Wednesday Twenty – Seven Week Ordinary Time
When we look into a mirror who and what do we see? When we look into our heart right now what are we feeling? I know it is early but what story does our face and heart tell this day? Our readings have a big story to tell us today.
In our Gospel, Jesus teaches his disciples to pray. The first thing he says that is very important. Jesus says, “Pray knowing that God will give you what you need today.” If I prayed knowing God will give me what I need today, my life would be different. Then Jesus says, “Pray that God only forgives us as we are willing to forgive someone who has hurt us.” Knowing that God is taking care of us, and that we are only going to be forgiven as we forgive is a life-changing statement.
In our first reading, Jonah knows nothing of what Jesus is talking about and he lives in his misery. Jonah has run away from God because he did not want to go to Nineveh, he finally goes after being swallowed by a whale. He does give the message to the people somewhat reluctantly, and now he is mad at God for relenting his punishment. In his anger, he goes out into the desert where he lays down, and God provides him shade from a plant that grows. The next day when the plant dies, Jonah is mad once again at God for not showing him more mercy. The story ends right here, and we do not get how Jonah lived the rest of his life. Did he stay angry, or did he come to know the love and mercy of God?
So, what do we see on our face and what do we feel in our hearts by what we hear from God this day. May we rest in God’s care and mercy.
Tuesday Twenty – Seventh Week Ordinary Time
Those boxelder bugs are relentless; they are everywhere. The last two weeks they have been all over the church, and now they are all over the rectory. On Sunday when I went back to the rectory after masses and baptisms, there had to be hundreds of those buggers all over the rectory door. As I went in the rectory, some of them fell on me, and I had to shake them off before entering. Those bugs are everywhere, sort of like God’s love, mercy, and abundance we hear about in our readings today.
In our first reading, this is Jonah’s second time of being told to go to the city of Nineveh. Jonah now goes and tells the people, “Forty days more, and you will be destroyed,” and the people repent from their sinfulness. Jonah had only gone one day of what was to be a three-day trip, and the people along with the king proclaim a fast, they pray, and they put on sackcloth. The success of the prophet Jonah is not dependent on him but God’s great love and mercy.
In our Gospel, we heard the famous story of Jesus coming to the home of Martha and Mary. Mary sits at the feet of Jesus, as Martha does all the chores to prepare for their guest. Martha is disturbed because Mary is violating an important rule of hospitality. Women never entertained men when they come to visit; there was to be no conversation between Mary and Jesus. Mary has shamed the family by assuming the role of the man of the house. Martha would expect Jesus to reprimand Mary for such conduct. How could Mary have chosen the better thing to do? Nothing whatsoever prohibits the Lord from getting to us.
Our readings bring us to contemplate God’s abundant goodness for us. There is nothing that can keep God’s goodness and mercy from us. May we in this Eucharist draw closer to God.
Twenty – Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time
Matthew 21: 33 – 43
I am still reeling and disturbed by the killings and those who were wounded in Las Vegas last Sunday evening. As more information has been told I ask myself, “What is happening to our country? What is going on in the minds and hearts of people? All these natural disasters and man-made disasters ask, “Lord, where are you in all of this? I thought you were in control?” Our readings today I believe are perfect for us, for the readings ask of us, “Who is in control of our lives
In our first reading, a farmer has a vineyard, and he is in control of spading, planting, water, fertilizing and growing the vineyard. When harvest time came, the vineyard only produced wild grapes. The farmer asks, “What more could I have done?” Was there something out of his control, something that was deep down in the plant that the farmer could not see that the vines only produced wild grapes? We are that vineyard, what is in our hearts this day? Are we squandering God’s love and care and only producing wild grapes?
In our Gospel, Jesus tells of another vineyard when at harvest time the owner of the vineyard sent his servants to collect the harvest, but the tenant farmers beat some servants, stoned others and killed the rest. When the owner sends his son, they grab him and kill him. The tenant farmers are sending a strong message to the owner, “We do not need you, and even though you trusted us to work the vineyard and you have been paying us to work, we want it all, and we want to take control.” Here is where things get hard for us who hear this parable. How do we control our lives in such a way as to not allow God to come in and work?
