2nd Sunday of Easter A (Divine Mercy)

I have always been inspired by the story of that first community of disciples, how “they devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.”  They sold everything they had to live together, to give themselves for Christ and to each other.  Of course, “the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.”  Who could fail to see the attraction of those first believers? Yes, I have been inspired by their example, but also haunted.  Can we achieve that sort of unity in the complexity of our world today?  Short of you giving me everything you own and all of us moving into the rectory together, how can we shimmer like that fist community?  How can we burn like a beacon to attract others to the life of Christ?

On this Divine Mercy Sunday, I suggest the Gospel gives us three ways to accomplish this, to brighten the path that leads to Christ.  The first is to invite all people to come to a house of peace.  Peace is the chosen word of the resurrected Christ.  He says it twice to his disciples as he mysteriously appears to them beyond the locked doors.  It is the same word he gave to his disciples when they entered the home of another.  This peace is not the rest from all enemies.  It is an active thing.  It is a bond of unity, a knowing that they are beloved.

I know how hard it is for you to get here each week.  Whether it is the Tapia family and their six children, if you are struggling with your own infirmities or simply running against the insane busyness of life, it is not easy to overcome the madness to settle in for an  hour.  But once you get here, don’t you feel like, “AHHH..”  You know it has been worth it.  You know that you can put everything else behind you and focus on what really matters – this is the word you need to hear; this is the bread you need to receive for you were built with both in mind.  And no matter the craziness that will occur from Monday until Saturday evening, no matter the hurt, loss and envy you will experience, this is a peace that cannot be taken away for this is the stuff of eternity.  Of divinity.  Of Christ.  Jesus I trust in you.  Peace that lasts forever and outlasts everything else.

They will also come and see a house of forgiveness.  For Jesus breathed on them and announced, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”  Jesus’ ministry of forgiveness has been handed down to the Church through the Holy Spirit so the fount of divine mercy may never run dry.  I am always surprised by people who are turned off by church because they say they see the same people as mass on Sunday sinning on Monday. To which I reply, “I was not aware that you were following me around.”

We are all sinners.  We are all broken.   This place will always be more about healing than perfection.  Look at how Jesus knows he will be recognized. It is not his glorified body they are to look upon, but upon his hands and feet pierced by nails and his side opened by a sword.  They are to know Jesus in his brokenness as he knows us in ours.  Our community must be open to the brokenness of others; our light will only shine if we can share our wounds, confident we will receive only the salve of mercy and not the pain of exploitation. Come and see the Broken Body of Christ, accepted and beloved.

And they will come and see a house of imperfect faith.  There is always room for doubters in this family. Poor Thomas, for his is known as doubting Thomas for his insistence on seeing and prying his hands into the wounds of Christ.  He does not say much else in the Gospel of John.  He says, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” to which Jesus famously replies, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”  But less noticed still is when Jesus finally decides to return to dangerous Judea to raise Lazarus from the dead, it is Thomas who says, “Let us also go to die with him.”  Thomas does not lack courage, he, likes us, suffers from “little faith.”  The faith he had was knocked out on the cross and he is reluctant to believe again.  Have you ever been shaken; felt let down by God?  It is a moment of “little faith.”  One of the great heartbreaks of my life is that so many people feel their faith slipping away and never come to me to talk about it.  If your health was slipping away, you would see a doctor, right?  Yet the ebb of faith is seen as simply shedding unneeded skin when what is lost is so much more.

Look at the example of Thomas.  Yes, he doubts, but does so from within the community and they allow his doubts until Jesus comes again.  If he had left, his doubts would never have been answered.  We must be a place where people are allowed to doubt.  Jesus blesses those who believe without seeing. But in the peace of this Church, this broken and healing church, this doubting and faith shaking but still persisting church, they will see Christ.  They will see Him in our forgiveness, brokenness and peace.  And they will come to believe.

They will always come and see a house of Divine Mercy, for whatever else they were looking for, however, they wanted their questions answered, there is but one answer from God.  Compassion, Love and Mercy.  And they will come to such a house for it is what they, and all of us, were built for.

