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August 2019

Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C

 

September 1, 2019

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The book of Sirach, also known as Ecclesiasticus, was written by a pious Jew who lived about 200 B. C.
He was encouraging his fellow Jews to live a decent life following the law of Moses and the traditions that had been handed down to to them.

Photo Aug 20, 8 34 30 AMHe stressed humility as an important part of life and spirituality which, in the world then and today, found the concept of being humble very hard to accept.We live in today's world that has no place for humility, and is usually felt to show only weakness.

 

 

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The Gospel reading gives us a story of Jesus telling those at a banquet the importance of taking  the lowest seat.

 

 

 

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The whole life of Jesus demonstrates humility.

Where he was born, where he grew up, what he did before his ministry began, who were his followers, how he mixed with the poor, the rejected, etc. and thus lived pretty much a life of humility.

 

 

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We, as Christians, are also called to live that same life of humility; not to take the first place, but to take the lower place.

How do we react when we are faced with rejection or when we want to be right and have all the answers?

Do we do judge others?

 Do we get defensive?

 

When Life seems to give us difficulties, problems, and sufferings, do we ask the question, why me Lord?
I am basically a good person.  This should not be happening to me.

Are we willing to listen to the ideas of others, or do we think that our ideas are superior to theirs?  It takes humility to forgive and forget and God forgives us and gives us great mercy and compassion time after time.   We are called to do the same thing, to be humble as we deal with others.

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We are called to fight against thinking that we know it all, that we are close to being perfect.  

Perfection always gets in the way of spiritual growth because we can think we have already arrived.  

 

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In the second reading, Paul writes to the Hebrews, a Christian community made up of mostly converted Jews who were a very small group among the population.

For them it took humility to listen to the preaching of Paul and to ultimately receive the gift of conversion.

In his letter, Paul is showing them the superiority or the fulfillment of the old in what Jesus gave them.

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Most of us don't see humility or being humbled as a gift from God. 

We, like most of the world, see humility as a sign of weakness.

 

This week

Perhaps this coming week is a good time to look at our moments of what seems like weakness, of humility and to see if we are willing to take the lower seat or do we want the seat of always being right?

 

Or perhaps we will discover we find it hard to be humbled and really believe, as the world does, that humility is a sign of weakness.  

Then it's time to pray for the gift of humility and the ability to see it as a means of spiritual growth in our lives.

Humility is a great gift from God.
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Twenty First Sunday Ordinary Time Cycle C

August 25, 2019

 

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In Time of Problems and Difficulties.....

Ruins

 

Photo Aug 16, 5 36 18 AMThe first reading is addressing the people who have returned from their exile in approximately 538 B.C.

As we can imagine, the people returning and seeing Jerusalem and the country in ruins were deeply depressed. 

 

 

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This author is giving them courage and telling them about the future glory of Jerusalem. The world would come to see these words of future glory completely fulfilled some 500 years later by Jesus Christ the Messiah.  We too, are a part of making that new Jerusalem present in the world today.  We need to understand that God is never rushed by time in carrying out His plans. It may take hundreds of years to fulfill the plan to bring humans to eternal life with Him. 

Prophets

Just as the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures were called to make God present in the world and to give people hope and encouragement, so we too, through our baptism, are called to make God present for others in today's world.

 

 

God calling
How do we do this on a daily basis?

Are we patient with the person who today drives us crazy? 

Are we willing to go out of our way for the person we encounter today, even when that means to drop everything and help?

Are we willing to be merciful today to the person who does not deserve mercy?

 

The prophets  were persecuted, facing suffering and even death.

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That same adventure or journey is there for each of us, leading us to eternal peace and joy.  Sometimes we will be rejected; sometimes there will be great difficulties; sometimes there will be persecutions and hardships; yet we are called to make the mercy and compassion of God present in the world through the way in which we treat others, even when the world believes they some do not deserve compassion or mercy.

