To be forgiven!

Thursday Twenty – Fourth Week Ordinary Time

St. Andrew Kim & Martyr, St. Paul and companions

I Corinthians 15; 1-11

Luke 7: 36-50

 

 

 

I thought that Bishop Walkowiak gave an incredible homily last night during the Holy Hour for the healing of survivors of sexual abuse, reparation for the sins of the clergy, and the restoration of hope for the Catholic Church. He spoke prophetically about the abuse, and he spoke well about forgiveness.

 

In our first reading, St. Paul is confessing because he persecuted Christians, there was nothing he did to deserve God’s love and forgiveness, but when he realized the love and forgiveness of God is offered to him, he changed his life and became an apostle for Christ.

 

In our Gospel, Jesus has been invited to the house of Simon a Pharisee. A woman who is a public sinner enters his house; she begins to wash the feet of Jesus with her tears and dry his feet with her hair. Simon says, “Do you see this woman?” Simon says this meaning “Do you see this great sinner?” Jesus responds, “Do you see this woman?” What he means by saying this “Do you see this woman, who is so remorseful of her sins and is not deserving of my forgiveness but I give it to her.

 

Let us who gather be mindful of our need for God’s forgiveness even though we do not deserve it. Let us be mindful that God offers us first, his forgiveness and we are responding out of that great love. May we pray for all those involved in the abuse and the crimes committed against those in the Church? May we learn to forgive and grow in holiness?

 

 

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We are the Body of Christ!

Tuesday Twenty – Fourth Week Ordinary Time

I Corinthians 12:12-14, 27-31

Luke 7:11-17

 

Are you one with your spouse today? Are we one with our children today? How are we doing with our neighbors and our co-workers? Our readings today speak about restoring unity in all things.

 

In our first reading, the people of Corinth have all been baptized in Christ making them the Body of Christ, but they are not acting that way. The people are struggling to live in a Christian community as they are arguing amongst themselves of who was the greatest with their gifts and talents. St. Paul tells them that, “The body is one with many different members.” Paul encourages them to be the community of Christ they were called to be.    

 

In our Gospel today, Jesus and his disciples encounter the funeral of an only son of a widowed mother. Because her husband is gone and now her son it is also death for her because she will now need to rely on the generosity of others.

Jesus is moved with pity for the woman even though she is not Jewish. Notice, no-one from the funeral procession calls out to Jesus he goes right up to the funeral procession stops the procession and says to the woman, “Do not weep!” He reaches out his hand to the dead boy, and he tells the boy to get up, and Jesus is moved with pity for the woman.

 

Our readings challenge us today to work for unity in our lives because the Church’s finest hour is when we live in unity. The Eucharist we celebrate will help us by giving us the grace to be one in Christ.

 

Picture me carrying my cross.

Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Isaiah 50:5-9

 James 2:14-19

 Mark 8:27-35

 

I have this idea for a new magazine called “Holy People,” and I need some pictures of holy people. Take out a cell phone and take a picture of assembly, servers, and self. To make my reporting balanced and not bias, now I need you to call me when your life is a mess when something terrible has happened so I can get a picture of you. I want my reporting to be about holy people being holy through good times and bad. Our readings today are about trusting God in the good times and in the bad. How do we do this in a graceful, faith-filled manner?

 

In our first reading, we hear from this suffering servant. The servant is crying out for someone to take their picture because they have mastered what to do when hard times come. The suffering servant remembers another difficult time in your life and to remember how God helped us through that difficult time. In this reading, there is no indication that God will take away the suffering. The suffering servant is very much aware that God is very present to them in these difficult times and they seem to be strengthened by their suffering.   

 

In our Gospel, we get a snapshot of Peter, but there will be better pictures of Peter. In our story, Jesus asks, “Who do the people say that I am?” Notice all the disciples chime in a let Jesus know what they have heard from the people about who he is. However, when Jesus asks, “Who do you say that I am?” Only Peter is brave enough to step forward and give an answer as he says, “You are the Christ.” Peter gives a great answer, but when Jesus goes on to talk about rejection, suffering, and death, Peter now rebukes Jesus for saying such a thing. Peter’s understanding of Jesus is not much different than our understanding. We like our Christianity to be like sitting in an easy boy recliner. We struggle with our Christianity when we have to carry our cross.   

 

What would a snapshot of us reveal about us today? Are we willing to get off the recliner and accept our sufferings as part of our growth in Jesus Christ trusting that he will lead us through this most difficult time? How often do we in our times of distress say “God who are you?” I believe it is at these times God asks us, “Who do you say that I am?” We have to answer the question because it will determine how we will respond in good times and in bad.

 

We worship a God who doesn’t promise to take away our suffering but promises us to be with us in our time of suffering. In this Eucharist are we able to the give glory and praise to God in all that I do, the things I suffer with and the things I rejoice in?”

 

The cross a sign of God’s great love for us!

 

The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Numbers 21:4-9

Philippians 2:6-11

John 3: 13-17

 

Question: Who are the people that you love? Tell me how do you show them that you love them?

 

Question: Who does God love?
Raise your hands if you think God loves you?

How does God show that he loves us?

 

Today, we celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and what I find interesting is our gospel says nothing about a cross. I would have guessed that our Gospel would be about the crucifixion. Our message is all about God’s love for us.

