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Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle

Scripture Readings

After two thousand years of Christian history, it is sometimes easy to forget what happened in the early years of Christianity.  And it is easy to overlook the importance of people in previous times.  Our lives as Christians are possible because of the witness of holy women and men throughout the ages who handed down the gospel of Jesus Christ to us.  The scripture readings for today remind us of the importance of apostles and missionaries and their role in turning people’s attention to Christ. 

Thursday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

As we come to the end of the liturgical year before the beginning of Advent, we continue to have readings from the book of Revelation as well as hear of the second coming of Christ in today’s gospel from Luke. Perhaps to the disappointment of some, the book of Revelation is not a prediction of when or even how the end of the world will come.  It was written to bring hope to the persecuted Christians through proclaiming God’s justice and ultimate victory over evil in history.  Scripture scholars tell us that the symbolic or “coded” language was used by the author of Revelation to criticize the Roman emperor and empire in a way that would not necessarily put his readers at risk of persecution or even death at that time. 

Wednesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

As the liturgical year comes to a close our readings continue the theme of the end times.  It amazes me sometimes how many people think the literal end of the world is near. This morning I was talking with this Catholic family who described how now was the end times, because of the writings of some priest from 40 years ago. In contrast I stood with a patient as the doctor told them there was nothing more they do to improve the persons health.  In one case the family was afraid of the predicted doom, in the other a patient offered courageous acceptance of the real outcome of their condition. 

Tuesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

We’re living in what some have called the “Information Age.” We have access to more information than ever before in the history of humanity. We can easily access most of that information with a few key pad strokes or spoken requests to our digital assistants (Siri or otherwise named). As a people, we like to know, we like to predict, we want to be able to plan for and have control over our lives and others’ lives, even if for the best. It seems to be part of our human nature. And God often doesn’t cooperate with our desires to know all, predict, and control.

Monday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

As I read the readings for today, I was particularly struck by the verse she “offered her whole livelihood.”  The word “livelihood” is often understood to mean what a person does (his or her job) and their material possessions. I believe that Jesus is speaking much more broadly when He refers to the widow in the reading.  Since God is love, and Jesus is God taking on flesh, then Jesus is love incarnate.  If we are disciples, we are called to imitate Jesus in all that we do. But He calls us to more than doing a job or the daily tasks of life- we are called to do all things with great love.

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Scripture Readings

With a contentious mid-term elections barely over,  I am not sure about our appetite for the Feast of Christ the King. Often, we completely de-politicize the gospel. However, think about it. Jesus was brought before the political establishment of the time, by the religious establishment of the time, to be judged, condemned, and finally crucified. Jesus’ condemnation and death as much a political event as it was a religious event. On the other hand, perhaps the feast is a breath of fresh air in the midst of all the political contentions. The Feast of Christ the King tells us that the cross was hardly was the end of the story. The feast of Christ the Kings celebrates the reality that the cross became Jesus’ throne, that strength lies in humility, and that power lies in love. 

Memorial of Saint Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs

Scripture readings

Today’s gospel passage is a good one.  Jesus deftly outmaneuvers the wily Sadducees, juking at the last second to deliver a slam dunk answer.  Jesus’ answer was so good that “they no longer dared to ask him anything”… wait, what? 

Friday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

The words from today’s first reading (Revelation 10:8-11) are a bit of a puzzle: how is it that God’s words can taste sweet but yet make John’s stomach sour?  It is perplexing, too, to turn from that reading to the Psalm (119), which proclaims that God’s promises are sweet to the taste!  Surely, if God’s promises and God’s words are sweet, won’t the effect be sweet as well?  

Memorial of Saint Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr

Scripture Readings

“Do not weep…the root of David has triumphed…” In Christ we have so many reasons to rejoice.  We are in communion with people from every tribe, tongue, people, nation, and age.  We are connected around the world and across time to those whom we love, and who love us.  Jesus has made us into a righteous kingdom of peace and love.  Rejoice indeed! In the apocalyptic scene of the first reading, Heaven and Earth are both amazed at what God has accomplished in Christ.  His love saves us, transforms us, and heals us.  In a world broken by sinful greed and selfishness, Love changes us into a beloved family, a society of abundant peace and justice.  It is happening now, in each of us and all around us.  Rejoice!  God is working in us to feed the poor, to welcome the stranger, to heal the sick, to forgive injuries, to visit those imprisoned in physical jails and the chains of addiction.  God is setting this world right, and Love reigns, despite all appearances.

Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Scripture Readings

As the liturgical year comes to a literal end, the readings push us toward an eschatological view of the world. This is important, not that the end of the World is imminent, yet the end of days, especially for us personally.  It is the circle of life. The first reading describes John’s vision of heaven.  The imagery of this vision describes the scene in a trumpet like voice.  The picture portrayed is one where an angel takes the visionary through a large door revealing a stunning scene with it heavenly court and all its attendants.

Tuesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

There is so much to love about the story from Luke about Zacchaeus.

Monday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Imagine, just for a few moments, Jesus standing before you. Imagine him gazing at you, looking directly into your eyes and asking, "What do you want me to do for you?" This is just one of the striking questions we can reflect on while reading the Scriptures today.

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

We have been hit by devastating hurricanes and wild fires this year. Especially, when it comes to hurricanes, people are advised to evacuate. I always wonder why some people do not heed the warnings. I understand that some people do not evacuate for compelling reasons - poverty, health issues, family compulsion, pets. But there are those who could and simply will not. And as they were warned, things end tragically for many of them. As we approach the end of the liturgical year, we are reminded that life itself comes with ample caution. We are all invited to live well. We are invited to strive to be happy. We are all invited to make life meaningful. However, the gospel cautions us - all things will come to an end. The Gospel cautions us that life is unpredictable. As with hurricanes and wild fires, there are those who heed the warning and those that do not.  

Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious

Scripture Readings

Persistence vs peskiness. This is what I used to make of today's Gospel reading. I didn't find Jesus' words encouraging as it seemed like we had to bug God to get Him to listen. Recently, I was offered a new interpretation that makes more sense to me and sheds light on how today's gospel and reading from 3 John tie together (readings from 3 John are always exciting as the book is all of 14 verses!).

Friday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

I think we humans always face a basic temptation: when faced with something new, do we embrace it as the progress we seek, and that we think will be more fulfilling? Or do we reject that progress?  Our technologies and online lives make that temptation ever present for many of us, I suspect. Should I buy an ipad? An iphone6? Will I be technologized out of existence if I don't have Google Glass?  But many things are that way: fashions, business decisions, political persuasions.

Thursday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Several years ago, my husband and I saw the movie “Cloud Atlas” based on the book.  I won’t give a review of it, but one part of the movie comes to mind as I reflect on the first reading today.  The scenario involves a stowaway slave on a ship in the 1800s who relies on the at-first-reluctant- kindness of one of the passengers, an American businessman, to save him from either starving or being cast overboard.  Later, the slave ends up saving the life of the American who is being poisoned by the greedy doctor who he thinks is trying to heal him.  He eventually ends up denouncing slavery.  It was quite beautiful to see the change of heart and relationship in this thread of the movie.

Wednesday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Today’s scriptures give us an opportunity to think about the importance of God’s gifts of the sacraments to us - and to reflect on our own responses to God’s great gifts.

Memorial of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin

Scripture Readings

I appreciate St. Paul and a lot of the beautiful Scripture writing attributed to him. I also find that some of his words get under my skin as a 21st century Christian woman trying, along with my husband, to pass on to our daughter and two sons the value that women and men (and all people, for that matter) are equal and are to be treated as such. Granted, in Paul’s letter to the Galatians (3:28) we have the radical-at-that-time proclamation, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ.” But today’s Letter to Titus does not demonstrate a similar equality.

Memorial of Saint Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr

Scripture Readings

My husband and I have recently returned from a pilgrimage where we walked in the footsteps of St. Paul in Greece and Turkey.  As we spent time visiting these places and reflecting on scripture relevant to where we were, it became obvious that St. Paul’s tremendous gift of faith and His zeal for Christ were instrumental in bringing many people (and nations) to accepting Jesus as the Son of God and the source of their salvation.  Although he preached in many places with eloquent words, St. Paul practiced his faith through the way he lived, and he called others to do the same.

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

There are two stories in today’s reading and they both involve poor widows. In the first story, Elijah, as he flees from his murderous enemies, seeks refuge with a poor widow. The story tells us that she and her son had only and handful of flour and a little oil left. They were desperately poor. The second story tells us about Jesus’ admiration of a poor widow who “from her poverty” (Mk 12:44), put in two small coins into the treasury. The two coins were all she had. These two thought-provoking stories.