Easter Monday: Waking Ourselves to Resurrection

April 18, 2022

Mt28_8 fear_joy

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy,  we enter the Easter Season which will last until June 4th. The next day we will celebrate Pentecost.

Throughout these several weeks, we will have a thorough reading of the Acts of the Apostles. 

Theologian Walter Brueggemann says this about Acts:

In the Book of Acts the church is
a restless, transformative agent
at work for emancipation

and well-being in the world.


As Easter People, transformed by the Resurrection of Jesus, that’s what we’re all called to be:

transformative agents
at work for emancipation

and well-being in the world.


Our models and inspiration will be found in these early women and men we read about over the next few weeks. This was a community fully committed and learning to be disciples. This was a community that acted – within a culture of death – for an alternative, life-giving world.

“The whole book of Acts is about power from God that the world cannot shut down. In scene after scene, there is a hard meeting between the church and worldly authorities, because worldly authorities are regularly baffled by this new power and resentful of it.”
At one point, in chapter 17, the followers of Jesus are accused of “turning the world upside down.
” (Brueggemann)


Our world sorely needs such an active Church, speaking clearly to the issues that threaten and limit human life and wholeness in God. It’s not easy to be that witness, but it is critical. Our Gospel suggests the difficulty, but also defines the motivation:

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary
went away quickly from the tomb,

fearful yet overjoyed,
and ran to announce the good news …


May we, though sometimes fearful, choose to be agents of the joyful Good News for our times. By our choices, attitudes and actions, may we be brave in witnessing Christ, even in trying circumstances!



Prose: from Deitrich Bonhoeffer

Discipleship never consists
in this or that specific action:
it is always a decision
either for or against
Jesus Christ.


Music: Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate – sung by Regula Mühlemann

Be sure to wait after the applause for the Alleluia segment.

Exsultate, jubilate,
o vos animae beatae!
Dulcia cantica canendo,
cantui vestro respondendo,
psallant aethera cum me.

Fulget amica dies,
iam fugere et nubila et procellae;
exortus est justis inexspectata quies.
Undique obscura regnabat nox;
surgite tandem laeti,
qui timuistis adhuc,
et iucundi aurorae fortunatae
frondes dextera plena et lilia date.

Tu, virginum corona,
tu nobis pacem dona.
Tu consolare affectus,
unde suspirat cor. Alleluia.

Exult, rejoice,
o blessed souls!
Singing sweet songs,
singing your song,
the heavens sing praise with me.

A friendly day shines forth,
clouds and thunderstorms recede;
unforeseen peace has come to the righteous.
Darkness was all over the world;
arise joyfully at last
you, who were hitherto in fear,
and, leaning to the blissful morning light
lavishly present wreaths of leaves and lilies.

You, the Virgin’s garland ,
grant us peace.
Dull the grief,
which makes our heart sigh. Halleluja.

Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

June 14, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 98, a prayer filled with hints of joyful thanksgiving and exuberant music.

At first reading, the psalm is a surprising companion to our other readings.

In the passage to the Corinthians, Paul doesn’t sound like he’s singing. He cites the struggles a committed disciple will face in order to spread the Gospel:

We cause no one to stumble in anything,
in order that no fault may be found with our ministry;
on the contrary, in everything we commend ourselves
as ministers of God, through much endurance –

2 Corinthians 6:3-4

He then offers quite a catalog of endured tests.


Jesus isn’t singing either in our reading from Mark. Instead, he enumerates the list of trials to be endured, if necessary, to live a radical commitment to the Gospel – even including lost eyes and teeth, multiple slaps, indentured clothing and service, and self-effacing generosity.

Feel like singing yet?


But here’s the thing. Praying with these passages allows us to break through their surface to understand their heart, as our Alleluia Verse explains:

A lamp to my feet is your word,
a light to my path.

Psalm 119:105

Jesus and Paul remind us that all our experiences, good and bad, are transformed in the light of the Word. That transformation calls us to respond to our lives from a well of radical faith which contradicts the deceits and interpretations of the world.

And if we answer the call to discipleship, where will it lead us? What decisions and partings will it demand? To answer this question we shall have to go to him, for only he knows the answer. Only Jesus Christ, who bids us follow him, knows the journey’s end. But we do know that it will be a road of boundless mercy. Discipleship means joy.

Deitrich Bonhoeffer

Deep faith allows us to see things, such as the listed trials, from a “new” perspective.

It is when we get to that place of freedom in our spiritual lives that we can truly “sing a new song unto the Lord”!


Poetry: Unconditional by Jennifer Paine Welwood

Willing to experience aloneness,
I discover connection everywhere;
Turning to face my fear,
I meet the warrior who lives within;
Opening to my loss,
I gain the embrace of the universe;
Surrendering into emptiness,
I find fullness without end.
Each condition I flee from pursues me,
Each condition I welcome transforms me
And becomes itself transformed
Into its radiant jewel-like essence.
I bow to the one who has made it so,
Who has crafted this Master Game;
To play it is purest delight -
To honor its form, true devotion.

Music: I Want to Sing a New Song – BJ Putnam and the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

Saturday of the Sixth Week of Easter

May 15, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 47 which keeps us on point as we move toward Pentecost:

All you peoples, clap your hands;
    shout to God with cries of gladness.
For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome,
    is the great king over all the earth.

Psalm 47: 2-3

We can be confident. Christ’s work is accomplished. We await the Spirit which will accompany us now in living the Gospel fully.

For king of all the earth is God;
    sing hymns of praise.
God reigns over the nations,
    God sits upon his holy throne. 

Psalm 47: 8-9

Our Gospel today confirms us in our call, like the newly-gathered Twelve, to radical discipleship:

On that day you will ask in my name,
and I do not tell you that I will ask the Father for you.
For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me
and have come to believe that I came from God.


These days before Pentecost
offer a good time to talk with God
about my call and my response.

And if we answer the call to discipleship, where will it lead us? What decisions and partings will it demand? To answer this question we shall have to go to him, for only he knows the answer. Only Jesus Christ, who bids us follow him, knows the journey’s end. But we do know that it will be a road of boundless mercy. Discipleship means joy.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Music: A New Commandment