 

4th Sunday of Lent A

The man born blind claims that, “It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind.”  He was the first person born with blindness to be cured.  But since then, with remarkable advances in medicine, thousands of those born blind have been brought to sight.  And their experience is fascinating.  As one researcher put it, the moment the bandages are removed from their eyes is not like how it is portrayed in the movies. It is a moment of great confusion.  Everything is blurry because the eyes do not know how to coordinate with one another. The vast array of colors means nothing to one without the experience of color.  Even objects that have been held and whose shape is known are not understood by the newly sighted for to feel a shape is not to see a shape.  The moment of sight is confusing cacophony of images unsettling to the newly healed.

Yet, the brain is a marvelously adaptive tool.  Within months and weeks, the eyes discover how far they are from each other and focus comes.  Associations are made between shape and sight.  With experience, colors gather meaning.  Beauty becomes visible.  Of course, the biblical story has nothing like this kind of detail.  Or does it?

For how the blind person builds their understanding of what they see is exactly how the man born blind grows his image of Jesus.  It takes time and experience, but eventually the blind man sees more than all the rest.

When they first ask the blind man how he came to be cured, he says, “The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’”  By the time the Pharisees ask him what he makes of the man Jesus, the healed one claims, “He is a prophet.”  After the religious authorities interrogate the man’s parents about his blindness, they return ever more convinced that Jesus is a sinner.  The man born blind now angrily and even sarcastically argues with the Pharisees, ensuring their everlasting wrath.  They throw him out of the synagogue.  Then, in a moment of pure compassion, aware of how badly he had been treated, Jesus seeks out the one he has cured and asks him if he believes in the Son of Man.  He is willing to believe even as Jesus reveals, “You have seen him, the one speaking with you is he.”  The man does believe, then he performs an act no disciple, nor anyone else in the Gospels ever does. He worships Jesus.  The man born blind alone is able to see that Jesus is God.

His story is ours as well.  I am 52 years old and have made quite a study of God, but I best I can only see God through squinted eyes.  God’s depth and beauty will ever escape me.  When we ask people to “Come and See,” we are not asking as those who have found the definitive answer and that others must catch up with us.  We are only inviting people to journey more deeply with us into the mystery of God.

I’ll give you an example of what I mean.  Some people like depictions of heaven that are familiar, with family and friends clearly visible and everything relatable. I think it is a wonderful way to understand how heaven will comfort us.  But for how heaven really is, I prefer those depictions of death experiences which are not as specific – which describe colors and feelings and contours and images that are beyond explanation, beyond articulation.  When I come to heaven I don’t want to witness the most beautiful array of colors I have ever seen, I want to see a color I have never knew existed; I don’t want to hear the most beautiful music ever, I want to hear a sound beyond music.

Our God is beyond our comprehension and yet thoroughly intimate.  To know this God is to go more deeply along the path of compassion and love then we knew possible, and it would still be but a glimpse of the majesty and goodness and of our God.

It is why we worship together.  Here we can share the experience of God.  God touched and healed me this way, even as God spoke to you another way.  Here I can point out to you this stunning color and then you can touch the texture you have never felt before.  And together we wade into God’s beauty, God’ love; each of us a pilgrim in a strange and blessed land – each aware of overwhelming blessing like a blind person seeing for the first time.  And so we believe.  And so we worship.

3rd Sunday of Lent A 2017

They should never have met.  Jesus, tired from a long journey, takes a seat and a moment away from his disciples in the middle of the day.   This is the only time in John’s Gospel that admits of such weakness in Jesus.  The Samaritan woman comes to draw water in the midst of the hottest time of the day, well after the other women in the village had come. It is not an accident.  She comes at this time to avoid them – their talk to her face or behind her back, their withering looks of judgment.  We would still whisper today about a woman married five times and living with another man still.  Imagine the scandal she must have been in the small, tight knit community.  I picture her stooped, eyes downcast, trying to make her small enough to hide in plain daylight.

