September 24th, 2023 – Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
There is work to be done.
The landowner in today’s Gospel keeps going back for more people to help him in the vineyard. As the day progresses, he still needs more help to get the work done. The work is so necessary to complete that he is willing to pay a full day’s wage for an hour of work.
The same is true for God, who will keep asking us to work to build up the kingdom. The wage is the same for all. It does not matter if you have been helping build up the kingdom for years or for a few days, the Lord gives us grace to help us build up the kingdom.
My encouragement for everyone is to allow the grace to sustain you in the vineyard. Keep begging for grace to help build up the kingdom of God. There is a lot of work to be done; we need everyone the Lord invites to help.
September 17th, 2023 – Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Could anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the Lord?
Could anyone refuse mercy to another like himself; can he seek pardon for his own sins?” (Sirach 28:3-4)
This weekend, the Word of God challenges us all in supernatural ways. I say, “supernatural ways” because forgiveness and mercy can only be granted by God and with the help of God.
We have all been wronged in big and small ways. We have all wronged others in big and small ways.
We hope God will forgive us every time we sincerely ask for His pardon, and He truly does. At the same time, he sends us forth saying, “now go, and do unto others what I have done unto you.”
We can only cling to past offenses for so long. At some point, the Christian ought to let go of past offenses and negative narratives regarding others, thus letting God be the judge of all things and peoples.
This weekend, I invite us all to go to confession frequently. It is there that we experience the challenge of asking for forgiveness and the beauty of being forgiven by our all-loving God.
This experience of receiving the Sacrament of Confession often will not only restore us to the life of grace, but also help us grow in the art of asking for forgiveness and the art of forgiving others.
Sincerely, with love,
September 10th, 2023 – Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
“I am the Way, the Truth, the Life.” (Jesus Christ)
Our readings this Sunday set forth love as a process that engages us to the work for forgiveness, justice and peace in the midst of a world that is so used to doing things otherwise, where division, rancor, grudge, ego, vengeance, happen in big and small ways.
It is no mistake that from a very early point, following Christ was simply called following “The Way.”
To follow Christ is not to always get “your way,” but to follow the way of Jesus, in self-surrender and unconditional love. The Truth then is not mere knowledge or facts, but a Person, who by his example shows us the possibility of a life rooted in the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom of peace and justice.
The witness of the saints, who really followed the Way, gives remarkable evidence that those who lived with unconditional love were gifted with amazing lives. They were not free from suffering or uncertainty, but they were happy in the fullest sense, with that deep happiness which Christ grants in sweet mercy and kindness to those who are committed to the Way!
Have a blessed week,
September 3rd, 2023 – Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
The calendar has turned to September, meaning things are changing. Summer will soon be a thing of the past, and students have and will be returning to school. The summer flew by, but I am excited for the next phase of parish life: the school year.
Speaking of phases, this week’s Gospel is a continuation of last weekend when we heard Peter’s great confession, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus praises Peter and builds the church upon him, giving him great authority.
Immediately following last week’s Gospel is this week when Peter does not take kindly to the news that Jesus will be killed. Peter did not understand that Jesus needed to die to be risen to new life. It shows the struggle in Peter between holiness and sin. We all struggle with trying to be holy while still falling into sin.
It is clear in my short time in these parishes that people truly desire holiness. One of the great gifts of my priesthood is to hear people’s sins in the confessional and be an instrument of God’s mercy by forgiving your sins. As we all continue to struggle with the fight between holiness and sin, let us continue to run to confession and thank God for the gifts he has bestowed on us.