Thirtieth Sunday Cycle B

Thirtieth Sunday Cycle B

October   ,2021

  

 

 

 

  30Sunday

 

 

 

Thirtieth Sunday Cycle B

 

Are you Blind?

 

Spiritually Blind?

 

Mark

 

This Sunday gives us the Gospel story of a blind man, who is sitting by the roadside, begging, when Jesus passes by.

 

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He recognizes knows that he is blind and has great hope that Jesus will cure his blindness.

 

Have pity


As Jesus passes by he calls out, "Son of David; have pity on me."

 Jesus stops and heals his blindness.

 

 

 



But what does that Gospel story have to do with us?

 

 

Jeremiah also
Often, we can be like the people found in the Hebrew Scriptures that are proclaimed in the first reading.

 

Remember that both the Northern and the Southern kingdom had abandoned God, and eventually, lost everything, and were taken into exile.

 

 

Jeremiah, rather than call them to conversion as he had done in the past,  in this reading, he assures them that God will never abandon them.

 

Photo Oct 19, 2 28 01 PMJeremiah tells them the reason for the exile is that they had abandoned God; that they were blind. Yet Jeremiah assures them that God does love them, and will care for them in spite of all the things that they had done in their abandonment of God.  

 

 

 

 



That story is also good for us to hear, especially when we are in that moment of feeling in exile, blind, and so far away from God.  

Images

 

 

Will we be able to recognize our own blindness?  

Will we recognize Jesus when He passes by in our lives?  

Will we see the need for ourselves to call out for mercy?

 

The-women-of-midian-led-captive-by-the-hebrews-1900

 

Remember that it took generations for the people of the Old Testament to recognize their blindness.  

Only then were they able to experience God's great love and mercy.

 The same is true for us.

 

 

 

Often we don't recognize our own blindness until things really go downhill  in our struggles; then we begin to see how spiritually blind we  are at that moment.That certainly is the moment to cry out for mercy from God so we can be healed.

 

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I suspect that for each of us, at one time or another, we have been  able to see

just how spiritually blind we are. 

 

 

 

 

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The author of the letter that we hear from in the second reading today, reminds us that we have in Christ, the High Priest.  

He is the Son of God who by his human nature has experienced the same struggles and difficulties that we have experienced.

 

 

 

 

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He is the one who has offered his body and life and gained our salvation.
Whenever we call out for mercy, for healing,

 

 

 

 

But......

.
Are we willing to look at your spiritual blindness?


Are we willing to see that at moments we are all spiritually blind.

 

 

It can be those moments when we are called to have mercy, compassion, forgiveness, comfort, understanding, and we say...

 

 No

 

At that moment we are  blind.

 

We can give excuses and say that we are only human.  

 

That is the moment we are spiritually blind and can't even recognize the blindness.

 

That can be God's gift to us when we see we are spiritually blind.

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That is the moment to pray for our own conversion, so that we will be in a position to call out to the Lord for healing.

 


How many times will He passed by in our lives, giving us the opportunity to call out and ask for spiritual healing and we do not recognize Him?  

 

 

 

 

How many times will we fail to look at our own blindness?

 

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If today you are spiritually blind today, call out to Him.

 

 

Video Clip Franciscan Greg Friedman

 

 

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Tommy death
 
Father John Powell, a professor at Loyola University in Chicago , writes about a student in his Theology of Faith class named Tommy: "Some twelve years ago, I stood watching my university students file into the classroom for our first session in the Theology of Faith. That was the day I first saw Tommy. My eyes and my mind both blinked. He was combing his long flaxen hair, which hung six inches below his shoulders.
 
It was the first time I had ever seen a boy with hair that long. I guess it was just coming into fashion then. I know in my mind that it isn't what's on your head but what's in it that counts; but on that day I was unprepared and my emotions flipped. Immediately I filed Tommy under 'S' for strange..
 
Very strange, Tommy turned out to be the 'atheist in residence' in my Theology of Faith course. He constantly objected to, smirked at, or whined about the possibility of an unconditionally loving Father/God.
 
