Life Giving Choices – Br. David Vryhof

Br. David Vryhof

Matthew 7:21-27

In Matthew chapter 7, Jesus concludes his famous “Sermon on the Mount” with a series of contrasting images:

13-15       There is a narrow gate and a wide gate, says Jesus.  The narrow gate leads to a hard road, while the wide gate opens to an easy road.  The first leads to life, while the second leads to destruction.

15-16       There are good prophets and false prophets, says Jesus.  The false prophets are those who come “in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”  You will be able to distinguish between them by their fruits, he assures us.

16-20       Similarly, there are good trees that bear good fruit and bad trees that bear bad fruit, Jesus tells us.  The good trees remain and continue to produce good fruit, but the bad trees are cut down and cast into the fire.

21-23       Then, Jesus says, there are those who say to me “Lord, Lord” and who do the will of my Father in heaven, and there are those who say, “Lord, Lord,” but do not do the will of the Father.  The first group will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the second group will be sent away. Read More

A Turning Point – Br. Keith Nelson

Br. Keith NelsonMatthew 7:21-27

In her short story Revelation, published in 1965, Flannery O’ Connor offers the reader a detailed psychological and spiritual portrait of a character named Ruby Turpin. Mrs. Turpin is a “respectable, hard-working, church-going woman,” white, middle class, and Southern. The story is set in the cramped squalor of a doctor’s waiting room, where an array of white characters – elderly and young, well-to-do and poor – are waiting to see the doctor. The omniscient narrator gives us a particularly intimate portrait of the thoughts that run through Mrs. Turpin’s head and heart, revealing an elaborate, personal hierarchy of class, race, and social status. As the story unfolds, Mrs. Turpin’s interior judgments roil and seethe. The casual conversation she makes with other patients slowly reveals the painful web of classism and racism in which they are all unconsciously enmeshed. And Mrs. Turpin’s running, interior dialogue with Jesus reveals the ways that she uses prayer to validate her prejudice, thanking Jesus for placing her exactly where she is and making her who she is and not like the others she has deemed inferior. Read More

God’s Key Terms – Br. David Allen

Isa. 26:1-6; Mt. 7:21-27

In our first reading for today from Isaiah we can find some of the major themes of the Advent season.  The first of these is a reward for patient waiting of the righteous nation that keeps faith in the victory of a strong city that will be set up like walls and bulwarks.  Next is the hope for peace for those of steadfast mind, who trust in God who is our steadfast rock.  Finally there is the promise that the haughty and proud, that is those who are the inhabitants of the height, the lofty city, will be laid low to the ground and cast into the dust, trampled under the feet of the poor, by the steps of the needy.  (Cf. Isa. 26:1-26) Read More