What are we attached to that takes us away from Christ?

Twenty – Sixth Sunday Ordinary Time

Numbers 11:25-29

James 5:1-6

Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47- 48

I will be at Priest Convocation until Thursday evening. My next post will be on Friday, October 2, 2015

Many of you have commented about not hearing the bells. We took a lightning strike about a month ago, and it blew the control panel. We have been waiting for the new parts, and they finally came in. We all have missed the chiming of the bells. We have an attachment to those bells, because they call our attention to something holy. Our readings speak to us strongly about renouncing any kind of attachments that take us away from what is holy and good in our life.  

In our second reading, the writer of James has a very stern warning to anyone who has a false sense of attachment to money, but it doesn’t have to be money, it can be many things. The writer says, “Since you have put your trust in these material things, even your clothes have rotted away. You have condemned yourselves, and I offer no resistance to your eternal punishment.”  We all can worry about money, we will always want for more but I try and not worry about money. My secret is good stewardship, prayer and trust in God. God never disappoints! One big thing we can be attached to is our phones? Do we always need it on our person? One of the saddest things, I witness is people who obviously know each other, sitting together sharing a meal, and they are both on their phones. Why is the person right in front of you not more important than your phone? If they are not more important just texted them next time and saved yourself the price of the meal!

In our gospel, Jesus says, “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. If your foot causes you to sin cut it off. If your eye causes you to sin pluck it out.”  Jesus never intended these words to be taken literally, but he did intend them to make us feel uncomfortable, because we all have something, we possess more than the Word of God. Jesus is pushing us to search every inch of our lives to see what needs to be changed.

My friend’s in Christ, the desire of the Lord is that we put him first in our lives, and that we become witnesses to him. May the Eucharist we share help us to give up something that we are attached to and to draw closer to God.

 

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What are you to me?

Friday of the 25th Week

Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

Luke 9:18-22

Going randomly, pick three students and bring them into aisle and ask, “Who is this? How do you know it is them?”

In our Gospel, Jesus asks them, “Who am I?” Peter steps forward and says, “You are the Christ.” Peter gives a good answer, but Jesus is wanting something more. What he is really asking is “Who am I to you? What do I mean to you? Are you willing to serve me in all things?” If you are, then you too must learn to die to yourself and turn to me.

All of us are good people, but are we people for Christ? Will our thoughts, our words, our actions be that of Christ?

The Eucharist is given to us to give us the grace to go forth and to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.

 

Peace, Wisdom and Courage

Thursday of the 25th Week

Haggai 1:1-8

Luke 9:7-9

In a two year cycle of readings it is very prophetic to have the set of readings we have today as Pope Francis address’s Congress. It is another sign to me of God’s ultimate control of the world!

In our first reading, the people have lost interest in rebuilding the temple. Haggai the prophet’s message is very clear rebuild the temple, for without the temple, there will be no presence of God. The people claim that the economy is too poor for such a building project. Haggai turns that the argument around and says that the reason the economy is so poor is because the people have not rebuilt the temple. Haggai points out that the people have rebuilt their own homes. For Haggai, the rebuilding of the temple is crucial for the future of his people. Haggai is saying, nothing will turn around until the temple is built. I see the Pope’s role before Congress today is the very same thing, rebuild the temple of God, and things will turn around!

In our gospel, Herod is presented as someone very curious about Jesus, curiosity can be a gift of the Spirit. Curiosity marks a person always eager to know more about someone, and hoping to see and hear that person speak with them. To know that we do not have all the answers and to look to Christ. I hope and pray that Congress feels the very same way.

As we gather to give God glory and praise, may we keep Pope Francis in our prayers, so he will speak prophetically to members of Congress. Let us also keep ourselves in prayer to “go forth” as Pope Francis has been encouraging us to in faith.

We have the power and the authority

Wednesday of the Twenty- Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Ezra 9:5-9

Luke 9:1-6

Do you remember how you felt the first day on the job, or the first day of school, or the first day your grandchildren were left in your care? Maybe you felt ill-prepared, a bit on uneasiness or inadequate. All of that would be very normal, but when Jesus Christ calls us, do we feel the very same way?

In our gospel the disciples are being sent out by Jesus on their first job. He instructs them to take nothing with them to the job site, no walking stick, no sack, no food, no money and no extra tunic. I give you the same instructions, as you leave here today, you are to leave everything you brought right here, leave your purse, your car keys, your prayer books, even the money in your pockets! How do you feel now?