We lived with each other in relative peace for one semester, although I admit he was for me at times a serious pain in the back pew.
 
When he came up at the end of the course to turn in his final exam, he asked in a cynical tone, 'Do you think I'll ever find God?'
 
I decided instantly on a little shock therapy. 'No!' I said very emphatically.
 
'Why not,' he responded, 'I thought that was the product you were pushing.'
 
I let him get five steps from the classroom door and then called out, 'Tommy! I don't think you'll ever find Him, but I am absolutely certain that He will find you!'
 
He shrugged a little and left my class and my life. I felt slightly disappointed at the thought that he had missed my clever line – "He will find you!" At least I thought it was clever.
 
Later I heard that Tommy had graduated, and I was duly grateful.
 
Then a sad report came. I heard that Tommy had terminal cancer. Before I could search him out, he came to see me. When he walked into my office, his body was very badly wasted and the long hair had all fallen out as a result of hemotherapy. But his eyes were bright and his voice was firm, for the first time, I believe.
 
'Tommy, I've thought about you so often; I hear you are sick,' I blurted out.
 
'Oh, yes, very sick. I have cancer in both lungs. It's a matter of weeks...'
 
'Can you talk about it, Tom?' I asked.
 
'Sure, what would you like to know?' he replied.
 
'What's it like to be only twenty-four and dying?
 
'Well, it could be worse.
 
'Like what?
 
'Well, like being fifty and having no values or ideals, like being fifty and thinking that booze, seducing women, and making money are the real biggies in life.
 
I began to look through my mental file cabinet under 'S' where I had filed Tommy as strange. (It seems as though the very body I try to reject by classification, God sends back into my life to educate me.)
 
'But what I really came to see you about,' Tom said, 'is something you said to me on the last day of class.' (He remembered!) He continued, 'I asked you if you thought I would ever find God and you said, 'No!' which surprised me Then you said, 'But He will find you..' I thought about that a lot, even though my search for God was hardly intense
at that time. (My clever line. He thought about that a lot!) 'But when the doctors removed a lump from my groin and told me that it was malignant, that's when I got serious about locating God. And when the malignancy spread into my vital organs, I really began banging bloody fists against the bronze doors of heaven..
 
"But God did not come out. In fact , nothing happened. Did you ever try anything for a long time with great effort and with no success? You get psychologically glutted, fed up with trying. And then you quit 'Well, one day I woke up, and instead of throwing a few more futile appeals over that high brick wall to a God who may be or may not be there, I just quit. I decided that I didn't really care about God, about an afterlife, or anything like that. I decided to spend what time I had left doing something more profitable.
 
I thought about you and your class and I remembered something else you had said: 'The essential sadness is to go through life without loving. But it would be almost equally sad to go through life and leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you had loved them.''
 
'So, I began with the hardest one, my Dad. He was reading the newspaper when I approached him.
 
'Dad. 'Yes, what?' he asked without lowering the newspaper.
 
'Dad, I would like to talk with you.
 
' 'Well, talk.
 
'I mean. It's really important. The newspaper came down three slow inches
 
'What is it?'
 
'Dad, I love you, I just wanted you to know that.'
 
Tom smiled at me and said it with obvious satisfaction, as though he felt a warm and secret joy flowing inside of him.
 
'The newspaper fluttered to the floor. Then my father did two things I could never remember him ever doing before. He cried and he hugged me.
 
We talked all night, even though he had to go to work the next morning. It felt so good to be close to my father, to see his tears, to feel his hug, to hear him say that he loved me.'
 
'It was easier with my mother and little brother. They cried with me, too, and we hugged each other, and started saying real nice things to each other. We shared the things we had been keeping secret for so many years. 'I was only sorry about one thing --- that I had waited so long. Here I was, just beginning to open up to all the people I had actually been close to.
 
