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November 12, 2017 - The Wisdom of Intentional Living

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

At every baptism, after the child is draped in white garment, the celebrant lights the baptismal candle from the Paschal candle, and hands it to the child with these words, “Receive the light of Christ.” And then the celebrant says to the parents and godparents: “Parents and godparents, this light is entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly. This child of yours has been enlightened by Christ. He (she) is to walk always as a child of the light. May he (she) keep the flame of faith alive in his (her) heart. When the Lord comes, may he (she) go out to meet him with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom.” These words are a direct reference to to parable of the ten wise and foolish maidens in today’s gospel reading. The symbolism of the lighted candle is simply this - that our baptism, at which we receive the new life of Christ, is an invitation to live that new life, wisely and not foolishly, with faith rather then faithlessly, in anticipation of Christ’s coming rather than aimlessly. Our baptism is a commitment to intentional living. 

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November 5, 2017 - Proud of Our Humility?

Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Last Tuesday, the Church observed the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. On the 31st of October, 1517, Martin Luther, an Augustinian Monk, nailed his 95 theses to the door of the chapel at Wittenberg castle. Luther’s main issue in the 95 theses was indulgences. There are very few events that divided humanity in the way the Reformation did. It is not my intention to criticize Martin Luther, to discuss indulgences, or to judge 16th Century Church leaders. Historians tells us, though, that the schism caused by the Reformation could have been avoided. Depending on which side of history the Catholics and Protestants find themselves, they look at the Reformation very differently. Yet Catholics admit that perhaps that the Popes of the time, Pope Julius II and Pope Leo X, misread the signs of the time. As Renaissance Popes, they were more interested in art, music, and architecture rather than paying serious attention to the needs of their flock. The rest is history. 

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October 29, 2017 - "in the Evening of Our Lives, We will be Judged by Love Alone"

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

The great Christian mystic, John of the Cross, once said, “In the evening of our lives we will be judged by love alone.” Today’s readings are bound to create a genuine problem for preachers and congregations in Catholic parishes across the world, unless of course, preachers decide to by-pass the issue. The very first statement in today’s first reading says- “Thus says the LORD: You shall not molest or oppress an alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.” Across the globe, national elections are being won and lost based on particular political party’s stand on both documented and undocumented aliens or immigrants. Not only do some Catholics disagree with the Catholic Church’s pastoral teaching on immigration, but they have gone so as far as to openly dissent with Pope Francis and the US Catholic bishops on the issue. 

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October22, 2017 - Give to God What Belongs to God

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

“Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God" (Mt 22:21). This perhaps one of the most well-known quotes of Jesus. I would like to reflect on this quote in three questions. 

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October 15, 2017 - Am I Wearing the Right Clothes?

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

How many of you are familiar with the Baltimore Catechism? It is very different than the Catechism of the Catholic Church we have today. Published in 1891, it has about 300 pages and the entire Catechism is written in question answer format. I think it is still the clearest and direct explanation of the Catholic faith. For example, the first question is, “Who made the world?” The answer, “God made the world.” The sixth question  asks “Why did God make you?” The answer is, “God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven.” Did to hear that? God made us to be happy! This may sound contrary to the lessons we draw from today’s gospel parable of the man thrown out from the wedding feast for coming without a wedding garment. In fact, when understood correctly, even this parable is about happiness.

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