Resisting Change – Br. David Vryhof

Br. David Vryhof

Jeremiah 7:23-28
Luke 11:14-23

If we were trying to come up with a theme for today’s lessons, I’d suggest the word “resistance.”

In the first reading, God reminds the Israelites of God’s generous offer: “I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and [you shall] walk only in the way that I command you, so that it may be well with you.”  But the Israelites very clearly don’t hold up their end of the bargain.  They do not listen or obey, but instead they walk “in their own counsels.”  Despite repeated pleas from the prophets, they continue to “stiffen their necks” and refuse to accept God’s guidance and discipline. Why?  Why do they return again and again to their old lives, refusing the new way of life God is offering them?

In the story from Luke, the theme again is resistance.  Jesus heals a man by casting out a mute demon.  The mute man speaks, and the crowd is amazed, but some challenge him by questioning the source of his power and by demanding further signs.  Why couldn’t they rejoice in the healing?  Instead of rejoicing and following him, they stiffen in their resistance and refuse to accept Jesus’ words and deeds.  Where does such resistance come from?  What were they resisting and why? Read More

Remaining Grace – Br. Luke Ditewig

Br. Luke Ditewig

Saint Matthias the Apostle

Acts 1:15-26
John 15:1, 6-16

Today is the feast of St. Matthias who replaced Judas among the twelve apostles. Matthias had been with them since John baptized Jesus in the Jordan. Perhaps he was one of the 70 whom Jesus sent out. Hardly anything is written about him. The apostles selected two candidates. They drew lots thereby choosing Matthias.

The group probably wasn’t seeking a big personality. They already had that in Peter, James, and John. Now they were amid grief and change as Jesus had ascended back to heaven. They likely sought stability, one who had been with and would remain with them. Remaining with through grief and loss is hard.

In language from the gospel, Matthias chose “to abide in Christ” and this company of friends. Abide can mean to live in, to make yourself at home. There’s a gutsy quality to it. Abide also means to remain or to stick with through challenge. Jesus says: the Father stuck with me. I’ll stick with you no matter what. Abide in my love, Jesus says. Remain with me. Read More