'Then, one day I turned around and God was there. He didn't come to me when I pleaded with Him. I guess I was like an animal trainer holding out a hoop, 'C'mon, jump through. C'mon, I'll give you three days, three weeks.'' 'Apparently God does things in His own way and at His own hour. But the important thing is that He was there. He found me! You were right. He found me even after I stopped looking for Him.'
 
'Tommy,' I practically gasped, 'I think you are saying something very important and much more universal than you realize. To me, at least, you are saying that the surest way to find God is not to make Him a private possession, a problem solver, or an instant consolation in time of need, but rather by opening to love.
 
You know, the Apostle John said that. He said: 'God is love, and anyone who lives in love is living with God and God is living in him.'
 
Tom, could I ask you a favor?
 
You know, when I had you in class you were a real pain. But (laughingly) you can make it all up to me now. Would you come into my present Theology of Faith course and tell them what you have just told me? If I told them the same thing it would not be half as effective as if you were to tell it.
 
'Oooh.. I was ready for you, but I don't know if I'm ready for your class.'
 
'Tom, think about it. If and when you are ready, give me a call.'
 
In a few days Tom called, said he was ready for the class, that he wanted to do that for God and for me. So we scheduled a date.
 
However, he never made it. He had another appointment, far more important than the one with me and my class. Of course, his life was not really ended by his death, only changed. He made the great step from faith into vision. He found a life far more beautiful than the eye of man has ever seen or the ear of man has ever heard or the mind of man has ever
imagined.
 
Before he died, we talked one last time. 'I'm not going to make it to your class,' he said.
'I know, Tom.'
 
'Will you tell them for me? Will you tell the whole world for me?'
 
'I will, Tom. I'll tell them. I'll do my best.'
 
So, to all of you who have been kind enough to read this simple story about God's love, thank you for listening. And to you, Tommy, somewhere in the sunlit, verdant hills of heaven --- I told them, Tommy, as best I could.
 
If this story means anything to you, please pass it on to a friend or two. It is a true story and is not enhanced for publicity purposes.
 
With thanks,
 
Rev. John Powell,
Professor,
Loyola University, Chicago. USA
 
 
 

Twenty-Ninth Sunday Ordinary Time Cycle B

October 17, 2021

 

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Is there any value in suffering?

 

 

 

Photo Oct 07, 12 40 36 PM
 
The author calls the future messiah The Suffering Servant of God.

 

 

 

Photo Oct 07, 12 44 09 PMHe tells us that the Servant of God will suffer and offer himself as sin sacrifice for all people.

From our perspective in time, we know that this was fulfilled by Jesus, His passion and death.

 

Sometimes we can fail to understand God's infinite love for each of us.

A love so strong that he was willing to sacrifice his son.

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As all human beings and as followers of Christ, we too will face struggles and difficulties in our own lives.  

But does God know or care that we suffer in this life?

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In this letter from Hebrews we are told, once again, of the price that Christ paid for our salvation.

 

 

Jesus is well aware of our weaknesses and sufferings, our difficulties, struggles, pains, frustrations, etc.

He too went through all of them and he truly understands what we are going through.

As Christians we have been given the grace, the gift, to know that our sufferings are a part of our life here on earth that will lead us and others to eternal life.  

We know exactly how much Jesus did for us in order to win our place in heaven.

 

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Jesus had just given the apostles his third prediction of his suffering and death that  awaited him in Jerusalem, but that message fell on deaf ears. They could not see how suffering could possibly a part of his establishing His Kingdom.  They were sure like, the Jews of the time, that the kingdom that God would be here on earth and all problems, all political problems, etc. would be done away with.  Aren't like that too.  God is suppose to take away all my problems and sufferings. 

James and john

Jesus tells James and John that they will be in his kingdom and that they too will share in the suffering that he was to take on.


The same will be true for each of us.

In our world of today there is no place or value for suffering.  We do not ask for suffering, but we know that in all of our lives it will come.

No_greater_love_large_2

Are we like the world, thinking that there is no value in suffering?  

Or do we see that we too have been called to enter into the suffering of this world as a part of our lives that leads us and others to everlasting life? 

