Musings from the High Desert
Summary: Fr. Gabriel Rochelle shares from his wide range of insights, imaginings, and interests.
Father Gabriel Rochelle considers the humor in this week's Gospel and, as an aside, muses on why the text was placed on this Sunday by the ancient lectionary compilers. (The texts for the Sunday of Orthodoxy precede the commemoration historically and have remained in place.)
Fr. Gabriel Rochelle takes a slightly different view of the passage we know as "inasmuch" - inasmuch as you have fed the hungry, and so forth. Listen in to hear how this passage ultimately applies to all of us in its specificity and concreteness.
Forget humility! Forget pride! Forget, for sure, comparing yourself to anyone else on the spiritual journey. In an alternative reading of the Greek at this point in Luke, we hear that the Pharisee and the tax collector go away together justified. What's that all about? We shift the focus this week from the characters in the parable to the God who stands in and behind Christ the parable teller.
Fr. Gabriel Rochelle surveys the whole message of the First Letter of Timothy, focusing on the concept of godliness, a word that doesn't occur until later in the New Testament witness. What does this word mean and how does it apply to both Timothy as minister of the gospel and us as faithful Christians?
Fr. Gabriel Rochelle focuses on the hymn of Simeon, "Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace" and shows its origin in his life and its meaning for our lives today.
The rich young man who comes to Jesus is a model of those who cannot part with their material possessions. He hopes to take it with him! Jesus drives us all deeply into our understanding of life in order to make us confront the lust and even anger that fuels our desires. For those who live like this, salvation is impossible. The rich man cannot be saved in and with his richness. But with God, all things are possible.
Fr. Gabriel Rochelle looks into the Jewish background of Matthew's gospel from the viewpoint of seeing it as a novel with history and biography folded in. In particular, there may be an interesting background to Matthew's assertion of the fourteen generations separating Abraham from David, David from the deportation to Babylon, and the deportation to the Christ. Lastly we consider how we might use this information in our own ministries today.
Fr. Gabriel Rochelle looks at the Epistle lesson for today from Colossians 3, which is underlined by he opening verses of the chapter about seeking Christ above and the mind of Christ. In the following verses, "putting off" five sins of sex and five sins of speech are addressed, and then we hear about "putting on" Christ - which has an echo of baptism. Ultimately we are pointed toward a life of relationships underlined by the self-giving love God showed in Christ, a life which was projected in the ancestry of Christ, those who submitted to the guidance of God forward through history.
Fr. Gabriel Rochelle addresses the cultural concept of "Santa Claus" in comparison to what we know about the real St. Nicholas of Myra, commemorated each time we serve the liturgy of preparation at the proskomedia table.
Fr. Gabriel Rochelle returns to his series of meditations on the meaning of the liturgy. Today we consider the meaning of "remembrance" or "memorial." This remembrance is far more than a mental act; it is the presence of Christ himself in and through the eucharistic sacrifice, a presence which is available to us as a "foretaste of the feast to come."
Fr. Gabriel Rochelle offers a brief meditation on the marvelous passage in Ephesians 2 on the peace which Christ can and will create among peoples, a promise carried forth in the early church's notion that we are a new or "third" race uniting peoples.
Fr. Gabriel Rochelle suspends his series on the liturgy for this week to contemplate the meaning of the cosmic Christ as depicted in Colossians and especially in the opening chapter of Ephesians. This connects with the imagery that the early church fathers found in the Old Testament referring to Christ. Fr. Gabriel demonstrates how this form of interpretation enables us to overcome literalism and discover deeper insights into the meaning of the Holy Trinity.
After considering crossing the threshold and coming into the holy space, Fr. Gabriel Rochelle goes to one of the oldest brief descriptions of liturgy in the Bible, at Acts 2:42, where we hear that the community gathered around "the apostles' teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayers." Fr. Gabriel goes into each of these rudiments of liturgy and concludes with a call to remember that we only come into this place and engage in this liturgy through repentance and forgiveness, as seen in the early Christian document known as the Didache.
Fr. Gabriel Rochelle begins a series of reflections on the meaning of "church" and the meaning of "liturgy" by considering what it is we are doing when we cross the threshold into the space where church happens and what it means to be gathered as church in this space.
One of Fr Gabriel Rochelle's mentors in graduate school in Bible said, "Our task is not to make the New Testament relevant to us; our task is to make ourselves relevant to the New Testament." He explores this idea in some depth with regard to the issues St Paul confronts in the Galatian Church.