The Good News comes in the wonderful words of St. Paul who is in prison. He has learned a very valuable lesson, and that is he is not in control. There is nothing that he can do to free himself, and all he can do is contemplate where God is in his life and how God has blessed him and how God is with him in prison. Paul is overwhelmed with peace, imagine that, in prison, little to eat, cold and dark, and Paul is the happiest and at the most peace that he has ever been in his lifetime? Paul shares what he knows so everyone will be able to do and know what he knows, and he says, “Have no anxiety!” Easy for you to say! “In everything take things to prayer, petition, and give thanks to God.” Peace will come as a result of all of this.
My friends in Christ, there will always be things we have to control, but in our spiritual lives we need to learn to let God take control and follow where he leads us. When things seem like they are falling apart do not give up, do not be discouraged, to be people of hope. To make the world a better place it needs to begin with us. We need to say to God, “What more can I do to let you take control.”
Friday Twenty-Sixth week in Ordinary Time
Pick three students, put them in a single line, spacing them apart, down the middle aisle using the whole aisle.
Have the student closes to me roll the ball to me. Have the student in the middle roll the ball to me, and then have the student farthest away roll the ball to me.
Ask: Why was the first person able to roll the ball to me?
Was the second person able to roll the ball to me? Why?
Why was the last person not able to roll the ball to me?
Some made it to the “Mark,” and some missed the “Mark.”
Our readings today are about missing the mark.
In our first reading the prophet Baruch is telling the people, they missed the mark, of the Lord God because of their sinfulness.
In our Gospel, Jesus is telling the Jewish towns Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum they have missed the mark by not listening to him.
We need to stay close to Jesus, so we do not miss him. When we do not listen to him, or when we disobey him, or when we do bad things to other people it is like being far away from Jesus.
We gather in this Eucharist and in our Catholic School to learn that we are not to miss the mark of Jesus Christ in our lives. It is here we are instructed how to live, may we always find our way to Jesus.
Thursday Twenty-Sixth Week Ordinary Time
Our readings speak to us about joy and having enthusiasm for the God’s word. We all prayed the Psalm responds, “The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.” Do we believe and live this today?
What is happening in our first reading is that the captives held in Persia have been set free and are returning to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. When the Jewish people arrive, back to Jerusalem, they find the city in great ruin. Nehemiah is made the governor because he has great enthusiasm for rebuilding the city. During the rebuilding, the people find a lost copy of the Word of God and Nehemiah has Ezra the high priest read it to the people. The people upon hearing the Word of God begin to cry and weep, but Nehemiah tells them to rejoice and be glad because the Word of God is their strength.
In our Gospel, Jesus sends 72 disciples ahead of him to preach the Word of God to those cities and villages before he arrives. It would be so much easier to go alongside Jesus or after he had been to these cities and villages. It is not what the disciples do not bring, sandals, bag, food, but what they do bring, there enthusiasm and joy for the Word of God. The message is to be the same, the kingdom of God is at hand. They are not to judge people not matter if they are accepted or rejected. They go with great enthusiasm for the Lord.
How will the joy of the gospel fill our lives today? Who might benefit from us living the Gospel with joy today?
Wednesday of the 26th week ordinary time
Luke 9: 57 – 62
I may be going through a bit of a mid-life crisis because I am asking a lot of question about myself. In High School, I did a similar search of myself but it was more general, this time it is much more personal. I love my priesthood, so my questions are all related to “Who am I before God and others?” Our readings today are all about people searching for what gives them meaning in life.
In our first reading, Nehemiah’s heart and soul are back in Jerusalem that lies in ruins. Nehemiah is a Jewish man working in captivity as the king’s cup-bearer. Nehemiah is searching for the right words to say so he seeks the counsel of the Lord. The king realizes the sadness in Nehemiah and he allows him to return to Jerusalem.
If you are having a mid-life crisis, the Gospel will be even more of a crisis as we hear the demand that Jesus makes to us on how he wants us to follow him. The words of Jesus are very demanding as he says we are to leave behind everything to follow him. Think of the person we love the most; we are to love Jesus more than that person. Jesus is to be the number one person in our lives.
St. Francis is a very good example for us as of what we are to do. Francis gave everything back to his father and began to follow Christ in a deep and personal way. May we turn back or may we move forward to make Christ more of our life this day.