 

In our Gospel, Jesus says to Nicodemus, “That God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes may not perish, but have eternal life.  What we celebrate today is the most powerful act of love ever demonstrated here on earth.  The body that hangs on the cross changes the cross from a sign of death to the ultimate sign of God’s great love for us. The cross is our sign of life.

 

As we celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, we need to know that Christ died on the cross for all of our sufferings and sorrows. We need to take notices of all the crosses we see and know that Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price for us and he shows us his unconditional love. May we want to share this love today!  

 

Are we really able to do all of this?

 

Thursday Twenty Third Week of Ordinary Time

I Corinthians 8:1-7, 11-13

Luke 6:27-38

St. John Chrysostom

 

Our readings today go together like peanut butter and jelly, like Oreo cookies and milk, an anything wrapped in bacon. It would be good to spend more time today meditating upon our readings.

 

In our first reading St. Paul is letting us know that we are responsible for the welfare and the good of those entrusted to our care. Husband and wives, you are responsible for not only your salvation but your spouse’s salvation.

 

In our Gospel, Jesus begins by saying, “To you who hear I say.” Since all of us can hear, then we need to listen to what Jesus has to say. He goes on to say, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse us, and turn your other cheek to those who strike us.” Jesus brings it all home by saying, “Even sinners are good for other sinners.”

 

How are we to do this? We are always to be discerning the will of God in our lives. Where is God leading us? How is God caring for us? Living in Christ means redefining how we live and how we view the world. We do not live for ourselves, but for others. Jesus did not die on the cross because he wanted to have a good time; he died on the cross to take all of our sufferings. We live this way by knowing and trusting in God’s grace and that God is in control. We do this by praying by name those who do not like us. We do this by receiving the Eucharist as often as we are able. May we live in the manner that God is calling us.

Be a person of great prayer!

 

Tuesday Twenty – Third Week Ordinary Time

I Corinthians 6:1-11

Luke 6:12-19

 

I would bet most of us know where we were 8:46, on Tuesday, September 11, 2001? I was coming out of morning Mass at Our Lady of the Lake Church in Holland when the secretary’s husband called and said, “A plane had flown into the north tower of the World Trade Center.” A little while longer he called back to say; a second plane flew into the south tower. We scrambled to find a television, and we watched as the world changed forever. Our readings today are very prophetic as they lay out for us what we are to do to change our lives this day.

 

In our first reading, St. Paul is telling the people of Corinth, that they have to be different than the rest of the people because they have been saved in God’s grace.   

 

In our Gospel Jesus is giving us an example of how we are to be different than the rest of the world. Jesus goes up the mountain for some solitude and prayer. In sacred scripture, whenever Jesus goes away from the others to pray, be ready for something to happen. In this case, Jesus full of the Holy Spirit because his prayer comes down the mountain and chooses by name his apostles. As he continues down the mountain, he stops on level ground, and he has the power to heal all the sick brought to him this day. 

 

On this day when we gather to remember all those who lost their lives and all those first responders, we need to remember them in prayer. We need to be different because we are people of great prayer because it is our prayer, our time in solitude that gives us the strength to speak God’s word and to do our works of mercy and charity. In this Eucharist may we be people of great prayer before God.    

Be ready when God speaks to us!

Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Isaiah 35:4-7

James 2:1-5

Mark 7: 31-37

 

When I was a young boy and my four siblings and I were watching television and my mom yelled from the kitchen, “I need someone to come in here and set the table.” None of us moved and we all acted as though we did not hear her. When mom came into the living room wheedling a frying pan we all jumped! When I was a young boy and my four siblings and I were watching television and my mom or dad yelled, “Who wants to go for ice cream.” We all heard that perfectly and we would come a running. I am wondering do children today have that kind of selective hearing?  

I know when I first arrived, I was having trouble with the microphone and you were having trouble hearing me. Now that I have this new Brittany Spears microphone you can hear me better. Our readings are about hearing but not just about our ability to physically hear, but more about our ability to spiritually hear.

 

In our first reading, the people have not been listening to God and because of this they will pay a heavy price as they will be captured and taken off to slavery. What I love about this particular reading is before this even happens God says to them, “Fear not, and do not be afraid. I will open the eyes of the blind and I will open the ears of the deaf.”  Before disaster even happens God is coming to them helping them to be strong. How often do we not see God acting or hear God because of fear? Fear traps all of us and prevents us from seeing the movement of God in our lives.   

 

In our second reading, the writer James is telling us, we need to make sure we are open to all the voices that are around us, because any one of them may be the voice of God. Who are we not listening too?

 

Our Gospel story is all about a Jesus healing a man who is not able to speak or hear. However, before we get to this, there are some things that we need to take notice of in the story. Jesus is not in his native land; he is deep in a Gentile country. Although the other gospel writers borrow much from Mark, this story is only told in Mark. When the man is brought to Jesus, he is taken away from the crowd, and his friends and Jesus heals him privately. Jesus touches the man, I like this, because in ancient times to touch a sick person made you unclean. All of this is done to let us know that Jesus is trying to heal us every day by his touch. 

 

As we gather today, we need to know that God promises that he will open our ears and give us the speech we need if we ask him. God’s message may come to us from the most unlikely sources. The Eucharist is offered to us, so the more we want from God, the more like God we are called to become. May we do all things in God this week.