August 27, 2017. "Sources of Our Identity." Matthew 16: 13-20.

How are names important in your life?  How are places important in your life?  Names help us form an identity.  Names are important in the Bible.  Names are important in today's gospel.  The setting is Caesarea Philippi.  Jesus is not John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or a prophet.  Jesus is Son of Man, Messiah, and Son of the Living God.  Simon is named Peter.  The community is named the church.  Jesus builds the church.  Jesus wants himself to be known.  God empowers humans.

August 6, 2017. "Retreating." Matthew 14: 13-21.

What has been the biggest crisis in your life?  September 11, 2001 was a major crisis for many. People handled September 11 in a variety of ways.  Today's gospel takes place after the beheading of John the Baptist.  Jesus tries to withdraw alone.  But the needs of the world come to him. Jesus healed and fed the people.  in the aftermath of a crisis, many try to withdraw from the world.  The needs of the world will not stay away.  The faithful are being asked to do more now than ever.  To retreat is not to withdraw.  To retreat is to gather new strength to re-treat the world. 

July 30, 2017. "Where Is God?" Matthew 13: 31-33, 44-52.

What has been the biggest surprise of your life?  Where do you find God?  Today we conclude the parables of Matthew 13.  God is found in surprising places.  Significant results can come from insignificant beginnings.  The Kingdom of God is worth giving everything.  Participation in the kingdom is a matter of life and death.  The reign of God impacts all creation.  Look for God in what is new.  Look for God in what is old.  Look for God in everyday life.

July 23, 2017. "Coexisting with Evil." Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43.


what is an evil you would like the world to be rid of today?  Like last Sunday, today's gospel consists of two stories.  Matthew's church was becoming mixed.  In addition to being mixed, today's church also faces an alien worldview.  Sin is in the world contending with good.  Sin is not just finitude or a poor choice.  Sin comes from our fear and anxiety.  God cares about people.  Those who take account of God will receive particular care.  Everyone will be held accountable.  Much twentieth century evil came from premature judgment about others.  The twenty first century also wants to get rid of the weeds.  We need to be patient cultivating and fertilizing the good seed planted by God.  

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