February 26, 2017 last Sunday in Ordinary Time
Season of Lent begins next Wednesday March 1, 2017
Jesus continues his Sermon on the Mount, which we have heard the past few Sundays.
February 26, 2017 last Sunday in Ordinary Time
Season of Lent begins next Wednesday March 1, 2017
February 19, 20117
In the first reading written after the Exile in Babylon (500) BC, the people were asked to reflect on what it was to be holy.
While they had been in exile, many had given up on God and had taken on the gods and the life style of the pagans.
That can, at times, also be our situation in the pagan world of today.
God's people were reminded that Moses has told them that they were all called to be holy as God is holy and to love the other.
That reminder given by Moses was not just for the ancients, but is for every generation, even for each of us today.
St. Paul writes to the community in Corinth, where many divisions and conflicts were taking place.
He reminds them that in Baptism they were made temples or dwelling places for God. As the dwelling place of God they were to make God present in the world to all they encountered.
That message is for each of us today,
as baptized and chosen by God.
But how do we make God present in our world today?
In the Gospel we are given the answer.
It is given by the life of Jesus and is told by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.
Here are some reminders of what He said and what we are to do....
All of the above, at times, may seem impossible.
...this is the love Jesus is talking about;
wishing the well being of the other,
even the one who hurts us.
It is an unconditional wish for the well being of the other, no matter who they are or what they have done.
It means being the first to forgive and to forget.
Jesus us gives us the example.
It is something that does seem impossible, and yet we know that is what we are called to do.
It is how we make the love, mercy, and compassion present in today's world.
We can deny that this is the call for each of us, or we can escape the call by saying that we love everyone and do not have enemies.
What a lie!
Enemies are a gift from God.
They help us to see the need for our own conversion of heart.
Don't be afraid to realize that even the ones we know and love can be the enemy at times.
It is in the conflicts, misunderstandings, disagreements, etc. in our lives, that we can see we do not have that love for the enemy.
Enemies help us to see that we still need to continue to pray for that gift of love, even to the enemy, even to the one we struggle with, even to the once who does not deserve mercy.
Click on the following
February 12, 2017
It is so easy to read these Commandments and not really understand how to apply them to ourselves. This Sunday's readings can help us to look a little deeper into how God, in His mercy, is helping us once again.
This prophet is addressing a people living in Egypt some 130 years or so before Christ. Many have lost all their heritage, their language (Hebrew) and their belief in God, instead they have turned to the pagan gods of the people they were living around. Sirach encouraged the people to return to God and to remember all that God had done for them in their history. But...God does not force anyone.
We can just look at the history of the Old Testament, of God's Chosen People, and see that He leaves them free. Is that not also true of us?
We are given the freedom to follow God or, like God's chosen people that Sirach was addressing, to follow the pagan gods.
For us today our pagan gods can be money, power, security, good health, popularity, sex, possessions etc.
Every day we are given a choice.
Will we follow the pagan gods that give temporary peace or follow our God who guarantees eternal peace???
St.Paul writes to his Christian Community living in the midst of pagans, of non believers, just like us today. He reinforces that they will not find the peace they want from the gods around them, but in the way of God, which even today the world does not understand or seek.
In the Gospel St. Mathew continues to give us another part of the Sermon on the Mount.
Are we willing to listen?
Or like the scribes and Pharisees, those who considered themselves very holy, close our ears and hearts.
It is so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we are doing a pretty good job, or that we just give up, by thinking that what God has given us and asked of us is impossible.
The Commandments were never given as laws we must continually try to follow. Rather, they are help us to see that we need to continually pray for the grace from God to convert and have the Commandments become a part of our lives.
I know for me, I need to continually ask God to convert my heart so that through his grace I can daily go out of my way for others.
Isn't that what the real purpose of the Commandments of God are about; to see our failures in some areas and to pray for the mercy and conversion God is always willing to give as He leads us to eternal peace, eternal life?
Every day and in every situation we need to again and again ask God for his gift of a change of heart, conversion, and to become what the response to this Sunday's Psalm 119 says...
October 23, 2016.
30th Sunday of the year ordinary time cycle city
First reading: Sirach 35:12-14; 16-18.
