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WEEKLY REFLECTION | Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, July 11, 2021

Dearest Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

It was beyond wonderful to be back in church – “live and in-person” – for worship this past Sunday! We had a good crowd, and the music was so joyous. I do think the singing, even with masks on, was as lovely and lively as I have ever heard it! It’s as if we’ve been waiting so long to sing again together, we certainly made the most of it! Keep it up! Again, what a joy to have David Mascari back as Music Director. Again, joy.

But, my friends, as we know, both joy and sorrow are both parts of our Christian walk. Both joy and sorrow are profound realities in our lives. This week’s gospel from Mark is a record of an incident of profound, intense sorrow.

This week’s gospel is the story of the murder of John the Baptist. The manner of John the Baptist’s death, the beheading, is almost too painful to think about.  I will tell you that when I read the Gospel this coming Sunday, it will be difficult. The overwhelming cruelty is beyond reckoning. 

The cruelty of St. John the Baptist’s death is not something we wish to think about; however, it is an iconic descriptive of sin in the world. There is so much suffering in our world – and sorrow, due to sin. 

The long list of violence against our black, brown, and indigenous sisters and brothers is devastating. The violence against our LGBTQ+ sisters and brothers is crushing. The history of violence against those of the Jewish faith is breathtaking. The recently uncovered mass graves of indigenous children in Canada who died in boarding schools is excruciating to think of. Violence against women and children, in this country and around the world is an assault on humanity. Haiti is again in total anarchy and lawlessness. This is just to name but a few of the results of the sin of murder and violence in our world. It goes on and on and on.

Why do I dwell on such an unhappy topic in this letter? It is to remind us that sorrow is ever before us. That sin is ever before us and that “the wages of sin is death”.  That we are to be followers of Jesus who does not return evil for evil but loved us all AND loves us all now and forever.

Jesus came into the world to break the cycle of violence. We are to be bearers of this Gospel of peace, justice, and reconciliation. To be bearers of love in this broken world. To live the ethics of Jesus’ teaching and example.

Let us pray mightily each day that we may be instruments of God’s peace – daily – in whatever our realms of influence may be.  Love gets the last word. Amen

My friends, may we continue to be one in the Spirit. And let us continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.


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