A God of abundance!

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15

Ephesians 4:17, 20- 24

John 6:24-35

 

I took the day off Wednesday to spend it with my 92-year-old Father, and two of my brothers at Greenfield Village. As we pushed dad around in a wheelchair and we looked at the exhibits, it provided dad an opportunity to remember a time in his life growing up on a farm that was a simpler time for him. In all of his stories, he romanticized how much better those days were in his life. The three of us kept saying, “But dad, you had to use an outhouse, you only had a pot belly stove to heat the house, and there was no internet? For dad this did not matter, he wanted to remember all the good things about his past life. It is good to have places like Greenfield Village to go to visit to remember the past, and it is good for my dad to remember this simpler time in his life but our readings challenge us to know of God’s presence right now in our lives.

 

In our first reading from the Book of Exodus, the people have just begun their journey into the desert when they begin to grumble to Moses and Aaron because they do not have enough food. The people say, “We can remember being in Egypt and how wonderful it was to have enough food to eat and water to drink.” The Israelites total gloss over the hardship of being held as slaves by the Egyptians, and they want to go back to Egypt. What God wants them to know at this time is that He is forming them into a community of believers in His name.

 

In our second reading, St. Paul is encouraging the people to put away their former ways of life and put on the new way of living in Christ. We need to do the very same thing right now which too is to eliminate anything that prevents us from being the community of God. We do this by asking ourselves, “What is our last secret that no one knows?” What sinful thing have we done in the past that needs to change?

 

In our Gospel the people say, “Jesus, when did you get here?” Jesus responds by saying, “I have been here all along! Where have you been and what are you looking for now?” These people who just the day before was fed until they were full have already forgotten that miracle. Jesus questions them about following him because they are physically hungry or are they spiritual hungry?

 

My friends in Christ, it is ok to look to remember things of our past, but what God wants for us to do is to know right now what God is trying to do in our lives right now! Here is a good case in point! When this bread and wine are brought forward blessed and prayed over, “Do we just see bread and wine or do we believe that it the Body and Blood of Christ?” Do we know when we believe that it truly is the Body and Blood of Christ that God always gives us more than what we have asked for, now that is true faith? May we believe in that truth.

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What are we becoming?

 

Thursday of the 17th Week

Ordinary Time

Jeremiah 18:1-6

Matthew 13: 47-53

 

I took the day off yesterday so I could spend the day at Greenfield Village with my 92-year-old Father, and two of my brothers. As we took turns pushing dad around in the wheelchair, we all got a wonderful dose of what we are becoming. Please don’t get me wrong, my brothers and I love dad very much and have great respect for him, but we could remember as little children how dad would carry us around Greenville Village as this was one of our summer destinations. What are we becoming?

 

In our reading from the prophet Jeremiah, he is watching a potter at his wheel, and the potter is shaping the clay on the wheel to the image that he has in his mind. If it does not turn out, he begins again to shape the clay into what he wants it to become.

 

In our Gospel, we hear the parable of a large net that is cast into the sea, and when the fishermen bring the net to the shore, all kinds of things and fish are in the net. The fishermen begin to throw out what they do not want and what they want to keep by the shape of the fish.

 

How do we feel the hands of God on us shaping us into what he wants us to be? The Eucharist is giving to us to allow to shape us into his likeness

This is all I have it is not enough!

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

II Kings 4:42-44

Ephesians 4:1-6

John 6:1-15

 

“This is all I have it is not enough!” Have you ever had one of those moments or days? I did on Friday as I was trying to make some changes to the reconciliation chapel. You know where the reconciliation chapel is right? It is the little room off from the chapel where we go to know God’s love and forgiveness? My problem, well it is not a problem because it is the way I learn is I have to see it, then I have to feel it. What I mean by that is I learn best when I can see something and then step back and see what it feels like to me. My learning path goes to my eyes, then to my gut and then to my brain. I know this is not the best learning style, but it works for me. On Friday I was looking at the chapel, and things were beginning to feel ok, but then I just became overwhelmed, and I sat down and said, “This is all I have Lord, and it is not enough.” “This is all I have it is not enough!” Maybe you have felt this way because of a broken relationship, a death, or a situation in your life. Our readings today are about knowing what to do when we say, “This is all I have it is not enough!”

