Let’s be honest!

Tuesday of the Fifth week of Ordinary Time

Genesis 1:20-2:4

Mark 7:1-13

 

Our readings come to us with the demanding message, to be absolutely honest with ourselves and to see the hypocrisy of our lives. Simply put, what was the last sin we did in secret? How do we act like it was no big deal or that no one is going to know? We look so holy, but are we?

 

In our first reading from Genesis, we hear how God created everything, and everything was created for good.  The Jewish people created laws to remind them of God as they went through their day.

 

In our Gospel, the scribes and Pharisees have taken the purifications of hands, cups, jugs, kettles and other items to a whole new level. The Pharisees unlike the rest of the Jewish nation created more ritual purifications to do before a meal. Their the idea was to imitate what the priest did in the temple by purifying all the vessels and their hands. All these purifications were to sanctify their families.  What has happened is the Pharisees have become very scrupulous in their ways, and all these external aspects have not led to a deeper meaning of love for God.  Jesus calls them hypocrites because they pay lip service and they do not look to change their hearts.   

 

The big challenge for all of us is to look into our hearts and see how we are like the scribes and Pharisees. How do we pay God lip service by saying all the right things but it does not affect our lives, our hearts are not changed to see Christ. Think of the last sin we know we committed. God is calling us to focus more on him and bring him in to help us stop this sinful behavior.

 

The Eucharist we celebrate is meant to bring closer to God and loving others? May we see God in all things today?

 

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God’s grace is enough!

 

Fifth Sunday Ordinary Time

Isaiah 6:1-2, 3-8 I

Corinthians 15: 1–11

Luke 5: 1-11

 

On a scale from one to ten and ten is the best, how holy are we today? Are you doing ok, or are you feeling a bit unworthy, like you are not holy enough? Maybe we have said or done something that we are ashamed of this week? There are lots of reasons why not to come to church, you need one good reason to come, and we are given that in our readings today. In our readings, Isaiah, Paul, and Peter all respond to God’s call by saying, “I am not worthy enough because I am a sinner.”

 

In our first reading, Isaiah is overwhelmed by the vision he is having as angels are singing, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts.” Isaiah says, “I am not worthy because I am a man of unclean lips.” An angel touches his lips with a burning ember, and he is made clean.  Isaiah responds, “Here I am; send me.” How have our words been unholy? How can we speak words of holiness this week?

 

In our second reading, St. Paul says, “I am the least of the apostles, not fit to be called an apostle.” He continues by saying, “I am who I am because of God’s grace.” How have our actions not been holy and hurtful to others? God’s grace is still being showered down upon us.

 

I love our Gospel, Peter and the others are cleaning their nets after being out fishing all night long and catching nothing. Jesus gets into Peter’s boat and tells him to put out into deeper water, and he will catch some fish. You can almost feel the frustration in Peter as a professional fisherman being told what to do but he does it, and when he does he hauls in a huge amount of fish. Peter realizing what happens proclaims “Depart from me, Lord, I am an unholy man.”  What I like about the story is not the amount of fish but that Jesus gets into the boat with Peter. Jesus is right alongside Peter even in Peter’s sinfulness. I think that is a good image to hang onto in our lives.

 

We do not come to Mass because we are holy, we come to Mass because God is holy and we need to come and give him glory and praise. In a few minutes, in preparation to receive the Eucharist we are going to say the very same words that the angels proclaimed in our first reading. We are going to say, “Holy, holy, holy Lord God of hosts.” In Hebrew theology, this was the highest form of worship to give God by repeating how holy three times.

 

Isaiah, Paul, and Peter realized their un-holiness, but when God called they stepped forward and did his will, may we do likewise.

Are we overcome with fear?

Thursday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Hebrews 12:18-19, 21-24

Mark 6:7-13

 

 

How often does fear overcome us? A little fear is ok, fear moves us to action, but being overcome with fear paralyzes us into doing nothing. So what are you worried about today? What are you nervous about today? Take a breath and know that God is in charge and his grace is enough.

 

The writer of Hebrews is trying to connect all of the things in the Old Testament to a new understanding of Jesus Christ. In ancient times it was believed to be fearful to go up a mountain. It would be a place to meet God or other spirits. The writer gives us reason to have courage as he says, “You can approach Mount Zion, and you have nothing to fear, for you have countless angels gathered around you.” Wow! What a great image for us who are a bit nervous today.

 

In our Gospel, the disciples had lots of reasons to fear as they are being moved from innocent bystanders to active participants in the ministry of Christ. Jesus sends them out on a mission of sharing the Good News. In planning for this grand affair, they are not to bring a second pair of sandals, a second tunic, no food, no sack, and no money. The disciples have every right to be nervous; they will have to place their trust in Jesus and him alone. The disciples come back sharing stories how they drove out many demons, anointed the sick and curing many who were sick.

 

When we are overcome with fear it is good to remember to breath. To take in the breath of God and to breathe out that God’s grace is enough for us. We come to the Eucharist to be fed on food for our journey. Do not be afraid and know that God’s grace is enough.

 

 

 

 

 

Who needs our attention because we have been fighting with them?

Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Ordinary Time

Hebrews 12:4-7, 11-15

Mark 6:1-6

St. Paul Miki and Companions

 

Who in our family needs extra care and prayers from us? Who in our families are we arguing with or fighting? It may be our children or our grandchildren. We all have these difficult times from time to time but what are we to do when they happen?

