Reflection for 24-25 June 2017
Twelfth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A

Text: Jeremiah 20:10-13, Romans 5:12-15, Matthew 10:26-33.


Read more... )
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Reflection for 17-18 December 2016
Second Sunday of Advent, Year A

Text: Isaiah 7:10-14, Romans 1:1-7, Matthew 1:18-24.


Imagine yourself... )
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ironphoenix: (preach)
( May. 29th, 2016 04:46 pm)
Reflection for 28-29 May 2016
Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Year C

Text: Genesis 14:18-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Luke 9:11b-17.


As an occasional reflector, there are a quite a few sets of Sunday readings I’ve never preached on. This set, however, keeps coming up for me; apparently I’m going to keep working on this until I get it right.

Previous reflections on these readings from 2010 and 2004.

Read more... )
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Reflection for 23-24 January 2016
3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C

Text: Nehemiah 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10; 1 Corinthians 12:12-30; Luke 1:1-4, 4:14-21.

I kept it short, which is good, because that second reading is rather drawn-out... )
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Reflection for 8-9 November, 2014
Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

Text: Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12; Psalm 46; 1 Corinthians 3:9b-11, 16-17; John 2:13-22.

Dedication of the what? Preaching with a DIY element. )
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Reflection for 9-10 August, 2014
19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Text: 1 Kings 19:9, 11-13; Romans 9:1-51; Matthew 14:22-33

Walking on water--or not )
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I was a bit taken by surprised at how well this one went over... I thought it was a bit less tightly written than I like, but quite a few people were moved by it enough to tell me about their reactions. However often I do this, it always feels like a risk: I'm never sure of reaching people. Perhaps this one addresses the soul of my parish in a way it needed right now.

Anyway, without further ado, here's my reflection on the salt of the Earth and the light of the world. )
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Reflection for 14-15 December, 2013
3rd Sunday of Advent, Year C

Text: Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10; Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17; James 5:7-10; Matthew 11:2-11.


Shorter than usual... )
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ironphoenix: (flaming)
( Nov. 10th, 2013 09:05 am)
I wrote this in the context of a discussion in my parish's LGBT & Straight Alliance group. The question of the duality and complementarity of gender as expressed in Genesis (and referenced specifically by Jesus) was raised, and how to square that with homosexuality, bisexuality, transgenderedness, etc.1 This is a rather deeper and harder question than addressing the "clobber passages" which refer specifically to various kinds of homosexual activity.

Thoughts on tradition, myth, modernity, and diversity. )
1: ETA; see comments.
ironphoenix: (preach)
( Aug. 24th, 2013 08:36 pm)
I'll be walking in tomorrow's Pride parade. There is a contingent of us from my parish; I don't know exactly how many of us there will be, but it's sanctioned by the parish itself (we even have T-shirts!). I have no idea whether there will be any reaction from the wider church institution. I think it's an important step for us in the Church who look at Jesus' life and teachings, and imagine what his radical inclusivity might be today.

To those who have been turned away by the church: I'm sorry, and we're trying to change things for the better.
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In which Ironphoenix writes Gospel fic... )

This was a follow-up to Deacon D____ M____'s reflection from Holy Thursday, to which I'll hopefully be able to post a link when it's posted on the parish website; watch this space. He ended on a hanging question that invited a follow-up, and I had made a few starts at writing things but not really finished anything, so I took the concept and pounded this out yesterday morning. It was both emotionally intense and fun to write, and I think I managed to keep enough of the same voice for Peter that it fit together decently with D____'s.
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Reflection for 15-16 December, 2012
3rd Sunday of Advent, Year C ("Gaudete Sunday")

Text: Zephaniah 3:14-18a; Philippians 4:4-7; Luke 3:10-18.


I'm posting this one early, as I'm talking about yesterday's tragedy in Connecticut in it. )
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We tried filming this one (the church producing too much echo for a good recording, it was recorded in a separate room); I will likely post a link to the recorded version in a few days, once they're done with the editing. I'm looking forward to seeing the recorded version, because it will help me critique my own technique.