 

We never ask or pray for suffering but for the courage if and when it comes.

 

 

 

Jesus-luz_do_mundo

 

For video clip below 

Video Clip Franciscan Greg Fieldman

 

 

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Twenty Eighth Sunday Cycle B

October 10, 2021

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Book of wisdom
The author of this book says that the gift of wisdom is greater then any of the riches of the world.

 

King Solomon  preferred  the gift of wisdom to anything that the world could give.

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Although the book of wisdom was written over 2000 years ago, the message is very true for us today as followers of Christ.

 

Wisdom gift

 

We all need that gift of wisdom so we can understand that the Lord asks us to bear our crosses, our troubles and trials in this life.

 

 

Cross

It is so easy in today's world to think that worldly pleasures are what we really need in order  to be truly happy.

 

Yet our Christianity tells us to embrace our struggles and difficulties as our own cross and that they will lead us to eternal happiness and life.

 

How hard that can be to believe, for be have been taught to avoid all difficulties at any cost.  What a lie!

 

 

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The author wrote this letter to Jewish converts who were well aware of their ancestors history of God leading them out of Egypt and then into the desert journey to the Promised Land.  They often turned away from God.  They did not believe that God  would take care of them. Because of their unbelief they did not enter the Promised Land of Canaan.

 

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That gift of Wisdom helps us to be realistic with ourselves.  

Are we followers of Christ in our actions or is it just in our words?  

Wisdom helps us to hear at the Word of God so that we are are not fearful of seeing our failures, our sins, our turning from God as we ignore the neighbor, the friend, or even the enemy.

 

That gift of Wisdom encourages us to ask for forgiveness, not just once, but time after time, again and again.  And when we are sincere we are always shown compassion, mercy, and love.

 

One of the biggest errors we can make so easily is not to look at our sins, or to believe that we don't sin.


The danger becomes that we fool ourselves and do not seek the forgiveness of God, the compassion of God, or the mercy of God.

 

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We hear the story of the rich man who came to Jesus and asked him  what do I have to do to have you eternal life?

Jesus told him to sell his riches and to follow the Lord and he finds that impossible to do.

 

 

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For each of us also have riches, not just material wealth and possessions, but our own mind set.


Are we willing to go out for the other person even when it's not convenient.


Are we willing to give forgiveness even to the one who does not deserve it.

 

Are we willing to give away our riches of leisure time,

Are we willing to give away our daily plans and help the other person...even when it is inconvenient?

 

 

 

Helping_others-879895

 

 

 

Video on the Gospel...Fr. Greg Friedman Franciscan

Fr.-Greg-Friedman-OFM

 

 

 

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Twenty Seventh Sunday Cycle B

October 3, 2021

 

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L:isten to the Readings

 

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Amen, I say to you,
whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child
will not enter it." 

Do you accept God's work in your life as a little child?

I am sure we do when we agree with what God has allowed in our individual lives, but what about those times when things don't go as we wish?

 

Insiights

This Sunday's readings can give us some insights, because we do live in a world that has taught us to accept its ways and reject God's intentions.  So get ready to struggle a little.



The Word is about man and woman, children, marriage, divorce.  

Perhaps some will struggle with this Word and that can be a time to pray for the grace of conversion.

 

Genesis


The words we hear in the first reading were for the ancient people who often had many wives and also believed in divorce.  They were for a people who struggled with what God intended for man and women.  

 

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But the words are also for each of us today, and this is where the struggle can be, because we like what the world says about man and woman, marriage, and divorce, and we reject what God has intended in marriage

 

Mark

 

 

In the Gospel reading from Mark,

Jesus talks to a Pharisee who is asking about divorce and makes it clear that divorce was not what God had intended for marriage.

 

 He then goes on to talk about accepting like a little child

in order to enter the kingdom of God.  

Jesus99
That is only something we can pray for when we find ourselves at odds with God's Word.

 We, modern man, think that we should always be able to use our intellect to figure out God's intention.  

Unfortunately that is not always true for us.  