The one who wrote this book of Sirach what's the wise and pie is Jew of the second century before Christ. He shows that
God shows new favorites but deals equally with all people.
Yeah answers the prayers of all but certainly his greatly concerned with those who are oppressed for the window or the ocean or the ones who cannot help themselves.
We need to constantly show gratitude to God, but the times we are so busy that we almost forget completely about any prayer or dialogue with our God who loves us all.
In this reading we heard the words he who serves God willingly is heard.
Second reading: two Timothy 4:6-8; 16-18.
Into his letters St. Paul often talks about his struggles and sufferings as a part of the journey to return the light.
He writes this letter to Timothy knowing that his death is eminent.
He says on his deathbed that he has fought the good fight.
Those words can help each of us in our struggles in our difficulties to understand that they are a part of the journey to eternal life.
Gospel: Luke 18:9-14.
This parable is told by Jesus to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and yet despised others Who did not do as they did.
February 5, 2017
We have heard or read this quotation from Matthew's gospel many times.
The readings for this Sunday can help us to know each day what we are called to do.
In the Gospel, Jesus is giving the Sermon of the Mount to his disciples. As we sit in Church this Sunday, Jesus once again gives us His Words. They can change our spiritual lives.
Are we willing to listen?
Are we willing to change so we will more often make God present to every person and event that comes into our lives?
Or do we simple refuse to think that we are called everyday in every situation to make God present to others?
In the time of Isaiah, the people were being reminded of what they were to do for others to show that they loved God and were thankful to Him for bringing them out of slavery and caring for them. So, the message is not new.
St. Paul writes to this Christian Community and reminds them that they were called to make God present everyday. Because of our baptism, like that of the Corinthians, we were chosen by God at our own Baptism to make God present in our world today.
Think about the responsorial Psalm as you listen or read the Psalm we respond to at Eucharist this Sunday.
It describes what we are called to be and to do?
But maybe we simply think that there is no more we can do.
How can I feed others?
How can I be light?
It simply means going out of our way for others.
It means always saying hello or something to those we don't really know as we pass them in all our daily activities. Even a smile to the stranger can be that bread or light to others.
We can even ask God for the grace to convert us, so that we do not let one person that we encounter this day go by us without a smile, or a hello, or even to go out of our way for that person. Perhaps even saying to God as we pass a person, "God bless that person" .
Of course there will be times we are called to do much more, but to begin to start simply we can make spiritual discoveries about ourselves.
Maybe we will discover that we are more self centered than we ever thought. That will mean not to give up, but to pray for our own conversion.
Let's fulfill the call God gave us in Baptism.
It is never too late.
January 29. 2017
Zep 2:3; 3:12-13
Zephaniah was one of the twelve minor prophets (687-640 BC)
During his time most of the leaders of the Chosen People had abandon God.
While they had been in exile in Babylon the generations that followed had taken on the pagan idols that had surrounded them.
Many had become merchants and had made money.
Even the common people had turned to other gods or to no gods at all.
Zephaniah speaks that a remnant will remain faithful to God. He speaks to them as he speaks to us who through our baptism are called to be that remnant to make God present in the world once again.
Watch for the opportunity to make God present through our actions... mercy, forgiveness, understanding, patience, etc.
Saint Paul in the second reading was speaking to a community that was struggling.
He assured that them they had been called by God not because they were bold and strong, but because God calls the lowly, the humble, to make Him present in the world.
In the eyes of the world we, at times, may not be seen as the wise and/or learned.
But it is in our lowliness, it is our actions that make God present in today's world.
In the Gospel we are told what is it to be called by God and to be a follower of Christ.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
The world says be strong...you do not have to take it with a grain of salt
Blessed are they who mourn,
We seem to have learned that we should never be down and out...Be strong
Blessed are the meek,
We seem to think at times in difficult situations we should never be meek...stand up to that person.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
Blessed are the merciful,
But the world teaches us mercy only to those who deserve it, not to everyone
Blessed are the clean of heart,
But the world says it is ok to get upset and think badly of some people that deserve it
Blessed are the peacemakers,
We are taught that I only make peace to those who deserve it, not to the one who hurt me
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
Don't be rejected...you were right; others should respect you.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven."
