Give generously!

 

Thursday, Eighteenth Week of Ordinary Time

II Corinthians 9:6-10

John 12: 24 -26

St. Lawrence

 

We all like to be in control of our lives, but for young parents, they will do well if they learn to learn when children come along they are no longer in charge, but their child is. It is a constant cycle of sleep, eat, play, and having a bowel movement. That cycle never changes! Parents do well to learn quickly that they have to die to their selves to give to their children. Our readings today are about being a generous and happy giver.

 

In our first reading St. Paul asked the question, “Are we sowing seeds sparingly, or are we sowing seeds generously?” He follows this up with, “God loves a cheerful giver.” St. Paul gives us a spiritual truth by letting us know that God supplies us with everything we need to reap a bountiful harvest.

 

In our Gospel, we hear that a grain of wheat must fall to the ground and die to be able to produce much fruit. Young parents and we are reminded of this all the time, but do it we do it well?

 

St. Lawrence knew the truth about our teaching today. May we in this Eucharist learn like he did to give of ourselves generously in the name of Jesus Christ.

 

In God’s love!

 

Tuesday of the 18th week Ordinary Time

Numbers 12:1-13

Matthew 14:22 -36

St. Dominic

 

 

Gary & Angie, I want to begin my reflection today by saying how privileged and honored I am to be here today to celebrate with you and this community your 25th wedding anniversary. I believe our readings have a lot to say to all of us, but especially to all of you who are married.

 

In our first reading, Miriam and Aaron the brother and sister of Moses are complaining about their brother Moses. They are complaining about Moses marrying a Cushite woman; I will not be saying any more about that, especially on your special day. The other thing they complain about which was their main reason for complaining was that God spoke only to Moses and not them. God calls all three of them to himself and tells them that he does communicate with other prophets through visions and dreams, but they do not always understand what God is telling them to do. God’s relationship is something special as God communicates face to face to with Moses and Moses understands what he is to do. Moses is the greatest prophet of all and is the meekest man on earth.  

 

When married couples speak in dreams, visions, or only through complaining the other person may have a hard time understanding what the other person wants or needs. However, when couples can speak face to face, with great openness, then wonderful things can happen like the two of you have known. Another thing for marriages to succeed is to remain humble and meek. Angie and Gary, thank you again for your wonderful example to us of what marriage can and should be.

 

In our Gospel, Jesus makes his disciples get into a boat and cross over the sea at night to the other side. During the darkest part of the night, a storm begins battering the boat, and the disciples are scared. The disciples see Jesus walking on water, and he tells them, “take courage, it is I.” Peter testing who this is walking to them says, “Lord if it is you, command me to come out to you. This line is only in Matthews’s version of the story. As long as Peter looks at Jesus, he can walk on water, but as soon as he looks down, he falls into the water.

 

The words on every married couple’s lips, Lord, if it is you, let me risk loving this person as I love you. If it is you let me forgive this person as you have always forgiven me. Lord, if it is you, help me to keep my eyes on you as my spouse, and I walk together.

 

Gary and Angie thank you for being that sign to us of love, forgiveness, and faith. May this Eucharist sustain us all in God’s love.

 

We need to be Transfigured!

 

The Transfiguration of the Lord

Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14

II Peter 1:16-19

Matthew 17: 1-9

 

Last week on vacation my older sister, and my younger brother flew out to be with my older brother in Maine. It was the first time in 45 years that we were all together. Unfortunately, my one brother could not make it, but the four of us had the best time. We did do some fishing as we all love to fish but my sister was bragging how she was going to out fish us boys. Well she did if you count catching two clams, using a spinner bait, and snagging a chub in the back, well then she won. My time with them was fantastic! The meals, the conversations, the laughter, and just being together under one roof for the first time in 45 years was a gift from God. It was a mountain top experience!

 

The beauty of the Transfiguration story is that it is our story. When was the last time you were over whelmed by the presence of God? Now can you think of another time? Hang onto those moments, because God’s intent is to share his glory with us and to move us to know him in the ordinary times in our lives. However, God’s intent is not to reveal Himself to us in all of his glory, and then to leave us alone.

 

One of the amazing lines in our story of the Transfiguration is the line that is left out, which is the line just before our story. In Matthew 16:28, Jesus says to his disciples, “Some of you will see the Son of Man coming in all of his glory.” Jesus is giving them a clue of what is to happen. When Peter, James, and John fall to the ground after Jesus was transfigured because they were afraid. Jesus came to them and said, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” Peter, James, and John would reflect on this experience many times, and this would help them makes sense of Jesus going to the cross.  

