Who do you say that I am?

Thursday of the Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

James 2:1-9

Mark 8: 27-33

 

I love to paint! I had to repaint my bathroom ceiling after I had a small water leak this summer. What I do not like and I wish I could change is all the prep work that it takes to get to the painting. I had to fix the leak with drywall compound, I had to clear everything out of the bathroom, I had to get the paint, and gather the brushes, and then I could actually begin painting. Our readings are about things we like and about things that people want to change.

 

In our Gospel, Jesus is talking to his disciples, and he asks them, “Who do the people say that I am?” They replied some say you are John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others a great prophet.” But then he asks, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter responded, “You are the Christ.” Peter got it right because he loved the Lord. However, when Jesus continues by saying he will be rejected by others, suffer greatly at the hands of the soldiers, and will be killed. Peter wants to change this part, because it is too hard to hear.

 

In ancient times and even today to be wealthy was to be seen as blessed by God. Conversely, to be poor was understood to be stricken by God. So, when the writer James, in our first reading says, “It is easy to love the wealthy, because you think you too will be blessed in some way.” The challenge is to love everyone the same way. We wish we could change this in our own lives as it is hard to do.

 

Who do we say Christ is for us? What do we love about Christ? What are the challenges we face and might want to change because of Christ? Are we willing to give everything to Christ?

The Heart of God given to us!

Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

I Kings 10: 1-10

Mark 7:14-23

 

Valentine’s Day is this Friday, and it is a day where we show our hearts to those we love. When I was in eighth grade at St. Timothy’s, I gave a special Valentine to a girl named Mary. In the hallway one day our hands brushed up against each other and I knew we were meant to be together, I knew I was in love and I knew she felt the same for me. After our 8th grade graduation we never saw each other again. Our readings have a lot to do of what is in our hearts today.

 

In our first reading, the Queen of Sheba has heard about the wisdom of King Solomon and she longs to see if what is in his heart is true. Let’s be very clear this is not the first episode of the Bachelor! She travels a great distance and when she sees that his heart is true she leaves him many gifts, some say over 121 million dollars in gifts by standards today.

 

In our Gospel, it is all about what is in our hearts as Jesus is answering the question raised yesterday about handwashing and food. Jesus first summons the whole crowd around him, he wants all of them to understand what he is about to say as he tells them “nothing that comes from outside can defile us, because it passes right through us.” When he gets home the disciples question him further about what he said. What sets these men apart is their willingness to follow him and to have their hearts changed. Jesus is radically changing what defiles a person by saying no food can defile a person, only what comes from their hearts. Three times Jesus talks about “hearts” because he wants their hearts to be changed and to believe in him. 

 

Reflect today what is in our hearts? Why do we do what we do and what is our motivation behind what we do? Are we truly motivated by the love of God?

 

World day of caring for the sick!

Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

I Kings 8:22-23, 27-30

Mark 7:1-13

All School Mass at WC

Optional memorial for Our Lady of Lourdes 

 

Today is an optional feast day for Our Lady of Lourdes, and St. Pope John Paul II established this day as World Day of Care for the Sick.

 

Have you ever visited someone who was sick? Who was it?

 

Have you ever taken care of someone who was sick?

 

Why did you do what you did?

 

Our readings have a huge challenge to us about knowing the presence of God and living the message that God is giving us!

 

In our first reading, King Solomon has built the Temple, and he has brought the Ark of the Covenant and all the sacred vessels from the City of David and placed in the Temple. King Solomon asks, “Can it be that God has a dwelling place with us?” This is not a question of unbelief, but rather a statement of God’s dwelling among the people. Do we know that God dwells within us and we celebrate this each time we gather for the Eucharist? 

 

In our Gospel, the scribes and Pharisees are concerned why the followers of Jesus do not follow all the laws that were written in the Torah!” The argument Jesus is using is not against the ceremonial washes that were prescribed or personal hygiene, but against places these practices above the divine law of love. Jesus calls them hypocrites because they pay lip service and they do not practice what they preach.  

 

We gather in this Eucharist to hear the voice of God and to reach out to others who are most of the need of God’s healing touch, and that could be by our hands. May we use the grace that God is giving us to build up his kingdom?

 

We are the salt of the earth, and light to the nations!

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Isaiah 58:7-10

I Corinthians 2: 1-5

Matthew 5:13-16

 

Aren’t we a good looking crowd today? Yes, sir some of the finest specimens of Christians I have ever seen! (Go up to certain people and pay them a compliment! Nice shirt, shoes, hair.) Now go up to certain people and say, “You are the salt of the earth, you are the light to all the nations.” Has anyone ever paid us a compliment is this way? Jesus is giving us all a compliment as he tells us that we are the salt of the earth and we are the light to all the nations.” The good news about hearing this is that we do not need to do anything we just need to know it and live it! Jesus did not say, “One day you will grow into the salt of the earth, and the light to all the nations.” We are to know right now we already are salt and light.

