Good Friday Sermon

A sermon by Dr. John E. (Jay) Phelan:
When I was a kid, we didn’t do Good Friday. It wasn’t that the church I attended didn’t talk about the death of Jesus. It did; often and in some detail. It was just that like many churches when Easter season rolled around it was as if daffodils, pastel dresses, and white shoes overshadowed the gloom of Good Friday. It was Jesus resurrected we were eager to see, not Jesus executed and entombed.

The Parable of the Lost Sons

A sermon by Dr. John E. (Jay) Phelan:
Any first century Jew who heard a story that began, “A man had two sons . . . would think, Uh oh. Any story starting this way will only lead to trouble. The Torah is simply full of sibling rivalry. Consider the case of the first siblings—Cain and his younger brother Abel. Here we find not only the first murder, but the first worship war. Cain is infuriated that for some reason his way of worship is deemed inferior to that of Abel and kills him, When God confronts him, he responds with a line that is with us to this day: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The human family does not get off to a very good start. But it continues.

The Baby

“Why is this night different from all other nights?”
The youngest child asks this question at the seder dinner, during the Jewish Passover, which begins tomorrow. The answer is about history that on this night God sent the angel of death to kill the firstborn sons of the Egyptians (who had enslaved the Jews), but the Israelites were told to sacrifice a lamb and smear the blood on the door of their houses so that the angel would know to “pass over” their homes.

An Invitation to Come and Find Ritual Healing in the Holy Week Liturgies

Today’s Homily is a brief invitation to enter into and to cross sacred thresholds. I invite you to come to church to participate in and to be fully immersed within the healing power of each of the Holy Week liturgies. Come and inhabit the sacred narratives of the Passion, Crucifixion, death, burial, and Resurrection of Jesus in the Holy Scriptures; through the practice of ancient rituals entrusted to us by our faithful ancestors – the hymns, processions, chanting, foot-washing, consecrations of bread, wine, water, oil, and fire; but most of all, come wholeheartedly to intentionally be with one other.