Reflections for

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jun 25, 2017

Genesis 21:8-21; Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17; (Jeremiah 20:7-13; Psalm 69:7-10, [11-15], 16-18;) Romans 6:1b-11; Matthew 10:24-39

On Art

Prophet Jeremiah, by Donatello (ca. 1386–1466)

This life-size marble sculpture was originally intended for the campanile, the bell tower adjacent to the Duomo, the main cathedral in Florence. It was part of a series of works featuring 16 Old Testament prophets. Nine were sculpted in the medieval period. Donatello and Nanni di Banco completed the remaining seven as a commission for the Opera del Duomo. The prophets, placed in niches, needed dramatic expressions that could be seen by observers at least 60 feet below. Jeremiah is depicted as middle aged and sorrowful. The psychological intensity of his life’s trials—imprisonment, betrayal, persecution—are manifest in his misshapen head. Jeremiah looks downward, demanding the repentance commanded by his message. The original sculpture is preserved in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, and a copy is in the niche on the campanile.



to the sparrows in the terminal at Mitchell Field, Milwaukee

all your life you have to travel somewhere
crumb to crumb
floor to soffit, bubbler to piano,
the spread of atrium
and your still point an immense sanctum
that holds the pattern of your flight

and if you knew how wide
        was the offering of your sky,
            how far would you fly?

all your life you have to roost somewhere
plastic tree
girder or spar, baggage claim,
the top of a shop, security,
and your sanctuary whatever peace
can keep safe winged desire

and if you knew how unblessed
        was the safety of your nest
            how long would you rest?


November funeral

(In memoriam, Roger Lundin, 1949–2015)

Outside the year’s first snow means crashes, spin-
outs, brutal shock to unprotected skin,
a harbinger of winter’s dreary night.

Inside is peace as through translucent panes
we view a world grown still where silence reigns
and trees are finely etched in tender light.

Deep under brutal, surging waves of grief
wild rushing waters pound with no relief
the unprotected bark of life capsized.

Yet deeper down there comes a still small voice,
“I am with you, in river’s rage rejoice
that all baptized with me in death shall rise.”

                    Advent 2015



I never learned to tell one from another—
swamp, field, song, vesper—they’re all scraps
of drab: rust, dun, buff, tan. Some streaky-breasted,
some not. We hear the flutter of their wings, look up,
then yawn, ho hum, a sparrow. No rush for the binoculars.
Like the poor, they are always with us. Look at them
flick and flit in this dry meadow of foxtail, switchgrass,
goldenrod; every leaf, stem, and seed head burnished
in the dying light. Maybe they are the only angels
we get in this life. But the very hairs on our head
are numbered, and the father knows them all by name.
Each sparrow, too, has a song—no flashy cardinal
selling cheer, no sky-blue jay’s ironic squawk,
no eponymous chicka-dee-dee-dee. Just us,
the unnoticed, gleaning what others have left behind,
and singing for all we’re worth, teetering on a bit
of bracken at the edge of a wild field.


Revised Common Lectionary © 1992 the Consultation on Common Texts. Used by permission.