WORDS FOR THE WIND WEEKEND OF MARCH 28-29
FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT
Before I say anything else, I want you to
know that we are still booking weddings over
the phone making young couples happy and
making me happy and I hope you, too!
Young couples are forging ahead even in the
midst of this awful stuff. What an
inspiration to us all.
And we are still doing funerals, not as we
would like to, but we are still offering the
compassionate response that you expect us
to. I have done two memorial services via
conference calls and I have done a graveside
service with all of the required
precautions, and more, observed.
Some families are deferring a Catholic
funeral liturgy until it is safe for us to
be together again, which we will be, have no
doubt both here and in the hidden love of
God that we are always in, anyway, even
though we don’t have to think about or
believe that most of the time as we do now.
Thank you all, all of you, wonderful people
in exile, you make our parish what it is,
and you enable us to make all people
You can find the Gospel story for this
weekend in many places if you want to see
where I am coming from such as USCCB
Readings or Google, New American Bible and
find the Gospel of John Chapter 11 verses 1
It is the story involving Jesus and Lazarus
and Martha and Mary the sisters of Lazarus
and Lazarus is identified as the one that
Jesus is in Jerusalem two miles from where
Lazarus is dying, and he delays two days
from walking the two miles, Martha and Mary
both expect that had Jesus come earlier he
could have stopped the dying.
Jesus tells his disciples that he is going
to “awaken” him, and a few verses after
Lazarus is awakened John tells us that the
religious leaders, the chief priests and the
leaders of the people will kill Lazarus.
All of that and more are important if we are
to even come close to what John is trying to
So, from the earliest evidence of
archeological history we know that our
ancestors created what I call “good luck
charms,” rings, stones as in the movie
Parasite, figurines, animal body parts, all
kinds of things, talismans, in an effort to
be kept safe and have good things happen
rather than bad.
These days we grieve a lot, we have lost a
lot, we have no idea when or how this will
end. Cherished traditions are forbidden,
ordinary pleasures are denied us, fear
undermines our days and our nights, anxiety
We are grieving.
There are those who so, so badly want a
world that has a God that can do anything
but especially what we want done, and one of
the things that we crave is that we have a
God that keeps us from harm and above all
No matter that history is pretty consistent
on the fact that death isn’t stopped, we
still look for that God.
I like Pope Francis and I hope he offers
consolation to people, but I have a hard
time praying to God to end this plague. I
prefer to be silent and let the God who is
essentially silent “speak” to me in the
Jesus assures us that the Spirit will supply
the words so learn to trust, and besides
that, the idea of notifying a loving God
that we are in trouble and to be loving is a
bit preposterous to me.
I understand that people need something to
hang onto, to give them hope, I really do,
but I have to stop and think about what it
would mean if we had a God who could do
anything including stopping death or ending
this plague and wouldn’t do it.
What good is a God that can do anything
including stopping death who doesn’t do it?
God is far more mysterious and does not work
like we do that is why the First Commandment
is, I am the Lord they God and I shall not
have strange gods before me.
So, let God be God and you and I be you and
I and see what happens going that route
instead of beating our heads against a wall
with our ideas of how God should be when
that is not possible.
So, I just want to gently suggest that you
think about that, as well, as I really
believe in God but a God who can only love
and that is different than a superman kind
of god. Think about your love and not your
fear, if you can.
You know you do not have to agree with me,
and you can believe what you want and pray
the way you want, I just offer my thoughts
for you to take or leave.
This story from the Gospel of John is among
other things taking things to a higher level
and teaching us that the God that Jesus
reveals is not a “good luck charm” or a
Jesus does not resuscitate Lazarus he
“awakens” him, not back to life to be
murdered by a mob of egocentric religious
zealots, no he “awakens” Lazarus to the
truth that he is more than what he appears
to be, his death does not define him and
that he is loved.
To do this we have to go through the whole
of John and “see” Jesus dies too, he goes
the ultimate distance in walking into the
hands of a violent death, choosing to walk
into the hands of very violent and fanatical
and frightened religion and the leaders of
Jesus knew what I try and teach you, that
the only thing God can do is love, Jesus
will say that he believes that but that
doesn’t keep him from desperation or fear,
he begs to be delivered but accepts the will
of his father and that will is not that he
should die but that he learn that the love
of God can carry him even through that most
feared and awful human experience, death, a
Now believe me, I know that this isn’t easy
to hold on to, this idea that the only thing
that God can do is love and that the love of
God is the only thing that lasts.
Real faith is not born in desperation. Faith
born in desperation inevitably creates a God
that is just like us.
Real faith is born in love and real faith
born in love does not keep us from
desperation nor does it keep us from harm,
but it does keep us.
My faith is as flabby as anyone’s and I am
scared, maybe terrified, and I vacillate all
over the place and I cry a lot these days
and it is when I cry, though, that I can see
a bit more clearly.
I cry because I love my life and the lives
of so many people that I love being with and
for so many people and I have some people
that have loved me and touched my heart and
left their fingerprints and I think
something like that is what Lazarus was
Lazarus “saw!” Lazarus saw Love.
Remember that one of the earliest names for
Christ was “eye salve,”
Lazarus saw through even death and so can
we, I think he saw that Love is real, that
love is not dependent on us but is God and
God is more than we can most of the time
“imagine” but we do know love so we can know
So, lets pour some of our excess love that
we are squandering on ourselves into one
another, into those poor people all over the
world dying alone, into the doctors and
nurses and their colleagues in medicine and
science and into the people who are keeping
groceries and power and light and water
coming for us and into the people who are
homeless and poor and violated in so many
ways and into the emptiness of so many
Most of the time in my wedding homilies I
allude to but do not call it that, The
Mystical Body of Christ and that that young
couple today are putting into the collective
unconsciousness their love and that their
love will become in some mysterious was an
antidote to the toxicity that invades so
many hearts and minds.