Breaking and Healing

the Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany
February 16th, 2020

Today’s readings are:
Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Psalm 119:1-8
1 Corinthians 3:1-9
Matthew 5:21-37

Click here to access these readings.

            The passage from our gospel reading this morning often makes people a little uncomfortable. In it, we hear about some things that we Episcopalians often don’t want to talk about: general things like sin and Hell, and more specific and human things like divorce. Now, I have some thoughts here on these topics and on this reading, but I feel that it would be improper of me to talk about these readings without talking about divorce. It’s a very touchy subject, and the Christian discussion on divorce is pretty complicated. And so, instead of just breezing by it and talking about what Jesus is getting at here (which is pretty amazing, to tell you the truth), I want to sit for a little and teach a bit about the Episcopal Church.

            Many churches – or, at least many that I’ve come into contact with – begin talking about divorce with a prohibition: you can’t get divorced unless this or this occurs. The Episcopal Church begins with a question: “how have you been hurt in the breaking of this marriage?” as well as an offer: “how can we help?” These questions are based on a view that marriage is a sacrament and a sacramental bond, something many folks talk about as a covenant. Marriages are bonds that reach to the same level of a person as confirmation, our adult profession of faith, and holy orders, when some of us give ourselves over to service of God and his Church. They’re not broken lightly. But when marriage is broken, by unchastity and unfaithfulness, it often leaves broken people behind. And the Episcopal Church, and other churches as well, say that such broken people don’t need a prohibition, they need healing. And that is exactly why Jesus Christ was born into this world: to heal and to lift up to God.

            Now, of course, this is an Episcopalian talking about all this. I might be missing the nuances of other churches, but I think this turn, from prohibition to healing, is something the Episcopal Church does particularly well, and it’s an important turn to note. For, while Jesus here certainly gives a prohibition, the whole passage is less about making up new laws or furthering old ones; instead Jesus here asks us what is at the foundation of these laws to begin with. Nor is this just an argument between following the letter of the law (what the law actually says) or the spirit of the law (what it means). Jesus is asking what is at the heart of the law. What is at its foundation? What sort of life, what sorts of relationships, is our religion asking us to live?

            You see, in Jesus’ time, there were a great many discussions about the Law. And when I say “Law”, I don’t mean the law like you or I would understand it; you know, laws like stop for foot traffic in cross walks, or pay your taxes, or make sure to bring your library books back on time or else. For Jesus’ time, the law was The Law, the Law of Moses, set down and followed, for some in a lax way, for some in a pretty strict way. And, just like today, there were all sorts of people who had lots of opinions about just how we ought to follow the Law. Nor did they think that these opinions on the Law were just for themselves, but they demanded that others live according to their version of the law as well. And they fought about it, they yelled about it, and, as we see in the Book of Acts and the letters of St. Paul, they could even kill about it.

            And so Jesus comes and says you’re missing the point. You’re talking about the “what” instead of the “how”, the action instead of the being, the law instead of Life. For Jesus says, yeah, sure there’s this prohibition against murder, but what is this prohibition really about? It’s about living in a very particular way with your neighbor; and not just a kind of “you do your thing and I’ll do mine and we can live nice, happy, separate lives.” No, Jesus says that we have a responsibility to our neighbors, to those around us, be they our brothers and sisters or the guy down the street who we really don’t like and talk about behind his back. For when we curse people, when we cheat people, when we slander people, they’re not just words. We break something with them. We break something precious and dear that, often, can’t be just repaired with an apology. And that thing we break can be a relationship, but it can also be a society, and it is often another person. And if there is any prohibition in the Bible, it is this: that we should not break other people.

            Marriage is a sacramental bond. It is an important and it is a holy bond. But, like most things in this sinful world, it can be broken. Nor is divorce the actual breaking point. More often it is the result and, sometimes, the necessary result, when one person betrays that sacramental bond, be that betrayal sexual, emotional, physically abusive, or even spiritual betrayal. Divorce, for some, is actually the time when healing can really begin, when the broken pieces can, at last, begin to be put together. And so, the Episcopal Church teaches that, on one hand, a marriage is a sacrament, a bond that goes to the heart of us, that ought never be broken; but also that, if it ever is, it is much more important to heal than to condemn.

