Archive for September, 2016

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26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 25, 2016

JUDGEMENT REVERSED

Our Gospel this week follows last week’s Gospel, and it is almost as perplexing and complicated.

We find Jesus retelling a story to the Pharisees about a rich man who declined to help the poor man, Lazarus.

When the rich man died, he went to Hell and saw the poor man Lazarus off in the distance at Abraham’s side. The rich man begged to be saved, but now it was his turn to be denied. Furthermore, Abraham denied the rich man’s request to warn his family of the doom that would befall upon them should they not heed the cry of the poor.

Like Jesus, Amos, in our first reading, is also frustrated by the complacency of the wealthy. And so we wonder: are we to conclude that the wealthy have no chance of heaven?  Or that their wealth works against them at a supernatural level?

No. Rather it is invitation to continue to line of questioning and reflection we discussed last week about the accounting of the resources and gifts we have: are we mindful of them? Are we using them for the benefit of others, or just our own?

CLICK HERE for the readings for 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Amos 6:1, 4-7; Psalm 146; 1 Timothy 6:11-16; Luke 16: 19-31)

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25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 18, 2016

GATHERING OUR GIFTS

The question the Gospel poses to us is what have we been entrusted with? Are they small things? Big things? Are they things of this world or things of the next? The Gospel is a confusing one to be sure – even the commentaries speak of confusion trying to make sense of Jesus’ intention as it seems odd to offer praise for someone who did wrong. But it is all about waking up, paying attention – much like a pain in the chest, or a warning light on the car.

Everything is a gift, given to us, for a finite amount of time, so that it may be transformed, increased and then passed on to others. But we forget this and we get comfortable and complacent – until something happens. . . Of course, it would be better to be proactive or in the case of our steward to do his job so well that he wouldn’t ever get fired.

But he does and he take drastic action in hopes of surviving. He hatches this morally questionably scheme so that, if anything, he will have some friends when he is unemployed. But rather than be punished, he is praised for his decisive action.

What does it take for us to be shaken out of our comfort zone? What will it take for us to take action?

So it is fitting that the person in question is s steward – one that cares for the assets, resources, treasures and gifts of a organization or person – because that is really what we are talking about isn’t it? How do we use the gifts we have been given? How do we understand our treasures?

CLICK HERE for the readings for 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Amos 8:4-7; Psalm 113; 1 Timothy; Luke 16:1-13)

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24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 11, 2016

RECOVERING WHAT WAS LOST

There are two sides to our readings today. One the one side, we find ourselves, like Jesus, searching for the part of us that is lost – our childlike innocence; our humility; our sense of awe and wonder; happiness and joy; or perhaps a feeling of belonging.

How often do we long for what once was. . .

In one sense, this is so very healthy so long as we recognize that our origin is in our blessings. For all of our talk about original sin; the reality is actually an original blessing. . .  We are first and foremost: holy. Loved. Sons and Daughters of God.

So if we are to seek what is lost; let us seek that. Let us seek our original blessing. Let us seek what is known to our soul, well beyond the construct of our own mind and ego. Of course, that will mean that the lessons of humility, trust, letting go, suffering, and joy – those lessons that we have been reflecting upon the last few weeks are going to be so very important.

CLICK HERE for the readings for 24th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14; Psalm 51; 1 Timothy 1:12-17; Luke 15:1-32)

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23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 4, 2016

THE IMPORTANCE OF LETTING GO

Before we listen to our readings today, it is very helpful for us to consider what we have heard over the past few weeks. Two weeks ago, Jesus was asked how many would be saved? The Apostles are beginning to understand the gravity of their path as they make their way to Jerusalem.

If you recall, rather than answer directly, Jesus tells them to strive to enter through the narrow door. Do not worry about the end result – trust in God and your suffering will be turned into joy.

Last week, we recalled the parable to the guests at the table. We said that we practice humility here – every time we accept the invitation of Christ to become bread for the world.

For the sake of joy, we learn to trust through our sufferings. For the sake of love, we are humbled and then exalted.

If we are to be a disciple, we will endure great suffering, but so shall we also experience great joy. You cannot expect to find joy in this life if you cannot first let go of the control you have over it. This is why the context of this reading as part of the past few weeks is so important: we have to trust, but we also have to do our part. God cannot let go for you – you have to do that on your own. It is simply foundational.

CLICK HERE for the readings for 23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time (Wisdom 9:13-18; Psalm 90; Philemon 9-10, 12-17; Luke 14:25-33)