Sometime we have to struggle and that is something most of us will resist.

 

 

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Saint Paul in this letter to the Hebrews speaks about Jesus, being God, comes down to earth and humbly takes on our nature as humans, which includes suffering, doubts, fears, etc.  

 

What Jesus was freely willing to do can give each of us courage when we find ourselves struggling. 

 

 

 

Let us pray for the courage to become like little children and to be open to whatever happens to us each new day tin the  week ahead.

 

 

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Twenty Sixth Sunday Ordinary Time Cycle B

September 26, 2021

 

 

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:Listen to the Readings

 

   

 

 

God works

 

 

 

 

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From this Old Testament reading, we can see how generous God is with his gifts.  He is so loving to the human race that He shares his gift, the spirit he gave to Moses and  also gives it to others for the good of the people

 

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Moses-leading-israelites

 God continued to guide and provide both spiritually and materially for His People following Moses to the Promised Land.  

  

 

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In the Gospel we hear a similar story of God's gift of healing, given to the Apostles and to one who did not follow Christ.  

Some complain to the Lord to stop that person.

 Through the response of the Lord they came to understand that God could work in many ways, even through those who were not followers of Christ.

 

God loves us so much that He gives his gifts to many for the sake of all humans.  



Prophet-Priest-King

 

At our baptism we were called and gifted to be prophet, priest, and King.

As prophets we are to make God present in the world today.

 

We do this by the mercy, compassion and forgiveness that we have toward all people we encounter, even the enemy.

 

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In his letter, St. James points out how easy it is for the desire for material wealth, possessions, etc. to turn us away from our gift and call to make Christ present in the world.

 God will place people in our path this coming week so that we can clearly see ourselves.

 We will have to make a choice.  

 

 

 

 

 

Do we go out of my way for the other

or

Do we place our own needs first?

 

 

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We may, at times, discover that we place our own needs first and to see that itself is a gift from God.

Then we know that we need to again pray for our own conversion.

 

 

Take some time this week to examine yourself. 

 

FBN-MeFirst-Logo

 

 

How often did you place yourself,

your ideas, your talent, your ways,

your wants, your time, your money, your knowledge,

your judgement, your feelings,  etc. first?

 

 

Video reflection by Fr. Greg Friedman Franciscan

 

 

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Twenty Fifth Sunday Cycle B

September 19, 2021

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25th Sun

 

Wisdom ancient

This Book was written in Egypt where many of the Jews had left their belief in God and had turned to pagan gods and the ideas of those around them.


Even more, those who had left the faith of Judaism had also turned against those who remained faithful Jews.  They became very critical those who continued the faith.

 

In our own faith we may have experienced that those who have fallen away from the faith have become very critical of the Church, its teaching of Jesus, its liturgy, etc.

These words of the Book of Wisdom certainly applied to Christ and can also be applied to us when the worldly ideals turns against Christian belief.  We are not crazy!

 

St-james-icon-1

 In his letter St. James addressed the converted Jews that had found their new Christian faith.


He explained what it meant to be Christian and how to live that new life.

 

 

 

We are called today not be like those, who out of human weakness, are jealous and selfish people and who envy the success of others.

 

Charity_clipart


We are called by Christ to live in charity toward all people, even toward those who can be a real pain.  And of course, that also means charity to the enemy.



Imark gospel
As we reflect on this Gospel, remember that the apostles were very worldly minded and they had the hoped that Christ would take all of their problems away and establish and earthly kingdom.  

Don't we too, at times, want God to take all of our problems and difficulties away?

 

Servant

But we, like the apostles, are called to be a servant to all.

We too, can have great difficulty in excepting those words because we live today in the world that says put our own needs first, and that we must always think about ourselves before all else.

 

That is totally the opposite of Christianity.

 

All-about-me1

 

If we are not careful. we too can also fall into the belief of today... that we want an earthly paradise, we want and deserve prosperity,  comfort and happiness in this world.

 

Challenge

So the challenge for us this week is to look at ourselves and see if we find that there are situations where we think of ourselves first.  