Perhaps the next time we go to confession or examine ourselves,we might take a look at the Beatitudes and pray to be able to fulfill what they suggest as to how we can make God present in the world.
January 22, 2017
January 15, 2017
They were at an all time low and Isaiah gave them the hope that God would not abandon his people; that One would come that would bring salvation for the whole world.
They were once again given hope.
Perhaps this can be also for us when we are in a down state.
God will not abandon us.
In the second reading written somewhere around 50 AD, Paul went to preach in Corinth which was a Roman colony and was morally corrupt.
Even to those pagans in Corinth, God would send a messenger to bring the news of forgiveness and salvation.
Paul was that messenger for them.
These words could also apply to us.
We are called to make the compassion and forgiveness of God present to others.
We are commissioned to carry on what Paul was sent to do.
We, of the current age, are to make God present in the world.
In the gospel, John recognized that Christ was the one sent from God.
God has kept his promise not to abandon his people.
Each of us through our baptism were called to make God's mercy and forgiveness present in the world today.
We are to make Christ present for others.
Once again today, we can renew what we were commissioned to do through our call at Baptism
our forgiveness, etc.
We can pray for the Holy Spirit to help us to do what have each of us have been called to do.
January 8, 2017
In the first reading, what good news for a people in exile. A people who had lost everything. In a sense it says "Don't be afraid.
That can be a help to each of us who at times are down, wondering where the heck God is and why am I having to go through all these situations and problems.
The same was true for the people that Isaiah was addressing. They had lost everything. There seemed to be no hope for them. Have you ever been in that situation?
In the second reading Paul addresses the Ephesians. They are Gentiles. They are consider not chosen by God. Paul tells them Christ comes for all. Sometimes we can be in a place where we look at ourselves and think that there is no hope for us. We see our spiritual selves and think that God could not possible come for me. But guess what... He does come every moment, every day.
The good news of the Gospel gives us hope when we feel down and out. The Magi were pagans. Yet somehow they are drawn to see the Messiah. The joy of this day is that the Messiah, Christ, is for all, even for us in those moments of difficulty, those moment of doubt, and even for those who do not believe.
Do we not think that the Magi had real difficulties and problems in traveling to see the Messiah???
They left home, security, comforts, etc. to travel to an unknown land and through an unknown people to find the Messiah!
Like the Magi we too have to travel through all the problems and difficulties in our lives to find the Christ Child.
Hear the good news from these readings, especially when we feel down or rejected
At the times we are feel unworthy yet...
The Messiah has come for all of us!
You may have noticed that in liturgy the event of Christmas, the birth of Christ, is so important that we celebrate each of the following eight days after Christmas as Christmas... the Octave of Christmas.
For many people, Christmas is over except for all the sales but that is not true for us.
In the Gospel that we will hear, it was the shepherds who first brought the news that the one that is born will bring to each of us the gift of eternal life. Death is overcome.
Shepherds were not the intelligent, were not the elite, were not the rich, but were the poor, uneducated, who first announced the eternal good news. All who heard this news were amazed.
You and I have been given eternal life and all because Mary said yes to God.
That in itself seems amazing. She willingly undertook the challenge to become the mother of God.
In the first reading from the Book of Numbers, we hear that God wanted to bless the Israelites even after all their doubts and all their turning from God so many times in their history. Moses was instructed by God to tell his brother Aaron, that His people were to be blessed. We hear that blessing in this reading. That blessing is also each of us.
God is always wanting to bless us, to forgive us, to give us the news of eternal life, that same news that the shepherds brought to the human race.
In the second reading, Paul writes to the people of Galatia whom he had catechized because they were beginning to have their doubts and fears.
He gives them courage to face the struggles they were having and to not believe the doubts that some were trying to plant in them. They had been chosen; they have been called by name, they were to call God
That is also true for each of us today. God continues to want a close relationship with each and every one of us.
A relationship that always brings God's love and forgiveness when we ask for it.
As we continue through life and the days ahead in this new year, I hope and pray that this great event of Mary saying, "Yes, be it done according to your will", can give us courage in those times when we doubt, when we feel attacked, when we wonder if God is really there for us.
We are Children of God!
Let us pray to be able like Mary to say yes to God... Our Father
in the struggles, the doubts, the difficulties
that will come our way too.