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October 2013

31st Sunday Ordinary Time Cycle C

November 3, 2013

Review the Readings

Listen to the Readings

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The author of the first reading, taken from the Old Testament, wrote some 15 years before the birth of Christ.


He tells of God's great mercy and compassion for the human race.

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He expresses God's love for all people and that God always gives a chance for conversion, e.g. to have a change of heart.

 

Saint-paul2

In the second reading, Paul writes his second letter to the Thessalonians, many of whom are sitting around idle, just waiting for the second coming of Christ.  Paul warns them not to be idle, but to recall that through their baptism they were called to make God present in the world.

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They were called to make God's mercy, compassion, and love present in their world.  At our baptism we too were called to do the same,
 to make God's mercy, forgiveness, compassion, and love present in our  world of today.

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That means for us to go out of our way for the enemy, or for the person that gives us difficulty, or for the person that we just don't care for.

Photo Oct 25, 11 52 51 AMWe see Jesus doing the same thing in the gospel, going out of his way for the sinner. Remember that tax collectors were seen as unclean by the Jews, and they saw them as traitors who were not that honest. Tax collectors, when collecting taxes, also took a share of the tax money for themselves.

Photo Oct 25, 11 52 39 AMZacchaeus was a very short guy, small in stature. He came to see Jesus. What was amazing is that Jesus, a Jew, does not stay way from the rejects, but stops under the tree that Zacchaeus had climbed to have a better view of Jesus who is passing by.  



Jesus wants to go to his house, where  Zacchaeus had a change of heart and was forgiven for the evil, the cheating, etc. that he had done. 

Zak
Jesus breaks with tradition and goes out of his way for someone that the society of the time viewed as an undesirable person who would be considered unclean.


 

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But we know that Jesus was always willing to be among the unclean, the sinners. Because of Jesus they were able to experience God's great love and mercy and they had a conversion, a change of heart and life style


Each of us, during this week ahead, needs to look at ourselves and see how are we going out of our way to make God present for others, to show God's mercy, compassion and forgiveness, for that is what our Baptism has called us to do,  just as it was for the Thessalonians.

Are we willing to come out of our comfort zone, our tree, and experience the call God has given us at our Baptism?

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And if we discover that we want to remain in our tree

with our comforts,

pray for a change of heart,

so that we can truly fulfill God's call to us at Baptism.


Below are my notes from the same Sunday in 2010

 Click here to read my reflection from 2010

 

 

 

 

More Reflection on this Sunday's Readings.  Click on link below 

View point

Click here for a video clip on another reflection


30th Sunday Ordinary Time Cycle C

October 27, 2013.

Click to Review the Readings

Click to Listen to the Readings

  View Video on Luke's Gospel

 

 

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In the gospel, Jesus tells the parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector.

If we stop and really think about it, many of us are like the Pharisee.

 

 

 

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We refuse to look at our own failings, our own problems, our own sinfulness.  At times we may even thank God that we are not big sinners like some people we know.

 

 

 

 

The readings from this Sunday can help us  to not be afraid to look deeply at our own spirituality and to not be afraid to look deeply at our own sinfulness, which we often times do not want to look at.

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The first reading was written by a Jewish writer in the second century before Christ.

He was a pious Jew who saw that many times people had only turn to God when they needed something. He also points out that God is a God of justice and certainly hears the cry of the oppressed, the poor.

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It can give us courage when we see our own sinfulness and recognize that we are poor, we are the lonely. We are the tax collector in the parable Jesus gave in our Gospel reading today.  It can be difficult to really look at our own failures and sins without giving an excuse, and it is much easier to see other peoples sinfulness . 

 

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But when we are able to see our own sinfulness, that is the time when we are like the tax collector in the Gospel and receive God's mercy.  The first reading from Sirach assures us that God is not deaf to the ears of those who we cry out for mercy.

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We hear in this letter from St. Paul, who was drawing closer to his execution, 

as he reflects back on the how the Lord was the one who had always rescued him.
He knows, looking back on all the pain, suffering, and struggles,  that God was the one that helped him to fight the good fight and complete the race.

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Paul clearly knows that God has been the one that has always been merciful to him and kept him safe.

Paul was not afraid of sufferings, hardships, shipwrecks, and even rejections. He understood that God was a God of great mercy and forgiveness, especially to the lowly.

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In our struggles, in our difficulties, we are the lowly. We do not have to be afraid of our weaknesses because it is there that we can always receive God's mercy.

 

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 There can be no more trying to make excuses for our failures and sinfulness.  

 

This week, today,

run the race!


Once again receive God's...

Mercy

 


  Not  afraid



29th Sunday Ordinary Time Cycle C

October 20, 2013

Click here to Review the Readings

Click here...Listen to the Readings

Perhaps the readings for this Sunday ask us to take a look at ourselves and see how persistent we are.


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It is so easy in our society today to want everything to happen now.

Instant food Instant imaging Instant info Instant media Instant_Hot_Pack
We don't want to wait for anything including, at times, 
waiting for God.  We want instant dinners, instant communication with our friends, instant contact with our bank accounts, instant entertainment, Etc.

We are a society who does not want to wait and does not have any sense of being persistent. 

Now or never

All of us can give up very easily when things don't happen right away.

 

 

 


Photo Oct 12, 10 25 00 AMOnce again we hear a part of St. Paul's letter to Timothy encouraging him to make God present for others.
The same is also true for us; our baptism has called us to do that also.

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Paul, with all of his struggles, encourages Timothy, with all of his struggles and difficulties as a very young bishop in a place where Christians are persecuted and rejected and are a minority,  to be persistent, even when things are difficult and seem hopeless, which at times, must have been the case for St. Timothy.

 

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When we look at scripture, we can see how God has been persistent in his love and mercy for the human race. He has never given up on us.

He has created each us to journey in life, and to come to eternal life. He teaches us in all of our life's experiences, easy and difficult.  He teaches us to be persistent, never to give up on ourselves. Photo Oct 14, 11 17 34 AM
 

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In the first reading the Israelites are on their long journey from Egypt to the promised land. They had to pass through territories occupied by aboriginal tribes, the first being the great and powerful Amaleks.  The Israelites were a very small nation in compared to all of the aboriginal tribes that they would meet on their journey to the Promised Land. It would almost seem hopeless that they would ever make it to Canaan. They, at times, seem to be lacking in persistence, but God is always persistent with them and never gives up.

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Through the prayers and intercession of Moses standing up on a high mountain, the battle rages, and the Israelites win the encounter, and they continue on their way to the Promised Land.

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When we face struggles, how persistent are we, knowing that God is training us, as He did the Israelites, leading us to eternal life?

 

 

 

 

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In the Gospel we have the parable of being persistent. 

 

 

Persistant
The widow is asking the judge for what is right and for justice.  And yet the judge is very slow in coming to a decision.   But it is because of her persistence that the judge decides in her favor.  Had she  not been persistent...well???

 


The same was true in the first reading from the Hebrew Scriptures in which the Israelites had to be persistent in renewing their faith in trusting that God that would eventually lead them to the Promised Land. 

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So perhaps the question we can ask ourselves during the week is... how persistent are we in trusting God?

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Are we willing to ask again and again, and to wait again and again for God to act in our lives?


 

When will we come to understand that God is teaching and training us through all the events, easy and difficult, that lead us to eternal life?

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We may even discover we are not very persistent, but want God to do everything instantly for us.  



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That may be a training for us to pray for the gift to be persistent, to continue to pray to God, asking Him for the grace, courage, and strength to make Him present to others.

 

Below is another priest's reflection on the Gospel

Priest fresno


Click here to view that video clip reflection