Jesus sees her at the well and asks for a drink.  She is shocked.  Jews don’t talk to Samaritans and men don’t speak to women so publicly.  The startled woman asks what his plan is here for he has no bucket and the cistern is deep.  But Jesus seeks more than water.  He answers her mysteriously, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink, ‘you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”  A water so alive that it quenches thirst forever.  She wants this water badly if only because she would not have to go to this darn well in the middle of the day.

She must feel she is getting away with something.  This stranger is treating her with generosity and kindness.  This is what life would be if no one knew her shame and her sin.  But that illusion shatters when Jesus asks her to call her husband.  She claims she has no husband, but Jesus fills in the rest.  “You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’  For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband.”  He does know!  Yet, he does not condemn or revoke his offer of living water.  He knows her shame and still he cares for her; still wants nothing but the best for her!  You can almost see her back start to straighten, her legs steady and her eyes lift.  She is free to look Jesus, or anyone, in the eye.

She even dares to talk theology to one she believes a prophet.  When she brings up the topic of a Messiah, Jesus acknowledges, “”I am he, the one speaking with you.”  Then comes a remarkable transformation, the woman who came at noon to avoid anyone in town, now seeks out everybody and excitedly informs them she has found the one who could be the Messiah. Her past has not changed, but her dignity, her beauty and her breath has returned to her.  Indeed, she even invokes her past to explain her encounter with Christ.  “Come see a man who told me everything I have done.  Could he possibly be the Christ?”

I wonder how often shame and sin have stopped us from spreading the word of God?  How often have we felt unworthy to tell the story of Christ because we felt unworthy of its promises?  When have we felt our dignity diminished and feel the grace of God should skip us?  Yet, all that disappears in a true encounter with Christ, the one who meets us where we are at, forgives us completely and continually reminds us of the beauty we have been created with.

If we are to be ambassadors for Christ, if we are to share the joy of our liberation, then we must shed our shame and embrace our dignity.  We must accept and deeply believe that Christ loves us right now, with our imperfections, our sins and our regrets.  He saw beauty and potential in the Samaritan woman despite her five and a half husbands.  He wants us to give us our best despite our failings as well.

You are capable and ready for this job.  Straighten your back, feel the strength return to your legs and lift your eyes.  You too can tell the story of how loved you are.  Now imitate the Samaritan woman and say to all “Come and See.”  We do not impose our beliefs, we offer a place where they can know the forgiveness of their sins, even if it takes 24 consecutive hours.  We offer a family of care and of true concern to our neighbor and the stranger.  We are the home of living water which quenches thirst and promises eternal life.

1st Sunday of Lent A

Do you think the serpent would have convinced you to eat the forbidden fruit?  I certainly think the serpent would have gotten me.  The brilliance of the story is how, in such a simple fashion, the seducer’s temptation covers all our weaknesses and exposes our vulnerability to sin.  The serpent misses not a trick in the fall of Adam and Eve.   It is the root of all temptation.  Their failing is called “Original Sin” because all of our sins resemble theirs.

The very first strategy of the serpent is the most reliable.  He lies.  “”Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?”  Of course only the two trees in the middle of the garden were forbidden. Lies are inherent in sin because truth so closely belongs to God.  Eve to her credit rejects the notion but now she is intrigued.   Curiosity allows the conversation to continue.  Where is the serpent going with all this?  The lie has not warned her.  She allows him to continue having pointed out “it is only about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, lest you die.'”  She is fully engaged now with one who introduced himself with a lie.   The serpent replies, “You certainly will not die!  [Strangely true as it turns out.]  No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is evil.”

Now this sets the temptation in a new direction.  The woman is interested in obtaining this knowledge of good and evil.  Now, having lived in paradise she did know things and all of them were good and beautiful, God’s original, untainted and perfect creation.  If her desire is to know good from evil, then she must really want to know what is evil for she has been taught and given nothing but the good.  There is an extremely primitive attraction to the darker aspects of our nature.   We may know what is good but we are excited by what is evil.

She is also jealous of God.  She the creature wants everything God has including knowing right from wrong. She, and we, are unwilling to accept limitations, any reminder that we cannot have everything we want.  That we are indeed, not God ourselves.  Her determination to pursue this ideal of evil only succeeds in bringing shame to the world.

