Tuesday Eleventh Week of Ordinary Time
I Kings 21:17-29
I want you to brace yourself for the most demanding reflection on these readings. However, before we get to these difficult readings remind yourself of the worst thing that we have ever done and know that God has forgiven us and loved us.
Now, bring to mind someone who has harmed us and there has never been amends. Call to mind the pain, the hurtful words, and the desire to strike back. Now in our minds extend a hand of forgiveness as God has forgiven us of our wrongdoing? I told you these readings are very demanding. Let’s take it up a notch and repeat the last line of the gospel, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
In our first reading, King Ahab and his wife Queen Jezebel have greatly sinned. The two of them have done so much evil that Elijah gets to go to them and tell them how badly they have been and that God is going to strike them and all members of their family down and dogs and birds will feast on their dead bodies. Elijah gets to do what we long to do when someone harms us, and that is to tell the person off. Ahab hears this news, and he puts on sackcloth, and he repents of his sinfulness. God sees how Ahab has repented of his sinfulness and God relents his punishment.
In our Gospel, Jesus calls his follower’s children of God and encourages them to go beyond the cultural norms of the times to reflect God’s unconditional love and to pray for their enemies.
My friends in Christ we should remember we may be on someone’s list of most hated and hard to forgive. We must understand that God’s forgiveness showers down on us and on those who have hurt us. We are not to judge, but to love. It is always good to pray for those we struggle to love and for those who struggle to love us. Know that we are not alone in this adventure.
Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time
Ezekiel 17: 22-24
II Corinthians 5:6-10
Mark 4: 26-34
Our readings I believe are perfect for us as they speak about the kingdom of God in our lives. I will admit, every time I hear “The Kingdom of God” I ask what does that mean? My understanding is it is being aware of the presence of God in our lives and where God is moving us too, even if we may be nervous about what God is asking us. I say these readings are “perfect” because it is what “I” in particular need to know this day.
St. Paul helps us understand the kingdom of God by saying, “We walk by faith, not sight.” How true this is! The primary purpose of sacred scripture is to teach us how to see, in faith. Sacred Scripture is always leading us to a deeper understanding of what we do not understand.
In our reading, Ezekiel speaks about the kingdom of God as this gigantic and magnificent Lebanon cedar. This cedar was thought of as the grandest of all trees. God plants this twig on a high mountain for all to see and all the birds of the air come and rest in its branches. I have seen the kingdom of God here at St. Patrick’s in this way as all the projects we were able to do by your generosity. A new roof, redoing the whole interior of the church, a new steeple, and now a complete redo of the exterior.
In our Gospel, Jesus goes the complete opposite direction in describing the kingdom of God then Ezekiel. Jesus describes the kingdom of God as a tiny mustard seed that eventually grows into an underwhelming shrub. Seldom do these shrubs grow taller than seven feet, they are not attractive, and they are seen as weeds. The branches are thin so most birds are not able to perch on its branches. Mustard plants are an ordinary plant that is very hardy and grow in all kinds of soils. We need to be like that mustard plant to grow where we are planted. I see the kingdom of God as a mustard shrub here at St. Patrick’s in all the wonderful small ways God reveals himself in the sacraments, around dinner tables, in this beautiful church, in people being welcoming and hospitable. In people meeting every challenge because they believe and never want people to forget the rich traditions that have been done here at St. Patrick’s.
The point our readings are bringing to us is that the kingdom of God is being revealed to us in big and in small ways. Are we able to see the kingdom of God unfolding in our midst? The other message is to know that the kingdom of God dwells within us. May we know the kingdom of God is unfolding in our midst right now.
Thursday Tenth Week of Ordinary Time
I Kings 18:41-46
I am getting weary! As each day passes and it is closer to the day I leave, I get weary. I have to pack, there is the Plaza Project, and there are appointments and the business of the church to take care of. I am weary! If you are feeling weary, there is hope from our readings today.
I have enjoyed the stories all week about Elijah. He has every right to feel weary, but he keeps on going. He has run to escape death, he has run out of food and water and needed to travel to a foreign land, he had to outwit 450 false prophets, and today all he has to do is make it rain to end the drought. As he prays, he sends his servant seven times up the mountain to look for rain, on the seventh time rain does come. Elijah runs before the King in his chariot as a sign of honor that God has acted in a powerful way in Elijah’s life. God has acted because Elijah always keeps his focus on God and believes in all that God has told him.
We can hear this Gospel and think, “It is just making me wearier!” If we keep our entire focus on Christ and seek balance in our life than what Jesus is asking of us is doable. We will realize what God is asking of us because we are in tune with what God is asking of us and it is all doable.
Let us not be weary, let us look to Christ and rest in his arms, for he held us up.
Wednesday Tenth Week of Ordinary Time
I Kings 18:20-39
St. Anthony of Padua
It is ok to fail at what we are not good at so we can succeed at what we are passionate at! It is finding our passion and exceeding at this a hundredfold.