            And this may seem, at first, a sort of paradox, or a cheat, that we want things both ways, that we claim marriage to be an indelible bond but that we’re not going to hold people to that standard. I think, however, that our church’s position gets to the heart of what Jesus is saying: when you put people together, you actually put them together, and that’s for marriage as much as it is for living in the same town, or state, or country, or world. We are no collection of individuals all living near one another but never touching; we are one people, and our lives are intertwined and connected. We are bound to one another in the deepest regions of our humanity. And woe be to you if you dishonor that, and not because it’s just bad to do but because when a bond like that breaks, the hurt is real. And that hurt needs the loving hand of Jesus and His Church. That hurt needs love.

            And so I want to end this sermon in a different way than usual, and that’s with a specific invitation. It’s my personal feeling that gospel passages like this are better read around a table, with some tea and perhaps a box of tissues, and held in discussion, not a sermon but I didn’t write the lectionary. Jesus often challenges us, and, if I may speak for our Lord for a moment (forgive me, Lord, if I speak incorrectly), I believe that the last thing that Jesus wants to do by challenging us is to make us feel alone. These readings, and my interpretation of them here, may have opened up some hurt from your own marriage or your own divorce. Or, on the other hand, you may disagree with me and think that the Episcopal Church just plain silly on this one. Whatever the case, talk to me. Sit down with me over tea, come by my office, or throw me an email. This isn’t one of those issues that you just hear, go ‘oh yeah, cool’, and forget. Nothing Jesus says ever is. So just know that the invitation is open; I am hear to listen.

Salt of the Earth

the Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany
February 9th, 2020

Today’s readings are:
Isaiah 58:1-12
Psalm 112:1-10
1 Corinthians 2:1-16
Matthew 5:13-20

Click here to access these readings.

            “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?”

            Good question, Jesus! How DO we make salt salty again? I mean, Jesus isn’t just asking how to make bland things salty, like if you cook up some eggs and they’re just kinda eggs and you want some spice to them. He’s not asking us how to put a bit of pizzazz on the plate and how to entertain a bored tongue. He’s not looking to add some color to your grey, some blue skies to your cloudy weather, some light, summer reading to your study of Scripture. He’s saying: what is salt is no longer salty. How do you make it salty again?

            Think of it this way: if you were to go to Portland with your family or friends, and you walked around all day, shopping, eating at food carts, that kinda stuff, and you get home and your legs have that tired, city ache to them – you might be sore, but you’re still you. Or let’s say, God forbid, you take a tumble. Maybe you’ve got a bruise, maybe you broke a wrist. But even if you break a bone, you’re still you: yourself. Or if you’re sick, and even really sick, even to the point of death you are still who you are. I am Tim Hannon if I walk around Portland all day, break a bone, or am lying in the hospital. I am still me.

            There are times, however, when we are not ourselves. Times of deep grief and despair can change us. Struggle and darkness can change us, so that when we look in the mirror, we don’t know who’s looking back at us. These are times of deep pain, when, if we are wise, or if we’ve got some good friends or family with a stern word, we say, “I’m not being myself.” How do you become you again? How do you ground yourself in who you are as a person, deeply and truly, inside and out?

            And we Christians know that, really, we’re never truly ourselves. There’s something inside of us that makes us, no matter how hard we try, lose sight of the Good and the True that is calling out inside or each of us. We Christians call it “original sin”, but it’s that feeling that there is some Truth buried deep down inside of us and we just can’t figure out where it is. Christians for centuries have said, “I am salt, but I have lost my saltiness; restore me to who I am, to who I am truly meant to be!”

            Who are you truly meant to be? Who are we truly meant to be? Who am I truly meant to be? I haven’t the foggiest, really. I keep trying to figure it out, but I keep on messing up (there’s sin for you). But I do know one thing: that even in my unsaltiness, even in my confusion and my vain wanderings, I know that I’m loved. I know that we all are loved. I know, and I want to tell you this morning, that you, you are loved.

And it is in this love that we find our true selves. You know, I said that I haven’t the foggiest idea who I really am, but that’s not really true. I catch a glimpse of it sometimes. I catch a glimpse of who I am meant to be in the love my wife has for me. I catch a glimpse of it each time my children run up to me and give me a hug. I see it when I talk to my good friends or when I reminisce with my sister. I have who I really am when visiting the hospital and when I baptized Cooper and Fiona last year. And I’ve seen a glimpse of who God made me to be, and who God is loving me into being, in the Eucharist, in partaking of it myself and in handing each of you, one at a time, the wafer or the bit of bread, and saying, “the Body of Christ, the Bread of Heaven.” In these times, I heard the voice of God whispering in my ear: this is who you are meant to be; and more!