Are we willing to become servant,

to go out of our way,

to give a listening ear,

to show compassion and mercy,

to forgive,


even when we think our own needs are more important?

 

 

10-be-servant

 

 

For all of us, we may discover that we don't want or think we need to be servant.  If that is the case, we know that we need to pray for our own conversion and change of heart.

 

Make me servant
 

 

 

Fr.-Greg-Friedman-OFM_headshot

Click here  for A Reflection on the Gospel Fr. Greg Friedman Franciscan

 

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Twenty-fourth Sunday Cycle B

September 12, 2021

Cycle B

24th sun

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Everyday, in every situation, Christ asks us this question. 

 

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 In this Sunday's gospel from Mark, Peter answered  the question asked of the disciples, "You are the Christ" and when Jesus tells them He will suffer and die, Peter cannot understand how the Messiah will suffer and die, and he tells Jesus something like, "no way, Lord."

 

 

 

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How can this be part of the plan of salvation for all?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  In the Book of Isaiah, we are given a preview of what the Messiah will have to endure.  It is also a description of a part of our lives as being called by God in our Baptism.  

 

 

 

We like the fact that God has called us to eternal life through our baptism when things go well, when good things happen to us, when life is without suffering, when all think well of us.  

 

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But...

...there will also be the times when we too will be rejected, be persecuted, be faced with bad health, etc. just as we to as disciples of Christ, called to be His Presence in the world.  We too will have to carry the Cross.

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Often the Cross, the difficulties in our lives, just seem like too much.  That is the time to pray like crazy to have the grace to endure and come to realize this is part of the way to eternal life for ourselves and for our loved ones, and for the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Saint James gives us a hint of what we need to pray for.  It is all well to say that we are Christian and that we love the Lord and will follow Him. That means we do the following... 

 

...Love the enemy, carry the Cross, have compassion, even on the one who does not deserve it, go out of our way for a difficult person or situation, etc., are all the ways that we are what St. James says that we are to be... doers of the Word.  And today he tells us what Faith is.

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We receive a gift when we can truly be... doers of the Word, but it is also gift when we can see that we too, like Peter and the Apostles say, "No Way Lord."  That is the moment to pray for our own conversion.  Lord, help me through all situations to love as you loved.

 

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To give excuses is never the way to eternal life.  

When we discover how small our Faith can be at moments, the Lord is still loving us and calling us to Him and too, asking us to begin again to be a reflection of His Love and His presence in the world today.

 

So, in every situation we find ourselves, let us remember to ask ourselves, at this moment...in this situation...

 

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Click here for video reflection clip by Fr. Greg Friedman

Who do you say

 

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Twenty-third Sunday Cycle B

September 5, 2021

 

23rd Sunday

 

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As we look at our world today...

it is so easy to wonder if God has forgotten all about us.

 
The world seems to be such an unchristian place,

and even our own lives at moments,

can seem like God is not listening to our prayers.

 
Has God forgotten us?

 

 

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The people that Isaiah was addressing, approximately 750 years before Christ, were also asking that same question.

 

Had God forgotten them?

 

 

We hear words in the first reading that say to those who are struggling or doubting,  be strong, fear not, behold your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God he will come and save you.

 

 

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Those words are as much for us today,

as they were for the people Isaiah was addressing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It is interesting to note that in the gospel, which is proclaimed today, Mark writes mainly for the Gentile converts.

We all know that God's plan was that the Messiah would come through the Jews. But that does not mean that he forgets the Gentiles, which most of us Christians are today.  Remember that in the days of the Old and New Testament it was hard for the Jews to believe that the Messiah would come also for the Gentiles, yet that is exactly what St. Mark wants us to understand.  The Messiah comes for all.

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In the event that we hear about today, Jesus heals a Gentile.

God loves all of us, saint, small sinner, biggest sinner.  He comes to heal us.

 

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It is so easy for us today, as we are influenced by the world around us, to think that God comes only for the good guy, for the one who tries so hard, for the one who does not cause problems, for the one who is Christian.

