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26 Mar

Here's mud in your eye.

Dear Parishioners,

“When [Jesus] had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on [the man's] eyes, and said to him, ‘Go wash in the Pool of Siloam’ —which means Sent. So he went and washed, and came back able to see” (Jn 9:6-7).

Another long Gospel reading this Sunday, but another good one! John, our Gospel writer, is doing more than just recounting a miraculous event in the life of Christ. He is teaching us. The multiple exchanges—between the Jesus and the man born blind, the man and the Pharisees, the Pharisees and the man's parents, the neighbors among themselves, and Jesus and the Pharisees—all contain lessons. But it's this use of clay that has me intrigued.

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19 Mar

Counting Baals

Dear Parishioners,

The account of the Samaritan woman at the well from the Gospel of John—the third Sunday of Lent's Gospel—is an interesting one. Jesus knows that the woman has had five different husbands. The woman is floored. Seems odd. Any gossip in town would know this juicy piece of information. So why is the woman led to divine faith by the information our Messiah possesses?

John, our Gospel writer, usually tries to make some broader connection to the Old Testament in his passages. The word Baal in the Old Testament means false god. You may remember this word. The Israelites often got in trouble for abandoning God and worshipping Baal. But Baal had another meaning as well. Wives sometimes also used the world Baal for their husbands. Jesus is telling this woman she had five different Baals. Well, Samaria—the woman's homeland—was occupied by a foreign power who worshipped five Baals. And there was a prediction in the first chapter of Hosea that Samaria would be delivered from these five Baals after 700 hundred years by the Messiah, and this was the 700th year! The woman makes this connection, which is why Jesus' information leads her to become a disciple.

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12 Mar

It's green week!

Dear Parishioners,

The Transfiguration. I see this event as a sister image of the crucifixion. We could even call the Transfiguration a shadow of the Redemption. Or perhaps it is reversed? Either way, there are several comparisons to make.

Jesus ascends two hills in both scenes: Tabor and Calvary. He is elevated with three individuals below him: Peter, James, and John while he is floating in the air; Mary, John, and Mary while he is suspended on the cross. Of course, two individuals are at his side both times: Moses and Elijah, and the two thieves. The Father in heaven above smiles over the Transfiguration; weeps over the crucifixion.

Christ is bathed in white on Tabor. On Calvary he is bathed in red. The colors are painful, each in their own ways. The bright white blinds, while the red is the blood from the lacerations. The colors are also beautiful. And this leads me to my last point.

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05 Mar

It's good to be dust.

Dear Parishioners,

Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return. That is the more traditional formula used on Ash Wednesday. Though I wouldn't call myself a traditionalist, I do prefer this line. I like being reminded that I am dust. Dust means simplicity and total contingency. It is, by definition, a single particle or grain, and dust is totally dependent on something else to create it.

We are dust. That is we are, or, at least ought to be, simple beings—receptacles to receive the breath of God. This is a good thing, since God's breath is holy, powerful, and wise.

We are dust. That is, we are, or, at least ought to be, totally dependent on God (see the opening line of our first reading from Genesis, 2:7, where we hear man was formed out of the "clay of the ground"). This is another good thing, since God is good and will make us good people.

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Has a bright beam of sunlight ever drawn your eye to our stained glass windows, and you found yourself wondering what story they tell? They really do tell a story; we share it with our virtual tour.

Church Windows

Theology Talks Every Tuesday

Tuesday Theology Talks

Interested in developing a deeper understanding of our Catholic faith? Join Father James Wallace in the chapel on Tuesday evenings as he presents a topic and invites thoughtful discussion with the group.

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