Homily: “On the Way, the Truth, and the Life”

Offered by Father Matthew Dallman, Obl.S.B., for the Parish of Tazewell County on the Fifth Sunday of Easter, 2018.

We ask of our loving God in our Collect this week something extraordinary. We ask that He grant us so perfectly to know Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may follow his steps in the way that leads to eternal life. I say this is extraordinary for two reasons. One because the claim made herein about Jesus—He is the way (and there is no other); He is the truth (and there is no other), and He is the life (and there is no other). We need to have this clarity about our loving Lord Jesus—clarity about who exactly He is, and clarity about what His mission was in becoming Man in the Incarnation. Jesus is the definitive revelation of ultimate reality, and He chose to be born, to live, to minister, to die, and to rise again so that the whole world could join Him with the Father in eternal bliss.

And that is the second way that our Collect is extraordinary—the clear articulation of Hope. Read more “Homily: “On the Way, the Truth, and the Life””

On the Ministry of the Laity

[This essay by Father Dallman appeared in the May 2018 issue of The Spire, the newsletter of the Parish of Tazewell County.]

Saint Paul teaches in the fourth chapter of his Epistle to the Ephesians that saints (the baptized) are to be equipped for work of ministry, for “building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” He also teaches elsewhere of the centrality of the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity to the Christian life.

The pressing question then becomes, within the context of Baptism, how do equipping the saints for ministry and the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity hang together as part of an overall “baptismal spirituality” or “baptismal life”? What is the shape or pattern? Read more “On the Ministry of the Laity”

Homily: “Religion and Formation, Part 2”

Offered by the Rev. Matthew C. Dallman for the Parish of Tazewell County on Holy Cross Day, 2016.

Holy Cross Day is a feast that has many names throughout the wider Church. In the Roman Catholic Church it is known officially as the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, yet recently was also called the Triumph of the Cross. I like how the Greek Orthodox tradition calls this day the “Raising Aloft of the Honored and Life-Giving Cross.” Despite the variety of names, is a solemn feast that traces to very early in the Church, at least to the mid-fourth century, meaning that Christians have been keeping this celebration for perhaps one thousand, seven-hundred years. By celebrating this Holy Day today we join an immense cloud of witnesses that celebrates it with us — celebrates and adores our Savior Jesus Christ who, in the words of our Collect, was “lifted high upon the cross that he might draw the whole world to himself.”

That is a wonderful line from our Collect, and it echoes what Saint John quotes Jesus as saying: “I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” There are additional ancient texts of John’s Gospel that have Jesus drawing not only all people to him, but all things of any kind: in effect suggesting that what is drawn to himself is reality as a whole. That all reality is drawn to Jesus is an image that, while perhaps staggering in its immensity, indeed too much for the human mind to be able to comprehend in its totality, nonetheless is fitting, is it not? For it was through Jesus that all things were made, and without him was not anything made that was made. (I am quoting of course from the opening verses of Saint John’s Gospel.) If all reality was made through Him, then in His glory on the cross, all reality returns to him, and all reality to Him is reconciled. Read more “Homily: “Religion and Formation, Part 2””

Homily: “Religion and Formation, Part 1”

Offered by the Rev. Matthew C. Dallman for the Parish of Tazewell County on the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time 2016 (Proper 18, Year C)

Sometime this past week, Fall happened. I believe it was Tuesday morning as I recall, just before the service of Morning Prayer at All Souls’ Chapel in Pekin. The temperature dropped; perhaps — and I am guessing and have not looked this up — the barometric pressure shifted. In any case, the signs of Autumn are all around: it is Labor Day weekend, schools have been filled with children for several weeks, the outdoor swimming pools are closed for the year, major league baseball teams have called up their best prospects from the minor leagues, the Marigold Festival kicks off this week, my own family is starting to plan for apple-picking in local orchards—and, well, you all could probably add your own “signs of Autumn.”

From my role, constantly looking at this Parish as a whole from a pastoral perspective, one of the changes that Autumn brings is the gathering and regathering of groups of parishioners for formation classes. It is exciting to me, personally, that this is happening at both at Saint Paul’s church and All Saints’ church. It is exciting because it is through adult formation experiences that we can strengthen bonds in our parish family, ask questions that can lead down new creative paths, and reinforce personal bonds with each other as well as with Jesus Christ.

Read more “Homily: “Religion and Formation, Part 1””