In a little while we’ll be gathering for our Annual Meeting. We’ll hear reports, I’ll give you some figures about 2019, and we’ll vote in BAC members and delegates. And then I’ll ask you something: what has St. James been to you? And I want you to think about this, because it’s our foundation and our history and it’s important. And I want you, standing on that foundation, to ask another question: what is St. James meant to be? What does God hope for us? Who, in God’s heart of hearts, is St. James? Not just what do we feel like doing here at Church but what does God Almighty, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, who took flesh upon himself so that he could live with us and die for us, who does God want to love us to be? And how can we be ever more open to that love?

Waiting with Simeon

Simeon with Jesus, Andrey Shishkin

Presentation of Jesus at the Temple
2 February 2019

Today’s readings are:
Malachi 3:1-4
Psalm 84
Hebrews 2:14-18
Luke 2:22-40

Click here to access these readings.

            An author friend of mine used to say, “The best part of the story is the one that isn’t told. That’s the part that’s full of possibilities.” And what part of the story of Simeon, whose story we hear just a sliver of this morning – what part of his story do we not hear about?

            The years – the years of waiting. There is a weight to this story that is so very beautiful. Simeon probably waited a very long time for the coming of the Messiah, and he was probably very old. He may have, like Anna, whose story we also hear this morning, he may have come each and every day to the Temple to wait and to see. The Holy Spirit had promised him that he would not see death before the coming of the Messiah. And when he sees Jesus, when he finally sees what he’s been waiting for so long, Luke tells us that he wraps the young boy in his arms and speaks an echo of Jesus’ words on the cross: “It is finished. Now at last may I go into peace.”

            There is a quiet, gentle relief in Simeon’s words that, at least to me, say quite a bit about how he waited. The years were probably long. They may not have been as gentle and as gracious as those moments when all the waiting ended. Luke tells us that Simeon was a righteous and devout man, but we know from the saints (especially saints like Mother Theresa) and our own lives, that even the most devout of us face real darkness.

            And even if Simeon was devout all the way through, even if he waited with patience and with fortitude, even still the years wear down on a person’s heart. The Holy Spirit rested upon him, and he was told that he would not see death until he had seen the Messiah. And maybe he was excited by this, moved with a fire and a joy that he had never before known. But the years wear things down. They’re like wind and rain and the great storms of the sea that turn even stones smooth. Simeon wouldn’t need doubt to wear zeal down; life does that already.

            What sort of life, what kind of waiting, would have led Simeon to be type of person who, when all that waiting, all those long years, were finally over, not to rush up to Jesus and pick him up, toss him in the air, and parade him around the Temple with shouts of joy and happiness beyond anything imaginable? There’s a great short-story by Ray Bradbury where astronauts come to a planet where Christ and come as well and just ascended, and these Earthlings, who are so jaded and tired, look on as these aliens rush around, shouting in exaltation, trying to tell them of the utter joy they have come to know in Christ but can’t. They grab the astronauts and babble, then rush away laughing. Why doesn’t Simeon act like that? Why does he simple kneel down, wrap Jesus in his arms, and say, “Now you have set me free?”

            Back in college, I studied abroad in Japan. I had been learning Japanese since high school, and I had taken every language class the college offered. I had watched movies and listened to Japanese music and had prepared and prepared and prepared. And yet, when I finally got there, to this land that I had studied and loved and dreamed about for years, the first thing I did was simply look. I walked around neighborhoods, just looking, just drinking it all in, all the things that I had seen on a flat screen or the page of a book; and not the famous temples of Kyoto or the artwork or the geisha or the samurai; but the normal, everyday streets, the wooden houses with tiled rooves, the people going about their business. I just watched, and looked, and wandered, and loved.

            Or, almost five years ago now, Helene and I went to the hospital for Gwendolyn to be born. Now, Helene and I had dated for ten years, and we had been married for around five. We had thought about having kids, considered, discerned, and wondered. Then, we had waited nine months of mounting anticipation. We bought clothes and toys and blankets. We had a baby shower and got things we didn’t even know existed. Then we bought a crib, and put it together, and set it in our room, a bed for someone who was not even born yet. And each day our joy and anticipation rose, until one day, the evening of May 13th, we rushed to the hospital. Then it was more waiting, until on the following day, at something like 11:27 in the morning, our first daughter was born.