 

In our first reading and our gospel, we hear about bread made from barley. In ancient times bread from barley was food for the poor or feeding animals. What I understand is barley germinates quicker, and it is a bit easier to make into bread than bread made from wheat. Bread made from wheat was considered the bread of the rich.

 

In our first reading from the Book of II Kings, a man presumably a poor farmer brings Elisha 20 loaves of barley bread. It is the farmers “first fruits” the best of what he has to offer. This farmer is very poor, but he gives what is worth the most to him freely and without reservation to Elisha. Elisha’s a servant says “Is this all you have it is not enough!” Elisha does not listen to his servant but listens to God who blesses what the poor farmer has brought and made it into abundance.

 

In our Gospel, Jesus has 5000 people to feed, and he turns to Philip and says, “Where can we buy enough food for these people to eat?” Philip responds, “Two hundred-day hundred days wages would not be enough to feed this many people!”  A little boy steps forward and says, “I have five barley loaves and two small fish.” Andrew responds, “Is this all you have it is not enough!” Jesus takes the loaves, and the fish blesses it, and he gives it to the people to eat, and they know of this life in abundance.

 

The poor farmer and the little boy are the heroes in our stories today for they teach us when we feel as though what we have is not enough God says in reply, “Bring what you have and it is enough, I can work with what you bring and make it a great abundance.” Our Eucharist is about taking what we think is not enough and blessing it into an abundance.

We are the seeds!

Friday of the 16th Week Ordinary Time

Jeremiah 3:14-17

Matthew 13:18 – 23

 

“A special welcome to all of our visitors this day who join us. Thank you for being with us that together we can give God glory and praise!” I do not know why I ever began saying this. I believe it was a mistake and I did not know what to say, so I said this line. I do know that the very first time I did say this welcome; a woman after Mass thanked me for welcoming her. So, I just continued saying it. To be welcomed is the first step to becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ and we hear this in our readings today.

 

In our first reading from Jeremiah, we hear God welcoming all people back to Jerusalem after their captivity. It is surprising that only a small remnant returned to rebuild the holy city. Many ignored the invitation.

 

In our Gospel, we hear of four different kinds of soil. There is the hard soil, rocky soil, thorny soil, and the good soil. God is very generous about spreading the seeds of invitation on all kinds of soil. Of course, we think of ourselves as the good soil. Maybe how arrogant are we!

 

What kind of soil are we today? How are we doing on forgiveness, on patience, on accepting others as they are and not what we want them to be? How inviting are we to people who are not like us?

 

I see the seed as us, as God throwing us onto all kinds of soil and saying, “I am inviting you to plant yourself deep within that soil and make something grow!”

 

May we hear God’s invitation to holiness and be planted deep within the soil we are given.

 

Share our stories of faith!

Thursday Sixteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Jeremiah 2; 1-3, 7-8, 12-13

Matthew 13:10-17

St. Joachim & St. Anne

 

 

My two-year-old granddaughter Eleanor loves to have stories read to her. She loves being read to when she wakes up in the morning, and she loves to be read to when she is taking a nap or put to bed at night. These stories give her comfort, and they teach her many things about life. As we celebrate the Feast day of St. Joachim and St. Anne, parents to the Blessed Virgin Mary and grandparents to Jesus. We celebrate that they shared stories about life and taught Mary and Jesus many things.  

 

In our first reading from the prophet Jeremiah, the prophet is condemning the priest for not telling stories of the Lord God but rather stories of the pagan Canaanite gods.

 

In our Gospel, the disciples ask Jesus, “Why do speak to the crowd in parables?” Parables are multi-layered, and each time we hear a parable it has the potential to speak to us differently. Eleanor has the books she likes in the morning and the books she likes in the evening, each time she hears these books she is entering the story at a deeper level. Jesus ends this passage by saying, “But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.”

