18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 2, 2015


How quickly we can forget the good things and dwell on the bad! In our first reading from Exodus, we hear the Israelites grumbling about their time in the desert after the Exodus. It seems they have already forgotten all that God just did for them as he lead them out of captivity.

But the Lord continues to provide – raining down bread from heaven, but there is a test as well – a test to see if they will follow the Lord’s instructions or not.

What are those instructions? To take only what you need for the day so that others may have their fill as well; and trust that God will provide for tomorrow.

CLICK HERE for the readings for 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Exodus 16:2-4,12-15; Psalm 78; Ephesians 4:17, 20-24; John 6:24-35)


17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 26, 2015

5 + 2 = HALF?

There is a fundamental imperative in today’s readings: Give everything away and you will have more than you need. Keep it to yourself and you will always want for more.

You can pick any subject, any issue: and this principle will still be true.

Yes, there are finite resources, but if you worry first about what you don’t have and what you need – then you might find a ladder to climb up, but you will, most likely, find it is on the wrong wall.

The apostles asked Jesus that same question we ask ourselves and each other today: how are we going to have enough for everyone? We only have 12 and 2! It is the same question just about every family and every organization asks – we worry about what is “sustainable”. It is a word I wish I could eliminate.

Since when does the Gospel ever tell us to aim for sustainable?

CLICK HERE for the readings for 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (2 Kings 4:42-44; Psalm 145; Ephesians 4:1-6; John 6:1-15)


16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 19, 2015


In our Gospel today, Jesus and his apostles gathered after their work was complete. They had worked hard – so hard that they did not even have a chance to eat and so Jesus tells them to go away by themselves and rest.

Over and over, Jesus demonstrates a need for rest (even though he did not always get it) and so it seems helpful for us to take a moment and think about rest, leisure and our Sabbath moments.

Think for a moment about your favorite activities – what purpose do they serve?  Aristotle said that the best activities are the most useless.

It seems strange to say this, I know, but think for a moment about holiness. What does it look like? What actions constitute it? What gives it evidence?

The difficulty with limiting my activity is that it does not make me feel more holy. We equate more with more: more holiness requires more activity. But things are often inversed in the spiritual life.

CLICK HERE for the readings for 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Jeremiah 23:1-6; Psalm 23; Ephesians 2:13-18; Mark 6:30-34)


15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 12, 2015


There is an old saying around the topic of vocations: “God doesn’t call the qualified; God qualifies the called.” It is a perfect summary of our readings today.

First we hear about the prophet Amos. Before the Lord called him, he was a shepherd and a tree-trimmer. Then we hear from Paul, whose words today remind us that we are chosen for a purpose. Paul who once persecuted Christians, now writes words of encouragement to them.

Lastly, we hear Mark’s account of Jesus summoning the twelve to go out two by two. These fisherman and working fellows are sent – not only with many provisions, but also without any qualifications.

And therein lies their genius.

CLICK HERE for the readings for 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Amos 7:12-15; Psalm 85; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:7-13)


14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 5, 2015


Our readings today feature three examples of conviction and humility.

Ezekiel, Paul and Jesus all face difficulties from those to whom they are speaking, but these voices do not deter them from speaking the Word that has been given to them. And therein lies the humility: their conviction is a direct result of their humility, for they are not acting as people of power, rather as people of authority.

Many times we equate power and authority as one in the same, but they are quite different. Power comes with position; while authority is built on service and sacrifice. Power erodes relationship, while authority builds them. Power is given and can also be taken away; but authority is grown out of your own character.

Thus power people are always afraid of loosing what they have; while authority people know what they “have” is not really theirs anyway.

Conviction is the fruit of the humble servant – the man or woman who speaks and acts on behalf of others.

CLICK HERE for the readings for 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Ezekiel 2:2-5; Psalm 123; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; Mark 6:1-6)


13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 28, 2015


In our Gospel today, we hear of two instances of Jesus healing where doctors could not.

The healing Jesus offered was too fold: first he cured the physical ailments; but second, (and most importantly), he always reconnected them back to the community. For Jesus, healing was the restoration of meaning in people’s lives.

I think many of us have the same need: it is not so much the physical condition that causes us pain, it is the consequence of that condition – that we can no longer do the things we used to do – we can no longer connect with a community the way we used to.  Illness causes us to look for new definitions of meaning – and this usually means defining ourselves by who we are more than what we can or cannot do.

It means that our belonging to a community is not based on our contribution, but on our dignity as a human. Thus, our contributions are not what we do to earn our place in the kingdom of God; rather, they are how we show our gratitude.

CLICK HERE for the readings for 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Wisdom 1:13-15, 2:23-24; Psalm 30; 2 Corinthians 8:7,9,13-15; Mark 5:21-43)


12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 21, 2015


As you can imagine, I have a couple of favourite Bible verses. One of them is Isaiah 42:16: “I will lead the blind on their journey; by paths unknown I will guide them. I will turn their darkness into light before them and make crooked ways straight. These things I will do for them, and I will not forsake them.”

As I read the readings for this Sunday, this verse quickly came to mind, for it is the best summary of our message today. A message that concerns trust and the unknown.

If you recall, last week I spoke of wonder – wonder at the ability of a mustard seed – so small and seemingly lifeless – to grow into this great bush. That wonder however, needs time to grow, and if we give it time, then it will break through the darkness – the inhibitors that keep us from living as God intended us to live.

But in that moment when wonder finally breaks though – when the seed of contemplation gives life to action – something else also happens. And this is where our readings today offer us guidance, for wonder almost always takes us out into the unknown.

CLICK HERE for the readings for 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Job 38:1,8-11; Psalm 107; 2 Corinthians 5:14-17; Mark 4:35-41)


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