Archive for April, 2011

How Easter Should Transform Us

Thursday, April 28th, 2011


Thursday of Easter Week

Acts 3: 11-26; Lk 24: 35-48

Dc. Larry Brockman


Transforming!  That’s what the Resurrection event became for the Apostles- transforming.  From a group of everyday regular folks- fisherman, tax collectors, and average Joes, the Apostles were transformed into courageous men of Faith who went out and evangelized despite warnings from the authorities.  Today, we hear about this transformation in our readings. 

In the Gospel, we hear about the beginning of the transformation.  These Apostles were huddled together in an upper room on the evening of the resurrection event.  They were afraid, confused, demoralized, and conflicted; pondering about what they had heard and what some of them had seen.  But then, Jesus appeared in person, and validated the rumors.  Here in the flesh, touchable, and able to eat just like the rest of them, was this man who had been arrested, tried, severely beaten, tortured, crucified, and buried.  They had seen it all- they were witnesses to all of the horror.  It all seemed impossible- but it was real.  Now, they were witnesses to the reality of the Resurrection.  And it brought them incredible joy. 

And so then we hear about Peter and the others in the Acts of the Apostles at a time just a few days later.  They were working miracles and speaking out.  Peter, who denied Christ three times; and the other Apostles, who wouldn’t even show their faces; these men had been transformed into fearless men who are spreading joy, and don’t care what the consequences are in their secular society.  That is what the Easter event meant to the Apostles.  It was transforming.   

All of us are in the middle of our Easter event.  How seriously are we taking it?  Has it become a transforming event in our lives?  You see, we are also called upon to be witnesses, witnesses of what happened, yes, because the reports have been maintained in the Gospels and by tradition these 2000 years.  But what is really important, is that we believe and allow ourselves to be transformed by projecting that we really do believe with Easter Joy! 

Understanding Suffering

Thursday, April 21st, 2011


Holy Thursday Reflection


Suffering!  Suffering is something that all of us avoid, and yet, none of us can avoid it totally, can we?  It can be physical suffering- an illness or operation; it can be emotional suffering- pressures by family or circumstances; or it can be any of the other forms that suffering takes.  And yet, when I listen to the passion of Christ, which we hear a couple of times during Holy Week, and which we commemorated in devotion through the Stations of the Scriptural Cross on all of the Fridays of Lent, it brings the suffering that Christ endured for the sins of the world into such clear focus.  It reminds me that no matter what I am called to suffer, it pales by comparison to the suffering of Jesus.  Jesus understood that His work, the work of salvation, would be made perfect as he subjugated His will to the will of the Father, even if that meant suffering humiliation and pain and torture and death- which it did.  That’s a lesson all of us need to learn.  That in the course of our lives, we will encounter suffering related to the will of God.  And our mission in life is to accept it, because it is part of what all of us need to do in being made perfect in the eyes of God.  Why?  Because just like Jesus, what awaits us if we are obedient is the glory that Jesus paved the way for all of us to receive as sons and daughter of God. 

Jesus True Sacrifice on the Cross

Friday, April 8th, 2011


April 8, 2011

Stations of the Cross Reflection

Dc. Larry Brockman

He was a man who endured much suffering.  Nothing could be clearer to us than that   After pondering the readings for each of the stations tonight, it is clear Jesus suffered in mind, body, and spirit.  He was falsely accused, betrayed, and misunderstood.  He was physically abused, taunted, and humiliated.  And finally, he was tortured and put to death in the most painful way the authorities knew of.  But something else was clear in the readings.  He was in love.  True God and True Man, Jesus loved His own creation, mankind, so much that he suffered for us, and took on our own infirmities.  Indeed, Jesus shows us the way.  Every human life, and that includes yours and mine, will experience suffering and pain.  The secret is to accept the pain and suffering that is part of our lives in the same spirit as Jesus accepted it.  Because our bodies are imperfect; our minds imperfect, and our world is imperfect, the consequences of living God’s will for us will always mean a mix of good times and bad times, of joy and suffering.  Jesus accepted his cross with love, and a sense of joy.  Yes, he was afraid- that was what Gethsemane was all about.  Yes, he was disappointed in his Apostles and followers-  they fell asleep while he prayed, and then abandoned him.  But it didn’t matter.  He accepted the cross out of love, love for all of creation.  The last couple of weeks of Lent are a good time for us to reflect on our own suffering.  We will experience it; it is part of life.  But, we need to accept it with the same spirit as the Lord did.  Illnesses, stress, bad breaks in the world, and stupid mistakes- these are a few of the things that cause us suffering.  What makes us truly Christian disciples of Jesus is our attitude towards them.  Can we love even when we are afflicted, as Jesus did?  Can we endure, even when we are in pain as Jesus did?  Yes we can; because we know that Jesus will always be there for us for ever and ever. 