 

On this day when we celebrate the Sts. Joachim and Anne, we look back to those in our lives who have told their stories to us so that we will know our faith journey. Telling faith stories is the way our faith is handed on to the next generation. What are the stories that we need to tell over and over so that others will learn of the goodness of God? 

 

 

Are we able to forgive?

Tuesday of the 16th week Ordinary Time

Micah 7:14-15, 18-20

Matthew 12:46-50

 

Are you comfortable, are you feeling well? Good! However, in our spiritual lives it is not always good to feel comfortable. God’s word should at times make us feel uncomfortable, as in the case today about forgiveness. As human beings forgiveness is one of the most difficult things to do. Yesterday, I was talking with my older brother and one of our most talked about topics is our latest aches and pains. He was going on about his tingling in his legs so I shared how my big toe was hurting. He says, “You have had more aches and pains then I will ever have!” Of course I fire back, “Me! You have had more surgeries then I will ever have! You are like the bionic man!” With my feelings bruised and battered, I just hung up on him. Forgiveness is the hardest thing we do as human beings and I would dare say, it is not possible without God’s help.  

 

In our first reading from the prophet Micah we hear how God delights in forgiveness and mercy. God wants nothing more than to forgive us of our sins and cast them into the sea.   

 

In our Gospel, Jesus is encouraging us to forgive our family members. Jesus is asking us again to look again in to whom we need to forgive? Jesus is challenging us to look beyond our immediate family and look to our friends and those whose names we may have forgotten.

 

My friends in Christ, forgiveness can be the hardest thing we do as human beings; we need God’s grace to forgive. May the grace of this sacrament help us to forgive those we need to forgive?

 

 

Our lesson to learn!

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jeremiah 23:1-6

Ephesians 2:13-18

Mark 6:30-34

Masses 10:00 & noon

 

“He taught them many things!” What have we learned this past week? In the last week I have learned many things. I have learned to turn on the AC before Mass because at this time of the year it is very important. I have learned that there is some kind of tree frog that lives outside my bedroom window that thinks it is serenading me to sleep? I have learned that Fr. Mike eats half a strawberry pie for lunch. I have learned many things since coming here two weeks ago, but there are still more things to learn and we learn those things come Jesus Christ.

 

In our first reading we hear what Jeremiah has leaned from the Lord God and that is that there has been shepherds who have scattered the sheep and now there will be shepherds who will gather the sheep. God will appoint them and there will be no reason to fear. Sign me up for that course.

 

The writer of Ephesians shares what he has learned and that is; we were once far away from God but Christ keeps calling us near.

 

In our Gospel, Jesus is learning of all the things the disciples have done on their mission trip that he sent them on. The disciples  have learned many things so he invites them to go with him to a deserted place, but he knows they have more to learn. As Jesus invites the disciples to a place of rest the crowds follow so when they arrive the people are already there waiting. We are told that Jesus has pity for the people. The word “pity” can have a negative connotation but the translation from Jesus is, ‘his guts were wrenched out of him.’ Here now is the first lesson the disciples need to learn, Jesus gets out of the boat and begins to minister to the people. The disciples need to make a decision; do they get out or stay in the boat? If you read further in the next sentence it says, “The disciples beg Jesus to send them away.” The disciples need to learn what it means to have pity for the people. The next lesson is what Jesus does and that is he begins to teach them about the love of God. Jesus does not feed them, heal them or do any kind of physically thing with them. The lesson is that Jesus sees the hearts of the people and is able to give the people what they truly need above any kind of physical healing.

 

My friends in Christ as we gather, will be able to learn the lessons of Christ giving to us in our readings today? Will we be able to have more pity, more understanding, and more patience with those that God has entrusted to us? Will we be able to speak to their hearts words of God’s love and ours? The Eucharist we share is here to give us this grace, may we be good shepherds this week.