Archive for October, 2016

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31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 30, 2016

UNEXPECTED ENCOUNTERS

Last week, we encountered the Pharisee and the tax collector through a parable Jesus told to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else.

If you recall, that Pharisee was prideful, divisive and exaulted himself. The tax collector – a so-called sinner – on the other hand, humbled himself before the Lord. This very hopeful message is continued this week in our first reading.

From Wisdom we hear that the Lord has mercy on everyone and loathes nothing that has been made. If it exists, then it is of God.   It is for this reason that Jesus calls out to Zacchaeus in the sycamore tree. And in return Zacchaeus promises to return to the Lord four times over.

CLICK HERE for the readings for 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Wisdom 11:22-12:3; Psalm 145; 2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2; Luke 19:1-10)

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30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 23, 2016

MERCIFUL JUSTICE

I find great comfort in our first reading today: The Lord is a God of Justice, who knows no favourites. The Lord is not deaf to the cries of the poor. The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds and it does not rest until it reaches its goal, nor will it withdraw until the Most High responds.

But don’t we wish that God would respond sooner??? Like St. Paul, we too our often poured out like a libation. We are spent until we ready for the Lord’s response – a response that undoubtedly will not be what we first had in mind, but no matter – now any response is fine.   At least we will know; at least we can act with purpose.

I once heard it said that Justice is what love looks like in public. But we have such a difficult time loving – especially when love is accompanied with waiting. Oh, it is easy to love when we want to love, but when we have to wait for love – that is so very hard indeed. But that is also when we learn to trust. That is what stretches the capacity of our heart to breathe life into parts of us and of the world that we didn’t even know was there.

CLICK HERE for the readings for 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18; Psalm 121; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18; Luke 18:9-14)

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29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 16, 2016

SACRED PERSISTENCE 

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.

CLICK HERE for the readings for 29th Sunday of 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 9, 2016

TRANSFORMATIVE GRATITUDE

Last week we spoke about how we increase our faith. And how do we do that? We said, we embrace the cross. We move towards it knowing that it is not the end, but part of the necessary journey towards the resurrection.

This week, our readings ask us to consider how we transform our pain and suffering – knowing that it is often something we cannot get rid of (try though we may), but that we can transform.

We learn this through two stories – the story of Naaman and 10 lepers who are healed. In both cases, you will find that transformation occurs only when they surrender their ego to humility.

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

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27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 1, 2016

INCREASE OUR FAITH!

All three readings are summed up to the plea of the apostles, “Lord, increase our faith!”

You they are on the way to Jerusalem and are beginning to understand the difficulties of discipleship; they are beginning to understand that all of this is much more demanding than they first thought. The same is true with Timothy to whom Paul writes “stir the into flame the gift of God” and the same is true with Habakkuk.

Habakkuk lived during a time of great persecution and asks the question that I have no doubt all of us have asked at one point: Lord if you are all powerful, all knowing, and all loving – you would know about this evil or hardship I see and you could do something about it. And if you are who you claim to be – you would love me enough to take this away from me.

This is the atheist position. When so many of us look at the world, we see the poverty, war, disease, inequality, injustice and they look at us and say – now tell me about this God that allows for all of this! They assume there is no answer, but there is.

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