Showing posts from January, 2015

Matthew 3 - Baptism: More Than Just Getting Wet

The third chapter of Matthew’s Gospel focuses on John the Baptist and the baptism of Jesus. There is a clear connection between baptism and mission. We come to the waters of baptism and are transformed, born again as new creations. The old sinful self is replaced by the abiding presence of God. There is a fundamental and indelible change in our very nature and existence, something that marks us for all eternity as belonging to God. With this new identity comes a new purpose and meaning for our lives, for we are baptized not just to save us, but that we may go forth and bring the Good News of salvation to others. It is no coincidence that Jesus’ public ministry begins after his baptism. He sets the example and standard for us to follow. As the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus at his baptism, we received that same Spirit at our baptism. Baptism grafts us into the life and ministry of Jesus, into his death and resurrection, and empowers us to continue his mission on earth

Matthew 2 - Following in the Footsteps of the Magi

Matthew 2 “Let us also follow the Magi. Let us separate ourselves from our barbarian customs, and put them far behind us, so that we may see Christ—since they, too, would have missed seeing him if they had not been far from their own country…Let us also rise up. Though everyone else is troubled, let us run to the house of the young Child. Though kings and nations and tyrants stand in the way, let our desire not fade. In that way we shall repel all the dangers that we face.” (St. Joh Chrysostom, Homily 7 on Matthew) What can we learn from the Magi? So often we focus on the gifts they brought, but St. John Chrysotom reminds us that they can also be a model for discipleship. The Magi took a leap of faith. They traveled from far off lands—something that was not without a fair amount of danger in those days—to seek after the new King. They left behind their homes not knowing for certain if they would ever return, but they deemed it worth the risk. This really isn’t all

Blogging Through the Gospels - Matthew 1

Matthew 1 I have to admit, it is very tempting to just skip most of the opening chapter of Matthew. After all who wants to waste time going through all of that "so and so begat so and so who begat so and so and so forth." Earlier in  my faith I wondered why Matthew (or the Holy Spirit) would bother with all that genealogy anyway. It wasn't until I took the time to look deeper that it all began to make sense. is a private family tree tracing company with Morman roots (pun intended) that boasts over 12-million records, more than 2-million paying subscribers, and had nearly $400-million in revenue. Cable TV network TLC has a reality show called "Who Do You Think You Are?" that highlights celebrities finding out about their family histories and it averages 5 to 7-million viewers per episode. People are fascinated with genealogy, and it's no secret why. Where we come from and our family histories can have powerful im

Love Came Down

This post was originally published on “This I command you, to love one another.” (John 15:17) It is said that when the Apostle John was living in Ephesus in his old age he would often address the church there with the same simple exhortation, “My little children, love one another.” The elders of the community, tired of hearing the same repeated message, would press John to share with the church some great insight about Jesus or being a disciple. John would double-down by telling them that these simple words were the commands of Jesus, and if they had nothing else of the Gospel to truly live these words would be enough.  Love is hard, at least the kind of love that Jesus spoke of, modeled and expected of his disciples. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that he should lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13) This is the love that God is calling each of us to, and it is the onl