Total Pageviews

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I too will go and seek the Lord.

"I too will go to seek the LORD."

1 Zec 8:20-23
Thus says the LORD of hosts:
There shall yet come peoples,
the inhabitants of many cities;
and the inhabitants of one city shall approach those of another,
and say, "Come! let us go to implore the favor of the LORD;
and, "I too will go to seek the LORD."
Many peoples and strong nations shall come
to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem
and to implore the favor of the LORD.
Thus says the LORD of hosts:
In those days ten men of every nationality,
speaking different tongues, shall take hold,
yes, take hold of every Jew by the edge of his garment and say,

"Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you."

Father in heaven, bless us. We have heard the word and know our challenge. Let us go forth today as every day and seek the Lord. If we do not seek, we will definitely not find.

Jesus, I pray that I be reminded of your love and may my faithfulness equal that of yours as I walk the streets and paths of your will today. May I be an instrument of your healing and mirror your love in the hearts of your children today. That I seek in your name, amen!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Feast of St. Matthew, evangelist


I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.

Today is the feast day of Matthew, and the gospel gives me time for some reflection. Jesus called Matthew as one of his apostles. He was a tax collector, who was not a person of social status in the Jewish world of Jesus' time.

The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,
"Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
He heard this and said,
"Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words,
I desire mercy, not sacrifice.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."

Well Jesus must have meant all of us, since we are all sinners. It is great to know we are all called by Jesus. And he desires mercy, not sacrifice. This message obviously was aimed at the Pharisees directly, whose hearts were somewhat hardened, and who were rigid, rules oriented and devout Jews. It's easy for me to fall into the same trap, and not follow my call from Jesus every day.

Instead of stopping my blog work and my audio program, I'll continue on and give more reflection to what Christ is asking. As long as I'm able to respond I'll gladly try to do my part, and show mercy to all my brethren. The meaning of that word "mercy" I will try to learn anew and apply it to people that I may find difficult, people who are hostile, indifferent, admirable, or faithful. Christ did not make any exceptions, and he did not with me. Thank you for your faithful listing of the daily mass readings which often are of great comfort and inspiration!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

"My friend, I am not cheating you. "

Mt 20 1:16
In today's Gospel, Jesus tells of the parable of the landowner, his vineyard, and the laborers whom he selected to work. Some of the workers were found at 9:00 in the morning. There were more each time the landowner went to the marketplace, at noon, at 3:00, and at 5:00. He hired them all to work in the vineyard. When the day was over, they were all paid the same. The ones who had labored all day however, complained that they had been paid the same as the ones who started at 5:00.

The landowner, in the parable, replied, "My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?" I think this parable is a stumper when we think of it at face value. Surely it was not fair that the laborers who started at 5:00 should be paid the same as those who started at 9:00. Jesus taught that, like the landowner who is free to do with his own money what he likes, so God is free to dispense of his love.

Certainly, a parable is not a lesson that is taken at face value at all. The message I took from this is that God's love is not scrutinized for its fairness. If fairness were the test, then most of us would be unfit to be loved by God, because of our sins. Now as in Jesus' time, the world has many temptations. Many souls are not saved because they have not heard the Word. Others have heard but not listened. All are still loved by God and whether we repent at the 11th hour, or are faithful throughout our lives, we all share in the treasure of God's love, his protection, and his favor. We are called to believe in Him and follow his word. Let us be the laborer who was chosen at 9:00. It is our choice to select the Kingdom of God, or the vicissitudes of our earthly dwelling place. Let us have all day to receive the grace of God, and have the time to spread the Word through our prayers and our actions. Let us pray that others will receive their call at noon, at 3:00, or even at 5:00. From the word of God, we learn that it is never too late to ask for God's forgiveness and to believe in him. Now we should go and sin no more. Amen!

Friday, September 16, 2011


Communion: antithesis of alienation

We live in a society with many paradoxes. I'm thankful that Jesus Christ came and brought us the sacrament of Communion. In so doing he really shared His vital nature, his body and blood, and established His new covenant. The operant word was "share." Take this and eat.

Contrast these sentiments with the situation of many of our brethren who are the unfortunate, forgotten, left behind. For obvious or hidden reasons that vary from one case to another, there are many people who do not share at the table of Our Lord. Perhaps they have been in prison. Maybe they have contracted an infectious condition that requires them to be separated or aloof. Due to depression, anxiety, or paranoia, they may shun the company of others.

These brethren are alienated in the here and now, but are not forgotten by Christ. As God's children we are asked to extend a helping hand. Whatsoever we do for the least of my people, that you do unto Me.

