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Author Archive | Tom McKenna, CM

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Repenting From Fear to Trust 

       Repenting From Fear to Trust (Matthew 4: 17) In Matthew’s fourth chapter we come across what you might call the very first word in Jesus’ very first sermon, Repent! Which means at base “to turn around.” And so the gospel, “From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent,’ for the […]

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A Family Gift: Practical Integrity

A Family Gift: Practical Integrity (Mk 3:1-6) If you were hired as the Public Relations director for the Jerusalem Pharisees and Scribes mentioned in Mark, you wouldn’t want this section of the gospel to get too much circulation. In their confrontations with Jesus, they come off so badly – hypocrites, vain worshipers, dissemblers of what […]

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Heavenly Gaze

A scene setter. You’re out in the cold night fields, keeping close watch over your flock. And suddenly this light is shining at you and all around you. From out of this radiance a voice of an angel sings out news about the infant in swaddling clothes lying in a manger. All the other angels […]

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Sensing Grace

Sensing Grace (Lk: 1:26-38) The angel Gabriel reveals to Mary that she’s “full of grace.” And so the question, what is this “grace” that Mary is filled with? There are few better answers to be had than the one in the five words that follow. “The Lord is with you!” Grace means God-with-us, God close […]

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Attuned To The Fear of the Lord

Attuned To “The Fear of the Lord” (Isaiah 11:1-5; Lk. 10: 21) In Isaiah’s description of the special one God will send (“A shoot from the stump of Jesse”), he lists a number of qualities this person will have. Wisdom, understanding, strength, and so forth. But one of them is this initially harsh sounding one, […]

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Counsel for An Anxious Time

Counsel for An Anxious Time (Lk. 17:20-25) All through Luke’s gospel, the underlying movement is towards Jerusalem. From the beginning that’s where Jesus is heading, and as He gets closer the pace picks up and the tensions rise. This is not only because of the heightening frictions with the Pharisees and lawyers but also because […]

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Belief Under Pressure

Belief Under Pressure (2 Maccabees, 7; Luke 20: 38) One of the things that has sharpened inside me on my journey into the senior years is a sense of time passing (where did it go?), and an accompanying wonderment about what happens when it does pass. What’s on the other side? What will it be […]

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Lost and Found

Lost and Found (Luke 19:1-10; Wisdom 11) Throughout Luke’s gospel, Jesus tells a good number of “lost and found” parables and incidents. There’s the lost and found coin, the lost-found pearl and earlier on the lost-found tax collector, Levi. And last Sunday we come across still another lost and found tax collector, Zacchaeus. In his […]

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Unchain The Word Through Memory

Unchaining The Word Through Memory One short sentence in Paul’s letter to Timothy (2 Tim 2: 10) caught my attention right off, “The word of God is not chained.” Paul himself is in chains, and it’s the contrast here that’s striking him. The Word of God is the opposite of this, not bound down, not […]

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Prayer and Management

Prayer and Management (Luke 6:12-19) In this section of Luke, we find Jesus continuing a ministry that’s spreading out further into the society, and in the process selecting 12 people from the group around him to be his “apostles”, i.e., the sent-out ones. You might ask, where is this idea coming from? What is primary […]

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