Monday, January 21, 2008

Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. held at SJU Fieldhouse

Local State Representative Louise Bishop always organizes a music and prayer rally with the SJU Fieldhouse as her site.

Left to right starting at top: SJU student athletes prepare to leave for day of service; four boys learn about Dr. King; a praise dancer marks the occasion;
some of the 250 student athletes prepare for day of service; a musical tribute from center stage; a blue sky day today;
the choir raises the roof with Alleluias.
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Sunday, January 20, 2008

These are two less conventional images presented as images of the face of Jesus Christ. Popular Science magazine offers the image on the left as consistent with the typical remains of Jewish men of first century Palestine. Above is a more conventional African-American image.
Ordinary Time Second Sunday John 1: 29

“John the Baptist saw Jesus walking toward him.”

This action by Jesus, “walking toward,” ushers in a new age. This scene is the first in the gospel of John to place us human beings in the presence of our brother who is the Word of God. A few verses earlier in the text the gospel does refer to Jesus Christ as the one through whom truth comes into the world. But the gospel reports this “walking toward” as the very first of many public actions of the man Jesus: “the Baptist saw Jesus walking toward him.” In this way Jesus appears on the scene, his first appearance noted as we might note the first appearance of the lead character in a movie....

If someone whom you do not know is walking toward you, how do you feel, how do you react? On a street in the city I react in different ways depending on how I answer questions concerning the one who is approaching me: Does this person want directions? Is this person going to give me an advertising flyer? Will the person be begging? Will he or she demand something more from me? Can I read the face? Is it smiling? Or is it threatening? Ought I to be afraid? There are many times in fact when we carefully change our paths or even cross the street simply to avoid having to face up to a greeting or a snubbing of the person approaching us.

The gospel suggests that we place ourselves next to the Baptist and watch Jesus walking toward us. How do we react? Test yourself. Will you be able to greet Jesus as you would an old and trusted friend? Will you greet him with a feeling of embarrassment and not want to meet him eye to eye?... If you are reluctant and step aside and let Jesus walk by, you are in the majority.

Most of us do the same. Some of us even cross the street. But those of us here at this Eucharist on this non-descript cold winter morning, we come here looking for something, someone. We want the grace of him walking toward us in the same way as he has walked toward other sinners and other saints. No other reasons exist for us to get out of our warm beds, turn off our televisions and cell phones and come here to this sacred space. We are willing to have Jesus greet us. He brings forgiveness to sinners; consolation to the sorrowful and courage to those who persevere in patience, courage to those with heroic ideals and heroic ambitions. He brings the good news to the poor and freedom to captives, sight to the blind and liberation from oppression.

But whether we let Jesus walk right by us today or not, he will be back again walking toward us tomorrow. He lives in all of the people that approach us. He lives in what they give us and what they ask of us. His life shared with us deepens our joys and eases our sorrows.

In our prayer this morning, let us prepare ourselves to meet the Lord Jesus in this Eucharist and in one another.

“John the Baptist saw Jesus walking toward him.” John 1: 29