Perhaps she fell victim to mimetic desire – that idea that we are attracted to what someone else possesses precisely because someone else possesses it.  The French philosopher and literary critic Rene Girard claims this mimetic desire is the source of all violence.  If I laid out five fruits before you, but warned you not to eat or even think about the middle one, what would you do?  You would become obsessed with it; why is it different?  Why can’t I have it?  It is when we battle with our limits that violence necessarily ensues.

Finally, the woman must deal with sensuality.  There is a difference between sensuality and aesthetic appreciation. In the latter we admire beauty for its beauty.  But with sensuality, not only do we recognize the attractiveness of something, but we must possess it.  That is why people make a living by taking pictures of food!  When you see that close up of that savory desert, what do you say, but “I have to have it.”  Therefore, when we read, “The woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom,” we know that she will inevitably eat it.  She must possess it.

That is the complex seduction of Eve so that she might bite of the forbidden fruit.  For Adam it goes, “You have fruit.  I want fruit.  I eat fruit.”  Ah, men.  Perhaps he had also heard the temptation of the serpent, perhaps not.  But there is another dynamic in play that cannot be denied. He will not allow his partner to have power that he does not.  Our lust for power is far stronger than our desire to obey.  The fear of vulnerability to someone who has what we do not overcomes our discipline.

So what does this mean for all of us?  Are we as powerless as our first ancestors to resist temptation?  Fortunately, Jesus shows us another way when facing the same dilemmas in the dessert.  One of my favorite lines in the Gospel is that after explaining that Jesus had fasted for 40 days, “he was hungry.”  So the first temptation aligns with his greatest weakness.  Satan challenges the starving Jesus, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.”  Give in to your sensuality, your desire to feed your stomach more than your spirit.  But Jesus rejects him.  Next Satan tempts Jesus to show off his invulnerability by falling off the Temple where he would be caught by angels.  But his ministry is cloaked in the flesh of vulnerability.  Finally, Satan tempts with power over all the kingdoms of the earth, but Jesus knows that evil, bowing even just once to Satan, destroys all good.  He will not give into sensuality, lust for power, desire to possess what others hold dear, intrigue, curiosity or lies.  He will not use the power of God to satisfy his own needs.  The only power he will use is for others.  Within his humanity, he had enough.

Jesus is letting us know that within our humanity, we have enough as well.  We need not succumb to the pressure to have more than we have been given, to choose a darker life in the name of something different or to become what God did not make us to be.  We are enough.  We are just what we are supposed to be.  Anything offered beyond our natural capacity; anyone who make us feel unworthy; anything that adds to power for power’s sake or responds in jealousy to another is not from God.  It is therefore not love.  Lord, give us the grace to resist temptation.  Lord, give us the peace of responding only in love.

 

8th Sunday in Ordinary Time A

 

Maybe your life is very different than mine. Maybe in your life you simply have too much time and you are looking for ways to waste it.  Maybe you have an overabundance of energy at the end of the day, and you want to spend it on something useless.  If that is true than the next few hundred words will be a bit of a waste for you. But if not, I have something that promises to save time and energy and it will cost you nothing.  What if you gave up worrying?

 

Now I know that worrying is a priority for you and you might not want to let it go.  For example, it is more important than homework, because before you even begin it, you have to explain how much you have and how concerned you are about whether or not you can finish it.   The same is true for deadlines at work and fretting over what happens next.  Worrying will not affect any of these things and yet we cannot even think of abandoning it. 

 

I have to think that we treat worrying indeed as sacred.  I have spoken to people and suggested that praying more is exactly what they need.  And they will say to me, “Father, I don’t have the time.”  So I ask them if they ever worry and they respond, “All the time.”  We are glad to spend energy on the problem, but have no time for its solution.

 

Jesus understands what a waste worrying is.  “Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?”  The God who knows how to clothe the wild flowers more beautifully than King Solomon’s wardrobe and feeds the birds of the air will take care of us as well.  How much important are we than them! 

