September 25th, 2022 – Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The parable of Lazarus and the rich man is a masterful depiction of the Christian life and also a clear call to action.
We are at first presented with the scene of Lazarus eating the scraps that would fall off from the rich man’s table. Lazarus must have been literally right next to the rich man’s table since he was able to grab the scraps that fell from it. The most striking reality here is that the rich man, even though he had this poor beggar at the foot of his table, was never moved to pity or to compassion, enough at least to offer the poor man a plate of food or a place at the table.
We don’t have to travel too far in order to encounter this kind of pain, poverty and struggle. Sometimes it only takes to look inwardly at our own hearts. The invitation from this Sunday’s parable is to never grow cold at the sight of pain and that we always treat those in need with compassion, including ourselves.
God is also rich in mercy and compassion above all. God does not keep any of his treasures to himself, but rather he notices our poverty and pain and offers us a place at his table, the table of the Eucharist. May the Lord help us to grow in generosity so that others may find a place at the table of our hearts as well.
September 18th, 2022 – Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
In this Sunday’s Reading from St. Paul’s First Letter to Timothy, he expresses his fervent desire for his fellow Christians “that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity.” It goes without saying in these crazy, turbulent, worry-filled, argumentative, divided days, that this is music to my ears. Knowing full well that the issues we face seem insurmountable and yet piercingly important, might I suggest that the approach we seem to be taking isn’t helping.
The louder we argue, the more fervently we express our opinions, the more forcefully the lines in the sand are drawn—all approaches seem to be leading to a gridlock where progress seems a distant dream and nightmares become the norm.
St. Pope Paul VI had a wonderful homily at Nazareth in 1964 (and we think our times are crazy and filled with complex issues!), in which he talked about the lessons we can learn from where Jesus spent his early hidden life. He states, “First, we learn from its silence. If only we could once again appreciate its great value. We need this wonderful state of mind, beset as we are by the cacophony of strident protests and conflicting claims so characteristic of these turbulent times. The silence of Nazareth should teach us how to meditate in peace and quiet, to reflect on the deeply spiritual, and to be open to the voice of God’s inner wisdom and the counsel of his true teachers. Nazareth can teach us the value of study and preparation, of meditation, of a well-ordered personal spiritual life, and of silent prayer that is known only to God.”
Nothing more need be said!
Sincerely with love,
September 11th, 2022 – Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The story of the merciful Father and the prodigal son (found in the Gospel of Luke chapter 15) is quite compelling.
In the story, we learn about forgiveness and communal reconciliation.
After the Prodigal son returns home and is forgiven, the Father justifies his son in front of others by inviting everyone to celebrate his return home.
Forgiveness is a joy to be shared.
When we are hurt, it is natural that we want to share about it with others to receive support. Everyone in the father’s house can see what the son is doing to his Father. The Father does not hide it.
It must have been painful to watch the Father looking out through the window every morning, waiting patiently for his son’s return. Perhaps some even dared to approach the Father and say, “He (your son) does not deserve your love.”
And yet, when the son returns, the Father invites everyone to forgive as well and to celebrate that he is home.
It is good that we forgive, and it is Christian to invite those who heard our story to forgive as well and to rejoice.
I believe in heaven we will all know that we are forgiven and loved, and it will fill us with joy to know that others are too.
May you experience the joy of love and forgiveness in your life this week.
September 4th, 2022 – Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”
Stephen R. Covey
Jesus continues his move to Jerusalem in the Gospel this Sunday, and to the suffering and death he must face in his role as Savior for humanity. He knows what is important, and is focusing himself and his energies on that self-sacrifice which leads to the Resurrection and the Redemption of fallen humanity.
And in his magnificent generosity he tries to help his disciples and their successors (us!) to develop a way of being in the world that accomplishes important things in the midst of the urgencies in day-to day living that can so consume our time and energy. In his instructions, he tells us again and again, keep your priorities straight. It’s not that your family and other relationships and all the demands they place on you are not important, but a life focused on Christ is your first care and then helps you in your other cares and relationships.
It is amazing how much energy we expend on the little urgencies that exhaust us in life. We then miss the greater picture unfolding—life eternal! We miss the masterpiece because we concentrate too much on the individual brushstrokes.
So, this week, as we head back to school, continue in our jobs, face our daily loneliness and struggle with anxieties and continue facing the little things that make up ordinary days, let us keep Christ at the center and the life on high we are offered by following him in all things by carrying the Cross which is ours. Let us in our urgent preoccupations know that Christ carries the Cross with us to the grand vision of Eternal Life!