Wearing of the green (vestments)! This Sunday, ordinary time appears visible in green. The weekly scripture passages originate from the Cycle A Readings: St. Matthew’s Gospel and for a few weeks, St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Each week a unique first reading from the Old Testament connects to the Gospel passage and the Responsorial Psalm provides a response to the first reading; the structured integrity of the Liturgy of the Word focuses listener and preacher alike to “hear” the Gospel.
The readings this weekend are incredibly rich. They draw our attention to the goodness of God, today and throughout history, but also speak to the heart of the Eucharist—the Body and Blood of Christ.
I have always been a visual learner, so exploring images of God is naturally intriguing to me. The doctrine of the Trinity is particularly rich in images that are used to try and draw us deeper into understanding the nature of God.
The well-known French writer Jean-Paul Sartre once wrote a strange play and gave it a suitable title: No Exit. In his play, Sartre wanted to explore a real human feeling—the agony of human beings who feel trapped in the midst of life. He creates three characters that arrive in hell. The place consists of a large sitting room with mirrors around the walls. The room has no exit and the three people are on stage all the time since they are condemned to spend eternity together without leaving the room.
“I have a lot of faith. But I am also afraid a lot, and have no real certainty about anything. I remembered something Father Tom had told me—that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns” (Anne Lamott, writer).
There is so much about our daily living that demands from us compliance. We are surrounded on all sides by spoken and unspoken rules, contracts, guidelines,
As I reflected on the three beautiful readings from this weekend, I kept coming back to the word faith. Faith in your community. Faith in your home and family. Faith within yourself. Faith in God.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,
He leadeth me to lie down in green pastures.
Arguably the most well-known of the psalms, a musical setting of Psalm 23 was used as the theme song to one of my all-time favorite sitcoms, The Vicar of Dibley, and the text has been set to music by many composers, from Duke Ellington to Bobby McFerrin. Its peaceful and powerful words have touched centuries of Christians throughout the world, and its gentle and hopeful images have lent themselves to many a funeral.
We've all been down at one time or another. From the simple to the complex; we are often burdened with the many crosses in life. Hopes dashed, disappointment, disillusionment and feelings of alienation have afflicted everyone at one time. There are many times when we all have said the words “I was hoping” only to find out that our hopes and beliefs were not going to come true. This may make us feel deceived and out of control of our lives and world. We become skeptical, cynical and afraid.
Have you ever been afraid to “face” God or felt unworthy of his love? Perhaps because you think your sin is unforgivable or maybe because you don’t think you’ve done enough to share Him with others? You aren’t alone.