            And those first few moments were exciting, and we’ve got a picture of me holding Gwen, all wrapped up in blankets, with joy (and a bit of exhaustion) on my face. But then that night, that first night of her life, I couldn’t sleep. I just wanted to look at her. I wanted to hold her, actually, but I was too scared that I’d break her she was so delicate. And so I just watched her sleep. She’d catch her breath suddenly, and so would I. She’d wiggle a little, make those tiny little baby noises, and I just watched.

            What will it be like when we meet Jesus? After all the hard, long years, after all the grief and sorrow, after all the joy and excitement, after all the darkness and the doubt, what will it be like for Jesus to be, finally, standing right in front of us. What will it do to us? What will it do to all that grief and sorrow, that joy and excitement, all that darkness and doubt? What will it do to our wayward life and our tired soul to stand before Jesus Christ and see, finally, God face to face?


Discipleship and Hooks

the Third Sunday after Epiphany
26 January 2020

Today’s readings are:
Isaiah 9:1-4
Psalm 27:1, 5-13
1 Corinthians 1:10-18
Matthew 4:12-23

Click here to access these readings.

        I remember hearing today’s gospel reading back when I was in Sunday School as a kid. The call of the disciples, and especially the call of Simon Peter. Here they are casting nets into the sea, for they were fisherman. And Jesus calls out to them, “Come with me, and I’ll make you fish for people.” And, for some reason, the activity we did in Sunday School was to cut out Jesus holding a fishing pole, color him in, and then, at the other end of the line, put one of the disciples, his mouth open, waiting for the hook like a fish in water.

        Even as a kid I thought this was kinda silly, and, hey, maybe that was the point. But I remember thinking, “wouldn’t that hurt?” Is Jesus going to put a hook in my mouth, or, to follow the text a bit more, throw a net around me and drag me in? It all seemed kinda strange to me. What in the world is Jesus talking about, and do I have to bite on a hook in order to hear it?

        Well, one of the things that Jesus is talking about here is discipleship. We use this word pretty often in the Church. We’re disciples of Christ. And this word – disciple – it means a lot more than just follower. It means student, and not just any student, but a good one.

        Now, I’ve been a bad student before. I know what that’s like. Now, for some of you this might not be the case, but in school I hated learning math. Doing figures was awful. Adding two numbers up, multiplying them, figuring out which part of the equation to do first, everything, from addition all the way up to calculus, I just hated it. And whenever I could (I’m sorry to have to admit this) I cheated. I looked in the back of the book and just wrote down the numbers, or I put the problems into a calculator. And when I had to show my work, I slogged through it, tired and irritated.

        And why? I mean, I was decent at math. I could do it, but it took so much time, and I’d much rather spend that time reading, or playing outside, or doing anything else but adding up numbers. I did the work, but I hated every, single minute of it.

        This is not the sort of “student” we’re supposed to be. This is not the sort of “disciple” we’re to be of Jesus Christ. And I don’t mean just that we shouldn’t drag our feet through our prayers or look up the answers in the back of the book (just in case you were wondering, there aren’t answers to the odd questions in the back of the Bible. There are just maps, usually, which are probably better than answers). What I mean is that following Jesus is more like studying your favorite subjects, whether that’s actually math or something like English or history or science. Or, if you’re more of a training person, it’s like training for sports. And here is where that hook comes in.

        Christian discipleship can be hard, but it’s quite a lot more than being beaten down until we do what we’re told. There’s a hook to it, and by hook, I don’t mean the fishing hook but like a narrative hook. At the beginning of every good book or good movie, there’s always something called a hook, something that catches your interest and leads you deeper. In a movie like the first Star Wars, it’s the tiny little space ship being blasted by this huge, seemingly endless behemoth. We as an audience (if we’re into science fiction) say, “Oh man, look at that! How are these little guys gonna get away from this massive ship? What are they gonna do? Wow, I want to watch this and find out!”