 

These words of comfort might seem a distant cry away from the difficult challenges of the week before to not grow angry, to not retaliate or to love your enemies.  But it is truly a part of the whole.  If we understood how beloved we are by God, how our God is always there for us, than we need not resort to violence for God will be our protector.  We need not hate our enemies for God is our security.  Not worrying amounts to simply trusting God.

 

My spiritual director in seminary was a little Italian leprechaun name Fr. Al Giaquinto who passed away about a year ago.  In his famous high pitched voice he once greeted me by saying, “You look awful Bob.”  I said thanks and explained that I had trouble sleeping the night before.  Al blurted out, “Then you don’t trust God.”  I was like I am doing the best I can; I am in the seminary.  But he was right.   Whenever we cannot sleep due to anxiety, it is because we are holding onto something.  We might entrust everything else to God, but the thing my important we reserve for ourselves to toss and turn all night with as if we are going to do something better and more clever with our problem than the God of all the universe.

 

Often people come to me and list all the things wrong in their life.  I then ask them to slow down, take a deep breath and make believe there is a God.  When we worry, we are literally building a one-sided case for how miserable our life is.  It is not a dispassionate look taking in the good and the bad. Instead we anticipate all that could go wrong and every disheartening scenario.  There is no room for God in that equation.   Why not take account of God?  Why not savor the fact at the very heart of our faith, that our Lord will not fail us?  Why not entrust ourselves to the glory to steer away from our dread.

 

During the sacrament of Reconciliation, I hear some things that I am not sure are sins.  People get angry for a moment; they curse when they stub their toe; they miss mass although they had an operation on a Saturday.   Yet, no one ever confesses worrying too much.  Yet, there is expressly a command against it.  “Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.”

 

Lent begins this week.  We will sacrifice and give up a variety of things, many of them dietary.  I suggest that if you really want to be healthy in every manner – physically, emotionally and spiritually, put all your trust in God and give up worrying.  Let’s see how that feels forty days later.

 

 

 

7th Sunday in Ordinary Time A

I believe that the Sermon on the Mount is a survey of all that we would be capable of if we really knew how beloved we were by God.  But that is the rub.  If we doubt anything primarily, it is our own belovedness, so we are surprised or hold deeply suspicious the challenges Jesus gives us in the Sermon.

For example, last week we were told that to harbor anger against someone is roughly equivalent to murder!  And this week, Jesus charges headlong from the difficult to the near impossible.  In both the law against retaliation, which is really the law against violence, and the command to love our enemies, Jesus demands the seemingly impossible.

“But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.  When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well.”  In thirty years of talking about non-violence, I have heard all the arguments against it.  It makes one too weak and vulnerable.  It is irrational, impractical and dangerous.  To which I say, non-violence has been used sparingly and often with great success.  From Martin Luther King’s America, to the fall of communism in Eastern Europe to Cardinal Sin’s Philippines and Gandhi’s India, people have witnessed the power of non-violence.  Or you can merely contrast it with the ugly record of violence and ask what has that gained us other than the scourge of endless war, distorted relationships, a darker culture and broken families.

Violence and non-violence aim for different goals.  Violence seeks the submission of body and will.   Do what is demanded or face consequences to your freedom of survival.  Non-violence seeks the conversion of minds and hearts.  No one has ever changed their heart at the barrel of a gun or at the end of a fist.  Instead, the wisdom of non-violence is that nothing can be forcibly taken if it is freely given.  That is why no resistance is offered to the evil one. If you want to strike one cheek, I will turn the other as well; if you try to take my cloak, I will offer my tunic; if you force to carry something for one mile, I will bear the burden of the second mile freely.  Now the relationship has changed.  Force is replaced by freedom and with freedom comes dialogue and hope.

Remember, we did not need the grace of the crucifixion and the resurrection so that we could know that after you hit, we should hit back.   We have proven we can figure that at on our own.  But the way of Christ, the way of non-violence, opens new horizons of peace that the shadow violence blots out.

