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Tuesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Very simply put, from the tiniest of cells grows an embryo, from the smallest embryo grows a baby, and from the littlest, vulnerable baby grows an adult, maybe 5 or 6 feet tall, sometimes taller! As I reflected on today’s Gospel reading from Luke (13:18-21) – the parables of the mustard seed and the yeast – I thought of how my once very small baby boys are now taller than their Dad and I, and possibly still growing. We could not perceptibly see them growing, yet little by little, day by day, month by month, year by year, they have grown. Yes, there have been mornings when one of them would come down for breakfast and, standing next to me in the kitchen, I would swear he had grown overnight. But mostly, somehow, it happened gradually without our daily awareness. This, I think, is kind of how God’s Kingdom grows.

Monday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

I have the incredible blessing of being able to watch my 3 grandchildren on a regular basis.  Although I am exhausted at the end of the day, one thing that I have noticed about children is how they live in the present moment.  Today’s first reading and responsorial psalm encourage us to “Behave like God as his very dear children.”  If God is love, then I think one of the best ways that we can act like children of God, is to live in love in every moment.

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Right after I was ordained in 1994, India’s corporate sector was introduced to a very influential and effective thinker, Stephen Covey. Many of us as priests also read his very popular book, The7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This book sold more than 20 million copies in fourty languages. In 1996, Dr. Covey was recognized as one of Time magazine's 25 Most Influential Americans and in 2002, Forbes named The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People one of the 10 most influential management books ever written.Stephen Covey died last July  but continues to influence the management world. I for one was a Stephen Covey’s fan. One reason for this was that he gave new insights into my own following of Jesus. Here is one statement that influenced my discipleship: “There is no involvement without commitment.” For example, my priesthood require both commitment and involvement. What would my priesthood look like it I was not committed? What would the celebration of this Eucharist look like if I was not involved?  Whether it is marriage, friendship, work or sports or the following of Christ, there is no involvement without commitment and there is not commitment without involvement. 

Saturday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Besides maybe jousting or hurling (hurling not curling), Lacrosse is my favorite sport.  If you are unfamiliar with it, in either its guys or girls version, I recommend learning about it.  It has historical roots back to Native Americans.  It is fast paced and high scoring.  My keenness for Lacrosse comes from my upbringing in Maryland, where it is our ‘state team sport,’ and my experience playing in high school.  Well, playing might be too generous.  I practiced lacrosse but seldom played.  I suppose you could say I was a bench-warmer, though I was more of a bench shouter.  I embraced that my role as bench-warmer also made me our team’s unofficial cheerleader.  I might not have been playing, but I still had something to contribute.  This is the message we find in the second half of our first reading.

Friday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

We seem to be a nation of advice-seekers.  Advice columnists in the newspapers thrive on dispensing advice to letter writers.  Teenagers and young adults text each other asking for up-to-the-minute advice.  Self help books remain a top selling genre at bookstores. 

Thursday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

It’s been said that to be strong in any way, we must first be strong in heart.  Whether we seek physical strength, endurance, financial strength, knowledge, wisdom, or perseverance, we must first have the “strength of the inner self” that Paul writes about.  Without the heart to keep at it, we never develop any other strength.  So what does it take to develop a strong heart?  Is it knowledge?  Is it a problem to be figured out and solved?  Paul prays to God to send us what we need: Love. 

Wednesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

In our day, almost no one has personal servants though that was once commonplace, even in middle class America. Many households had at least one maid or a cook or a helper who stopped by a few days a week. These days, we have restaurants, cleaning agencies, daycares, and other institutions, to provide those kinds of services. These days, American workers don’t have “masters” but rather bosses and managers and managerial systems. I mention that because today’s gospel (Luke 12:39-48) definitely requires a bit of reflection and interpretation for our culture.

Tuesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

In the text from Luke for today, we are told that blessed are those “whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.” Heeding this beatitude, we are called to be on watch, ready, waiting for Jesus’ return. But what does that mean?

Monday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

What images come to mind when you think of 'belonging'? Is it family and friends? Social groups, neighborhood, or geographical location? Church community? We can all identify with these (and countless others) in varying degrees. However, today's Scriptures tell us, in several ways, to Whom we truly belong…and it is God.

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

If a Christian does not look different than those who are worldly, then what is the point in being a Christian? What good does it serve to be Christian by name? To what purpose then, was the death of Jesus Christ? 

I have titled this homily, “But It shall not be so among you.” Today’s gospel reading reveals the internal power struggle among Jesus’ disciples. James and John beat the other disciples in asking Jesus if in his Glory they could sit one at his right and the other at his left. Mark tells us that when the other disciples heard this, they got indignant at James and John. Perhaps, this may have been because each of them either nurtured the same ambition or because they felt upstaged by the two brothers. Either way, Jesus’ response swift and categorical. “But it shall not be so among you” (Mk 10: 43). 