 

Let’s unpack what salt and light means for us. In ancient time’s salt was a rare commodity. The first roads were built to transport salt; soldiers were paid in salt, hence the word, salaries. Light was also valued, since electricity was not invented and the only light the people had was oil lamps at night. One thing Jesus is letting us know is how precious we are to Him.

 

There are also profound implications that we need to understand about salt and light. Salt is meant to be added to food, not enough and food will taste bland, too much and salt and it may ruin the taste of food, but just the right amount and food will taste much better. Light does not exist to preserve itself; light exists to give light to others.

 

Here is today’s biggest challenge. Jesus says, “But what if the salt loses its taste, and what if a light is put under a basket?” Jesus is letting us know that we can lose our taste and our light can be hidden. Why does he say this, because he is well aware of what the prophet Isaiah says, in our first reading? Let’s dig into what is going on in our first reading. At this time in history the Israelites have been freed from captivity and they are now rebuilding the city of Jerusalem. The prophet Isaiah tells them, “You are not to lose sight of those who need your care, feed to hungry, cloth the naked, give shelter to the homeless.”  

 

My friends in Christ we are gathered here to know that we are the salt of the earth and a light to the nations, right now. May we not do anything to lose our zest for the Lord or hide the light of Christ?

 

May pass the salt, and turn on the light have new meaning this week!

Be a good leader!

Friday of the Fourth week

Of Ordinary Time

Hebrews 13:1-8

Mark 6:14- 29

All School Mass

 

In our readings today we hear the tale of two kings, one is a good king and one is a bad king. Who has watched the movie, “Lion King?” In the movie Loin King there is a good leader in King Mufasa, and there is a bad leader in Scar.

 

 

  1. What would be some characteristics of a good leader?

 

  1. Listening, compassionate, understanding.

 

  1. What would be some characteristics of a bad leader?

 

  1. Seeks power, is abrasive.

 

 

In our first reading we hear of King David who was a great leader because he served the people and did all he could for God. He brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, and he helped the people to remain in their faith. When King David sinned, he always repented and returned to the Lord.

 

In our Gospel, we hear about a bad leader in King Herod. King Herod did all he could to grab power and to prevent the people from growing in their faith. There was something about John the Baptist that King Herod liked, but he still had him killed.

 

As we gather this day we too need to be good leaders. In our Eucharist, we meet another King and he is the one who we should strive to be like as Jesus Christ is our King. We should try and be like him in understanding, love, and forgiveness.

 

We are God’s disciples!

Thursday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

I Kings 2: 1-4, 10-12

Mark 6:7-13

Paul Miki & Companions, Martyrs

 

In August of 2003, I packed my car and left for seminary, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As I drove I kept thinking, “Lord, have you chosen me to be a priest?” All of a sudden it dawned on me that I was asking my vocation as a question. To help me move my vocation to a statement I asked the Lord to show me his face every day, and he did. Our readings are about us knowing that we have been called to be a disciple of Christ.

 

In our first reading, King David is instructing his son Solomon to become the next king after his death. David tells him to “be a man” and to follow in the ways of the Lord, and he will be successful. David is encouraging his son to be what he has called to be, a man first, and a king second, and God will help him be a good king.

 

In our Gospel, Jesus is instructing his disciples from being passive followers to active apostles doing everything Jesus has been doing. The disciples are given two pieces of very important information. The first is to stay where they are welcomed, and to shake the dust to your feet. He is telling them when you are rejected just move on. I struggle with this at times because I want everyone to like me. Jesus is saying, “Move on, there is so much more to do.” The second piece of information is telling them everything not to bring. The disciples are to rely totally on Christ.  

 

Do we know that we have been chosen to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to those we are going to meet and be with today? We may be thinking, “But what if we fail?” He said in response, “All of you can’t fail, I handpicked all of you!”

 

 

Do we have a lack of faith?

Wednesday of the Fourth week

Of Ordinary Time

II Samuel 24:2, 9-17

Mark 6:1- 6

St. Agatha

 

There are many things that can be said of us, some hopefully good and unfortunately some bad. The thing that I hope would never be said is, “We have a lack of faith.

 

In our Gospel, Jesus is in his home town and at first the people are amazed at him. However, when they realize it is Jesus, the son of Joseph they are no longer impressed. Jesus leaves without doing many miracles because of their lack of faith. I think it is worth noting that Jesus is not able to do miracles because he decided not too, but because of their lack of faith. 

 

In our first reading King David had a lack of faith and this caused him to sin and for the people to be punished. David becomes aware of his lack of faith and begs God to show mercy and God stops his punishment because of David’s faith.

 

How are we to ask God to help our lack of faith? Do we have the faith to be able to see how God is working in our lives, even through difficult times? When we have faith Jesus can do great things in our lives. May this Eucharist help us to grow in faith.