Archive for July, 2011

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18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 31, 2011

GOD’S ECONOMIC POLICY

In our reading from Isaiah, God tells us to come . . . without cost.   Come EVERYONE and eat and drink as much as you would like.  Even if you have nothing to contribute; it matters not, come and dine at the banquet of God.

And St. Paul tells the Romans that there is nothing you can do that will keep you from the love of God.  In my opinion it is one of the foundational pieces of scripture in the Bible.  When you can – go and re-read it:  Romans 8:35-39.

And if there is nothing we can do that will keep God from loving us, then it also means (and here is the catch) that there is nothing we can do to earn God’s love.

Here is the problem:  I believe we have, quite unconsciously, adopted the economic policies of our society into our styles of worship and thoughts of the Kingdom of God.

That is to say, I believe our worship has become consumer-driven.  We must ask ourselves:  do I treat church like a grocery store?  We come in, get what we want, and then leave?

CLICK HERE for the Readings for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time: (Isaiah 55:1-3; Romans 8:35, 37-39; Matthew 14:13-21)

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17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 24, 2011

GETTING IT RIGHT

If you could be granted anything in the world – what would it be?

Now, are you ready for that?  Because as we know, when we pray for something, God doesn’t usually give us directly what we asked for – God will give us the opportunity to appreciate it.

It should not be lost on us that God does this a lot, actually.  How many times did Jesus ask the blind man, the woman, the apostles:  “What do you want from me?”

Life, Sight, Healing, Truth, some said.  And Solomon:  he says wisdom and an understanding heart.

And yet, later, Solomon would turn from God.  He had too many wives and they eventually pulled him away to other Gods.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

We find God, and God answers our prayers, and then we loose God again.  Rarely do we get it right the first time.

CLICK HERE for the Readings for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time: (1 Kings 3:5, 7-12; Romans 8:28-30; and Matthew 13:44-52 or 13:44-46)

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16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 17, 2011

IN GOOD COMPANY

Just over the past few weeks, I have had a number of conversations with people who just don’t feel like they “fit in” in church.  They don’t really feel like they pray right or they don’t really like to pray at all; they feel like church is boring – they like to drink and listen to music they know they shouldn’t; they like to go out to clubs; and some of them confess to worse.

All of this to say, they don’t feel like they really belong in church – because they compare themselves to what they see in others (like that is ever accurate!)  So while you think that you don’t belong, chances are someone else feels that because of what they perceive in you, they feel they don’t belong.  So now we are left with nobody feeling like they belong.

But the images of today’s Gospel should give us comfort for they remind us that God loves us – good and bad.  And God is quite patient with us while we take time.

This Sunday, we are challenged to see our own potential and to be patient for we are in good company.

CLICK HERE for the Readings for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time: (Wisdom 12:13, 16-19; Romans 8:26-27; Matthew 13:24-43)

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15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 10, 2011

PATIENT ENDURANCE

If there was one word you would use to describe Christianity, what would it be?

The imagery of rain, snow, pregnancy and seeds creative a powerful message for us this morning.

All of these images are life-giving, but only in time.   Therefore it is quite fitting for the authors to use these images as metaphors for the Christian life.

Paul tells us that all creative lives in hope.  In fact it is groaning in labor pains – a hope longed for with such intensity that it is almost painful.  I think this is, indeed, our world.

However, what is not included in today’s reading from St. Paul is what comes directly after the section we heard today:  ‘In hope we were saved.  But hope is not hope if its object is seen; how is it possible to hope for what one sees?  And hoping for what we cannot see means awaiting with patient endurance.’

Translation:  if you want to live the Christian life – if you want to be a person of hope – you better get good at waiting and learn a little patience.

CLICK HERE for the Readings for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time: (Isaiah 55.10-11; Romans 8.18-23; Matthew 13.1-23)

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14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 4, 2011

REDISCOVERING SIMPLICITY

“Come to me you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest.”

Rest.  In the biblical sense, rest does not mean sleep.  Rest means time away from our own ego.

Why is it that a child will understand the ways of heaven, but the “wise and learned” do not?  Because they don’t have as much ego.

It is not that knowledge is bad (this would be a terrible thing to say on a university campus) – but it is how we use our knowledge.  The problem Jesus has with the wise is that they often use their knowledge to better themselves over other people.

Learn to unlearn.  Learn to unlearn all of those things the world has said are important about status and success.  Remember the joys of life – many of the joys you found when you were a child.

CLICK HERE for the Readings for the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time: (Zechariah 9.9-10; Romans 8.9, 11-13; Matthew 11.25-30)