Archive for October, 2014

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30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 26, 2014

LOVE & ADDICTION

Over the years, one of top searches in Google, if not the top depending on the year, is “What is love?” In fact, throughout all of human existence, Love is undoubtedly the single most thought about topic of all time. Though it is at the heart of our being and essential to the greatest commandment, this idea – noun – verb – seems to cause us the greatest difficulty.

Think for just a moment: how would you answer the question: What is love?

I have been thinking a lot lately about the difference between love and addiction, which some would say is one the same thing. For example, some say falling in love with someone is another way of saying you are addicted to that person – that love and addictions look very similar at a neurological level. Now, I am not an expert on the brain, so we might be able to debate that, but when it comes to the soul, I think love and addiction are quite different.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Exodus 22:20-26; Psalm 18; 1 Thessalonians 1:5-10; Matthew 22:34-40).

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29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 19, 2014

EVERYTHING BELONGS

So the question is: how do we know what belongs to God and what belongs to Ceaser? Perhaps we might be tempted to say that everything belongs to God, but that does not seem to be what Jesus is implying.

The question of belonging is also present in our first and second readings. Cyrus, whom Isaiah describes as anointed in our first reading, was the King of Persia. Though he was not an Israelite, he was an “agent of the Lord” and permitted Israel to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple. He was a pagan, but also anointed. He did not know God, but was called by God.

And so we ask ourselves, in what category did Cyrus belong?

The reality is that everything belongs. We live according to both Caesar and God for we must live in a world governed by laws of human making and those of God, but we keep trying to choose one or put them in competition with each other.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Isaiah 45:1,4-6; Psalm 96; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5; Matthew 22:15-21).

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28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 12, 2014

THE BENEFITS OF BELIEF

Flannery O’Connor once wrote that, “In the land of the deaf, you have to shout.”

This is precisely what Jesus is doing through the rather brutal Gospel we hear today. It is an exaggerated story that is not to be taken literally; rather it is an extreme tale meant to shake us into awareness.

This wedding banquet offered by the king is a simile to the divine invitation of God into the joy of the kingdom.  And so just as we are challenged to wonder why the guests refused to attend the king’s banquet so we should wonder why so many, often very good people, refuse to participate in our churches and thus, receive the grace of God?

That is to ask: are there consequences for unbelief or a lack of practice? According to the Gospel – yes. Again, in this parable death is an exaggeration, but it does convey that, according to Jesus, the consequences for unbelief and lack of practice are so very serious.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Isaiah 25:6-10; Psalm 23; Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20; Matthew 22:1-14).

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27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 5, 2014

HUMAN ECOLOGY

You have heard me say many times before that we are gifted beyond our accounting. Too many times we focus on what we don’t have and/or our sinfulness, but how many times do we take stock of the gifts we have received?

For example, I am sure that if I were to ask you to confess your sins, you could easily rattle off a list, but what about your gifts? Your aptitudes, talents, resources, etc? Could you rattle those off just as easily? If you want a good assignment, it would be to go home and make a list of 20 gifts. Perhaps it is a good task for every Sunday – too look back on the week and ask, as a family, what are the blessings to be accounted and thankful for this week.

Our readings today call us to be mindful of the gifts we have received. We are the vineyard, Isaiah tells us, but it is not ours to possess, rather it is ours to cultivate. It is on loan to us, and our responsibility to care for it is very serious indeed.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 80; Philippians 4:6-9; Matthew 21:33-43).