        Or think of my sermon. I didn’t start by saying, “Discipleship comes from Latin and borrowed into Old English, meaning follower.” I told you a story that I thought was funny (Did you notice I do that with all my sermons? I hope you enjoy them). We even start our Sunday services with a hook (in the form of a song and a procession) to pull us in and set the stage for how we’ll be praying that morning).

And most stories and most preachers use hooks like this because we humans need to be jostled about sometimes, woken up, but not like an alarm clock buzzing and ringing and making all sorts of noise until you sleepily throw your hand out and knock it the clock or phone off the dresser and turn over to go back to sleep. No, these hooks pull us into the story with a story, they pull us into the tale with something, some fascinating or interesting or healing or hopeful something that we’ll find somewhere in the tale. For Star Wars it’s the battle against good and evil, and the temptation to leave good for evil, that’s at the heart of the story. For the liturgy, we begin with music not because it’s fun to sing but to lighten our hearts and turn us more fully to God’s presence. The hook pulls us deeper, from a world without to a world within.

And sometimes that hook can really be a wake-up call. There’s an icon on the shelf in the education room back there – it’s the one I got from Sewanee upon graduation. And it shows Jesus grabbing two people (they’re Adam and Eve) and dragging them out of coffins. The point is that sometimes God has to grab us by the wrists and drag us out of our stupor and sin so that we can see the light. Sometimes the hook can hurt, but it always pulls us deeper into the life of Jesus Christ – if we follow it.

Part of the life of discipleship is to look for these hooks. Part of the life of a Christian is to train ourselves to see God, to hear his call to us, and to put down our things and follow him. And we train for this through prayer, through studying God’s word to us in Scripture, through living a life founded in the teachings of Jesus Christ and of the Church, especially the Sacraments, and especially those two most beautiful Sacraments, Baptism and the Eucharist.

But we also train as disciples through hearing God in the things we love. I was called to God through the natural world and through literature, and I’ve come to understand that my hearing God’s call in Lord of the Rings and Beowulf was not so surprising after all (these books are inundated with God’s Hope). I’ve heard some of you talk about gardening, football or basketball, running on the beach, or spending time with your family as responding to God’s call to you. For in all these things, God is calling to us to go deeper, to love more fully, and to hope with a more open heart, and you will find God filling you more and more with your light.

God’s call to us, however, is still a hook, and while God can call us through the things we love, sometimes God calls us through things that trouble us or frighten us. We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves, and that neighbor include those who keep to themselves and watch the house for us while we’re gone as well as the neighbor who wanders around at night and might just be up to something. That love that we’re called to is to find God’s presence with them and to seek (and often to help our neighbor seek) God in their lives. What that looks like depends on the person and the situation, but the call is always present, always present, to love others as Jesus Christ loved us. And Jesus loved us with hands that healed and with hands that were nailed to the cross. Loving is not always easy, but it’s what we Christians do.

We Christians are living in the Light of God. Through our Baptisms, and through our dedication to the Life that was and is in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit himself, God above all things, we are living in a Light that is healing, and joyful, and hopeful. Spend some time today during our Sabbath in the presence of that Light. And spend some time, as we prepare for the great 40 days of Lent, in considering how you can bring that Light more fully into your life and into the life of others, so that God’s call may be more fully known and more fully heard and more fully lived in this world so dark and lonely.

The Waters of Baptism, the Love of Jesus

The first Sunday of Epiphany
The Baptism of our Lord
12 January 2020

The readings for today are:
Isaiah 42:1-9
Psalm 29
Acts 10:34-43
Matthew 3:13-17

Click here to access these readings.

        The other day, I was talking to my Evangelical friend about Baptism. Which is kinda appropriate: today we celebrate the Baptism of our Lord, as we read this morning in the gospel of Matthew. But when my friend and I started getting into our discussion, we realized that we both had some pretty different ways of thinking of Baptism. He thought, as many or most Evangelicals do, that baptism is a symbol of something that’s already happened. It doesn’t have any internal meaning, but it’s a way of seeing something that is already taking place, of God coming and dwelling within a person who has made a commitment to Jesus Christ.

        For me, and for most liturgical traditions, something really does go on in baptism. We’re changed in some way, we’re brought closer to God and given a new relationship to him through Jesus Christ in the waters of baptism. Baptism is, after all, one of the two great sacraments along with the Eucharist. And sacraments are gifts from God, special acts of grace that draw us closer to the life of the Trinity.

