Word Among Us

Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up

Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up.  There is a glorious, divine irony,  a cruel instrument of suffering and death has been transformed into a grace-filled instrument of healing and resurrection. We see the irony,  The Israelites had begun complaining and accusing God of abandoning them during their journey toward the Promised Land.   Ultimately, all the venom in their words and hearts...

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Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful

Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful.  One of the reasons Jesus’ teaching on mercy is so challenging is that we face many opportunities to practice it each day.   Like many other challenges, our best defense is a good offense.   We are better able to rise to these challenges if we prepare ourselves for them in advance.   So what can we do?   What attitudes come before mercy? First there’s love.   When Jesus commands us to be...

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The time is running out

The time is running out.  Because he believed that the Second Coming of Jesus was imminent, St. Paul lived with a sense of urgency.   He was convinced that “time is running out”.   But Paul’s urgency was not directed only to that unknown time we call Judgment Day.   He also directed it to the way we spend our time each day. Like today, most people in Paul’s day were married.   Paul knew that married couples spend the majority of their time on...

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Jesus departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God

Jesus departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God.  Wouldn’t you love to retreat to a quiet place and spend hours in prayerful adoration of the Lord—even if it meant staying up all night?   But we know how hard it can be to stay awake:   our eyelids might begin to droop, our minds might begin to wander, and our bed might start looking softer and softer. Don’t feel too bad.   Even the apostles had a hard time...

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Stretch out your hand

Stretch out your hand.  Critics play an important role in the music world.   They help the public to evaluate what is good, and by doing so, they set standards for music.   But critics can also be closed to anything new or different.   For example, one of Bach’s students called his music “turgid and confused.”   A contemporary of Mozart called his music “overloaded and overstuffed.”   One critic said of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony: “It was hard...

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The new wine will burst the skins

The new wine will burst the skins.  In ancient Israel, the juice from pressed grapes immediately went into a container to ferment into wine.   If the wine was going to be transported a long distance, the container was often a goatskin sewn into a bag, or “wineskin.”   The initial gaseous stage of fermenting the grapes caused the wineskin to stretch out.   “Old wineskins” had already been stretched once, so if they were used again, the...

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