To love in a radical way!

Wednesday of the 31st Week

Romans 13:8-10

Luke 14:25-33

 

Is anyone else having trouble with the switch in time with the Daylight Savings time? I wake up six days a week at 4:45, and on Sunday, I was looking forward to the extra hour of sleep. I woke up at 3:45 wide awake. On Monday, my day off, I woke up at 6:00, I normally would of woken up at 7:00 am. Tuesday morning was the worst with me again waking up at 3:45 and not being able to fall back asleep. I need for my whole system to have a radical change. Our readings are also calling for us to make a radical change.

 

In our first reading, St. Paul reminds us there is one thing we are called to do, and that is to love one another. St. Paul is encouraging us to love in a radical new way, like we may have never before!

 

We need to hear our Gospel today in light of the whole Gospel message that Jesus spoke, which is, “We are to love the Lord our God with our whole heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves.” In our Gospel today, Jesus says, “We are to hate our father, mother, spouse, brother, and sister and our very lives. The word “hate” in this context is not the anger that wells up inside us, and we explode. Rather, hate in this context means to distant oneself away from whatever leads one to sin. Jesus is saying to hate another is not about rejecting another but to reorder our relationships! There can be no relationship above our relationship with Jesus Christ. If we truly loved God as we should, then our relationship with our spouse, our children, our friends, and our loved ones will be radically different.

 

How will love of God dominate our lives this day? The Eucharist we share is given to us to know of the radical love that God has for us. May we be willing to love others in a radical way!

We need to RSVP!

Tuesday of the 31st Week

Ordinary Time

Romans 12: 5-16

Luke 14:15-24

 

On Sunday evening, there are five us who have a standing invitation to gather for dinner. It begins with me sending out a text Sunday morning checking availability of everyone, and we meet at the same place at the same time on Sunday evenings. We have our own booth, and all the wait staff knows us. It is the best way to end a busy weekend as we all work for the Church in some way, and we have great conversation and lots of laughter. Our readings today are standing invitation to hear God’s voice calling us to holiness and faithfulness.

 

In our first reading, is an invitation from St. Paul to live in a certain way as to ensure that our lives are centered on God. There are some 20 invitations for us to follow, and it may be good to go back and meditate on some of these as we go through-out our day. As we heard this reading, we may ask ourselves, “Am I using my gifts for the building up of the Kingdom of God here at Holy Spirit Parish?”

 

In our Gospel, Jesus tells of a parable of a man who invites all his intended guests to dine with him, but one has a field to inspect, another has oxen to inspect, and the last one just got married, and they all excuses themselves from the banquet. These are all legitimate reasons, but the point is still taken that God wants our priority to be on him. The man sends his servant out again, inviting all the poor and the downtrodden to come to his banquet.

 

What is distracting us from our spiritual lives? Jesus is asking of us a full single-minded commitment to him. May we know that in this Eucharist, God is calling us to a fuller participation with him. May we send in our RSVP?

 

 

 

Are we small in spiritual stature?

Thirty – First Sunday

Wisdom 11:22-12

II Thessalonians 1:11-2:2

Luke 19:1-10

 

Our Gospel is my favorite passage in all of sacred scripture as we hear about a man named Zacchaeus. One of the first things we are told about him is he is short in stature. Bingo! Oh, how I wish I could be six foot tall! Why did platform shoes go out of style? However, there is so much more to the story than Zacchaeus being small in stature. He is also small in his spiritual condition, and it is a condition that affects us all.

                   

How have we experienced being short in spiritual stature? Here are some spiritual questions to reflect on. Have you ever felt small and insignificant, ignored, or of little importance? Have you ever felt as if you don’t measure up? Have you ever felt powerless and overwhelmed? Are you constantly trying to prove your worth to our self, others, or God?

 

I, too, know what it feels like to be small, not only in stature but in my spiritual life. There are many days; I am overwhelmed, uncertain, and small in stature, and all I want to do is run away and hide. If I have any chance of overcoming my feeling of being short in stature, I must stand and make myself available to God. 

 

I love Zacchaeus because he has so much to teach us. We know that Zacchaeus is short, and with the large crowd, he knew there was no way he was going to get a good look at Jesus, so he climbs a tree. Everyone could see Zacchaeus climbing the tree, and it may have just added to people thinking small of him with all his fancy clothes up in a tree. It is said that it was Zacchaeus who wanted to see Jesus, this is true. However, there is much more going on in the story. Despite Zacchaeus being a wealthy man he is feeling small in his spiritual life and he desires to be seen by Jesus. Zacchaeus is crying out, “Here I am. Jesus look at me! I no longer want to be short in stature in my spiritual life!”

 

The other thing to note is the desire of Jesus to see Zacchaeus given to us by Jesus inviting himself over to the house of Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus makes a big change as he gives half of his possessions to the poor, and he will pay back four times over whatever he has cheated out of someone. In the eyes of Jesus, Zacchaeus is no longer short in stature he has now been raised as a son of Abraham.

 

As we gather with all of our feelings of being small in spiritual stature. How far are we willing to see Jesus and to let Jesus see us? Once we understand that in this Eucharist Jesus desires to see us more than our desire a real change may take place. May we hear Jesus say to us in this Eucharist, “I have come to seek and find those who are small in stature.” May we be lifted up this day?

We celebrate a family reunion!

