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August 2019

July 2019

Eighteenth Sunday Ordinary Time Cycle C

 

 August 4, 2019

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18th Sunday ordinary time cycle c

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

 

 

 This Sunday, at the responsorial Psalm, we will repeat the words,

If today you hear his voice,

harden not your hearts.

 

It is, once again, a good reminder that every day the Lord wants to speak to us through his Word and the events, both wonderful and difficult, that  happen to us.

Are we willing to listen?

 

Or will we harden our hearts because we want to things our way  so that  they make more sense to us?

What is the Lord trying to say to us in these readings today?

 

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The Jews of the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament, lived in a time when not a lot was understood about life after death.  At most it was believed to be  a kind of shadowy existence.


They believed that the power, the possessions, etc. they had here on earth were an indication of the love God had for them.

 

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They were also aware that they could take none of their possessions, wealth, or fame with them when they died.  

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As we think about the first reading, we come to understand why the author is saying that everything that we have here on earth is nothing but vanities.

 

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In the Gospel reading, Jesus gives us a parable, showing  us how useless it is to put all of our hopes and joys into the possessions that  we gather up here on earth; we often think that they will give us the ultimate peace and happiness we all long for.



It is so easy to fall into the way today's world t thinks that possessions, wealth, and fame are something we need to gather up and hang on to because they will bring us ultimate joy.  

What a lie!

 

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St. Paul in his letter, reiterates the uselessness of finding lasting joy in earthly possessions.

He reminds them and us, that in baptism the old person died and has been raised up with Jesus Christ into eternal life with Him.  

Remember, these early Christians were a minority, surrounded by pagans, who knew only the joy they could experience from power, wealth, possessions, passions, etc. here in this lifetime. 

 

 

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It is so easy to listen to the influences of the world today, like in Paul's time among the pagans, which said that  possessions, material wealth, fame, power, etc. are the ways to find some sort of joy and happiness, but we know deep down that they cannot bring any kind of  the lasting peace and that only God has for us when we die.

 

Greed

 

We all need to continually wake up to the fact that none of  our earthly treasures  can lead us to the joy of eternal life.

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What are you storing up here on earth?



 

What are the treasures we get get here on earth, the things we do today, that are the rich treasures that will lead us to the peace of eternal life with God?

 

Beatitudes

 

Here is one possible check list of treasures that will last...

 

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

 

 

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Seventeenth Sunday Ordinary Time Cycle C

 

July 28, 2019

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TeachUsToPray

 

 

 

Man pray

 

 

Remembering what happened to... 

 

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God sees the evil that is going on in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and Abraham becomes an intercessor to God for the two great cities. 

 

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We see how patience and merciful God is as He dialogs with Abraham. Imagine the patience God has with us.

We can even see a little humor as Abraham never gives up but keeps asking again and again if God will save the cities if just a few innocent people are found. God patiently responds to each question.

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Abraham is a prediction of the great intercessor to come for us,  Jesus Christ.  Like Abraham, Jesus never gives up on any of us.  He has made intercession to His Father for each of us in his Passion, Suffering and death.  There is always hope for each of us.. We can always be given another chance.

 

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Saint Paul writes his letter reminding the community that they have been called and forgiven through the intercessor, Jesus Christ, the son of God.

 

 

 

 

 

 


In the Gospel, Jesus teaches his disciples to pray.   Notice that the way they are taught to pray is not just for themselves, but to include others. It is not an individual prayer for ones self, but is always inclusive of others.

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It is similar to what Abraham was doing in his questioning, his interceding with God for the evil cities in the first reading. "If you only find a few good people...etc"

Speaks Abraham

 

Our call, like that of Abraham and the disciples of Jesus, is to pray and intercede for others, not just for ourselves.

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In the week ahead inclusive prayer might be a good practice, so that when we pray for ourselves, to also be inclusive of others  who might be in the same situation.




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Sixteenth Sunday Ordinary Time Cycle C

 

July 21, 2019

 

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How many times do we miss the passing or the presence of God in our lives?

