We are the new disciples of Jesus Christ!

 

Thursday of the 34th Week

Feast of St. Andrew

Romans 10:9-18

Matthew 4:18-22

 

 

At a Deaconate ordination after the man has been ordained, the newly ordained deacon, wearing his new vestment called the dalmatic, kneels before the bishop. The bishop places the Book of the Gospels in the hands of the newly ordained, saying, “Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.” I keep this prayer taped right above my computer screen where I can read it every day. As we celebrate the Feast day of St. Andrew, that prayer should be all of our desires.

 

St. Paul in our first reading says, “How can people believe in Jesus if they have not heard about him? How can they hear without someone to preach to them? And how can they preach unless someone is sent?”

Our desire should be to bring the good news of Jesus to all we meet.

 

Before I entered the seminary, I still had many concerns, was I smart enough, was I holy enough and was I worthy enough? Among all the questions and concerns I had, I still kept hearing Jesus saying to me, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of all people.” To say “yes” meant to leave those cares behind.

 

God is still calling people to the ministry of discipleship; this includes us here today. We may not get our name in sacred scripture, but our role is just as important.

 

 

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I will give the words to say!

 

Wednesday of the 34th Week

Daniel 5:1-6, 13-14, 16-17, 23-28

Luke 21:12-19

 

What do we know to be true in our lives? Is our faith something we know to be true? I can only imagine what God sees in us as he looks down on us? He must think, “Come on I sent you that sign already, do I need to send it again?” We can only respond, “Yes, Lord send the sign again, and this time I will believe!” How are we reading the signs God is sending us?

 

In our first reading the new king in Babylon, King Belshazzar is not going to like the sign that is coming to him. King Belshazzar is having a large sumptuous banquet for his court. As the celebration is in full swing, he decides to bring out the sacred vessels that King Nebuchadnezzar seized from the Temple years before. As King Belshazzar and his guests use the sacred vessels, they give praise to their pagan gods. A hand appears and writes a message on the wall; they are struck with fear. The words are interpreted by Daniel warning the king that all of his wealth cannot protect him anymore, the handwriting on the wall will have him conquered by the Persians.  

 

In our Gospel, the handwriting is on the wall for Jesus that he will suffer and die at the hands of the Romans. Jesus had the power to choose not to go through this horrible death but he choose to go through it for us, so when we feel the handwriting is on the wall for us, we will know what to say and what to do. Jesus tells us, “Do not be afraid, I will give you the words to say when you need to say them.” Those are words of great comfort.

 

What we know to be true is right here in this bread and wine that will be changed into Christ body and blood.

 

 

Don’t Worry, I got this! God!

 

Tuesday Thirty- Fourth Week Ordinary Time

Daniel 2:31-45

Luke 21: 5-11

 

 

Our world is a crazy changing place with another mass killings, this time in Egypt. We hear this news and it may cause us fear, doubt, or anxiety. There is also the change in our own lives and this too can be overwhelming and difficult to manage. Our readings bring us to confront all this change and what to do as we look to the future and what this will mean for us.

 

In our first reading, the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar is having dreams but he does not remember them, and he wants someone to make sense of his dreams. Daniel is brought forward to explain to him all the changes that are coming his way and all the future kingdoms that will reign after King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel tells the king, he remains in power because the God in heaven is in charge and his power will prevail. The king does not panic but trusts in God. 

 

In our Gospel, we hear of the changes that are coming as Jesus tells the people a day will come when the great temple will be destroyed, and not a stone will be left on another stone. This news causes the people great trouble and doubt as the temple is the very center of their lives. Jesus is trying to get them to believe in him.

 

The changes we are experiencing in the world and in our lives can push us into the future, to try to make sense of it all. We may get all excited but this is not what Jesus wants us to do, he wants us to be still, quiet, and do not be led astray. We need to face these changes with perseverance and endurance this is what makes us strong.

 

The Eucharist we share is our stronghold. May we look to Christ our King to guide us this day.

See the face of Christ!

 

Solemnity of Christ the King

Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17

I Corinthians 15:20-26, 28

Matthew 25:31-46

 

How valuable would it be for us to see the face of Christ? An undisclosed person was willing to pay $450 million which is the largest amount ever for a piece of art for a portrait of Christ presumably done by Leonardo da Vinci. I have another way of seeing the holy face of Christ that will not cost us a dollar. To see the face of Christ all we have to do is look around us right now and see the face of Christ.

 

In our reading from the prophet Ezekiel, he writes of a beautiful image of a shepherd who goes looking for his sheep which are lost, forsaken, troubled and not sure of themselves. The sheep know the face of the shepherd because he rescues them, holds them, and puts them back on the right path. The loving shepherd is a wonderful image of our king. Let this image cascade over us.

 

In our Gospel, we are given an image of a good a shepherd at the time of the last judgment. There are two groups before the king, sheep, and goats. The king asks, “How have you lived the corporal works of mercy?” What I find amusing is both the sheep and the goats answer the very same way, they both respond, “Lord, when did we see you hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, ill, or in prison?”