We are not told how the disciples felt, but we are told what they did, upon hearing their instructions “they turned and walked away, proclaiming the good news and curing every kind of illness.” Perhaps what we focus on in this reading is too much of what Jesus said not to bring and not enough on what he said to bring with them. When Jesus summoned his disciples have gave them all the “power and authority” they would need to do what was expected of them.

Today as we gather, may the Eucharist we share give us the power and the authority to do the will of God. Our prayer can be, “Give me only your love and your grace and that will be enough for me!”

 

How is the temple of our hearts today?

Tuesday Twenty – Fifth Week Ordinary Time

Ezra 6: 7-8, 12, 14-20

Luke 8:19-21

Pope Francis arrives today around 4:00 pm into Washington DC. Church bells will be ringing all around the country in anticipation of this historical event. I can vividly remember when Pope Benedict came to the United States back in April of 2008. Another priest friend and I went to Washington DC to see him, and it was a life-changing event for me. Pope Francis is our leader, and he is trying to build up our Church. Our readings today speak about building up the church.

In our first reading, the Jews have been granted permission to return to Jerusalem, and King Darius orders for the rebuilding of the temple under the direction of Ezra the prophet. The Israelites have been held in captivity for so long, and they see this as God’s great plan unfolding in their midst. To the delight of all the people, there is a great dedication ceremony as now they have a place to worship.

In our gospel, there is a large crowd around Jesus, and he is told that his mother and family are trying to reach him. He responds, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”  This may sound rude, but our faith would tell us that Mary understood perfectly. Jesus is beginning the building of the church, because that will take people to hear the word, and to put that word into actions.

What kind of condition is our temple in today? Has it been destroyed by temptation and sin? Is our temple in need of repair or is our temple of the Lord standing strong?

May this Eucharist strengthen the temple of the Lord in us today.

 

 

We are to be His servants

Twenty – Fifth Sunday Ordinary Time

Wisdom 2:12, 17-20

James 3:16-4:3

Mark 9:30-37

Who has any kind of good news to share with all of us? What is something good that has happened to you this week? Gather responds from assembly.

The good news I want to share is that Pope Francis is arriving in the United States on Tuesday evening and will be leaving next Sunday. I love what Pope Francis is doing in living the Good News of Jesus Christ by calling a Synod on the Family, by calling for a Year of Mercy to begin this Advent. Pope Francis preaches the Good News of the gospel but he also lives it. There is Good News in our readings today and we need to try and live to it.

In our first reading from the book of Wisdom, the wicked find the servants of God to be obnoxious. The wicked recognize how the servants of God are living the Good News as they live by a heavenly standard by respect the law of God and living in great gratitude for all that God has given them.

In our second reading from James, the writer asks, “Where do arguments and conflicts come from? Has anyone had an argument or conflict this week? The Good News is given to us from God as “pure wisdom.” The servants of God seek this wisdom because they are rooted in God and they want to become peace makers and see the world differently.

In our gospel, Jesus is consciously trying to spend more time with his disciples as Jesus plans this long 38 mile walk from Galilee to Capernaum. He begins to share with them again that he must suffer, die and rise from the dead, he can tell they are not listening because they are discussing among themselves who is the greatest. Jesus being a great teacher sits down, with them and says, “Whoever wishes to be the greatest among you, must be the servant.” Brings a small child to himself he says, “Whoever receives one like a child, will become the greatest.”

The Good News in our readings is being shown to us by Pope Francis that to become great we must become a servant to all. It might seem like we choose it, the reality is God has chosen us and given us the gift of the Good News, and we do not have a choice of rejecting it. We cannot say, “I do not feel like sharing what I know about the Good News of Jesus Christ.” It is also not a choice to speak the Good News without living the Good News.

May the Good News of this Holy Eucharist build us up, strengthen us, give us what we need to think, say, and be good servants to those we meet.

Share the Good News

Friday Twenty – Fourth Week of Ordinary Time

I Timothy 6:2-12

Luke 8:1-3

Who has any kind of good news to share with all of us? What is something good that has happened to you this week? Gather responds from students.

In our Gospel, we heard of all kinds of people who were following Jesus around wherever he traveled because he shared with the good news of the Kingdom of God.

What is the Good news that Jesus was spreading around to all the people? Answer: love, mercy, forgiveness, joy, caring.

This Good News was so powerful that it attracted many people to him, and they believed in the Good News, and they began to tell others about it. Now that the Good News has reached us, and we need to share that Good News of Jesus with others.

Living the Good News of Jesus Christ is not about us! We cannot say, “I do not feel well today, so I am not going to live for Jesus.” Or “I am waiting for my prayers to be answered before I live for Jesus.” We do not get those choices; we are called to live for him.

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