Look busy?

 

Thursday of the 21st Week Ordinary

I Corinthians 1:1-9

Matthew 24:42-51

If we knew that Jesus was coming today, would we do anything differently? By our readings, we should just go about our daily plans.

In our first reading, Paul reminds the people that they have been chosen by God to lead holy lives. He gives thanks to God for all God is doing and will do in their lives, and finally, he tells them they have been given every spiritual gift they will ever need to get through whatever life will bring. 

In our Gospel, the question that is being addressed is, “Are the servants proving themselves to be faithful and prudent?” Jesus says, “Blessed is the servant whom the master on his arrival finds doing what is supposed to do.” Notice the servant is not blessed for sitting around, peering out the window looking at the horizon waiting for the master to return. Being ready, means that we have been doing the work of the Lord all along.

If Jesus is coming today, would we do anything differently? Well! If we are doing what we are supposed to do, and if we believe that God has given us everything we need to live a holy and faith-filled life, then we can go on and do what we have planned to do, and not change a thing. If you are nervous, then look busy!  

 

 

 

Come and See!

 

Friday of the 20th Week Ordinary Time

Feast of St. Bartholomew

Revelation: 21: 9-14

John 1: 45-51

I went to Walgreens yesterday to get some medicine, and not really sure what I should buy, I went up to the pharmacist to ask some questions. The pharmacist was very helpful and began to tell me all about the products I was interested in, and he was also a bit humors. I thanked him for his help, and for his funny disposition, and we parted ways. Then he yelled, “Are you a pastor?” Now I was dressed in full clerics! I said, “Yes” of which he said, “”I am a pastor also, and I have been to 98 different countries spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ.” At the end of our discussion, he said, “May God Bless You!”

As, I got to the counter to pay for my medicine, the young girl kept looking at me and asked, “I know, what you are. I just cannot think of the name of it.” I responded, “A Catholic priest?” of which she said, “Yes!” Now again, I am full clerics! She said, “I am a Christian, and God bless you.” On this feast day of St. Bartholomew, do we realize there are disciples all around us, and are we ready to respond?

In our Gospel, Philip goes to Bartholomew and says, “We have found the Messiah. He is Jesus’s son of Joseph from Nazareth.”

Bartholomew responds, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip responds, “Come and see!” Bartholomew would come and see, and what he would see would change his life forever, that today we remember his name, and aspire to be like him.

What we celebrate, on any of the feast days of the apostles, is the church’s foundation is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. Our hope is that we will come and see, all the great things that Bartholomew did and more and believe. If great things, such as being blessed twice came come from Walgreens then we should be willing to do even greater things in the name of Christ.

Life of uncertainty

 

Tuesday Twenty -First Week Ordinary Time

II Thessalonians 2:1-3, 14-17

Matthew 23: 23-26

I would say the past week was filled with great uncertainty. I really struggled last week to make sense of how I should act, or what I should say, it was really challenging, and it shook my self-confidence. These readings are perfect for me today to get me back on track where I need to be.

In our first reading, the Thessalonians are uncertain by the teaching they have been given, because they were told it was from Paul, but once they heard it; they were uncertain. Paul says, “Do not be shaken, hold on to what you know to be true.” It ends with Paul praying that God will give them the encouragement to hold on to their faith and to encourage them to continue doing good deeds in word and example.

In our Gospel, the Pharisees are making the people uncertain of how they are to live their faith, because they are being scrutinized by every little thing, they do by the Pharisees. Jesus is telling them, “Do not get dragged down with all these little things, know that I am God, and see the bigger picture of things.” Jesus continues by saying, “Make sure you never lose focus of the bigger picture which is to live for justice, mercy and fidelity to me.”  

If you are feeling battered, or beaten, or uncertain about some things, you are in the right place. Give all the uncertainties of our lives over to Jesus Christ, and get back to what you know to be true, that Jesus Christ is still our Lord and Savior.  The Eucharist we share, is our strong hold, do not live in fear.

 

 

I do not know you!

 

Twenty – First Sunday in Ordinary Time

Isaiah 66: 18-21

Hebrews 12: 5-7, 11-13

Luke 13: 22-30

Have you been watching the Olympics? I have loved watching the Olympics. The story I have enjoyed the most is the women’s 5000 meters when the New Zealand woman was in the crowd of runners and fell face down. The American runner was right behind her and could not avoid her and fell over her. As the New Zeeland runner laid on the ground, the American runner got up, but instead of running she bent over to help the woman up. The two began to run together until the American runner began to limp and had to stop. It was then that the New Zealand runner stopped to help her, and the two finished the race. These are the greatest athletes in the world; they belong to a small group of athletes all over the world, yet they gave up everything to help another person. We may think we belong to a privileged group, and that we have it made, our readings are here to shake us out of this thought and to keep working at doing more.

In our first reading, the prophet Isaiah is telling the people the reason to come home to Jerusalem after being set free is to give God glory and praise. God’s plan is for you to be the missionaries of the world, but to know that things are going to be done a bit differently. Things will not be done in the same-old ways.