In our first reading, Elijah knows what he is good at which is believing in the power of God in his life. He is absolutely in on God. Elijah invites all four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal call to a barbeque, but no one brought matches to start the fire. To get their fire started the prophets of Baal call out to their god all morning long. When the fire does not start in the afternoon, they dance and jump around the altar until exhausted, yet the barbeque is not lit.
Elijah is so sure of God and his presence he pours fours containers of water on his barbeque and then he prays to God to light his barbeque, and God sends fire from heaven.
In our Gospel, Jesus is saying you can fail at many things but what I am going to give you is a sure recipe for success, because “I have not come, not to abolish the law, but to fulfill the law.” Jesus is encouraging the people that following him is going to require following a higher standard than what is expressed in the law. This higher standard reflects God’s ultimate intention for his people.
Our passion today needs to be on God, so fail at what is not God’s so he can bring us to a higher standard.
Tuesday of the Tenth Week of Ordinary Time
I Kings 17:7-16
Without a doubt, this is my favorite time of the year. I love that it is still light at 10:00 o’clock in the evening and that by 5:00 the morning light is coming over the horizon. It is a good reminder to us of how much the light of Christ is to be shining through us.
I have read this first reading many times, and each time I think, “Elijah sounds bossy to this widow, and he is asking a lot of her.” As I have done more reflecting, I have changed that point of view because he is only letting the light of God shine through him. Here is what I mean by that, Elijah has been running for his life as King Ahab and his wife, Queen Jezebel, want him dead. The Lord God tells Elijah to run away and go to a river bed where animals will bring him food. When the water dries up in the river bed, God tells him to go to a foreign country, and there he will encounter a widow. Elijah is trusting in the Lord that God will take care of him. When Elijah arrives in this foreign land as sees the widow he asks for a drink of water, this will cost her nothing, so she goes and gets him a drink. When he asks to be served something to eat, now this will cost her own life but also the life of her son as she has just put a little flour and a little oil. As the light of God shines through Elijah, the woman does as she is told and God takes care of her and her son and they do not die of starvation.
In our Gospel, Jesus challenges us to allow his light to shine through us. We are not the light we only let the light of Christ shine through us.
What will people see in us as the light of God shines through us?
Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
II Corinthians 4:13-5:1
Who wants to be “Out of their mind?” Sometimes I am “Out of my mind” with excitement, but I am easily excited! I am worried when the day comes when I am really “Out of my mind” that I then will say whatever is on my mind with no filters. In our Gospel, Jesus is accused of being, “Out of his mind” by his family and maybe he is out of his mind, but he is not out the mind of God!
In our first reading from the Book of Genesis, Adam and Eve are “Out of their minds but in a slightly different way. It is what a parent says to their child, “Are you out of your mind! What did you think when you did that?” It is God saying to Adam and Eve I gave you everything and it still was not enough?” Adam and Eve are out of their minds as they decide to eat from the tree of knowledge that God has told them not to eat. They are out of their minds because Adam blames Eve, and Eve blames the serpent. We need to know we are just like them as we are out of our minds. There is always going to be some temptation hanging on the lowest branch for us to grab onto. Many times we are “out of our minds” for reaching for the temptation and not reaching for Christ who can help us.
In our Gospel, Jesus is at home, but none of his family is present with him. Perhaps his family went away to figure out what they were going to do with him because they have decided he “out of his mind,” and they have come to save him. The family has heard Jesus healing on the Sabbath, eating with the best-known sinners, and preaching things never heard before, so they plan an intervention to take him away quietly. When they arrive, it is worse than what they had thought it would be. There was a large crowd; they could not get into their own home, so they send a message to Jesus. It had to be confirmed that Jesus was out of his mind when his family heard him say, “My family is anyone who does the will of my Father.”
My friends in Christ maybe it is us saying to God, “Are you out of your mind? What you are asking of me is too hard. I cannot love them, they do not love you as much as I love you?” God responds to us, “Show them my love and be out of your mind!” We say, “I cannot forgive them!” God says, “Be out of your mind with forgiveness. We need be “Out of our minds, but we will not be out of God’s minds!”
The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Hosea 11: 1, 3-4, 8-9
Ephesians 3:8-12, 14-19
All School Mass
Who is excited about summer vacation?
Yes, all of you should be excited about summer vacation because you deserve it.
Today we celebrate the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, and it is a perfect way to end the school year because we all need to know the love of God.
I am also looking forward to my summer vacation as I begin a new assignment at Holy Spirit Parish. Oh, do not misunderstand me, it is very hard to leave, but I know where I am going I will experience the love of God in the people of Holy Spirit. I know that I will experience the love of God in the school children of Holy Spirit. I know that God will reveal his love to me in a wonderful way at Holy Spirit Parish just as he has done here.
I want to thank all of you for showing me the love of God. As we journey forward in faith may we do so knowing the love of God for us?