, our King, was riding a donkey. I believe the message was about humility and servanthood. Hard stuff. Will I shout a hearty Hosanna to that?

Jesus, our King, was just days away from a crooked trial, humiliation, torture and death by crucifixion. I believe the message was about supreme obedience and sacrificial love. Hard stuff. Do I have a sincere Hosanna for that?

…but we know how the story ends. A grand finale for sure: The resurrection. Reconciliation with God for mankind. Eternal life.

Help us Lord to wrap our minds and hearts around that notion of reconciliation: Despite my flaws - even my resistance - you offer your hand, extend your loving arms and reveal your resurrection power.

Yes, indeed! I can shout Hosanna to that!

In the name of The One who makes it possible, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Photo credit - National Geographic

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Before the Cross - Fourth Week of Lent

St. Joseph's Oratory, Montreal

Dear Lord,

As I anticipate the glory and triumph of Easter, I must first consider the profanity of Christ’s Passion: The humiliation, scourging and torture of crucifixion.

And the bad actors in the Passion Play: The conniving priests, the self-serving, shirking Pilate, Judas the betrayer, Peter the deserter.

There’s so much speculation about their motives and emotions, so much written about them, but what might be written of me?

Where have I denied, deserted or betrayed my Lord? Was it my pride? Was it fear or lack of faith? Where have I chosen self-preservation over cross-bearing?

Judas missed the point entirely. Suicide and infamy are his legacy. But Peter, repentant and forgiven, found a new beginning, a fresh start, at the Cross of Christ.

We stand before that cross every day. Forgiven. Ready for a fresh start. That is the glory and triumph of Easter! Amen.

Photo credit