Reflection for 25-26 August, 2012
21st Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B

Text: Joshua 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b; Ephesians 4:32-5:1-2, 21-32++; John 6:53, 60-69.


Difficult teachings, including that reading with 'Wives, be subject to your husbands.' I make reference to abuse in this reflection. )
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Reflection for 7-8 July, 2012
14th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B

Text: Ezekiel 2:3-5, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Mark 6:1-6.

What is a prophet? )

As for its reception, so far so good: no overripe tomatoes, croziers, or lightning bolts have been aimed my way yet!
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Reflecting on the Good Shepherd... )
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Which is easier? To say to the paralyzed man, "Your sins are forgiven," or to say, "Get up, take your mat, and walk"? A reflection in which the words 'victim-blaming' don't appear directly, but they're implied. )
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ironphoenix: (flaming)
( Dec. 6th, 2011 12:36 pm)
On John the Baptist, forgiveness, and aikido. )
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"Christian" doesn't mean what the far-right fundamentalist capitalists say it does. Susan B. Thistlethwaite explains why in a short and straightforward article. It's not news, but it bears repeating.
Reflection for 17-18 September 2011: 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Text: Isaiah 55:6-9; Philippians 1:20-24, 27; Matthew 20:1-16.


On the parable of the workers in the vineyard... )
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ironphoenix: (preach)
( Apr. 24th, 2011 01:47 pm)
Reflection for 24 April 2011: Easter Sunday
Text: Acts 10:34a, 37-43; 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8; John 20:1-181.

Not exactly a white chocolate Easter bunny kind of reflection... )
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ironphoenix: (flaming)
( Dec. 5th, 2010 06:02 pm)
This weekend's reflection, on baptism and privilege. )
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ironphoenix: (flaming)
( Sep. 29th, 2010 03:30 pm)
When making a decision, consider the effects on the least powerful person or people affected.

This came from a story a fellow lay preacher told in a recent reflection at our parish, and it struck me as a particularly good idea. Of course, this isn't the only thing one should consider, but it's too easily forgotten, so having a special rule for it seems wise to me.

This is far from a uniquely Christian idea, but I think it's a particularly Christian one. I can't think of any other religious story in which the powerless are so consistently brought to the center of the story as in the Christian Gospels. Even with all that emphasis though, we ignore the weak, the poor, the outsiders, and the wounded far too often.
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ironphoenix: (blast of happy)
( Sep. 3rd, 2010 05:16 pm)
I only recently found out about these folks, and think they are doing a wonderful thing.
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ironphoenix: (flaming)
( Jul. 29th, 2010 11:25 am)
Ganked from [livejournal.com profile] goldsquare: an excellent opinion piece on the complex and difficult relationship between religious and government institutions in the US. The legal arguments are specifically American, but the underlying question is universal.

Even the question of what should, from a purely religious point of view, be the criteria for membership in a religion is a very difficult one for me. On a fundamental spiritual level, I take the words "Catholic Church" very much at face value, and open the doors very wide indeed, but how that relates to human institutions is ... fraught.
Reflection on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, 2010
Text: Genesis 14:18-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Luke 9:11b-17.

“Kosher salt.” You’ve seen it at grocery stores, of course; have you ever wondered why it’s called that?
Read more... )
I shared a reflection on these readings 6 years ago; this one is quite different. For comparison, here it is:
Read more... )
I think this year's is better, but maybe that's because I'm looking at it today; who knows what I'll think of these in another 6 years? If nothing else though, this year's was shorter, which counts for something!
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ironphoenix: (preach)
( Mar. 28th, 2010 03:36 pm)
The readings for Palm Sunday are looooong, so I worked hard to keep the reflection short; it was appreciated.

(relatively) brief thoughts )
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ironphoenix: (preach)
( Jan. 3rd, 2010 02:31 pm)
On the Epiphany, and Wisdom. )

And now to nap... I fear I may have a cold.
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Baptism, guilt and meditation )
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ironphoenix: (preach)
( Nov. 21st, 2009 03:31 pm)
On Christ the King, and Pilate the Governor )
My thoughts on Pontius Pilate's character and state of mind rely substantially on this analysis by Jona Lendering, especially where corroborated by other accessible sources.
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I did in fact finish writing my reflection in time for the first Mass on Saturday evening last week, but the rest of the weekend and week were busy enough that I'm only now getting around to posting it.