So let’s say that we have managed to summon the strength not to be angry and not to retaliate.  Jesus asks us for even more.  Jesus calls us to what almost all scholars say is the greatest challenge of the Gospels.  “I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

Your enemy.  The one who opposes you and plots against you.  The one who persecutes you, who seeks your ruin.  And Jesus says, we are to take our most precious and divine gifts, to love and to pray, and spend them on our enemies?  Isn’t this finally too much.  Yet, Jesus boldly supplies his logic.  “For he [God] makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.”  In other words, we are all treated the same for we are all God’s creation.  Just as God is able to wade through my web of sin to see the Christ in me, he does so for my enemy.  He gives up on no one.  Once again, we do not need to be redeemed and loved by God in order to love those who love us.  The least of us figure how to do that.  Jesus came that enemies might be reconciled. So we must see not through our own eyes jaundiced by prejudice and limited perception, but see with the eyes of God who never fails to find the Christ in everyone.

It is no coincidence that Jesus follows the command to love your enemies with the challenge, “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect,” for loving our enemies is as close as we can be to being divine ourselves.  Put the face of Christ on your enemy.  Let me warn you – it will seem disturbing at first.  It will look like a horrible distortion and feel like blasphemy.  But you will have surrendered your vision for God’s.  Your hatred for God’s love.

My friend Fred often teaches a course, “What if Jesus really meant what he said?”  We have tried for two thousand years war, violence and hate.  Look where it has gotten us.  My prayer for the world, our cultures and our families is that we now take Jesus seriously, as if he meant what he said. Turn the other cheek.   Love your enemies.

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time A

Well, judging by Facebook and about a billion conversations, this seems like a good time to talk about anger.

Anger is a strange and complicated thing.  Often, people will confess in the Sacrament of Reconciliation that they were angry and I suggest to them that it is not a sin.  Anger is an emotion, a spontaneous reaction, often justifiable.  Trust me, when the Mets blow a four run year in the ninth inning I am not “choosing” to be angry.  My strongest theological argument is that it certainly appears that Jesus was angry at times. I wasn’t there, but I don’t think he would say things like “You hypocrites!” or “You brood of vipers!” in a lilting and comforting voice.

On the other hand, there is this challenge from the Sermon on the Mount.  “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ’You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.’  But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.”  What kind of anger grows into sinfulness?  I think it turns darker when it controls our vision of the world; when it grows like a tumor to block out hope, peace and reconciliation.  It makes us liable for judgment when we no longer possess anger, but anger possesses us.

A good analogy might be with our anger with God.  Of course we can be angry with God and as long as we have felt pain or utter confusion, I am sure that we have known the feeling.  I think that one of the most beautiful things about our God is that God can absorb our anger and love us no less for it.  Instead, our anger at God has the ability to be converted by God’s constant love for us into forgiveness and mercy.  But what if that anger for God is nurtured too long or too exclusively?  What if God just became simply the repository for our anger?  Then we would not be able to witness God’s blessings or acknowledge God in thanksgiving. Then would have our anger blotted out the light.  Our relationship with God would be toxic.

For Jesus, it all comes down to relationship.  Anger is related to murder because it is the motive.  Anger is related to murder, for when we have closed our minds off and cut off that person from our lives, they become dead for us.  And Jesus never ceased reaching out to everyone.  So words like “You fool” or “Raqa” (which means imbecile) are cut off words endangering the existence of the relationship.  They are murderous words for without dialogue, healing is impossible and the death of the relationship is inevitable.

Look at how much Jesus values relationship.  He says, “If you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”  Notice, it is not even a question if you are angry, but if your sister or brother is.  We cannot be made whole, we cannot even present our offerings at the altar unless we are in right relationship with all.

After all, who has ever changed the minds because of name calling?  Has anyone ever called you an imbecile and you thought, “Oh yeah, I forgot I am an imbecile.  You must be right.”  However, by respecting the other, by listening and being open to the other, the possibility of empathy, understanding and reconciliation appear.  Anger gives way to insight and hatred gives way to peace.

So let us never grow too easy or comfortable in our anger.  Let us not see anger as our right without letting it be a launching pad to being made whole. Let us extend ourselves in understanding.  Let us be peacemakers and children of God.  Next week:  part two!