29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 16, 2016


The key to our message this Sunday in found in Paul’s second letter to Timothy: be persistent with utmost patience in teaching. In other words, we are to have perseverance.

Each reading has its own insight into perseverance: In our first reading, unless Moses perseveres with his arms outstretched in prayer, Israel will lose their battle with the Amalekites.

As Paul writes to Timothy, he reminds Timothy that he has learned and believed since his infancy. He also encourages Timothy to be docile towards the scriptures and his teachers.

In the Gospel, we hear of a widow’s perseverance as she shamed the judge with her repeated requests. This judge, who even admits that he cares little for God or anyone else, is worn out by the tenacity of the widow.

CLICK HERE for the readings for 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Exodus 17:8-13; Psalm 121; 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2; Luke 18:1-8)


28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 9, 2016


Last week we spoke about how we increase our faith. And how do we do that? We said, we embrace the cross. We move towards it knowing that it is not the end, but part of the necessary journey towards the resurrection.

This week, our readings ask us to consider how we transform our pain and suffering – knowing that it is often something we cannot get rid of (try though we may), but that we can transform.

We learn this through two stories – the story of Naaman and 10 lepers who are healed. In both cases, you will find that transformation occurs only when they surrender their ego to humility.

CLICK HERE for the readings for 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time (2 Kings 5:14-17; Psalm 98; 2 Timothy 2:8-13; Luke 17:11-19)


27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 1, 2016


All three readings are summed up to the plea of the apostles, “Lord, increase our faith!”

You they are on the way to Jerusalem and are beginning to understand the difficulties of discipleship; they are beginning to understand that all of this is much more demanding than they first thought. The same is true with Timothy to whom Paul writes “stir the into flame the gift of God” and the same is true with Habakkuk.

Habakkuk lived during a time of great persecution and asks the question that I have no doubt all of us have asked at one point: Lord if you are all powerful, all knowing, and all loving – you would know about this evil or hardship I see and you could do something about it. And if you are who you claim to be – you would love me enough to take this away from me.

This is the atheist position. When so many of us look at the world, we see the poverty, war, disease, inequality, injustice and they look at us and say – now tell me about this God that allows for all of this! They assume there is no answer, but there is.

CLICK HERE for the readings for 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Habakuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4; Psalm 95; 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14; Luke 17:5-10)


26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 25, 2016


Our Gospel this week follows last week’s Gospel, and it is almost as perplexing and complicated.

We find Jesus retelling a story to the Pharisees about a rich man who declined to help the poor man, Lazarus.

When the rich man died, he went to Hell and saw the poor man Lazarus off in the distance at Abraham’s side. The rich man begged to be saved, but now it was his turn to be denied. Furthermore, Abraham denied the rich man’s request to warn his family of the doom that would befall upon them should they not heed the cry of the poor.

Like Jesus, Amos, in our first reading, is also frustrated by the complacency of the wealthy. And so we wonder: are we to conclude that the wealthy have no chance of heaven?  Or that their wealth works against them at a supernatural level?

No. Rather it is invitation to continue to line of questioning and reflection we discussed last week about the accounting of the resources and gifts we have: are we mindful of them? Are we using them for the benefit of others, or just our own?

CLICK HERE for the readings for 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Amos 6:1, 4-7; Psalm 146; 1 Timothy 6:11-16; Luke 16: 19-31)


25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 18, 2016


The question the Gospel poses to us is what have we been entrusted with? Are they small things? Big things? Are they things of this world or things of the next? The Gospel is a confusing one to be sure – even the commentaries speak of confusion trying to make sense of Jesus’ intention as it seems odd to offer praise for someone who did wrong. But it is all about waking up, paying attention – much like a pain in the chest, or a warning light on the car.

Everything is a gift, given to us, for a finite amount of time, so that it may be transformed, increased and then passed on to others. But we forget this and we get comfortable and complacent – until something happens. . . Of course, it would be better to be proactive or in the case of our steward to do his job so well that he wouldn’t ever get fired.

But he does and he take drastic action in hopes of surviving. He hatches this morally questionably scheme so that, if anything, he will have some friends when he is unemployed. But rather than be punished, he is praised for his decisive action.

What does it take for us to be shaken out of our comfort zone? What will it take for us to take action?

So it is fitting that the person in question is s steward – one that cares for the assets, resources, treasures and gifts of a organization or person – because that is really what we are talking about isn’t it? How do we use the gifts we have been given? How do we understand our treasures?

CLICK HERE for the readings for 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Amos 8:4-7; Psalm 113; 1 Timothy; Luke 16:1-13)


24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 11, 2016


There are two sides to our readings today. One the one side, we find ourselves, like Jesus, searching for the part of us that is lost – our childlike innocence; our humility; our sense of awe and wonder; happiness and joy; or perhaps a feeling of belonging.

How often do we long for what once was. . .

In one sense, this is so very healthy so long as we recognize that our origin is in our blessings. For all of our talk about original sin; the reality is actually an original blessing. . .  We are first and foremost: holy. Loved. Sons and Daughters of God.

So if we are to seek what is lost; let us seek that. Let us seek our original blessing. Let us seek what is known to our soul, well beyond the construct of our own mind and ego. Of course, that will mean that the lessons of humility, trust, letting go, suffering, and joy – those lessons that we have been reflecting upon the last few weeks are going to be so very important.

CLICK HERE for the readings for 24th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14; Psalm 51; 1 Timothy 1:12-17; Luke 15:1-32)


23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 4, 2016


Before we listen to our readings today, it is very helpful for us to consider what we have heard over the past few weeks. Two weeks ago, Jesus was asked how many would be saved? The Apostles are beginning to understand the gravity of their path as they make their way to Jerusalem.

If you recall, rather than answer directly, Jesus tells them to strive to enter through the narrow door. Do not worry about the end result – trust in God and your suffering will be turned into joy.

Last week, we recalled the parable to the guests at the table. We said that we practice humility here – every time we accept the invitation of Christ to become bread for the world.

For the sake of joy, we learn to trust through our sufferings. For the sake of love, we are humbled and then exalted.

If we are to be a disciple, we will endure great suffering, but so shall we also experience great joy. You cannot expect to find joy in this life if you cannot first let go of the control you have over it. This is why the context of this reading as part of the past few weeks is so important: we have to trust, but we also have to do our part. God cannot let go for you – you have to do that on your own. It is simply foundational.

CLICK HERE for the readings for 23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time (Wisdom 9:13-18; Psalm 90; Philemon 9-10, 12-17; Luke 14:25-33)