Much of this expresses my current musings on what I've been reading from Christian mystics; I heartily recommend Bernard McGinn's compilation, The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism, to anyone interested in pursuing this (much) more deeply. He introduces the authors and their context brilliantly, and has selected profound nuggets of a few core pages each from a huge range of sources. It's heavy going, though: profound ideas aren't easily assimilated!

Here we go... )
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I just found out that I'm preaching this weekend.

Yo, Spirit dude, I'm gonna need some timely inspiration here...
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Having figured out my customary pattern for reflections, I broke with that pattern, letting this one be more meditative than narrative. Every time I finish writing one of these, I feel like I'm stepping off a cliff: I have no idea whether it will connect to anyone or not. This one was no exception; fortunately, it seems to have been well-received.

These are written to be spoken, so I adapt my style to that purpose. Things which may be difficult to "get" in straight text can be clarified substantially through tone and pacing when spoken aloud. The best way to post these would really be to YouTube them, but thus far, nobody's filming these.

Anyhow, here it is: Meditation on Holy Thursday. )
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ironphoenix: (preach)
( Mar. 22nd, 2009 08:35 pm)
I figured out how I'm structuring my reflections: they're set up like narratives, with most of the exposition done by the Readings. I start out by presenting a conflict, and then spend the rest of my reflection working it out to a resolution. It seems to work, but having figured this out, maybe I'll play with it a bit more, and experiment with other approaches too.

This weekend's words: On Wilderness )
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ironphoenix: (night)
( Dec. 24th, 2008 10:53 pm)
Reflection on Christmas Night

Read more... )
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The Triumph of the Cross

This reflection should be titled 'At the Footnote of the Cross.' )
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I delivered this a couple of months ago, but forgot to post it at the time.
δυνάμεις καὶ ἐξουσία, or Power and Authority )
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Last Sunday's reflection )
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ironphoenix: (red)
( Mar. 23rd, 2008 10:19 am)
Happy Easter! After an intense Triduum, I'm feeling like everything is new again.

Services were, by and large, wonderful, and I was happy to have a very good friend join us as a guest for one of them as well.
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ironphoenix: (red)
( Mar. 22nd, 2008 09:00 am)
I spoke at yesterday's Good Friday service; here's what I had to say:

Reflection for 21 March 2008--Good Friday
Text: Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9, John 18:1-19:42
Read more... )
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ironphoenix: (preach)
( Jun. 17th, 2007 11:40 pm)
[Edit for new joiners: I occasionally preach at a Roman Catholic church; a few people are interested in reading what I have to say, so I post the text of my reflections here.]

Reflection for 16-17 June 2007
11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Text: 2 Samuel 12:7-10, 13; Galatians 2:16, 19-21; Luke 7:36-8:3.

Today’s readings touch on a mystery which lies at the heart of the Christian faith: the mystery of divine forgiveness. Every religion has ordinances and rules for living, and Christianity, perhaps Roman Catholic Christianity in particular, is no exception there; what seems to me special to Christianity, however, is an explicit, orthodox belief that our failure to follow those rules scrupulously and exactly each and every day of our lives does not lead inexorably to our condemnation and punishment.

Read more... )
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ironphoenix: Raven flying (Default)
( May. 6th, 2007 05:12 pm)
So the second reading today was from Revelation, Chapter 21. You know the one, it starts with "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more." (Revelation 21:1) And the way the reader delivered it was just right... so that I could understand how some people can be so eager for the Apocalypse.

There is a pretty strong Millennialist movement in some Christian communities (perhaps especially in the USA), and hearing this, it's easy to understand the reasoning behind them. We pray, in the Lord's Prayer, "Thy Kingdom come," and this seems to be the most literal realization of that. To achieve it, anything else would seem to be worth sacrificing, so if the signs and portents John chronicles can be brought to pass, surely the End Times must follow. Seen in that light, war, environmental destruction, epidemics and famines are not to be averted, but rather encouraged as much as possible in order to bring about the end of this sullied, sinful world.

