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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. 

Memorial of Saint Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church

Scripture Readings

I serve two masters. The Lord clearly warns me not to in today's Gospel, but the reality is that I do. I'm not sure I would say my second master is mammon, but it is my past decisions with money. I've become more and more convicted of this fact as I've reflected on how the Bible handles the issue of money. We recently ran Financial Peace University at Immaculate Conception and through reflections on my life and that program I've seen how I serve to masters. I'm indebted to two masters.

Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome

Scripture Readings

We know Jesus got angry because of what we hear in today’s gospel as he formed a whip and drove of the money changers.  More often than not when I hear this story the focus seems drawn to the anger.  Especially in that people use it to justify their own anger.  Certainly Jesus’ actions reflect an anger that we should name as righteous.  Or as the scripture points out the action of driving out the money changers came out of a zeal that consumed Jesus.  Jesus’ desire was that disruption of the marketplace be removed from the temple.  Jesus still desires that everything within each of us, that leads us away from deeply practicing our faith, must be driven out.

Thursday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

If you’ve been a Christian for a while, you may struggle with the same challenge as Paul (and I): Confidence in “the flesh;” in other words, confidence in the self.  In all Paul’s writing, ‘the flesh’ points not to our physical nature, but to our ‘self’ as it exists independent of God.  It alludes to our will, our rationality, our emotion, our human-informed capability for both vice and virtue.  In the first reading when Paul talks about “confidence in the flesh,” he’s talking about the human ability to be good, or to ‘save yourself.’  There’s a tendency among many people (especially we who are trying very hard to be good) to believe that our salvation counts on our goodness.  That our ‘flesh,’ our being on its own, can and MUST act rightly if we are to have a good life and eternal life.  If we act wrongly, bad things will happen.  It totally depends on ME.  In a funny way, it’s self-centered; this belief inflates our sense of self-importance.  Paul confesses to being like this before his conversion.  Lots of religious people think this way.  Most days, I think I do.  It can be a problem.

Wednesday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Before I became Catholic in 2003, I really wrestled with my decision. A wise person that I consulted told me that maybe a way to pray about it would be to pray: “God, if it is your will, increase my desire for it, and if it is not your will, decrease my desire for it.” At the time, that was the exact prayer I needed - and I now realize, it was a version of the line from the Our Father: “Thy will be done!”

Tuesday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Most of the time when I receive an invitation I am just grateful that someone wants to have me over. I look forward to enjoying a meal with them and to spending time with them and perhaps others.

Monday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

There is not in recent memory a time of such discord, factionalism, and disunity in our society. People seem to feel emboldened and even justified in saying and doing the most dreadful things. Oftentimes there doesn't even seem to be an objective other than causing outrage and division. The message in today's Scriptures relates a message that is particularly relevant in these times. It is a message of oneness and wholeness…a message of unity.

Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Here is a tweet from a priest that I follow on twitter: “All liturgy should be celebrated solely by the candlelight of beeswax candles in an enormous, dark church filled with the smoke of incense. All parts should be either chanted loudly and solemnly in Latin or said in such a low voice that no one can hear them.” Here was my reply. “At the Last Supper, on which every Mass is based, none of these eccentricities existed!” What is it about us that we like to take what is accidental to Christianity and bring it center stage? And what is it about us that we take what is center stage of Christianity and relegate it to the boundaries? 

Saturday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Are you familiar with some of the following questions:  Are we there yet?  Is it finally over?  When can we leave? Maybe we have heard a child asking those questions.  Maybe we have asked those questions or similar ones.  Let’s sit with these questions for a little bit as well as St. Paul’s words to the Philippians.

The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed
(All Souls)

Scripture Readings

I sometimes forget how much of an influence my parents, grandparents, and friends have played in my development as a Christian.  It’s often easy for me to overlook the influence of other Christians because that influence is so fundamental to who I have become.  At times like this I realize the importance of having people in my life who serve as role models for the life of faith.  That may be one reason I find myself resonating so much with the scripture readings for today.

Solemnity of All Saints

Scripture Readings

Today is All Saint’s Day.  This has always been one of the most treasured feast days for me.  I remember being in middle school and dressing up as St. Maximillian Kolbe, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Padre Pio.  Every all Saint’s Day, the whole school was a melting pot of St. Lucies, Francises, Elizabeths, Dominics, and Joans of Arc.  The sight of St. Loyola playing tetherball with St. Peter was spectacular. 

Wednesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Of course we know that today is Halloween- I’ll be taking my kids trick-or-treating, and we’ll probably eat copious amounts of candy! Yet today is also the vigil of a very important feast day, All Saints’ Day (November 1st), a day when we remember all those faithful people who have gone before us and who now enjoy heaven and a vision of God. The next day, All Souls’ Day (November 2nd), while not a holy day of obligation, is still an important day of remembering all those who have died, even if they have not yet attained heaven. Indeed, the whole month of November is traditionally a month of remembering our loved ones and others in the church universal who have died.