Archive for October, 2013

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30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 27, 2013

OUR STRENGTH IS OUR WEAKNESS

This Sunday, I find great comfort in our readings.   We continue our theme of perseverance from last week.

We hear in our first reading from Sirach, that the prayer of the lowly does not rest until it reaches its goal; that God knows no favorites.

In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he writes that he has finished the race because the Lord stood by him and gave him strength.  And in the Gospel, we are reminded that God’s mercy and grace is available to everyone.

But we are also cautioned about the dangers of religion.  How easy it is for our strength to also become our weakness.

CLICK HERE  for the readings for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time: (Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18; Psalm 34; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18; Luke 18:9-14)

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Sermon Series: The Eucharist

October 25, 2013

OUR ONE GREAT ACT OF FIDELITY

Based on Ronald Rolheiser’s book of the same name, the following five homilies were given to the Noon time Mass during the working days of the week to the usual attendants from local businesses.

Prompted by the readings of the day and based on the excerpts of Rolheiser’s book, the congregation considered the Eucharist in its own context with a deeper understanding.  The five sermons are as follows (and should be listed to as one sermon):

SERMON ONE:  THE RESIDENCE OF GOD (Exploring the Real Presence of the Eucharist)

SERMON TWO:  CALLED INTO SERVICE FROM WHERE WE ARE (Exploring the tensions of knowledge and spirituality present at Mass)

SERMON THREE:  A CELEBRATION OF FAMILY LIFE (Exploring the Eucharist as a family meal and ritual)

SERMON FOUR:  ADORING THE EUCHARIST (Exploring Eucharistic Adoration)

SERMON FIVE:  THE SOURCE AND SUMMIT OF FORGIVENESS (Exploring the relationship between the two sacraments of Communion and Reconciliation)

Rolheiser, Ronald.  Our One Great Act of Fidelity:  Waiting for Christ in the Eucharist.  Toronto:  Doubleday, 2011.

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29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 19, 2013

PRAYER IS LIKE RUNNING

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.

In some ways, prayer is a lot like running – as it is marathon weekend here.  Running isn’t hard – you just put one foot in front of the other – and it’s the same for the fastest and the slowest – no matter how far you go.  The hardest part about running is simply beginning.  Even if you have been running for years, the first mile is always a bit tough – just like prayer – because you have to settle into it.

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

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28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 13, 2013

SURRENDER TO OUR SUFFERING

We think of religion and our faith as something we need to get right – that salvation is something to be achieved or earned, but its not.  Rather, it is something we surrender to.  To be “saved”, is not something that occurs in the future based on a decision in the past, but it is something that happens now based on our surrender now.

In our first reading, we find Naaman, who was a tremendous ruler and military leader at the height of his career; however, he was also plagued with leprosy.  However, his healing required a great deal of humility for a person of his stature.

The same sort of surrender and humility is present in our Gospel.  The one stands out among the 10 because he feel at the feet of Jesus and said thank you.  He surrendered his ego – which is often what gratitude is about – it is what happens when the ego recognizes it is not entitled to what it has received.

In each case, people come to God in hopes of alleviating their suffering and pain – some are grateful like Naaman and the one, while others, like the nine, leave healed in body, but not in spirit.  This is not real surrender and it is not true healing and it is not authentic transformation.

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

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A Celebration of Thanksgiving

October 9, 2013

WHAT HAVE I LEARNED AND HOW HAVE I THANKED?

I have this habit of asking people of what they have learned just about anytime they have completed something.  As a teacher, I am not nearly as interested in what you have studied as I am what you have learned – this is true of your own teachers.

As a matter of fact, I often ask myself the same question:  for the last 5 years, at the end of every year, I go back over every email, every homily, every book summary and the rest, and reflect on what I have learned over the past year.  I also do the same after I finish one assignment and before I begin another.

It is a far more interesting question:  what you have learned. . . vs. what you study or what you are interested in or what you do, because it also tells me what you study and interested in and do – only in a more truthful manner.

This weekend we will give thanks, but for what?  Don’t say what you have, speak of what you have learned?  How you have grown?  How have loved?   How you have thanked?

This Homily was given to the young women of St. Joseph’s College School in Toronto using the following readings:  Colossians 3:15-17; Psalm 96 and Matthew 7:7-12)

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27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 6, 2013

WHEN WE CRY OUT

Increase our Faith!  This is the plea of the Apostles just as they begin the journey with Jesus to Jerusalem.  If they had only known how their faith would be tested in that city.  Of course, Jesus told them, but they could have never imagined the crucifixion or the resurrection.

We too pray similar prayers do we not?  We say, Lord, I want to know you more; I want to do your will; I want to love like you; etc. . .

And yet, we are surprised and cry out when the cross finds us.  We ask what we did to deserve the suffering that comes our way.  This is the cry of HabbakukI cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not intervene.  Why do you let me see ruin;  why must I look at misery?

It is the same cry so many of us make in a world that seems so plagued with such evil.  You cannot help but wonder if God even cares?  If this all-loving, all-powerful God is there, how could such a God possibly allow for people to suffer such devastation?

But wherever we are, is not where we will be, for the vision still presses to fulfillment.

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

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Presentation: The Francis Effect

October 2, 2013

Pope Francis has recaptured the Catholic Imagination, not through new teachings or even appointments, but through a new tone and approach.

He has told you to go out and make a mess to take risks, to not be afraid of making mistakes.  Ultimately, he doesn’t want any one of us to be too comfortable.

Pope Francis has focused his energies on serving, which has made him a leader.  The more common approach is to lead thinking it is the same as serving – it is not.

Pope Francis is reminding us what we are really about – what is behind everything that we do and they are the most common themes of his papacy:  mercy, which we already spoke about, and hope.

This presentation was given to young adults as part of the Theology on Tap Series in Las Cruces, New Mexico