 

Photo Aug 16, 5 47 31 AMSt. Paul writes to the Hebrew community and tells them that they must expect hardships and accept them as a part of their training as they journey to eternal life.  We know that the Hebrew Christians faced persecution, often times imprisoned and were even threatened with death.

We, like the early Christians, are called also to make God present in the world at times through our struggles and difficulties.  They are a part of our training to enter into eternal life. There will certainly be moments of great joy, but there were also be moments of struggles and difficulties.

 

Luke

In the Gospel we are reminded that we are on our journey which is to lead us to eternal life. We are also told that we will in our lives, our journey to eternal life, have to choose daily which gate to enter,  narrow or broad.

 

  

Narrow gate

That narrow gate is our love for all people, even the enemy.  

It's a way of life that has mercy and compassion for all people, even the most difficult.


The world teaches us not to choose the narrow gate, but the broader one, the easier gate to get through, and unfortunately that gate does not lead to eternal life.

 There are many times when people, and maybe even ourselves at moments, would really prefer to go through the broader gate, which might, today, even be called the more human way of dealing with things.   The broader gate leads us to feel justified when we feel that hatred and resentment, jealousy and competitiveness, and even revenge, are appropriate.

Narrow gate 2
The narrow gate is always love to the other person, even to the enemy.

When we find ourselves wanting to go through the broader gate, we need to pray for the courage to be merciful, even to the one who is so difficult and so stressful to us. The way to eternal life is to live the life of Jesus.   We are to be loving, caring and sharing people who walk our life's journey as Jesus did.

 

 

Which gate will you choose the next time there is a struggle, or a difficulty, or a conflict with someone?



There will, no doubt, be days we select the broader gate.  

But the important thing is to recognize what we have done and pray for the grace to choose the narrow gate.  

Do not give up, that is the important thing.  

God is always there for us with His mercy and compassion, no matter how many times we fail.  

Our spirituality develops very slowly, and usually is not even noticeable to us as we grow and develop.  

 

Courage

Today...

...Which Gate?

 

Narrow and Difficult?

Broad and Easy?

 

 

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Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C

 

August 18, 2019

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Why

Why do bad things happen to good people?

 


For most of us, we have all asked that question, if not out loud, certainly to ourselves.

 

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The first reading deals with Jeremiah the prophet.  Jeremiah was chosen by God at a very early age to be a prophet, to make God present to the people.

 
Jeremiah was to continue to urge the people not to give in to the pagan surroundings and beliefs, for they were God's Chosen People 

Jeremiah's intentions were good, knowing that God had called him and given him a mission, yet there were moments when there were great struggles, difficulties, suffering and even moments of coming very close to death.

 
The reading that we hear today is Jeremiah in his old age. He has been telling the political leaders and the people not to spend so much time worrying about political power and material possessions, but to make sure that God was present in how they were fulfilling their mission. They were to make the world ready for the coming of the Messiah.  The kings at the time were not interested in that; they wanted power and material wealth.  They were tired of Jeremiah and so they decided to kill him.

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They threw him into a cistern, a deep pit and he was to die by starvation.

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However, the reading ends with the king changing his mind and draws Jeremiah out of the cistern before he died.

 

 

 

 

 

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So again we can ask the question... why did such bad things happen to Jeremiah, who was a prophet, only trying to fulfill the mission that he had been given by God.

 

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In the Gospel reading, Jesus disciples had begun to understand that He is the Messiah, He is the son of God, and his disciples were excited about that.

In their minds they thought he would become a great political leader with great power. They believed that since they had known and even been friends with him Jesus would make them important leaders when his kingdom came.

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And yet to their surprise they heard the words that we hear in the Gospel.   Jesus has not come to establish peace on earth but rather division.
That is difficult for us to to comprehend because it again ask us the question,

Why-do-bad-things-happen-to-good-people-large

We can often think that to follow Jesus means no problems, no struggles, no rejections, etc. in our lives because we are Christians only  following Jesus.

