Archive for October, 2010


30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 25, 2010


In today’s Gospel, we have a self-righteous pharisee and a sinful tax-collector, who don’t quite behave as we think they should.  It is tempting to see the pharisee as sinful and the tax collector as the good guy, but this is to miss the whole point of the parable, because then each person gets what they deserve.

But one of the favorite lessons of Luke is how Jesus turns everything around, and believe me, this parable would have come as quite a shock to those who heard it.

It doesn’t matter how many devotions you pray, how much good you do, how many times you go to Mass or confession or anything of the sort.  All of those things are an external.   What matters is why you do those things.   That is to say one good confession at the end of one’s life could mean more than an entire life of piety.  The rosary you pray in church does very little good if you yell at people in the parking lot on the way out.

This is hard because we want to pay our own way.  We want to be independent – but we can’t and we aren’t.

When we elevate ourselves and justify ourselves – we are the ones who divide us.  When we try to control more than we should.  When we hold on too tightly to the externals, and keep people out, we separate ourselves.

It is all about our attitude.  No action brings about justification.  What each person receives in “in spite of” not “because of”.

CLICK HERE for the Readings for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time: (Sirach 35:15-17, 20-22; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18; Luke 18:9-14)


29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 17, 2010


The message of today is what every parent knows all too well – it is quite imprudent if you give your children everything they want all at once. Rather, you wait, knowing that in time, they begin to know what is good for them.

In today’s readings, we have this message about our need to be persistent in prayer. And while we can say that all of this is true, I believe our first reading gets to something even more basic than the qualities of prayer. Why do we pray?

If God loves us and God is all-powerful, then he could simply answer all our prayers at once. Why the charade? Why not just give us what we need?

And to that, I would answer with another question: do we really want God to answer all our prayers right now? Because almost everything we pray for is going to come with sacrifices and changes.

We must be persistent, but we must also trust that God will fulfill his promises, but not before we are ready for them to be fulfilled.

CLICK HERE for the Readings for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time: (Exodus 17.8-13; 2 Timothy 3.14-4.2; Luke 18:1-9)


27th Week in Ordinary Time

October 4, 2010


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.

And the Lord says:  write the vision down so that you might read it readily.  For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment and will not disappoint; if it delays wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late.

After all, you are the one who asked for faith.  How else do you think you are going to get it?  Did you think it would be like a light switch?  No!  Rather, we are given events and opportunities to learn what we pray for.  We must Trust that there is a reason for all that we see.

CLICK HERE for the Readings for the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time: (Habakkuk 1:2-3; Second Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14; and Luke 17:5-10)

DOWNLOAD AUDIO: Homily for the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (9 min)