John's Gospel gives a quite different account of the "Holy Spirit Moment" for Jesus' disciples following the Resurrection. Rather than fifty days later, it happens on the First Day of the Week, Easter itself! No great winds or flames of fire here, just Jesus breathing on each of his disciples to share with them the Holy Spirit. And instead of seven-fold gifts, they receive just one: the grace to forgive. That "breath" of Jesus is a very big breath indeed...it is the "Ruach" of God himself!
The rolling hills of the Palouse just south of Spokane offer a lovely image of the wheatland world Jesus knew well in Galilee. From this world he finds a potent image to make sense of his coming death...and teaches all of us the power of "letting go" and dying to self.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only son..." (John 3:16) This famous verse from John's Gospel summarizes well the "Good News" of the Christian faith. God loves so much that he created the world and all it contains and us within it...that is very good news! That he then shared with us his Son becoming flesh to live among us and share with us our joys and sufferings, that too is very good news! But there is a dark side too that John expresses further on: So this is the deal: the Light came into the world, but we preferred the darkness. That is not good news.
Lent calls us to examine what is yet dark within us and turn then to the Light.
We complete our parish's Lenten Mission with a service of reconcilition in which we allow the Father to enfold us in his merciful and compassionate arms. We are the sons; he is the crazy-in-love Father for us, too!
Now, finally, we meet the elder son. His sin in refusing to come into the feast, too, is very grave. The Father's appeal to him shows forth the same mercy, compassion, and "crazy-love" as he earlier showed forth to his younger son. Will the elder boy refuse the invitation or accept the father's love and come into the feast? That is the great question left unanswered by Jesus as he ends this parable.
Tonight's reflection takes a long and loving look at the father who is the true "star" of this parable. His love for his son is without limit, as is his mercy and compassion. He lets go of all his dignity to smother his son with love and in so doing, restores the boy to sonship.
This evening we take a "deep dive" into the first important character of Jesus' magisterial parable of the Father and his two sons. We learn just how deeply this boy sinned by taking his share of the family wealth and wasting it among the heathens.
In this first of our Lenten Mission Reflections, we come to know to whom Jesus was speaking these very special parables found together in Luke 15. We then take a closer look at the stories of the Good Shepherd and the Good Housewife.
So our Lenten Mission at St. Therese Parish in Albuquerque, NM begins with the Sunday homily for the Second Sunday of Lent (B). We here the powerful story of Jesus' transfiguration in front of the very eyes of Peter, James, and John. The words of Peter, "It is good that we are here...!" resonate still and remind us that as we begin this Lenten Mission we are reminded that, indeed, it is very good that we are here, too!