Archive for September, 2014

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26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 28, 2014

WALKING THE WALK

When I first entered the novitiate as a Basilian, we were told to wear a sort of habit. It was a white shirt with a distinctive cross. It was meant to identify us as priests in training. What I appreciated about it was that it was not overly religious, but when we were together, it clearly meant something.

Now that I am ordained, I am most often in black. It identifies me as a priest, which can be a scary thing because it demands that I live up to the role.

But it also quite helpful, because it reminds me that my actions matter more than my words. I think the same is true for those who wear wedding rings or other identifiable garments or jewelry.

And I think God would agree. In our Gospel today, Jesus is clear: we will be judged, not on what we proclaim, but how we act. If we say we are Christian, then we have to walk the walk, but first we need to know what that means.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Ezekiel 18:25-28; Psalm 25; Philippians 2:1-5; Matthew 21:28-32).

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25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 21, 2014

GENEROSITY AS THE ONLY RESPONSE

Last week, we exalted the cross and if you recall, I spoke that it is for us a great truth-teller. It reminds us of who we are – sinful and often egotistical. We are not as special as we would like to think ourselves to be, but we are so very important and so very loved.

In today’s readings, we are reminded of who God is and how very different God’s ways are from our ways. They demand that we take a hard look at our sense of justice and our sense of worth. For the most part, they are a bit of a slap in the face to the ethics of a western civilization that prides itself on earning our keep.

But we must also understand that this Gospel is not about economics or wages. Catholic Social Thought is very clear about the necessity of just and fair wages. Rather, this a parable about the spiritual life.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Isaiah 55:6-9; Psalm 145; Philippians 1:20-24, 27; Matthew 20:1-16).

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Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

September 13, 2014

A TRUTH-TELLER

This past week, I had a chance to see King Lear in Stratford. I couldn’t help but think that everyone should have their own fool – someone to tell you what you really need to hear, but in a manner that does not threaten or belittle.

In Scene One, Act Four, Lear is having a conversation with Goneril and his Fool. At this point, his world has been turned upside down. He has lost his power, his cast out the one daughter that loved him; and the two he trusted betrayed him.

He asks, “Does anyone here know me? Why, this is not me? Who is it that can tell me who I am?”

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Feast of the Exultation of the Cross (Numbers 21:4-9; Psalm 78; Philippians 2:6-11; John 3:13-17).

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23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 7, 2014

LOVE IN DIVERSITY Today’s readings are extremely practical, for they offer instruction about how we are to resolve our conflicts with one another. The Gospel tells us if you are in conflict with a person, or feel that person has caused you harm, then you must first confront that person.

Now that isn’t what we like to do is it? What do we like to do? (go tell someone else – do you know what she did?) Or if we are at work, we go to the person above the person who caused us harm so that they can be corrected. Of course we do, because we don’t like conflict.

Now to be clear, the Gospel says that this approach of talking to others is okay, but ONLY AFTER you have tried to confront the person directly. This, by the way, is a basic tenant of Catholic Social Doctrine as well: Subsidiarity is a principle that says all problems should be dealt with at the most immediate or local level.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Ezekiel 33:7-9; Psalm 95; Romans 13:8-10; Matthew 18:15-20).

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Opening Mass for The University of St. Michael’s College

September 2, 2014

KNOWLEDGE AND MEANING

If you were to follow me on Twitter, you would discover that my byline reads, “Great questions are an art form worthy of study.”

I think St. Paul would agree for in our first reading, St. Paul writes to the Corinthians that nothing is beyond scrutiny – even the depths of God, but that we must also be wise enough to know the limits of human knowledge. Time and time again, scripture gives us permission to ask questions of God and ourselves, but when we do, it is done with humility rather than arrogance.

Perhaps there is no better time than now – your years at university – to learn the art of asking questions. Most often we ask questions in hopes of an answer, but these are not the great questions. Answers are great for the ego, but they fail to inspire the soul.

Instead, ask questions about meaning and purpose. Don’t just ask how; ask why; ask about its purpose. This is the type of scrutiny St. Paul writes about.

CLICK HERE for the readings of the Mass (1 Corinthians 2:10-16; Psalm 145, Luke 4:31-37).