Archive for November, 2017

Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24          Matthew 25: 31-46

IMG_3532Last Saturday, I attended two ordinations at the National Cathedral, which were held in the Great Choir. The Great Choir is the area in the cathedral where the choir and clergy sit during services and the pews flank the aisle that leads to the high altar. As I sat on one side of the Great Choir, I had a perfect view of the majestic Christ figure, carved out of Texas limestone, which is situated above the high altar. This Majestus Christ holds up his right hand in blessing. His left hand holds a cross-topped globe, which signifies his sovereignty over the whole world. Christ the King. Christ of majesty and glory

IMG_1445_BlogAs I sat there, I found myself thinking of two things. First, there is another altar area in the National Cathedral, one which does not have as much prominence or notoriety. In a tiny side chapel, a stone carving of Jesus the Good Shepherd hangs above a small altar. The Good Shepherd cradles a lamb in his arms. Unlike the one over the high altar, which one can look at and admire, but not touch, the one of the Good Shepherd is within reach. In fact, the hands of Jesus the Good Shepherd are actually a different color than the rest of the carving, because so many people have touched those hands. Nearby, you can often find flowers or small tokens of prayer that people have left after they have prayed at this Good Shepherd altar.

The second thing I thought about: I wondered what Jesus of Nazareth would think about human beings carving his image as a majestic Christus rex over the high altar of a majestic cathedral. Perhaps he would understand. After all, our gospel reading this morning looks forward to the end of time when Christ the King will come in all his glory to judge the heavens and the earth.


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Gospel Reading:  Luke 5:1-11


Photo by Andy Mai on Unsplash


“There’s not much fishing in a creek.”

When I was a child, my parents took us to the mountains every now and then. We stayed with a family friend who lived there. Near the cabin was a beautiful creek. Its water was sparkling and cool as it rushed from a spring somewhere up the mountain. On a hot summer day, we three children delighted in taking our shoes off and easing ourselves into the water. It was not very deep, so we could only wade in the creek water. The water was so cool—even cold—so it took some getting used to, even on a hot day. And we had to be careful, because some of the river rocks were slippery.

As children, we were fascinated by the occasional catfish we could see under some of the edges where the water was a bit deeper. I remember thinking how ugly a catfish is. We knew Daddy went fishing sometimes, so we asked Daddy why wouldn’t we fish here in this creek—even though I couldn’t imagine eating that ugly fish. Daddy said, “Oh, there’s not much fishing in a creek, honey. It isn’t deep enough.” I pointed out the catfish, and he made a face. So either he had eaten one too many catfish when he was young and poor, living in a mountain cabin with a big family, or he just didn’t like the taste. He said, “You have to go in deeper waters to get good fish like perch or flounder.” Oh. Okay, Daddy.

Of course as children, we knew nothing about the particular demands of commercial fishing—the kind that people do to make a living. We just knew that occasionally, our father went fishing. What he caught, he cleaned, and Mama cooked, and it ended up with our carefully picking bones from the meat.


In today’s gospel, Simon, James, John and some other men are well acquainted with commercial fishing. They live on the shore of the Sea of Galilee [note: this lake has at least four names, including Sea of Galilee and Lake Gennesaret], and most o­­f the people in Capernaum make their living by fishing. From evidence gained by archeologists from an ancient boat recovered in 1986, it’s likely that the boats they used were about 27 feet long, 7.5 feet wide, “shallow drafted with a flat bottom” so that they could get close to shore with their catches.[1] (more…)

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