Jesus tells us: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth" (John 14: 15-17).

From Jesus' Last Discourse to his disciples (John 14:27-31):

Gospel: John 5:17-30
Jesus said to the Jews, "My Father is still working, and I also am working." For this reason the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because he was not only breaking the sabbath, but was also calling God his own Father, thereby making himself equal to God.

In the story of the Annunciation we have the template of how God works sacramentally with the world: The Father sends the Spirit to incarnate the Son in our world, in order to bring us all back into the divine life of the Father.

Sunrise from the jetway

Beauty abounds in the Wisconsin winter. I celebrate it most mornings by skiing through the snowy woods or across frozen lake Wingra. I don't get out every morning. I took this photo this morning from the jetway as I was getting on the plane to fly off to preach this weekend in North Dakota. I won't be out skiing today, trading trees and fresh air for airport security, travel restrictions, and meeting people I have never met before.

A path through the woods in Madison WI

Running this morning at dawn, back home in my woods, in Madison, I was overwhelmed by God’s voice: “Come back to me, my people. What have I done to offend you?”

Overwhelmed as when I first heard this voice as a teenager.

I am in my 50’s, and I am surprised that I can still be overcome with emotion as when I was a teenager, but there is was. Then I read this from Meister Eckhart:

This is the bottom of Salvador Dali’s famous painting “Christ of St. John of the Cross,” hanging in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow. (You can see the entire painting below.) The figure of Christ—crucified yet “as beautiful as the God he is” as Dali has written—dominates the painting and gives meaning to it as a religious masterpiece, but I believe that it is the bottom part of painting that holds the key.

I went to mass this morning with the Missionaries of Charity. The Gospel was the Good Samaritan, who took care of the stranger in the road who had been beaten half to death. These sisters certainly live out this Gospel.

The second reading was the wonderful hymn from Paul’s Letter to the Colossians that has the line:

Through Christ God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. (Col 1:20)

Stupa in the sun with clouds

They say, “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” It is something like that when the sun breaks through during rainy season. After a week of rain, the sun gloriously broke forth this morning. In the picture you can see the shadows of the prayer flags on the stupa, as if they are no longer simply hovering above it but caressing it with their blessing.

I used the opportunity to wash my sheets and hang them out to dry—with an effect that was no less glorious than the sunshine. I won't go into detail, but let me just say that I will continue to do my own laundry here.

Pharmacy in Boudha, Nepal

Getting sick in a different culture is always interesting. I obviously ate something problematic and was running a fever, was tired, and felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. The “standard” remedy for stomach ailments is lassi, a very tasty yogurt drink that has lots of good bacteria. I had been keeping up a steady diet of lassi and the problem had gotten considerably worse, so now it was a job for stronger medicine, but what kind? (actually, it could have been the lassi that was the problem. There is a big issue with e coli in milk production in Kathmandu at the moment.)