All Souls Day

Wisdom 3:1-9

Romans 6: 3-9

John 6: 37-40

 

If All Saints day is a celebration of the All-Star Team then All Souls Day is the family reunion with all our cousins and relatives that we only see once a year. Today we remember with great joy all of our loved one who have passed from us.

 

What we celebrate today is that as a Church, we believe we are still in communion with our loved ones, even in death. As I remember my mom, I believe that I am closer to her now than when she was with us here on earth. In our Preface today, I will pray, “Life is changed not ended,” death does not separate us from our loved ones. Our readings speak of this promise well. 

 

In our reading from the Book of Wisdom, we hear, “Our loved ones are now resting in the hand of God.” What a wonderful image for us today to rest in the hand of God. 

 

St. Paul, in our second reading, says, “That we who have been baptized into the life of Christ have also been baptized into his death.”  Death no longer has a power over us because of Christ.    

 

In our Gospel, Jesus assures us that if we remain connected to him, we will share in the eternal life that God wants so much for us to share in.  Jesus says, “I will not reject anyone who comes to me.”  Surely this is a day of hope!     

 

 

I invite you now to let our voices break the silence of this night and call out the names of our beloved dead. Please speak the names of your loved ones at this time.   

 

 

Going to the All-Star Game

Feast of All Saints

Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14

I John 3:1-3

Matthew 5: 1-12

 

 

Today we celebrate the Feast Day of All Saints Day, and what a wonderful feast day it is. I like to think of this day as a celebration of an All-Star Team where we recognize the very best. As we celebrate the very best, all of us participate in the same sport, and it is called the “communion of saints.”  Our catechism has us participating in this sport at three levels, the first level of the “communion of saints” is all of us, and we are called the Church Militants. Think of it as we are still battle it out to be one day part of the All-Star Team.

 

The next members of the team of the “communion of saints” are the Church Suffering. This group has passed away, but they were not ready to enter the heavenly kingdom of God, so they rest in this transitional place we refer to as “Purgatory.”

 

The final members of this team of “communion of saints” are the Church Triumphant,” and these are the ones who have gone before us and are in Heaven. We say they share in this “Beatific vision” because they know the glory of God. The Church Triumphant team has three roles, they give glory to God, they help deliver God’s messages to us, and they encourage us to holiness and faithfulness. St. Therese of Lisieux said it best when she said, “I want to spend my time in Heaven doing good things here on Earth.”

 

As we gather to celebrate All Saints day, let us honor this team of All-Stars by imitating them in all they have done in their earthly lives. May we desire to live saintly lives so one day we will be members of this All-Star Team. 

 

When confronted!

Thursday Thirtieth Week Ordinary Time

Romans 8:31-39

Luke 13:31-35

The difference between a stumbling block and a stepping stone is all in how you use it!

 

Have you ever had someone try to intimidate you by being confrontational? Oh, I do not like it when someone does that to me. I get all flustered and out of sorts. Trials and tribulations of this sort do not have to overwhelm us, and there are things we can do to help us in these times.

 

In our first reading, St. Paul tells us something to hang on to when trials come our way. Paul says, “There is nothing that can stop the love of God from getting to us, no life, death, principalities or creature can stop the love of God from getting to us. Paul is letting us know that even our sufferings are to work for the glory of God in his goodness.

 

In our Gospel, Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem when he is stopped by some Pharisees, who inform him of Herod’s plan to kill him. Jesus calls Herod a fox because he knows of Herod’s craftiness. The Pharisees do not warn him because they are concerned about him; they warn him because they are trying to intimidate him to leave. Jesus is not giving in to their intimidation because he is doing his Fathers work, and nothing is going to stop him.

 

There is a beautiful church in Jerusalem that depicts our story today by the name of Dominus Flevit, which translates from Latin as “The Lord Wept.” The church is in the shape of a teardrop to symbolize the tears of Christ. In the front of the altar is a mosaic of a mother hen standing upright with her wings out, gathering all of her little chicks safely within her grasp. That is the image of our readings today.

 

When trials and tribulations come our way, it should bring us to pray more and to search harder for the movement of God in our lives. I also find myself staring at the crucifix more than usual. May we all be comforted by this Eucharist today?

 

 

When life is hard!

Wednesday of the 30th Week

Romans 8:26-30

Luke 13:22-30

 

Life is hard! Life is hard when people say unkind things about us. Life is hard when we are told that we have cancer or an incurable disease. Life is hard when we are trying to figure out life and do not know where to turn. What do we do when life is hard? Well you are in the right place, in the right chair, at the right time to hear a wonderful message from God.

 

Our first reading from St. Paul is comforting if life is hard as he says, “The Spirit comes to our aid in our time of weakness; when we do not know how to pray, the Spirit intercedes for us with inexpressible groaning’s.” He continues by saying, “All things work together for those who love God.” Are we able to believe these wonderful words of St. Paul?

 

Our Gospel is rather disturbing as someone asks Jesus, “Lord, will only a few be saved?” He responds with a story of someone knocking at a door late at night, and the master of the house says, “Go away, I do not know you! Depart from me.”  The person responds, “I heard about you, and I was in the same room with you?”  It is not enough to know of Jesus; we need to know about Jesus.  We have to know Jesus in a personal way.

 

What links the readings together as life is hard is a profound sense of reverence before God is making sure that we are living in humility and being grateful before God. Our Eucharist is offered for us to be comforted by God.