We need to be on fire!

 

Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Amos 6:1, 4-7

I Timothy 6:11-16

Luke 16:19-31

Spiritual complacency is wrong; it may even be a sin! Spiritual complacency happens anytime we fail to give God glory and praise for all of our blessings in our lives. Anytime we think only of ourselves, and not of God; we fall into complacency and are not living a Godly life! Here is a test. How many times this past week did we say to ourselves, “I do not feel like doing that?” Our readings are given to us to shake us out of our complacency. 

In our first reading the prophet Amos gives strong words, as he says, “Woe to the complacent in Zion.” He is not talking to just a few, he is talking to a whole nation of people. The people in the Northern Kingdom were experiencing great wealth, and they thought because they were God’s people they deserved their wealth. Amos warns them they are going down the wrong path. 

In our Gospel, we heard a parable of a wealthy man who wears fine garments and eats well every day. However, lying outside his door to his home is a poor man named Lazarus. This is the only time in all of the parables, that Jesus gives a name to someone. The name “Lazarus” means “God has helped.” Jesus thinks very highly of this Lazarus. Both men die; Lazarus gets carried to heaven by angels, while the rich man goes to hades. Now the lives of the rich man and the life of Lazarus are switched. While Lazarus was on earth, he was so crippled he could not even stop the dogs from licking his sores. However, in heaven it shows that he really had God in his heart, and never became complacent, and he never complained, and he won his eternal reward. The rich man wasted his life by being complacent and relying on his wealth, and could not even bother with Lazarus at his door. The meaning of the parable is not about if we are wealthy or poor. The meaning to the parable is are we attentive the movement of God or are we complacent in our faith.  

The problem with the parable that I see, is I want to be Lazarus, when I am honest, I am really the rich man. To shake us from our complacency, we can use the simple principle of D.O.O.R.. The letter ‘D” is to delight in God’s word, and in prayer, to God every day. The first “O” is to be open to daily examining our lives, and reviewing how we are doing. The second “O” is to offer ourselves to God in receiving the sacrament of reconciliation as often as we need it. The “R,” is to run our race of faith to win. When we get tired, to find another breath to keep going. 

The Eucharist is shared with us today to shake us from our complacency, because God is giving everything, we need. Wow!

When is it time to come to know Christ?

 

Friday of the 25th Week

Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

Luke 9:18-22

All School Mass

When is it time for the school day to begin? When is it time to eat lunch? When is it time for the school day to be over today? Our readings are about our use of time! 

In our first reading from Ecclesiastes, the writer is answering the question, “When is it time for God to act?” The writer answers the question simply by saying, “There are all times in the day that God acts in our lives. It is up to us to see and to know that God is acting.” Is God acting right now? 

In our Gospel, Jesus wants to know, “When is it time for his disciples to know who he is? So he turns to Peter and asked, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter responds with, “You are the Christ of God.” Peter and the others would have their lives forever changed as time passed by coming to know who Jesus was to them in their lives. 

When is it time for us to deepen our understanding of who Jesus is? The answer is right now in this Eucharist! This is the most special time of the day. We need to know who Jesus is in our lives, because we need our lives to change. If we only teach you to be smart, which all of you are, and will be smarter by the end of the school year, we have failed! We need you to be people of great faith, to go out and do what you can to change the world around you. 

In this Eucharist, may we be grateful for our gift of time to come to know Jesus Christ, may it reach, deep down, in our hearts and souls, to help us follow him more closely.

What is new?

 

Thursday of the 25th Week

Ecclesiastes 1:2-11

Luke 9:7-9

So what is new? Sometimes, I do not like when people ask me that question, but there are times, I say, the same question. Our readings ask, “What is new?” 

In today’s reading from Ecclesiastes, Qoheleth observes no matter where we look, no matter what we do, there is nothing new, everything is always the same. By his line of thought there is no meaning to life because it is all vanity all things are vanity, there is nothing new under the sun. Sort of a Debby downer reading!  

Our Gospel today, is very early in the life and mission of Jesus. Herod has been hearing all these great and wonderful things that are brand new about Jesus and Herod is perplexed about who this Jesus is. I get a sense that Herod is not only trying to figure out what is new with this Jesus, but he is also trying to figure out what is new in his own life. 

My friends in Christ, if we are like Qoheleth, where there is nothing new, all is vanity, then there is no reason to get out of bed. If we are like Herod, eventually, he would see with his own eyes, all that is new with this Jesus Christ, but it would not change his life. 

As we gather, everything becomes new in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has come to save us! We have doubts and fears, cast them to Jesus, and he will be at our side. Not sure what to do? Then run to Jesus, and he will lift us up, and make us new!

 

 

We work for God!

Friday of the 24th Week

Feast of St. Matthew

Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13

Matthew 9: 9-13

What a wonderful feast day today in the Feast Day of St. Matthew, happy feast day to anyone with the name of Matthew. Some wonderful things are happening in our readings. 

In our Gospel, Jesus is very brave to go right up to a tax collector and speak to him. Tax collectors in the time of Jesus were really thugs, they would use any means to collect taxes. Jesus says, “Follow me” and the guy does. This man, named Matthew, drops everything, his good-paying job, the power, the prestige and follows Jesus. Try going up to anyone today with the same amount of power and money and say, “Follow me, to Jesus Christ” and see what that will get you? However, for whatever reason, Matthew, leaves his whole lifestyle behind and follows Jesus. 