 

The gift of the Transfiguration is to know the Kingdom of God is happening right now! Our response to the Kingdom of God in our midsts is to be transformed ourselves. What do we see when we look at ourselves? At times I see a weak, aging, balding, old guy with an expanding body? What do we see, when you look into our hearts? Do we see all the sins, we have committed and still cannot forgive ourselves, although God has forgiven us? Or do we see a new creation, redeemed and being transformed into the likeness of God?

 

As much as I enjoyed my time with my brothers and my sister, I could not stay on that mountain 24/7; it is not possible. The challenge to us today is to seek the glory of God being offered to us in this Holy Eucharist and take this to our ordinary lives. A huge mistake would be to leave here today unchanged, not transformed. We need to hear the Lord say to us, “Rise, and do not be afraid!”

I am so blessed today!

 

Friday of the 17th Week

St. John Vianney

Leviticus 23:1, 4-11, 15-16, 27, 34-37

Matthew 13:54-58

 

 

I am so blessed today and every day! The Good News of this is that you too are blessed! Praise the Lord! Even in our infirmities, we are blessed. Yesterday, I took apart this plywood closet that I had made years ago. There were eight sheets of plywood that were three feet by five feet. I had no idea how to dispose of them, so I put them out on the street. Within an hour a father with three little kids came by in an old pickup truck. He loaded all the plywood in his truck and said the kids had wanted a fort to play in and these sheets of plywood will greatly help in building the kids a fort. I am so blessed today and every day!

 

In our first reading, the Lord God is teaching Moses how blessed he and the people are every day. God has ordered their lives to be holy, and he wants them to stay holy by worshipping on the Sabbath and by annual Holy Days. What makes these days holy is that at the end of major agricultural events, God wants special Holy Days that exceed ordinary days. All of these events are given to the people to remind them how blessed they are every day.

 

In our Gospel, we hear how Jesus comes home and begins to preach in the synagogue. At first, the people know how blessed they are to have one of their own to be the savior of the world. However, things change very quickly as they no longer see the blessings of having Jesus in their midst and they begin to question who Jesus thinks he is.

 

How would it be, if we responded to everything today with the words, “I am so blessed today?” The Eucharist we share is our blessing.

 

Spot the light in our lives!

 

Thursday of the 16th Week

Ordinary Time

Exodus 19:1-2, 9-11, 16-20

Matthew 13:10-17

 

I am inviting new members to a club I started. It is the Club to watch the NASA International Space Station flying overhead. I love watching the Space Station fly over. The International Space Station is a large spacecraft that orbits around Earth, with real astronauts living in it. Why I enjoy following the space station is because it is very bright, and it is very easy to see in the night sky. I imagine as I look up the astronauts are looking down at me. (You can follow the schedule on ‘spot the space station.’)

 

In our first reading, God tells Moses that he will speak to the people from a dense cloud that will surround the mountain.  On the morning of the third day, the people look up, and a heavy cloud covered the mountain, lighting, and thunder begin to flash about the mountain, and then a very loud trumpet blasted comes forth from the mountain.  The people look up and know that God is in their midst and God looks down on them. This is a great theophany of God!  

 

In our Gospel, the disciples ask Jesus, “Why do you speak in parables?”  He responds,”Because knowledge of the Kingdom of God has been given to you. Blessed are your eyes that look up and know that I am God.”

 

Let us look up and see the glory of God in our midst. May we praise and thank God for his many blessing and how he has to lead us to this day.

Perfect readings for those who struggle this day!

 

Tuesday of the 16th Week

Feast of St. James

Ordinary Time

II Corinthians: 4:7-15

Matthew 20:20-28

 

 

These are perfect readings if we are struggling with something or someone at this time.

 

St. Paul begins his powerful message for those who are feeling vulnerable and weak, by saying “We hold a treasure in earthen vessels.” What he is telling us is we hold the gospel message, the truth of all truths, but we hold it in a clay pot. Clay pots can be easily cracked or broken. Clay pots are a good reminder to us that the message is not about us, it is always about the message of God.

 

Paul continues by saying, “We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being given up to death

for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” Notice bad things happen, but we are not overcome!

 

In our Gospel, the mother of James and John asks for her sons to sit one on his left and one on his right in the kingdom of God. The irony of this request is Jesus will die with one man on his left another on his right. Jesus asks the brothers, James and John, “Are you able to drink the chalice that I am to drink?” Drinking the chalice of Christ is being invited to his life, death, and resurrection. James and John responded, “We are!”

 

We need to remember, especially if we are struggling today, “God always begins where when our ability ends.” May this Eucharist comfort our restless hearts?