Do we think that He only passes in our lives when all is going well?

 

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The first reading deals with Abraham and Sarah. 
 We  remember the story about them when God promised Abraham eternal life and  for the ancients  that meant having descendants.

No descendants, no eternal life! 

 

 

 

 

 

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However having descendants seemed impossible for Abraham and Sarah since they were both very old and Sarah had always been barren and could not give birth to children.


 Abraham is called our father in faith;

but Why???

 

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He was willing to make a journey through the desert with his wife Sarah without much to go on other than the promise of eternal life (descendants) from God.  Abraham had FAITH.  He was willing to make the journey into the wilderness with no map, no directions just waiting and watching for the passing of the Lord.

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Then Abraham  recognizes the presence of God in the three messengers that come to tell him that within a year Sarah will have a child even in her old age.

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Amazing how God works when often things seem so difficult and impossible.   But that seems to be the way He also often works in our lives.  It is seems so easier to experience God when all is going well, no problems, no anxiety, etc.

 

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In the second reading Paul says that he rejoices in his sufferings, his difficulties.  He understood that everything that happened somehow it was a part of  his journey of FAITH that led him to eternal life.


In some Strange Way, Paul was able to recognize the passing of God, not only his successes, but also in his struggles.

 

 

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We have all heard the gospel story about Martha and Mary.  When Jesus comes to their house, Mary's first thought was to learn all that she could from the lips of Jesus.  Martha's first concern was hospitality.

 

 

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The lesson that we can all learn is that... everyday God passes.

Are we willing to find him  each new day in...  the events and struggles,  or are we too busy in our daily activities to stop and see God's presence?

Do we see Him passing in our moments of joy?


Do we even see Him acting in our failures and struggles where we can discover more about loving the other even the person that is difficult, the enemy. 

 

 

 


It is the Lord calling us to conversion.

What a gift.

 


Perhaps  the messages for each of us this week is...to pray for ourselves so we can receive the gift of watching for the Lord everyday; to watch for his passing; to have the strength and courage to sometimes drop other things we might be doing to a later time and listen to what is being taught to us.

 

In this unwanted situation do I  have the Faith of Abraham and Sarah

to take the  this seemingly difficult journey into the unknown?

 

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  Lord passing

 

 

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Fifteenth Sunday Ordinary Time Cycle C

July 14, 2019

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15th

 

 

In difficult situations just what is God asking us to do?

 

This Sunday's readings help us to reflect on this...

and it will take great courage to look deep within ourselves to face the answer.

 

Recall that God had given his people the Promised Land and everything went well until they began to turn to other gods and forgotten what God had done for them.  Jerusalem was destroyed, the Temple the dwelling place of God was destroyed, the people were taken into exile in Babylon.  It was there in  Exile that the people realized that they had forgotten God.

 

Deut choose life

In the first reading was are told the story of how Moses told the Babylonian Exiles to be faithful to what God had given them when they first got out of their slavery in Egypt and brought them to the Promised Land.

The Exiles were beginning to see that they had abandoned God and were now crying out to God, asking Him what do we have to do?  

 


We can so easily be like these people in the story.

When all is going well we tend to forget about God and we turn to our idols to give us security, money, possessions, wealth, power etc.

Everyday God is asking us in every situation to return to Him.  But exactly what is God asking us to do?

 

 

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  Moses gave the answer to the people- heed the voice of the Lord and not to the idols that surround you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Luke Gospel



In the Gospel we hear that the scholar of the law asked Jesus that same question; what must I do?
And the scholar of the law gave the answer of the Shema...

You shall love The Lord , Your God,Question jesus

with all your heart,

with all your being,

with all your strength,

with all your mind,

and your neighbor as yourself.

 

Then the scholar of the law goes on to ask Jesus; who is my neighbor?

 Who is my neighbor???

 

We too often ask that same question, especially when we encounter a strange person, a person we do not know, a person that interrupts our plans and schedule.  Who is my neighbor?