 
But Jesus makes it very clear that our mission  to make God present in the world will involve struggles and difficulties as a part of our journey to eternal life.  Jesus showed this in his acceptance of his passion, suffering, and death.  

Jeremiah, the prophets, and the saints, understood that they were to make God present in the world in the good times in life, but also in the struggles of life, the moments of having to face rejection, and even death.

 


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The author, St. Paul, understood that part of the race that we all run in our lives today will have moments when we will be discouraged.  

We may even ask, why bad things happen to us?

 

 

 

St. Paul understood that there would be moments that we have to carry our cross, the things that happen to us that seem  difficult and unfair.


He encouraged the Hebrew Christian community of that time, not to grow weary or lose heart, even in the midst of persecution and struggles and difficulties---even when bad things happened.

 
We can come to understand that for all of us there will be times when bad things will happen.  

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Yet we need to remember that the cross is always a part of our journey to eternal life.

 

 

 

There will be moments of great joy, but there will also be great moments of turmoil and struggle, rejection and disappointment which are all a part of our race, our journey to eternal life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We never ask for more sufferings, more bad things to happen, but when they come and they will, let us pray that what we have heard this Sunday will help us!!!
 
 
As the world treated the prophets, the saints, today's world will treat us...
 
 
Courage
Remember...
 
 
at our anointing at  Baptism was a call by God to be...
 
Prophet... to make God present in the world
 
Priest... to sacrifice for others
 
King... to be a part of the Kingdom
 
We have been called by God...Don't forget this especially when the next struggle happens...
 
 
 
ComeFollowMe
 
 
 
 
 

Nineteenth Sunday Ordinary Time cycle C

 

August 11, 2019

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The first reading was taken from the book that was the last written in the Old Testament by a pious Jew, living in Egypt and writing in Greek, during the first century, BC.

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The author reminds the people of that day of the great love that God had shown by bringing them out of their slavery in Egypt. He recalls for them, the night of the Passover in which God, in his love,  led them to freedom in spite of their turning from Him at times.

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That message is for each of us today; God loves us so much that he will always lead us out of our own Egypt, our slavery to sin, to the freedom of forgiveness. Our sins can be forgiven through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  Again and again we can experience God's great love for us.

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In the Gospel, Jesus reassures his disciples that they have been called by God, to his kingdom.  That also holds for us from the day of our Baptism.

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Jesus tells them that much has been given to them.  That is true to us even in our most difficult times. God has assured us that we can have eternal life, that joy and peace we all long for.

But we must be ready when Jesus  comes and asks us to make Him present for others.

 

 

 

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Every day Jesus comes, not only in those situations which are wonderful, but also in those times and situations which  are difficult. We know that Jesus Christ is in the poor, in the struggling, in those who have no hope. We are called to make Him present to people in those situations by our actions and prayers for them.

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Paul's letter, written to this early Christian community, tells about Abraham's faith. 

Both Abraham and barren Sarah, who, in her old age, conceived a son, Isaac.  Their faith, their willingness to journey for years  where ever God was leading them.  In a sense, they had to leave their comfort zone and trust God.

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That same faith was given to us and continues to grow in us since our baptism. We too, like Sarah and Abraham need to trust and make that journey in our lives, sometimes not understanding, sometimes doubting, but knowing that God is leading us to the gift of eternal life. We belong to the kingdom and we are his little flock. He will never abandon us.

 

So what are we waiting for?

He has called us my name.

There are no excuses in not making Christ present for others, even to the ones who can make life so difficult.

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We are called to use our gift of baptism, our gift of faith, our lamp, our light of Christ and to take it to others.  

Patience, humility, compassion, forgiveness, etc are a part of that light we have been given to each of us and  we are to make that light present in the world.  

Let's pray for the grace to do exactly that, especially the next time we are in a confrontation with someone or are, like Abraham and Sarah, called to leave our comfort zone.

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Light your lamp and be ready!!!

Stay awake

We are called!!!

 

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