Peter 3: 11-18
Psalm 90: 1-6, 13-17
Mark 12: 13-17
It was the spring of 1976 and Canada was in the throes of a federal election campaign. I had just turned 18 the summer before so this was the first time I would be able to vote. I decided I wanted to see an election from the inside, and to cover my bases I worked for three different candidates, from three different political parties. I worked for a Liberal Member of Parliament from Toronto, stuffing envelopes in his office on Parliament Hill. I went leafleting door to door for the New Democratic candidate running in the constituency where I lived in Ottawa and I did office work for a Progressive Conservative candidate in another Ottawa riding. One evening I attended an all candidates meeting in my guise as a Progressive Conservative party worker. That riding was clearly an important one for the two main parties to win as the Conservatives had put up a well known candidate hoping she would be able to take the riding from the governing Liberals. The Liberals wanted to keep the riding, so they sent the Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, to the all candidates meeting. Between them, the New Democrats didn’t have a chance. At the end of the evening, the moderator asked for one last question. I was standing at the back of the room and my hand shot up. I had a question for the Prime Minister and I wanted to ask it. Amazingly the moderator pointed to me and I got to ask my question.
Profession In Initial Vows – Luke Ditewig, SSJE
Today is a day which we have been hoping for, and praying for, for a very long time. A day of rejoicing. Our dear brother Luke is to make the vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience, as a professed brother of our community.
And what a wonderful day, Trinity Sunday, for this profession! First, because, Luke, you grew up and for many years were formed in the Christian faith by the community of your home parish, Trinity Presbyterian, Santa Ana, California. Secondly, our understanding as brothers, of what Christian community is all about, is profoundly rooted and grounded in the very nature of God, the Holy Trinity.
Today is the Day of Pentecost. On this day the gift of the Holy Spirit, the gift of divine power, came to the disciples, and there was no mistaking it. For it was accompanied by an experience which pounded the senses. Divine power was invading them: an intense catastrophic experience. It sounded like the rush of a violent wind. Tongues, as of fire, rested on each one of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.
“Do you wish to know your Lord’s meaning in this thing? Know it well, love was his meaning. Who reveals it to you? Love. What did he reveal to you? Love. Why does he reveal it to you? For love… So I was taught that love was his meaning.”
Words of Julian of Norwich, the 14th century English mystic whom we remember today. In her “Revelations of Divine Love”, the “Showings,” she recalls that “when she was young” she desired and prayed for “three graces by the gift of God”: 1) recollection of the Passion of Christ, 2) bodily sickness to the point of death, 3) the gift of three spiritual wounds. “When she was young” she wanted these things to happen at the age of thirty—and they did.
“Abide in me as I abide in you.” John 15:4
In these few words Jesus reveals the secret of the abundant life he is bringing into the world and which he offers to each of his disciples. This is the secret not only to our own happiness and fulfillment, but also to our fruitfulness, our ability to positively influence others by bringing them to share in the Divine Life. This is the abundant life he is offering us, a life lived in union with the Triune God, a life of untold blessings and riches, far beyond any abundance that the world can offer us.
When we pause to think of how desperately people in our world seek for happiness and of the ends to which they are willing to go to find personal fulfillment, we can wonder that such a simple path has been outlined for us. “Abide in me as I abide in you,” says Jesus. “Join your life to mine, and my life will be yours.” All that I am and have I give to Jesus, and all that he is and has he gives to me. And in this union there is joy and safety and happiness and riches beyond measure. “I came that [you] might have life,” he reminds us, “and have it abundantly!” (John 10:10)
O my God, you are here… but always you are where we are, and always you love us, calling us each by name. Amen.
On this Good Shepherd Sunday Jesus tells us that he “calls his own sheep by name and leads them out…and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.” Well, that’s a metaphor, no matter what sheep-like sounds we might make at odd moments or how much we might sometimes behave like sheep. It’s still a metaphor. We’re not sheep. I feel quite confident about that as an unequivocal statement. But though we are not sheep, we do respond to this picture of Jesus as our Good Shepherd. We respond because he says he has come so that we might “have life, and have it abundantly.” God really wants us to get the most out of life. If we love life, if we choose life, we respond with joy to the one whose deepest desire is to give us life in abundance. If we do not love life, if we choose death, then we respond more readily to the enemy of the Good Shepherd, the thief, who Jesus says, “Comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”
The apostles continued to do the miraculous work of Jesus, such as we hear in our lesson today from the Acts of the Apostles: the man, born lame, who has now been miraculously healed. There is a touchstone that the apostles used to effect the healing: Jesus’ name. So we read, the apostles had “faith in [Jesus’] name,” and “[Jesus’] name itself made the man strong.” There is power in a name.
Click on the links to listen to audio excerpts from the Good Friday liturgy:
- The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ
- Hymn, “Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy”
- Hymn, “Approach, My Soul, the Mercy Seat”
- Hymn, “My Faith Looks up to Thee”
- Hymn, “Were You There When They Crucified the Lord”