Normally I begin thinking about the following Sunday’s sermon about this time in the week. I usually begin on Sunday evening by reading the texts for the following week – more like a casual perusal. I am primarily looking for a “hook.” That is a line or quote in the text on which I can hang the sermon. There are weeks that this is easier, weeks in which it is difficult. And then there are others which present so many options that making a choice presents a challenge. I ask myself a series of questions, such as: Can I incorporate more than one line in a manner that makes sense to the listener? If not, which one is more pertinent to the current events that may be on people’s minds? What is there that can be connected to the previous week?

In my initial reading I’ve come away with the feeling that this week, the Fifth Sunday of Easter, presents a wealth of possibilities. I am struck by Jesus’ “I am” statement in the Gospel of John – “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” It is one with which many of us are all too familiar as we’ve heard this text most often at funerals. The question becomes, how do we unpack that without making it a quasi funeral sermon?

I’m also drawn to the second reading for this week, the first letter of St. Peter, in which the apostle states: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (I Peter 2:9)

At this point, I am leaning toward Peter because I think the flock I am called to lead can’t be reassured enough about how special they really are. On the other hand, Jesus, “the gate” of the sheepfold last Sunday, now gives us further assertion of his identity, and it is worth our while exploring that claim in light of the religious pluralism of this day and age.

I make all these comments in hopes of engaging you, the reader, into a dialogue that may prove beneficial to the both of us. What is on your mind? What would you like to hear more about?

Hopefully, this will connect you to the Word in such a way that will make Scripture reading more meaningful to you; and perhaps we can explore the Word of God together in ways that deepen your understanding and rekindle your faith. Your comments are welcome. I invite you along on the journey this week.

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