Monday, April 18, 2016


Year C - Easter5 or Assured5
April 24, 2016

When there is confusion, there is also the possibility of a clarification that will lead us further on.

In this case the disciples appear confused after Jesus gives a teaching, an assurance—”I assure you that whoever receives someone I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”

This seems fairly humble and real. Where does the confusion come in?

It seems to be generated at a shift in the action. After the conclusion to the foot-washing scene with the words about “receiving”, there should be more of a stage direction than, “After he said these things, Jesus was deeply disturbed.” How should that "after" be played.

Reading silently can scrunch things up so we don’t feel as significant a break here that begins a parenthetical comment about Judas before returning to the assurance about receiving. Try deleting verses 21-33 and see how it reads.

The disconnect between receiving and loving is unfortunate in a culture that does linear better than tangled. We like our one-liners but miss the way they parallelism can bolster and inform.

I prefer having the sequence be 13:1-21, 34-35, then the disturbance and confusion (21-22) is about the lack of love between the disciples and Jesus (23-33). What is your preference?

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Acts 9:1-6. (7-20)

Year C - Easter3 or Assured3
April 10, 2016

It is easy to claim all differences are made by leaders. It would severely limit this story if it ended with verse 6. To leave it with mere obedience would be a disservice to all of the rest of us.

Things get interesting around verse 10 when Ananias is invited to go to Saul. There is every reason in the book for Ananias to not only ask questions about his assignment, but to actually choose to not do this mission impossible task.

Eventually Ananias does go when G*D indicates Saul is but an “instrument” and will “suffer”. 

Entering on tip-toe, Ananias touches Saul and simply describes the situation, “I came unwillingly so you can see again.” Note here the parallelism of “regain sight” and “filled with Spirit”. One can’t be said without the other being implied. The physical and the spiritual are not separable.

Here sight/spirit happen before baptism, rather than after it in Jesus’ case.

Now, awakened, Saul becomes Paul, reconciled with those for whom he was previously an enemy.

May whatever scales of judgment/justice have kept you from reconciling with those you were previously on the outs with, drop in the face of everyone having already suffered enough.

Monday, April 04, 2016

John 21:1-19

Year C - Easter3 or Assured3
April 10, 2016

In Luke the Disciples know up front that they are shifting from fishing for fish to “fishing for people”. The rest of the story is in practise of how to “care for people”. 

In John disciples just shift from Baptizer John to Jesus. The disciples are shown how to care for people. It isn’t until the end of John that we have a reprise of the Lucan call.

Fishing for fish isn’t always easy, even for locals who know the territory. Jesus called out to unsuccessful fishermen to break the pattern they had set up and fish from the other side of the boat. In this shift, a new vision comes. This gets concretized in Luke with “fishers of people” and in John with a ritualized encounter between Jesus and Peter—

Do you love me more than you love fishing?
          Feed lambs/children.

Do you love me?
          Care for my sheep/people.

Do you love me?
          Fish for people.

And so it goes around and around:
     Fish/Care —> learn how to do this —> fish/care —> learn more —> fish care ...