But this wasn't Jesus' message at all. Only the Father knows the day and hour, he tells us; for us to presume to impose our will in this is terrible hubris. Many of the things which lead up to the Apocalypse are terrible, destructive deeds, and Christ was constantly teaching love and right action in small things, both by word and by deed. It is not God's will for us to destroy what God has created so that it must be created again, but rather to participate in her act of creation under his divine direction. For us to set out destroy would violate the basic law of love which is the heart of Christianity and the essence of the God we worship.

It may be that the destruction of creation, or at least of this world, will come about, but it seems to me to be like the Crucifixion: prophesied, even necessary, but as Christ says, "'The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.'" (Matthew 26:24)

The problem which arises from this is that these idealists fired up with a mission are somewhat less than choosy about their methods, and such people are easily led by the unscrupulous. After all, if a means exists which serves their goal and has the handy side effect of generating a profit for somebody, everyone wins, right? Of course, the goals need not be stated openly; it is enough for them to exist in the subconscious so that people will resist unethical or destructive actions less than they might because of their internal conflicts. Were they stated openly, they could be argued against; the veiled intent is much harder to pin down and discredit. I don't know whether it's being done consciously or not, but either way, it's not been good for the world as a whole, and it's likely not good karma for those responsible.

It's my hope that as we move further and further away from the psychologically important year 2000, this apocalyptic fervor will pass. Some US-politics-watchers tell me that the Republicans are headed for a moderate candidate, which is a good sign for this, but politics isn't the whole thing by any means. The subconscious shadow of destruction and chaos hanging over the many, and the short-term profiteering of the few, serve no one very well. I, for one, will try to act with the long term in mind, and do what is loving in each moment.
ironphoenix: Raven flying (Default)
( Apr. 10th, 2007 12:03 pm)
It worked! Yes, I know this is coming out late; the delay is in me posting, not in the test being successful. Over half the company came by to see it, all the way up to the co-presidents. People are starting to believe that it'll be a real product, me included.

The surprising thing was really that there weren't any surprises. The only problems that arose were a matter of a connector not being tightened quite enough (mea culpa!) and things we already knew to expect.

As for why I haven't posted before this, I've been busy at work with pushing hard towards the next stage, and over the weekend with Easter Triduum services and family gatherings, and with creating a character for [livejournal.com profile] ms_danson's role-playing game. I also got my performance and salary reviews last week, and was much happier with one than the other; more than that, I won't say here.

Every Easter is different for me; this year, I served in some liturgical capacity on all three days. Last year, I preached at the Vigil; in previous years, I simply participated as a member of the congregation or served on one or another day; one year, I fasted for the duration (from Eucharist on Maundy Thursday to Eucharist at the Easter Vigil on Saturday night). That last was a year that [livejournal.com profile] soul_diaspora was away at Easter: fasting, for me, calls for solitude.

The role-playing character needs some finishing touches, as is unavoidable in a carefully-constructed campaign, but is mostly complete. Building a mage in the HERO system in a weekend is a not inconsiderable accomplishment, I think! The character sheet isn't online, but I also wrote some longer-than-usual backstory, which is posted here in the game lj, [livejournal.com profile] ratcatchers. Yes, I've tried to write something approximating fiction, in dialogue no less; expect rains of frogs soon. The character was inspired somewhat by a song on a CD that I got recently (sorry, no "New Music" posts lately, too busy!) by Cheb Mami and K-Mel called Parisien du nord ("North Parisian"), about the situation of North Africans living in the Paris suburban ghettos.
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ironphoenix: Raven flying (Default)
( Feb. 11th, 2007 08:02 am)
I'm trying something new with my preaching this time, in hopes of reaching more of the Sensors in the congregation. It didn't bomb last night, and we'll see how it goes this morning.

The Gospel text is the Beatitudes ("Blessed are you who...") and the "Curses" ("But woe to you who...") in Luke.

Reflection )
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ironphoenix: Raven flying (Default)
( Dec. 26th, 2006 12:04 am)
Here's my reflection which I shared at today's Mass.
My thoughts this Christmas )
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