 

In our readings from Hebrews the writer is urging us to “Endure your trials and strive for peace and even more importantly strive to be holy.” All of this is great words because true wisdom includes peace in the home and the ability to be remembered well after death.

 

In our Gospel, Jesus has just left Capernaum where he was able to do many miracles, and he is now in his hometown of Nazareth. When he begins to preach the people are all amazed at his teaching but when they realize it is Jesus from Nazareth they took offense at him. Jesus is aware of their hateful feelings and says, “A prophet is not without honor in his native place,” and because of this he was not able to perform any miracles in this town.

 

Paul Miki and his 25 companions know the telling of this prophecy as they all died in their own native country sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ

 

In some ways, we should not be surprised when arguments and disagreements happen in our families. It is bound to happen. We should always begin by asking, “What have I done to contribute to the disagreement?” Secondly, we should always pray for those who we struggle to get along with and for those who struggle to get along with us.” May this Eucharist help to change our lives?

 

 

 

Those who intercede for us!

Tuesday of the Fourth Week

Of Ordinary Time

St. Agatha

Hebrews 12:1-4

Mark 5:21- 43

 

In our first reading from the letter to the Hebrews, the writer says, “Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, keep your eyes fixed on Jesus Christ.” In our Catholic tradition, we believe that we are in communion not only with all the saints but all of our loved ones in heaven. The communion of saint’s stand before God praising God and our loved intercede to God on our behalf. We should take comfort in knowing that we are not separated from our loved ones. When I am preparing a homily for a funeral, I will pray to the deceased person and ask them what I need to say. Many times during the celebration of Mass I feel my mother’s presence with me.  

 

In our Gospel, Jairus intercedes with Jesus on behalf of his daughter who is ill. Before Jesus can get to the home, news comes that Jairus daughter has died. Jesus tells him “Because you have asked me to intercede for you, do not be afraid, and just have faith.” Jesus cures the young girl and restores her to her family.

 

St. Agatha who we celebrate her feast day today is the patron saint of breast cancer. We should intercede to St. Agatha for anyone of our loved ones with breast cancer.

 

In our liturgy, we are being asked to have faith and to put all of our trust in God and to know our loved ones are interceding for us.

 

 

 

What is our agenda?

Fourth Sunday Ordinary Time

Jeremiah 1:4-5; 17-19

I Corinthians 12: 31–13:13

Luke 4: 21-30

 

I heard a story this week of a guy who bought two tickets for the Super Bowl over a year ago. They are box seats plus airfares and hotel accommodations. Since he purchased the tickets he got engaged and his soon to be wife wanted to be married on Super Bowl Sunday, so he can’t go. If you’re interested and want to go instead of him, the wedding is at 5 PM; the bride’s name is Donna. She will be the one in the white dress.

 

We all have agendas of things we want to accomplish, but what happens when our agenda and someone else’s does not match up?  Almost every day, I ask Fr. Mike, What is your agenda today?” The question is whose agenda guides our life? Does our agenda collide with God’s agenda?

 

In our first reading from the prophet Jeremiah, you can make the case that of all the prophets Jeremiah suffered the most, and his agenda was always God’s agenda. In today’s story, we see that Jeremiah had a very intimate beginning as God called him while he was still in his mother’s womb. God says, “Because you have not given up on my agenda no one will be able to prevail over you, you will not be broken down.

 

In our Gospel, Jesus is in his home town, and he begins to tell the people his agenda as he says, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”  He continues by saying that he has come not only for them but for others, the poor, and the lost and even people of the Jewish nation. This is not the people’s agenda since they know him. The people wanted special treatment from him.  The closer they came to Jesus, the more they would be called beyond themselves, and this was not their agenda. In the end, because the agendas did not match up, they are ready to throw him over the wall to his death. 

 

Our second reading when St. Paul says to the Corinthians gives us words of encouragement as we hear, “I am speaking to you out of love, for your benefit and mine and because of this love, my agenda can be your agenda.

 

So what’s your agenda for the day? That’s not me asking this time. That’s a question God is asking each one of us. As we come to the Eucharist may our agenda be that of God’s agenda.

 

How will the light of Christ shine on us today?

Thursday Third Week of Ordinary Time

Hebrews 10:19-25

Mark 4: 21-25

St. John Bosco

 

I can sort of remember what it feels like to be outside. Because of the winter storm, I have not been outside since noon on Monday. I can sort of see the light at the end of the tunnel. Our readings are about seeing that light and encouraging others to never give up on that light.

 

In our Gospel, we hear that no one puts a light under something so that it cannot be seen. Jesus is referring to himself when he speaks about this light, which is always burning brightly.

 

When I am struggling to trust in the light of Christ, I ask myself, “Have I ever been in a similar situation?” I try and remember how the light of Christ shined on me to get me through the difficult situation.  If God’s light shone on us once, then it will shine on us again!  

 

In our first reading from Hebrews is a good follow up to our Gospel as the writer tells us to encourage others never to give up and to look for the light of Christ.

 

Today we celebrate the feast day of St. John Bosco. He was well known for his dedication to kids who were abandoned and living in the streets. When others told him to do nothing for them because these kids were hopeless St. John reflected the light of Christ and gave these kids a proper education and teachings of the church.

 

May the Lord bless us with his light and may we encourage others to the light of Christ. May God bless all we do today!