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We may want to think that our neighbor is someone we like, someone who is not difficult, someone that we really want to help, someone who is not a reject, someone who lives a life style like our own, who sees things our way.

Every day we walk on our journey of life, and we will meet a neighbor in need.  

Will we recognize the neighbor that God has put before us?

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The problem is often times we are too busy with our own interest and we failed to recognize those many neighbors that we meet every day  are needing our prayer, our compassion, our patience, our willingness to listen, etc.

That person, that neighbor may physically look normal, but they may well be deeply wounded and just need a caring person.

 

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In the second reading St. Paul gives the Colossians and us an image of Jesus Christ. They and us are a part of making this Christ present in the world. We can see in that image that He calls each of us today to be a reflection, a presence of Christ for the world today.

Christ was able to endure insults, abusiveness,  hard heartedness, disbelievers and even the enemies who  crucified Him.

 



Neighbor who

 

 

In the gospel we hear ...

 

 

What do I have to do?

 

 

 

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The answer is clear; become the good Samaritan.

Often times we will have to pray for the grace, the gift, to be able to do that.

 

We may also have to pray for the grace to be able to see that we fail as the Good Samaritan; we don't have the time, we think someone else should be the Good Samaritan,  and then to thank God for showing us ourselves so we can repent.  Our prayer also needs to be for ourselves that we be given the grace and courage to go out of our way for the others, in spite of our plans, in spite of our inconveniences etc.

 

We know what we have to do!

Don't we?

Pray to do it!!!

 

 

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Fourteenth Sunday Ordinary Time Cycle C

July 7,2019 

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Sign

 

God at work

It is always interesting to see how God often works. Have you ever noticed that many times He waits until there are difficulties and problems before He goes into action, and how often He works through others, even others who seem weak?

Disaster

That, for each of us, can be most frustrating because we don't like to have difficulties or situations that we are not comfortable with;  yet that seems to be the place that God often works.

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In the first reading we find the exiles have returned to Jerusalem, and seeing the great devastation of the city, they are very depressed and downcast. They find that their beloved city in total ruins; even the sacred Temple has been destroyed.

Jerusalem return
Yet the prophet tells them to rejoice because God does have a plan. Jerusalem will be whole once again.  
All of their  difficulties will be overcome.  Rejoice!

Obviously they are encouraged to have faith and to begin to rebuild Jerusalem.

As we are able to look back in history, we can see this fulfilled today. We know that  there is a new Jerusalem fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  There is a way for all to have that new Jerusalem, today and forever through Jesus Christ.

Yet, when we are faced with our own personal difficulties and told to Rejoice...well, we know how difficult that can be.  Yet there is a truth here for us today, as there was for those in the first reading.  Often, we come to discover that, at times, we do not trust God.  We may think He takes too long; or He works the wrong way, etc.  That is a time to pray for our own conversion and grace.  

Help my unbelief

 

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In the Gospel reading, Jesus is sending 72 followers on the mission to preach the gospel in towns and villages of Galilee.

Why didn't Jesus himself go?  He for sure would have had great success.

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We can only imagine the doubts and fears those that are sent must have had.  And on top of that they are told to take nothing with them.

 

Take nothingThat can also be a truth for us when we are on our personal journey in personal situations that are difficult.  The Lord might be saying not to take anything with us; not our solutions, our ideas etc. 

When we have been sent on a journey in situations that are difficult, we need to pray for the courage to wait for the Lord, and how He wants us to work.  Perhaps it will not be as we thought.  Are we willing to take this journey taking nothing with us?

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We all know of the many difficult situations and sufferings that St. Paul endured on his many journeys.  He clearly understood the great gift that he had been given in his Christianity, that God worked in all the difficulties he encountered.

Do we appreciate the gift that God has given each of us?

We, like Saint Paul, like all Christians. are called to make God present today in the world.  That means through us His mercy, His compassion, His understanding, His patience, etc. will make Him present in the world today.

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Be ready to be sent everyday on a new journey,

in all the situations that will happen.  

Unknown

Take nothing with you!

Courage

Pray for the grace to take the daily journey!

Begin

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