Our writer from Hebrews, says what many of us already know. We all need to be disciplined, as a father disciplines his son. Do you know what that is like? Did we like it? No! Does it need to be done? Yes! Discipline and discipleship come from the same root, to learn. Discipline helps us to learn new ways of doing things.

In our Gospel, we hear the question,” Will there be only a few saved?” The verbs in the original Greek are all in the present, not the future. The man is asking the question assuming he is part of a privileged group, assuming he has done all he needs to do to get to heaven. Jesus makes his answer very personal as he says, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate.” What Jesus is telling him is, many will try, but the gate opening is very small. Jesus follows this up with an illustration when he says, “The door will be locked, and many will stand there knocking, and they will say, “Open the door, we ate with you and drank with you and we were with you as you taught on the streets.” Jesus will respond, “I do not know you!” If we think, we got it made, that we are a part of the chosen few, think again! The last words of our gospel holds the truth, “For behold, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

 My friends in Christ, as the two runners, gave up their desires for winning a medal, to help each other cross the finish line, last; we too need to be thinking about how much more we be doing, never assume we got it made. As we come to the Eucharist, may we seek the values that will bring us joy, in a world of uncertainty. May we seek what will make us one in mind and heart with you and one another?   

God is doing a redo on us!

 

Friday of the 20th Week Ordinary Time

Ezekiel 37: 1-14

Matthew 22: 34-40

If you had the chance to redo something in your life would you redo it? The things I can think of that I would redo are the things where I unintentionally or intentionally hurt someone who I truly love. Our God is a God of second chances a God of re-do.

In our first reading the prophet Ezekiel shares a vision of the valley of dry bones. In the midst of total loss, hopelessness, and desperation of a people in exile, Ezekiel proclaims God is going to do a redo on these dry bones, by restoring them to new life. We need to know this promise of God as he is restoring us, and our families in him.  

In the Mosaic law, there are 613 commandments given to the people to follow. The scholars of the law knew that all should be followed but somewhere more important than others. In our Gospel, a scholar of the Mosaic law asks Jesus, “If you had to re-do, the law, what would you redo?” Jesus quotes the first part of the Shema, the monotheistic creed recited by every Jewish person. It is to “To the love the Lord, with your heart, with your soul, and with your mind.” Then he adds, “You must also, love your neighbor as yourself.” Now Jesus has nailed it! It is a redo, and Jesus nails it, for no one had any more questions.

Wherever our life is at, whatever are our struggles, God is redoing us from within. God promises us to be with us, and a redo of us will be done in his image. The Eucharist is our redo as it will transform us, in him.

 

We are invited!

 

Thursday of the 20th Week Ordinary Time

Ezekiel 36: 23-28

Matthew 22: 1-14

Deacon Stephen and I were invited out last night to a wonderful dinner party. It was very enjoyable, but when it got to 10:30 and the host wanted to take a boat ride since the moon was shining so brightly, I declined because I needed to get home. All of us like to be invited out to enjoy the company of family and friends. Our readings today speak about being invited, but what do we do when we are invited?

In our Gospel, the king is having a wedding feast for his son, and he sends out a “Save the date” message to all of his intended guests. As the wedding date draws close, he sends out a formal invitation but the intended guests do not come. The king is enraged, so that the banquet hall will be filled, the king sends an invitation to all in the streets, the good and the bad. The king comes in and begins to greet his guest, but he notices one person not dressed in a wedding garment. The king asks, “My friend, how is it that you came without a wedding garment?” The man is speechless. At this time in history, the host would provide for those who could not afford one a wedding garment. So this man is caught, he not only came unprepared, he chose to act in a rebellious manner. This act will cast him off to darkness wailing and grinding his teeth.

The prophet Ezekiel says, “The Lord God will sprinkle clean water on you. I will give you a new heart, and place a new spirit within you.”

Are we going to deny the gift that God has already given us, the gift of faith! The Eucharist is offered to us to be a pure gift, may we accept the invitation to follow Jesus Christ by wearing our wedding garment this day.

 

God is so generous

 

Wednesday of the 20th Week Ordinary Time

Ezekiel 34:1-11

Matthew 20: 1-16

I have never liked this Gospel, but it because I have never understood it. This Gospel is about shaking us to the very core, and waking us up to how really to live in faith.

In our Gospel, there are three different groups. The first group are those who get hired last and paid first. At first, they may have felt pretty lucky to get paid a full day’s pay, for only working one hour. However, there good fortune turns to guilt and shame as they witness what everyone else gets paid.

The second group are the ones who got hired first and paid last. These are the workers, who would feel they were the best workers since they got hired first. To receive only what the last ones did would bring out their anger, jealousy and envy. They truly feel like they have gotten the wrong end of the deal.

 The last group are those who got hired in the middle of the day and got paid a full day’s pay. This group is uncertain on how to feel. They could side with those who got paid a full day’s pay for one hour, or they could side with those who worked longer and got paid the same as those who got a full day’s earnings.

In the end, all the workers do not feel good about what happened because they feel they have earned something. When we think about the Kingdom of God as something, we earn, we always lose. It is about gratitude, and being grateful for everything we have, because we do not deserve anything except God’s love, mercy and understanding.

Let us live in great gratitude for this wonderful gift of the Eucharist, which promises us that we will be taken care of today.