 

In describing the goats, the goats are self-absorbed they only think of themselves and not others. Here is a bit of a test. Think of the last conversation we were in, who did most of the talking? Do we always bring the conversation back to us so we can tell everyone what is going on in our lives? Can we decide to hold ourselves back from speaking about us and develop those cues to allow the other person to share their lives? We all know someone that when talking with them never ask about us. Don’t be that person!

 

The sheep also say, “When did we see you” but they say this because they do have cues that are so ingrained in them they do not have to think about it, they just automatically think of the other person! The sheep see the face of Christ in everyone, and they do all they can to serve the other person because they are serving Christ.

 

According to our Gospel, there are two kinds of people in the world. There are those who do not see the face of Christ and respond with hatred, jealousy, skepticism, lack of forgiveness, and a lack of patience. Then there are those who see the face of Christ and respond with love, understanding, patience, forgiveness and peace making.

 

How valuable if the face of Christ to us today?

Let us be thankfull for our many blessings!

 

Thanksgiving Day

I Kings 8:55-61

Ephesians 1:3-14

Luke 17: 11 – 19

 

 

Stand up, put your hand out, look them in the eyes, say please and thank-you! This is what we should do when meeting someone with authority. Many of you parents teach your children this greeting, and it always impresses me. This is also a very good spiritual practice to do especially today on this day of Thanksgiving.

 

To give God thanks for everything he has done in our lives makes sense because we will never obtain true joy without being grateful to God. This is why we come to this place to celebrate the Eucharist to give him thanks, and to know his joy and peace.

 

In our Gospel Jesus heals ten lepers, they all leave, but one returns to Christ to give him thanks. This leper kneels in front of Jesus, he raises his hands, he looks Jesus in the eyes, he is pleased to be healed, and now he gives God glory and praise and thanks for being healed, and for this, he is not only given new skin, but he receives eternal life.

 

Maybe it seems that the world is coming to an end, with mass killings, murders, hurricanes, sexual abuse and many other things. We need to be the ones who know that God is in charge, and God only tells us to keep knocking, and he will open the door. Maybe instead of begging God for whatever we want, we should thank God him for what we have in our lives. A very good prayer is simply saying, ‘thank you,’ and that would be enough.”  

 

May we always be that one leper who comes back and gives thanks and may we know the gift of celebrating the Holy Eucharist!

 

What are we concerned about?

 

Wednesday of the 33rd Week

St. Cecilia

II Maccabees 7:1, 20-31

Luke 19:11-28

 

 

I take it as an absolute privilege to be able to be with someone during their dying process. When I can be with a person to hear what they are concerned about and walk with them to a place where they are at peace, that is something very special. None of are ready to die today, my goodness it is Thanksgiving tomorrow! However, what might be our concerns that God can take and replace with his peace?

 

In our first reading, a mother watches as all her sevens sons are killed in front of her by King Antiochus IV. She has nothing to worry or concern her because she clings to the hope that in the next life she will be returned to her sons. It is all based on the King may be able to take life, but God has the power to restore life.

 

Our Gospel sounds very similar to what we heard this past weekend when a master leaves his servants a large amount of money all according to their abilities. Upon his return, two of his servants have double their investments. In our story today the master is going away, but he leaves all his servants the same amount of money. Upon his return, one servant has made ten times more, and another servant has made five times more. They are both rewarded well for their affairs.   

 

As we come closer to the end of the church year and prepare to enter the Advent Season can we take a quick inventory of our spiritual lives? What are we doing with this great privilege and responsibility that God has invested in us? May the Eucharist we share bring us to a new understanding of truth in our lives.

 

 

Be strong in face of difficult situations!

 

Tuesday Thirty-Third Week Ordinary Time

The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

II Maccabees 6:18-31

Luke 19:1-10

 

 

I love our readings today because as the Church year comes to close, we have these powerful stories of faith.

 

Have you ever been confronted with a situation and wanted to run away? Have you ever wanted to jump out of your life into another life because of a difficult situation? To run away, to assume a new identity would deny the working of Jesus Christ in our lives. We only have one life, and we spend all of this life discovering the fullness of God in our lives.

 

In our first reading, we hear Eleazar described as an elderly scribe, noble in appearance, and well known in the community. He is being forced to eat pork which is against Jewish dietary laws. Maybe he wanted to run away, maybe he wanted to be someone else as his friends encourage him to be, but he does not give in. Eleazar does not shy away from his responsibilities of his faith, and he is willing to accept death.

 

In our Gospel, we hear the story of Zacchaeus which is my favorite Gospel of all time. Tax collectors were Jewish people who worked for the Roman government and collected taxes from the Jewish people for Rome. Zacchaeus was well known and utterly despised, but he wants to see Jesus so instead of blending in with the crowd he climbs a tree. When Jesus walks underneath the tree, Jesus calls out to Zacchaeus, “Come down I want to stay at your house this night.” To have Jesus call Zacchaeus by name and invite himself to his home would have made a huge scene. The crowd would have gasp for air. Zacchaeus realizing God in his midst gives half of his possessions to the poor, and he says if he had cheated anyone he would pay them back four times as much.

 

Whatever has made us want to run away and hid may we face today with the presence of Jesus Christ because he is standing right in the middle of this situation. May this Eucharist help us to run to Jesus.