Archive for July, 2015

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17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 26, 2015

5 + 2 = HALF?

There is a fundamental imperative in today’s readings: Give everything away and you will have more than you need. Keep it to yourself and you will always want for more.

You can pick any subject, any issue: and this principle will still be true.

Yes, there are finite resources, but if you worry first about what you don’t have and what you need – then you might find a ladder to climb up, but you will, most likely, find it is on the wrong wall.

The apostles asked Jesus that same question we ask ourselves and each other today: how are we going to have enough for everyone? We only have 12 and 2! It is the same question just about every family and every organization asks – we worry about what is “sustainable”. It is a word I wish I could eliminate.

Since when does the Gospel ever tell us to aim for sustainable?

CLICK HERE for the readings for 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (2 Kings 4:42-44; Psalm 145; Ephesians 4:1-6; John 6:1-15)

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16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 19, 2015

REST:  AN ARTFORM

In our Gospel today, Jesus and his apostles gathered after their work was complete. They had worked hard – so hard that they did not even have a chance to eat and so Jesus tells them to go away by themselves and rest.

Over and over, Jesus demonstrates a need for rest (even though he did not always get it) and so it seems helpful for us to take a moment and think about rest, leisure and our Sabbath moments.

Think for a moment about your favorite activities – what purpose do they serve?  Aristotle said that the best activities are the most useless.

It seems strange to say this, I know, but think for a moment about holiness. What does it look like? What actions constitute it? What gives it evidence?

The difficulty with limiting my activity is that it does not make me feel more holy. We equate more with more: more holiness requires more activity. But things are often inversed in the spiritual life.

CLICK HERE for the readings for 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Jeremiah 23:1-6; Psalm 23; Ephesians 2:13-18; Mark 6:30-34)

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15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 12, 2015

THE GENIUS OF THE UNQUALIFIED

There is an old saying around the topic of vocations: “God doesn’t call the qualified; God qualifies the called.” It is a perfect summary of our readings today.

First we hear about the prophet Amos. Before the Lord called him, he was a shepherd and a tree-trimmer. Then we hear from Paul, whose words today remind us that we are chosen for a purpose. Paul who once persecuted Christians, now writes words of encouragement to them.

Lastly, we hear Mark’s account of Jesus summoning the twelve to go out two by two. These fisherman and working fellows are sent – not only with many provisions, but also without any qualifications.

And therein lies their genius.

CLICK HERE for the readings for 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Amos 7:12-15; Psalm 85; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:7-13)

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14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 5, 2015

CONVICTION AND HUMILITY

Our readings today feature three examples of conviction and humility.

Ezekiel, Paul and Jesus all face difficulties from those to whom they are speaking, but these voices do not deter them from speaking the Word that has been given to them. And therein lies the humility: their conviction is a direct result of their humility, for they are not acting as people of power, rather as people of authority.

Many times we equate power and authority as one in the same, but they are quite different. Power comes with position; while authority is built on service and sacrifice. Power erodes relationship, while authority builds them. Power is given and can also be taken away; but authority is grown out of your own character.

Thus power people are always afraid of loosing what they have; while authority people know what they “have” is not really theirs anyway.

Conviction is the fruit of the humble servant – the man or woman who speaks and acts on behalf of others.

CLICK HERE for the readings for 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Ezekiel 2:2-5; Psalm 123; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; Mark 6:1-6)