27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 4, 2015


A fundamental Catholic perspective on the world is that of communion. Each one of us as individuals reflects in the image of God in that we are co-creators and heirs. We have a unique ability among the created to act against our instincts – we possess reason to a higher degree. Our mind is capable of imagination – of the abstract. We are capable of contemplation – of a special knowledge of God.

However, even with all of these gifts, God is simply too immense to be reflected in anyone of us alone. Rather it is in communion – in relationship with one another and with all of creation – that we most accurately represent the greatness of God.

The words that we hear in our reading today, are the same words Pope Francis reflected on last week in his address to families: “it is not good for you to be alone. The family is the great blessing from God who did not want to abandon us to the solitude of a life without others, without challenges, without a home. God does not dream by Godself, God tries to do everything ‘with us.’” In our families we come to understand who we are – before we go out into the world to understand what we are called to do.

CLICK HERE for the readings for 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Genesis 2:18-24; Psalm 128; Hebrews 2:9-11; Mark 10:2-16)


26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 27, 2015


Both the first reading and the Gospel today find Moses and Jesus rejoicing in spiritual leadership in unexpected people. Of course, their followers do not share the same happiness. Why are they so frustrated?

Perhaps it is because they feel the need to protect what they have worked so hard to create? After all, they have invested everything in this message. Trusting others – especially those they do not know – would be a tall order indeed. (parents may feel this especially where their kids are concerned)

Remember what we talked about last week? If we are to live with the faith of our children, then perhaps it means we need to let go of our controls. . .

There is a careful and soul-searching discernment required to understand what in our families, careers and projects needs to be protected; and what no longer requires our constant, continuous vigilance. . . . and then there is a special grace needed to let go of those things that pertain to the latter.

CLICK HERE for the readings for 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Numbers 11:25-29; Psalm 19; James 5:1-6; Mark 9:38-43,45,47-48)


25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 20, 2015


If we are to have the faith of a child, then it requires us to let go of some of our controls, to step out into the unknown. It means we need to relearn how to cultivate imagination, contemplation, wonder and awe. This by the way is quite different than creating it, because creation starts with us; where as cultivation starts with someone or something outside us. In this case God.

Those of you who have been around the parish for a while know that we tend to focus our seasons. This past Lent, we focused on ecology and our communion with creation. Easter presented us with a season of possibilities, giving us permission to dream a little. Pentecost gave us a chance to think more concretely about community.

Now we are moving into a new season, during which I would like to see us open ourselves up to the first fruits of the spirit that God has already planted. Just as we move into harvest season, I propose this is time we learn to cultivate the seeds of wonder that are buried underneath our layers of judgment and routine. In order to do this, we are going to do things a bit differently . . .

CLICK HERE for the readings for 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Wisdom 2:12,17-20; Psalm 54; James 3:16-4:3; Mark 9:30-37)


24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 13, 2015


One of my favourite questions to ask people is a word association with the Catholic Church. What words or phrases or images to you associate with Catholicism?

Of course, the associations voiced are quite different for Catholics and non-Catholics, but often I think they are actually quite similar – one is just more polite than the other.

In response to this, you can start to understand why Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do they (or you) say that I am? Notice, he didn’t ask them about teachings or rules or traditions or anything of the sort; rather he asked about a person – he asked how we define this relationship?

When people talk about the church, they typically speak about it as an organization, but it is actually a rather unhelpful description. Because it is much more like a family, and if we think about this way – then all of the sudden it is not about rules, performances and hierarchies – it is about motivations, complementarity and spheres of influence.

CLICK HERE for the readings for 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Isaiah 50:5-9; Psalm 116; James 2:14-18; Mark 8:27-35)


23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 5, 2015


In our first reading, Isaiah tells us that God will open our blind eyes, clear our deaf ears, strengthen our lame legs and turn the thirsty ground into springs of water.

And in the Gospel, Jesus does these very things. The people bring the deaf man with a speaking impediment and asked Jesus to heal him. However, the Gospel is never just about the characters in the story.

One of the reasons we stand when the Gospel is read is to remember that these stories are equally about each of us as it is those whom Jesus was with. Often times, we can imagine that it is us who stands before the crowd – it is us who listens to the words of Christ.

As we listen to the readings today, we ask ourselves when have we been blind, deaf and lame to the needs of other and witnessing the Gospel?

CLICK HERE for the readings for 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Isaiah 35:4-7; Psalm 146; James 2:1-5; Mark 7:31-37)


22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 30, 2015


If you are listening closely to the readings today, you might find yourself in a bit of quandary. . . for the Gospel and the First Reading seem very much at odds.

In our first reading, Moses says quite clearly that the Israelites were not to add or take away from the law, but then in our Gospel, Jesus calls the Pharisees hypocrites when they question Jesus teaching his disciples to do just that.

Now most of the time we reconcile this discrepancy by saying the teachings of Jesus replaced those of Moses, but that is not what we profess. Jesus is the fulfillment of the law, not its replacement, so how are we to understand this and other related situations where Jesus seems to contradict older teachings?

CLICK HERE for the readings for 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Deuteronomy 4:1-2,6-8, 18; Psalm 15; James 1:17-18,21-22,27; Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23)


21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 23, 2015


Our Gospel today brings to conclusion Jesus’ Bread of Life discourses.   Over the past couples of weeks we have considered the differences between believing and knowing. We have recalled how quickly we can forget all that God has done, and focused on giving everything away, so that it will be more than enough.

These are indeed hard lessons – lessons that were perhaps even more difficult for the Apostles than for us, for the implications were all the more pressing. Like those we know, they wanted to leave – some in fact did – but Simon Peter speaks for all of us when he says, “Lord, to whom or where shall we go?”

CLICK HERE for the readings for 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Joshua 24:1-2, 15-17, 18; Psalm 34; Ephesians 5:21-32; John 6:60-69)


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