Saturday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

My oldest sister is a religious sister with the Nashville Dominicans.  Her state of life has humbled me, guided me, and even perplexed me.  I experienced disbelief one day as she explained how we would be communicating once she entered.  She told me that texting, phone calls, and emails were out unless it was an emergency. Instead we’d be writing letters; real, snail mail letters.  Now, I don’t write many letters.  I write emails, send text messages, and keep up with Facebook messages but don’t really write letters and unfortunately I haven't gotten much better just because she is a sister.  Then, as I read today’s first reading, I was convicted by how Paul wrote and how I write. 

Memorial of Saints John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests, and Companions, Martyrs

Scripture Readings

Occasionally, I take the time to make bread or beer, both of which use yeast as a leaven. Leaven is mentioned in today’s Gospel (Luke 12:1-7) and the concept is important for understanding today’s scriptures, as well as for understanding our own spiritual lives.    

Feast of St. Luke, Evangelist

Scripture Readings

Many times I am privileged to pray with some of the sickest people in the hospital.  Recently, I when I went to pray I asked the patient what we they would like to pray for, they replied, pray I get to meet Jesus soon.  They said it with a smile on their face.  This person was truly at peace.  A peace that knows that they are a child of God, and that God is their savior. A peace like that was bestowed by the seventy-two disciples Jesus sent forth ahead of him.  Disciples that were sent forth to proclaim the Kingdom.

Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr

Scripture Readings

I do the grocery shopping once a week, on Saturday. Somehow over the years, the way we’ve found for making our family life work involves making a menu of the week’s recipes, writing out all the ingredients we don’t have, adding to that any lunch box items, and random household items, and stuff that the kids need for school.

Tuesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

I’m feeling a little bit like one of the Pharisees Jesus is denouncing in today’s gospel passage from Luke. Having harbored judgmental thoughts about my spouse earlier in the day related to a calendar error on his part, while priding myself on being nearly perfect in the area of calendars and planning, I sat down to write this reflection. I began as I usually do with reading the scriptures for the day and doing a little research in a study bible, as well as taking some time for prayerful reflection and note taking before beginning to write. After some time, I felt inspired, had some notes, and began to type my reflection. Then it suddenly hit me. I had just prepared for the wrong day.

Memorial of Saint Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church

Scripture Readings

As I read today’s gospel, it seems easy to question how the people of Jesus day could be so blind to the signs all around them.  And yet, as I think about this situation, I wonder how our generation will be viewed by future people.  I wonder if our lack of regard for others, creation, and even God will be signs of our times that others find hard to understand.

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

From the time I began to read the lives of saints in the seminary, I have come to admire many of them. Francis of Assisi and Teresa of Avila were among some of my favorites. However, my hero all through seminary was not a canonized saint - Archbishop Oscar Romero. That changed today. Nov 14, 2018 will remain and red-letter day in my priestly life. After 35 years of anticipation, today, Archbishop Oscar Romero was canonized by Pope Francis.  

Saturday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

As far back as I can remember I had a love-hate relationship with buying brand name stuff.  I knew it was important to some people whether your shirt had a little bird on it or if your brown cola was actually made by Coke or Pepsi.  Now that I am older, I only wear name brands if they come from the thrift store (I’m doing what I can to rock my dad-style).  However, I find myself torn about brand names when I get sent on food retrieval missions (aka grocery store runs).  I also struggle with what brand is better when buying tools and the like.  And I am persnickety about my paint brushes. I’m sure I’m not the only who struggles with the question “In what should I clothe myself?”  Our first reading gives us the answer.

Friday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Sometimes it feels like we American Catholics are more scattered than gathered, to use the words from today’s Gospel (Luke 11:15-26). US Catholics are scattered on a variety of things, especially relating to American politics: economy, immigration laws, abortion. These are all also key aspects of our faith and therefore important topics for discussion: ultimately the point of such discussion is to try to understand our faith better and to help each other live better lives.

Thursday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

It’s not often that we see the humanity of the biblical writers, but we certainly see it today.  Paul calls the Galatians “stupid,” and Jesus calls his audience “wicked.”  Do you ever get tired of the world’s resistance to our best efforts to do good?  St. Paul certainly did.  Are you ever amazed at the inability of your fellow men and women do to good and avoid evil?  Jesus was amazed and frustrated as well.  But perhaps for you the opposite is true.  Are you even amazed at your own wickedness?  Or brought low because of your inability to fully understand the gospel?