Curing Our Spiritual Blindness

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

Fourth Sunday of Lent

1 Sam 16: 1b, 6-7, 10-13a; Eph 5: 8-14; John 9: 1-41

Dc. Larry Brockman


So, how is it that you and I are blind?    We are still in the midst of Lent; a time for meditation and reflection on our lives; a time for purification and change, so that when the Resurrection occurs, and the Light of the World, the resurrected Christ, shines his pure light into our hearts, we will be ready- ready like Paul challenges the Ephesians to be ready:  “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Live as children of the light.”  And the chances are that each one of us, yes, each one of us, is still blind.  We cannot see as God sees, and we would do well to reflect on that, so that on Easter, we can live as light, fully comfortable and joyful.   

In today’s Gospel, the blind man goes through a miraculous transformation physically; he is cured of his physical blindness in a flash.  But he also goes through a second transformation:  He is cured of spiritual blindness.  We can see that this second transformation is slower.  Notice that, as the multiple dialogs in our Gospel unfold, the blind man begins with spiritual ignorance.  First, we hear:  “I don’t know what happened, all I know is that Jesus did this to me and now I can see”.  He was probably so shocked, so taken by what happened to him physically, that the implications of it all hadn’t had a chance to settle in.  But then, as the later dialogs develop between the blind man and the Pharisees and between the blind man and Jesus, we see that he has a different attitude.  So, he describes Jesus as a prophet- an explicit recognition that something exceptional happened, because he had a chance to reflect on the miracle. Yes, indeed, something profound happened and that meant to him that there was something special about Jesus.  But then, after he meets Jesus again and Jesus tells him that He is the Messiah, the blind man tells Jesus that He believes.  Ah, yes, he believes that Jesus is more than a prophet, and goes so far as to worship Him.  Indeed, this blind man went through a spiritual transformation.   

Now there are some of you who might think:  “Well, that is all very interesting, but it happened to this one man.  Certainly, I cannot identify with that blind man personally;  after all, I am here, already a believer, a real believer.  It’s the people like the Pharisees and the others in today’s Gospel story who are blind, not me.”  Well, consider this.  Samuel was one of the greatest Prophets and Judges of the Old Testament.  And yet Samuel was still blind, unable to see as God sees.  The proof of that is today’s story of the choice of David.  Samuel is ready to choose the handsome older son of Jesse because, he saw differently than God.  But God says basically, “don’t judge by appearances”.  Samuel, you see, was blinded by appearances.  And yet, ironically, once David is brought from virtual exile, away, hidden from sight by his pastoral duties as the family shepherd; indeed, once David is brought into the light, our reading tells us that David is “a youth handsome to behold and making a splendid appearance”!  Wow!  Once Samuel’s eyes were truly opened, then he could really see.  All of us who think that we can see need the same kind of transformation.  And Lent is the perfect time for us to stop what we are doing, take time out from the brilliance of the world and all it has to distract us, and to step back in such a way, that the hidden wisdom of God can transform us- transform us so that we can see, see the way God sees.   

So, I ask again, how is it that you and I are blind?  What is it that you are not seeing that is affecting your life, your relationship with God?  Is it something that is in your background, something that’s been there all along but you just haven’t seen it- a person, a circumstance, an opportunity, a problem?  Is it something that you are hiding, keeping locked up inside of you?  Perhaps it is something even suppressed because you don’t want to come to grips with it; or perhaps something that needs attention right now, but you think you are too busy to deal with it?  Then again, maybe you’ve been praying for something, and you don’t recognize that God has already answered your prayer because you are judging by your ability to see, and can’t see as God sees.   

Our second reading ends with a great piece of advice.  It is thought to be lifted from an ancient Baptismal hymn.  It is something all of us Baptized Christians would do well to ponder as we try to see things in our life  rhe way God sees them.  The advice is this:  “Awake, O sleeper and arise from the dead.  And Christ will give you light”.