In the part of the letter that we hear today, St. James writes to his brothers and sisters and says to them that there should not be any separation among them, rich or poor; that they respect each other because that is their mission to show that God loves all.

Each of us, through our Baptism, are called to make the love of God for all present in the world.

Watch this week and see who God allows in our lives, saints and sinners.  

Pray that we may have the grace to make the love of God present to them all, even to the ones that make life difficult or that we don't care for. 

 

People-to-suffer Blk woman Suffer woman
Suffering man
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It takes courage and the grace of God to love those that are a difficulty in our lives.  We may even find that we are not yet the Christians that we hope and pray to be one day...

Pray for that day every time we fail

at loving the other as God loves us all,

saint and sinner

 

To View video another reflection Click on...   Reflection..Fr. .Greg Friedman Franciscan

Greg Friedman

 

 

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Twenty Second Sunday Cycle B

August 29, 2021

Review the Readings

Listen to the Readings

 

 

22nd sunday

 

 

 

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Which means...

Pay Attention Israel

Listen Israel

Heed Israel

 

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Moses addresses the people shortly before they will enter the Promised Land, and he asks them to Listen Israel, hear this Israel... 

 

 

 

Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees
which I am teaching you to observe,
that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land
which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you.

 

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He asks them to remember the Covenant God had made with them.  They are to follow what God has given them and to be faithful to His laws which will bring them to the Promised Land.  As they follow them, they will be a witnesses to the pagans that will be living all around them in this land of Canaan, which they are about to enter.

 

These readings are also a wake up call for us.  

Wake up!  

Listen!  

Take heed!  

Shema!

We are reminded of our call at our Baptism.  

God made a covenant with each of us.  

Sometime we get confused as to what God is asking of us.  

 

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St. Mark tells us about the difficulties the Scribes and Pharisees had with Jesus.  

 

 

 

 

For the Scribes and Pharisees it was important to carry out every detail of the law and all of the human traditions that had developed.  

They would not relate to those who did not follow the law and they would not associate with them, as they were considered unclean.  

 

 

Photo Aug 24, 8 46 33 AMSo it is no wonder that they could not relate to Jesus and his disciples, who did not follow all of the human traditions.  

They could not, or would not understand how any holy person, like themselves, could be among those whom they considered sinners, like the tax collectors, the prostitutes, etc.

 

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The part of the letter of St. James, (apostle, cousin of Jesus, bishop of Jerusalem), that we hear at Mass today gives us a hint at what we are to do as called by God and promised eternal life.

 

 

 

 

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Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this:
to care for orphans and widows in their affliction
and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

 

The orphans and the widows were the ones on the streets with nothing

They were the poor of the poor

The rejects

 

This part of the letter states clearly what we are to do; what we are to pray for, for ourselves.

To love God above all and to love the neighbor

 

Now is a good time to look at ourselves.  

What things do we put before our love for God;  

could those things be...

...material things,

...our private time,

...our wanting things to go our way,

...our unwillingness to forgive, or to have compassion?  

 

 

The Lord will help us to see if we love our neighbor in the week ahead.  The neighbor is any person God allows in our life, even the person who is difficult or the person who we, like those the Scribes and Pharisees ,think unclean. or below us.

God-first

 

I know that as I prepared these remarks on these scriptures, I had to look back and remember the times this week that I did not go out of my way for the people God allowed in my life, and at the times I thought I was right.  

But God has given me the gift of conversion; to see that I have not put God above all and I did not go out of my way for my neighbor. Seeing the past events and my failure this week was a real gift from God.  

Or as St. James said...

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To see ourselves as we truly are, is a gift, and we need to pray often to receive that gift.  

It is so easy to justify ourselves, as did the Scribes and Pharisees.  

But to see ourselves, as we truly are at times, is a perfect gift from God.  

Wait for that gift.  

It is the moment in which we too can experience God's great mercy, compassion, forgiveness and love for us as sinner.

Love god others