Many years ago when I was assigned as a parochial vicar (an assistant priest) at the Immaculate Conception Parish, East Weymouth, in the second year of our Confirmation Program one of the classes showed a film called "God in the Dock." It was a contemporary interpretation of a Christian on trial and how to prove the accused had any faith. It was the question: was there "enough evidence" to convict the man in the story for being a Christian. Certainly the idea of "is there sufficient proof in one's life of being a follower of Jesus Christ?" is a healthy and valid question. Have you ever asked yourself this question of "proof"? Often we think there is obvious proof of who we are, but the reality is that no one else thinks so because they cannot perceive it. We tend to think too much or too little of ourselves.READ MORE
One of the two biggest topics that is often discussed is the amount of traffic we now have and how few parking places there are. Indeed rush hour and congestion now seems to run all day, from very early morning until very late evening. Parking spaces in the City of Boston can cost between forty and sixty dollars, with monthly rates not too much less. We know here in Franklin how difficult it is to park at many of the houses of worship, including our own. The rules for parking that apply to hydrants, corners, driveways, and access ramps are not always strictly followed. Our Town graciously relaxes the parking rules somewhat for all of our churches on Sundays, but the safety laws still apply. Some folks do not want to know how to use the common sense values of safety and courtesy. It is so normal today for people to think that they are special and that rules and laws do not apply to them, only to other people. Our scripture this weekend invites us to ponder about the spirit and letter of the law and also our freedom to choose.READ MORE
We may not realize that the gospel passage of this weekend is a continuation of the great Sermon on the Mount. We are moving beyond the Beatitudes to many of the additional words and messages of Jesus. The images and symbols of salt and light are the two major images we are invited to identity with this weekend in the scripture readings. We are asked to ponder their meanings in our lives and how we further the work of Jesus as we live out being salt and light. Common to every culture is the use of salt and obviously we all need light, whether from the sun or artificial illumination, to live each day.
Salt and light are indeed very basic to human existence. In human history there even have been "salt wars." Light has always been needed and treasured. We need light in darkness and in our world we need light to be able to see and read. When we do not have salt or light, we can feel how much we need them. Without light, human life is impossible. Without salt, the food that we eat is without taste and quite flat.READ MORE
This weekend we celebrate another and a different style Feast of the Epiphany, the appearance of the Lord in the heart warming Feast of the Presentation of the Lord Jesus in the Temple. Again this revealing of the Lord is a sign of hope and light for all of us. In our Gospel, Mary shows what joy is after her struggle to keep hope and faith in God for so very long. For, previous to this event, she had various periods of fear and doubt and also anxiety and worry as we learn from the stories of the Annunciation, the Nativity and the Flight into Egypt which have been told to all of us. She proves to us by her life that if our lives are grounded in hope that God will act on our behalf, then there is nothing to fear and everything to celebrate. Life has meaning when we trust in the Lord despite the difficulties that surround us. Ultimately his grace will give us peace and joy.READ MORE