The next scene is Jesus at the home of Matthew. In ancient times to share a meal with someone implies an oneness with the person. Matthew is really having two banquets, one with Jesus in his home and one in his heart giving him his total life. Matthew is now working for God. He is no longer worried about money or benefits; he is putting his whole heart into being a disciple for Christ. 

This is the gift Matthew gives us, to do the very same thing, to work for God. Students! You need to be doing your very best, because you are working for God! If we are still working, we need to be doing our best because we are working for God. If we are retired, you still have to be living, doing your best, because you are working for God. When we work for God, it is as if we are getting paid a $10,000, an hour, because we are getting eternal life. 

The writer of Ephesians tells us why, because “Some of us will be called to be Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers” and we need to do our best, because we are working for God, to build up the body of Christ.   

As St. Matthew left his mark on the early the church, we gather this day, as we hear Jesus say to us, “Follow me!” May we do our very best, knowing we are working for God.

 

God’s Word challeges us!

 

Tuesday Twenty – Fifth Week Ordinary Time

St. Andrew Kim a priest, St. Paul, a layman, and Companions

Proverbs 21:1-6, 10-13

Luke 8:19-21

 

I overheard someone yesterday say, “I do not go to Church anymore, because I have not found a Church that challenges me enough.” My initial thought was, ‘God’s Word by its very essence is challenging enough.’ Maybe this person should hear God’s Word today in our beautiful church! 

Our first reading from Proverbs, is very challenging as we hear, “All the ways of a man may be right in his own eyes, but it is the Lord, who proves the heart.” We are only as holy as our last secret. 

In our gospel, Jesus says something rather challenging words when his mother and others come to see him. Jesus says, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”  What Jesus is challenging us to believe is how we define who is our family. Family is no longer those people intimately connected by blood ties. Family consists of anyone who hears the word of God and acts on it. Family is more about faith than blood; he is taking it to a whole new level. All of us here are a family, as we leave today, all that we will see, are family, and we are all part of the family of Christ. 

St. Andrew Kim a priest, St. Paul, a layman, and Companions, knew the Word of God to be very challenging, and it cost them their lives. Their deaths, lead to the explosion of the gospel message in Korea. 

The Eucharist we share gives us the strength to live the challenging words of Jesus Christ. May we do what God is asking of us to do.

 

 

Give our lives to Christ

 

Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Amos 8:4-7

I Timothy 2:1-8

Luke 16: 1-13

What are some things that we are passionate about doing? What are some things that we love to do, and desire to do? Even with the most basic of things that we all have to do, such as eat and sleep, we have choices of our passions within these things. We can choose with great passion what to eat, or what kind of mattress to sleep on. A simple little test to do to see what we are passionate about is see what we changed on our agenda this past week to make sure we did what we wanted. Ex. Exercise or reading.

Our readings bring to another passion and that is how passionate are we to give our lives to Christ? How much are we really willing to give all of our desires to Jesus Christ? Proof of this passion would be how willing were we to spend time in prayer. How passionate were we this past week to die to ourselves, in service to others? Our readings speak about being passionate for Christ. 

The prophet Amos is very concerned with the passions of God’s people and where they were doing. What the prophet is observing, is the people are keeping all their religious obligations, but they are only doing them because they are “obligations.” The people are standing at the doors, ready to leave early, so they can go to their real desires of making money, and cheating the poor. How many of us do the very same thing, “Oh, I have to go to mass, but I can leave early and meet you there!” Amos warns them and us, “God will not forget what you have done!”   

In our second reading, Timothy is saying, “There is one God, and one mediator between God and us, and that is Jesus Christ.” Now give your life to him. 

Did anyone understand the Gospel? I did not the first time I read it! It sounds as though Jesus is praising the steward for being dishonest and cheating his employer. Praise be to Jesus, he is not saying this! What Jesus is praising, is the stewards desire, to commit himself totally to something! Jesus wants his disciples to make ever desire his, because being a disciple it not a part-time position. The closing lines tells it all, “You cannot serve two masters!”  

My friends in Christ, as we gather in our beautiful church, we need to make all of our desires are about Jesus Christ. We will live that this week, mostly through seemingly small opportunities. Not many of us, will end a war, dine with elected officials, convert a nation, or be burned at the stake. Our desires for Christ will more likely be lived out by, visiting someone in need, helping a neighbor, paying more attention to our spouse, or to our children, or teaching religion class.   

We can do more this week? Let’s give ourselves right now to Christ, as he gives himself to us in this Eucharist.

 

We are the Good News in Christ!

 

Friday Twenty – Fourth Week of Ordinary Time

I Corinthians 15:12-20

Luke 8:1-3

All School Mass

 

I know why I am wearing red, for the saints we honor, but why are so many of you wearing pink today? 

What is the Pink Arrow Game all about? 

How did we learn of this event? 

There is another message that will require a change in us, and this message needs to get out. It is the message of Jesus Christ, and it will require for us to change our lives, and for us to spread this Good News from one place to another. 

In our Gospel, we heard of all kinds of people who had their lives changed because of Jesus Christ, and now they are following him around and giving their very selves, in making sure this message gets out. 

What I think is amazing, is Jesus Christ could do miracles, heal people, give the best homilies, he could virtually do anything, yet he decided he needed others to help him get his message out. Here we are now taking our place, among those we have been chosen some 2000 years later, and over 1000 miles away from where the message began, and we now need to do our part. 

The Eucharist is offered to us to strengthen us to live for Jesus today!