        And so we disagreed, pretty fundamentally. I dunno, what do you all think?


Here, Father Tim listened and responded to people in the congregation.


        There are, I think, three ways out of this sort of situation. First, we can say that “everybody’s different” and go our separate ways. And that’s just fine if you’re trying to decide whether you like apples or oranges, or if you are wondering what kind of cheese to put on your hamburger, but we’re not dealing with simple choices. We’re talking about our relationship with God, and that’s a bit more serious and important to end with a shrug and a “let’s just agree to be disagree.”

        Another way you could solve the disagreement is to force agreement. I could say to my friend, and to all Evangelicals: you’re wrong. You’ve got baptism all wrong, you’re schismatics, you’re heretics. But that sort of thing breaks the Church, which is the Body of Christ.

        So what should my friend and I do? Or, to put it more broadly, what do we do with any sort of disagreement in the Church? There are quite a lot of issues in the Church these days that risk to rupture the Body, and there are a number of issues right here in our Episcopal Church, and even our diocese, that push people apart.

Back last summer, the bishop search committee did a few surveys to see what people in the diocese wanted in their new bishop. Remember this? And we gave a bunch of options: spiritual leader, teacher, prophet, activist, liturgist, administrator – stuff like that. And we asked people: choose three of these that you want to see in your next bishop, and choose three that you most certainly DO NOT want to see in your next bishop. And you know what? Some of the things that were in the “definitely want” column were also in the “definitely don’t want” column. Some of us vehemently want something that others vehemently DON’T want. And you know what, we’re not all that different from the rest of the Episcopal church, or, really, the whole Church as a whole.

So what binds us together? How do we live with our differences but still live in deep relationships with one another? My friend, the Evangelical, answered these questions when he answered one of mine about baptism: if baptism is only a symbol for you, with no real inner meaning, why do you do it? And he said, simply: Jesus.

I’m not going to get into Evangelical theology, because I’d probably misrepresent it, but even though baptism for many of them is just a symbol, even though their theology sounds strange to me and doesn’t get it just right, even still, they encounter Jesus in baptism. And I get that, I get that. For Jesus is at the heart of the sacraments for those in the small-c catholic tradition. Jesus is present in the Eucharist – “This is my Body” “This is my Blood” he told us. Jesus is present in the sacrament of Healing, Jesus, who spent his ministry going to the sick and the suffering. Jesus is present in Reconciliation, for it is not to the priest who we confess, but to Jesus; and it is not the priest who absolves us, but the priest speaking the words of Jesus pronounces his mercy and love to the penitent. And in baptism, when we are submerged in water, we are brought into Jesus’ life and his death upon the cross. Jesus is the foundation and life of it all.

And that’s where we agree. We could argue over details – is it the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, or whether we should baptize babies. And those are important details. They teach us how God is with us in this world and how to respect God’s gift to us in Creation and in the Holy Spirit. And I think there are real answers to those details, and I’ll continue to preach the Real Presence and I’ll continue to baptize babies, but at the end of the day, what all this is built on, what truly and wholly matters, is that we are standing on a sure foundation, and that foundation, Jesus Christ himself, the second person of the Trinity, is unshakable.

Today we celebrate baptism, and in baptism we celebrate the community that we were brought into when we were baptized. My mom just found my own baptismal record, and it seems I was baptized in a Lutheran church in New Jersey. Helene was baptized as a child in a Roman Catholic church. Gwendolyn was baptized at All Saints in Sewanee on the same day that our presiding bishop was blessed into his position. Fiona was baptized here, so was Cooper.

Where were you baptized? Whose hands poured water over your head and said, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit?” Were you a little child dressed in white? Or were you an adult, and do you remember being thrust into the dark waters? Whatever the case, at the center of all that was Jesus Christ, for the center of our lives as Christians, and the center of the universe itself, is Jesus Christ.

But what does that mean? What does it mean to have Jesus Christ as the center of your life and of the universe? Well, stay tuned for the next, oh, fifty years, and maybe I’ll be able to speak somewhat to that great and beautiful mystery. But I can say this if you don’t want to stick around that long: on the night in which he was betrayed, on the night that he instituted the blessed sacrament, the Eucharist itself, Jesus gave to his disciples a new commandment: that you should love one another. As he has loved us, so shall we love one another. Then he went to the cross for those he loved.