Matthew 25: 35-40 "‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ "

Before coming to the Lord's Table at Mass and receiving the Holy Eucharist, a candidate for Catholic initiation would have to go through a formal process. However, they can be welcomed into the community in fellowship, love and service before they even know that their brother is working to serve the Lord. Will I answer my call to serve?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Good fruit

Gospel Lk 6:43-49
Jesus said to his disciples:
"A good tree does not bear rotten fruit,
nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit.
For every tree is known by its own fruit.
For people do not pick figs from thornbushes,
nor do they gather grapes from brambles.
A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good,
but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil;
for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.

Today's readings are very good and suitable for Sunday readings, in my opinion, being clear and inspiring. In Jesus' day, as well as today, it was important to make a distinction between good and evil emanating from our brethren, and to know why. This enables us to use our influence to hopefully fight the evil when possible. Leading by example is always called for. The sinners, myself included, are the children of God that Jesus came to save. Surely a Christian would not fail to try to win their hearts, as impossible a task as it may be.

The good person, who is identified as the good tree, bearing good fruit, is a joy to behold. They are our leaders, our hope and Godly examples. Thank you Lord for these brothers and sisters in Christ that you have given us. May I gain strength from their example and in turn give witness to your teachings so that others can follow in your path.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Blind leading the blind?

Gospel Lk 6:39-42

Jesus told his disciples a parable:
"Can a blind person guide a blind person?
Will not both fall into a pit?
No disciple is superior to the teacher;
but when fully trained,
every disciple will be like his teacher.

In this passage, I'm reminded of the need for direction from the teacher. In my case I consider all my Catholic resources to be a collective "teacher, " foremost of which is Christ in the gospel. In turn I would like to help bring new vision and hope to others who may be in need. Further in the gospel is the metaphor of the "plank in your own eye." This reminds me of the need to avoid judgment in my fellow man especially in light of my own sinfulness.

One of the greatest instruments of vision in today's techologic society is of course the internet. I have been impressed with the way in which God's work can be facilitated with this tool. Bible passages are only a few search terms away. Organizations have found ways to reach out with their websites. In my case, I have been blessed and greatly enriched by developing this blog and the accompanying weekly audio session. Unfortunately I was not pleased with the quality of yesterday's podcast and I was going to rerecord it. Instead, I'll develop a better podcast for next week. By better I mean, better transitions, use of music, and other features as well as greater insight on my part and methods of transmitting the full excitement, glory and praise of Jesus Christ. That way He can become real in my life and that of any listeners and readers of the blog.

Pope Benedict XVI has commented on the need for acknowledgment of Jesus' presence in our lives and of His reality. May I become a humble channel for this great goal and may we, God's children, praise Him for His goodness and thank Him for our many blessings.

A glorious way to praise God is by praying the Rosary. The recitation is explained on a sheet that is in the public domain, found at this link. I have only recently revived this prayer for myself and find great moments of peace and spiritual communion with these prayers, and encourage you to rediscover them as well. God bless!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

If your brother sins against you

painting of Lois Fisher, available in New York

Mt18: 15-20, Gospel for Sunday, 9/4/2011

Jesus taught his disciples how to correct their brother in Christ when he had sinned against them. He instructed, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. an example could be, a brother stealing, gossiping, taking some kind of advantage. That would constitute a sin "against you." Other steps may have to be taken if he does not listen, up to the point of shunning the brother "as you would a Gentile or tax collector." (see my edit, below). These instructions were given to help the disciples practice the love and respect of one another that Jesus had taught, instead of seeking retribution for wrongs committed.

In our modern world, we still would do well to follow this advice with patient correction. I think that, overall, we are living in a very favorable time, in which the justice system of the secular world really can handle most disagreements that would fall under the category of sinning against each other.

What is assumed, and forms a very powerful underpinning, is the concept of forgiveness. The rebuke that Jesus taught is a part of Christian forgiveness because we are all students. We need to learn how to love each other and need the party that was wronged to confront the sinner with discipline and love.

Next comes forgiveness, in which the sinner is brought back into the fold after they have repented. Jesus showed us how to forgive and suffered, died and rose for our sins. I feel fortunate to have been brought up in a Catholic home where the lessons of the Gospel were incorporated into my daily life. I appreciate today's Gospel which reminds me of the love that can be expressed for my brethren in the context of sin and conflict. When things are going well, we might lose track of the potential for us to disagree, and to hurt each other. May God bless me with wisdom to serve my fellow men better. Amen.

edit: At Mass today Father Joe made an outstanding conclusion during his homily: Jesus did not actually shun the tax collectors and Gentiles. He ate with them, spent time with them. Taught them. Father Joe suggested that Jesus meant to imply: "Treat them specially. They are hurting." That is one of the most charitable and Christ-like scripture interpretations that I'd heard. Thanks Father Joe!