Lynne Smith's Homily from November 27, 2011, First Sunday of Advent

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What do you do when your world falls apart, your sins are exposed and even God seems to be absent? That is the situation of the people of Israel at the time of the reading from Isaiah today. The people returned to Jerusalem from years in exile in Babylon, but Jerusalem was no more. Their businesses, their government, the temple, their homes were all gone. Their whole society had been destroyed by the Babylonians. The prophets had warned it would happen and advised them to accept the situation and make their home in Babylon. But the people ignored the prophets …

Jack Finney's Homily from November 13, 2011

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It is a spiritual principle that whenever we receive a call, an invitation, or have a gift to share there will always be resistance. To carry through we will also need support. The resistance can come in the form of a critic—either from within or without; laziness, or fear as in the case of the one talent person in today’s Gospel. The support can come from God/prayer; others; and inner resources. We see this pattern in everyone who is called or gifted. Moses’ resistance was that he was not a public speaker; but God gave him others for support. Jeremiah’s …

Joseph Wiesenfarth's Homily from October 30, 2011

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Joseph Wiesenfarth delivered the following homily at Sunday Assembly at Holy Wisdom Monastery on October 30, 2011.  The readings from the common lectionary that day included Micah 3:5-12, 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13, and Matthew 23:1-12. Recently—in September to be precise—my wife and I were in Scotland and France:  two countries noted for their spiritual history as well as for bottled spirits of another kind.  I was speaking at a literary conference in Glasgow after which, to recover, Louise and I went to Paris to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary.  Our adventures abroad involved visiting churches of two denominations—Presbyterian and Catholic—and sampling scotch …

Libby Caes' Homily from October 23, 2011

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Libby Caes delivered the following homily at Sunday Assembly at Holy Wisdom Monastery on October 23, 2011.  The readings from the common lectionary for the day included Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8; and Matthew 22:34-46.  Libby Caes is the oncology and palliative care chaplain at UW Hospital and Clinics. She is ordained by the Mennonite Church USA but makes herself at home in the larger ecumenical community. She received her M.Div. at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary (now Palmer Seminary) in Philadelphia, PA.  Just over a month ago Pat Robertson, the televangelist, was asked by a caller, named Andreas…and I …

Leora Weitzman's Homily from September 25, 2011

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Leora Weitzman delivered the following homily at Sunday Assembly at Holy Wisdom Monastery on September 25, 2011.  The readings that day from the common lectionary were Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32, Philippians 2:1-13, and Matthew 21:23-32. I’ve always identified with the first child – the one who resists but ultimately does the right thing.  I’ve prided myself on reliability and follow-through.  This week, I met my inner second child. On Monday, I rediscovered that I was scheduled to teach today from 9 to 6.  Rediscovered because I did originally agree to the date; I just forgot to enter it in my planner, and …

Jim Penczykowski's Homily from September 18, 2011

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The following homily was delivered by Jim Penczykowski at Sunday Assembly at Holy Wisdom Monastery on September 18, 2011 – the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Our scripture today invites us to examine some of our base instincts, some of the characteristics we find least attractive about ourselves. In our first reading from the Book of Jonah we have Yahweh in the role of “anger management counselor” utilizing the first documented example of Rational-Emotive Therapy. Anyone who has prayed the psalms is aware that some are replete with calls for Yahweh to wreak vengeance on the psalmist’s enemies.  Some of …

Mike Sweitzer-Beckman's Reflection on the Gospel from September 11, 2011

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Mike Sweitzer-Beckman delivered the following reflection on the Gospel on September 11, 2011, the Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time.  The lectionary readings for the day included Genesis 50:15-21 and Matthew 18:21-35. Today, President Barack Obama and George W. Bush have gathered in Lower Manhattan for a solemn remembrance of the attacks ten years ago today.  The past couple weeks, I have been so saturated with commemorations of September 11, 2001 – ten years ago today.  It’s been all over the newspapers, email alerts from socially conscious organizations, and on NPR.  So coming up with something new to share with all …

Lynne Smith's Homily from August 28, 2011 on Matthew 16:21-28

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Lynne Smith, OSB, delivered the following homily at Sunday Assembly on August 28, 2011.  The Gospel reading for the day was Matthew 16:21-28. Imagine what Peter’s thoughts might have been after this exchange with Jesus. “But I love you. I don’t want you to suffer or die. Besides, you are the Messiah. You are supposed to free us from the Romans – not be killed yourself. Bad things shouldn’t happen to good people, let alone to you, the Messiah. If they kill YOU, what will they do to ME? If YOU are put to death, what hope is there for …

Leora Weitzman's Homily from Sunday Assembly on August 21, 2011: Not Always So

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The following homily was delivered by Leora Weitzman at Sunday Assembly at Holy Wisdom Monastery on August 21, 2011.  The readings from the common lectionary for the day included Isaiah 51:1-6, Romans 12:1-8 and Matthew 16:13-20. The essence of Buddhism, I once read, can be expressed in two words:  Not … Always … So. A lot of things are not always so in today’s readings.  In Isaiah, what was desert… becomes garden.  The earth itself, and the heavens… will one day vanish.  Despite this, salvation… is forever.  Salvation may look, from time to time, like gardens, or like life on …

Libby Caes' Homily from August 7, 2011

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Libby Caes delivered the following homily at Sunday Assembly at Holy Wisdom Monastery on August 7, 2011. The readings from the lectionary for the day included I Kings 19:9-18, Romans 10:5-15, and Matthew 14:22-33. Libby Caes is the oncology and palliative care chaplain at UW Hospital and Clinics. She is ordained by the Mennonite Church USA but makes herself at home in the larger ecumenical community. She received her M.Div. at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary (now Palmer Seminary) in Philadelphia, PA.  Focus statement: The invitation the Old Testament and gospel readings is to live our lives in our God given, …