Sunday, September 29, 2013

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C 2013

May the peace of Christ reign in our heart…

In Today’s Gospel
The rich man eats sumptuously, and dresses extravagantly.
It is obvious that he has everything he needs and everything he wants.
He is comfortable and satisfied.
For him Life is good.

Lazarus the poor man is so weak he simply lies in the street and he can’t even push away the dogs when they lick his wounds.

He is so hungry that he would have gladly eaten anything, even the scraps that fell from the rich man table. They didn’t have paper towels back then and they didn’t have silverware so they would eat with their hands and the rich used chunks of bread to wipe their hands clean.

They are both children of God in radically different places.
We really don’t know much more about them. /
There were always scraps of food and bread around the table of a rich person.

Jesus doesn’t give us much more detail because it really doesn’t matter.
We don’t know if Lazarus was lazy or just down on his luck.
We don’t’ know if he was smart or not smart.
We don’t know if he was addicted or not addicted.
We don’t know if his poverty was his fault or not.
We don’t know…. and like I said it really doesn’t matter.

Actually there are really only two things that we know about him.

He was poor and he was a good man because he made it into heaven
sadly being poor by itself is not a ticket into heaven.

Rich or poor to get into heaven you have to good person a loving person.

The rich man is not mean.
He doesn’t treat Lazarus disrespectfully.
He doesn’t kick him or taunt him when he passes by.  

So what is is sin?
Plain and simply put the rich man just didn’t seem to notice Lazarus.

You see he had grown so comfortable that he became self absorbed.

In fact, he had grown so self centered that he didn’t have any feelings for the poor or those in need, even those in desperate straits like Lazarus.

The rich man had squandered away or lost the ability to feel for others,
to pity others,
to have compassion on others.

In the eyes of the rich man,
the poor,
those less fortunate,
those who just couldn’t seem to get their act together,
just didn’t matter it was like they were invisible.

How sad, how tragic it is when a heart goes so cold that they no longer have compassion.

How sad indeed!

The rich man’s sin is a sin of omission,
and yet it is a serious sin, a sin that cost him eternal life.
He just did not notice Lazarus, and he did not act.

You know sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking that the only time we sin is when we actually do something wrong.

So often we forget that we also sin when we fail to do something good.
It is so important for us to remember that
we sin when we fail to do what love calls us to do.

We sin when we don’t notice or just don’t care about others.

At the beginning of this mass we prayed the Confiteor or the “I confess prayer”
Please repeat it with me…

I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have sinned through my own fault
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done,
and in what I have failed to do;

We have prayed those words over and over again…

May their meaning sink into our hearts
May they change us and transform us…
May they transform our parish, and our town, our state, and our nation.

Loving our neighbor is not something we do when it’s convenient.

Being compassionate to those in need, anyone  in need, is not an option for a follower of Christ.

May our hearts never grow cold.
May we never lose our ability to feel for others,
to be kind to others and merciful to others no matter what.

May the needs of the poor and the weak always pull at our heartstrings and call us to service.

The Gospel this week calls us to examine ourselves,
and ask ourselves…

What have I done  for poor, and the outcast, the lonely, and the sick?

Am I able to look beyond my own world my own interests, my own concerns…

…Lest someday we stand before God and say I’m sorry Lord I simply didn’t notice.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

25th Sunday of Ordinary Time–Year C - 2013

May the peace of Christ reign in our hearts.

This week  when we read this Gospel at our youth group there were lots of questions…

At first glance its is confusing. It almost seems to be praising the deceitful steward who is about to fired for stealing money from his employer. When you look deeper it is actually the shady employer praising the shady steward.
Here are three simple points we can take from this complicated Gospel

1. The steward was desperate and so he worked hard to figure out a way to provide for himself.

If all of us worked as hard at being holy as we do trying to get ahead,

If all of us prayed with the same intensity that we watch our investments or bank account,

if we were concerned as much about the things of heaven as we are about the things of earth we would be incredibly different people,

and our homes, our town, our country and our world would be very different places indeed.   

That’s the lesson of the deceitful steward. Let’s think about that for a moment.

2. Material things in and of themselves are not important people are.

Material things our wealth our resources should be directed toward the good of others. We should use our material well being to help others. Even the shady or dishonest Steward understood that.

St. Ambrose said… The rich can indeed help the poor in this world..  but it is poor also help the rich by in next world. 

In other words, the rich man gives the poor bread, a poor man give the rich the ability to store up treasures in heaven.

After reading this Gospel all of us should ask ourselves where should our treasure be or where should we store our treasure, here on earth to be left behind or in heaven where we can enjoy our good works forever.

Just think about that for a minute

3. Many times in our lives it is hard to figure out who we can trust and who we can’t trust.

Jesus in this Gospel reminds us If a person is trustworthy in something small they can be trusted in something big. 

In other words, if you want to see if someone really loves you, don’t look for grand gestures, anyone can do grand gestures. Rather if you want to know if you can trust someone watch them day in and day out over time and you will find out if they care for you or not.

We should work hard for holiness

We should store up our treasure in heaven


You can find out who to trust by watching their actions.

Three simple lesson to ponder from today’s Gospel


Sunday, September 08, 2013

23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C - 2013

Once when I was walking around my Residence halls to my surprise I found a group of students playing what they called “Bible Roulette”  It must have been a slow night.

They would think of a problem and then randomly open the bible and point at a phrase to see if it applied.

To their surprise many of their random selections seemed to answer their question.

But I cautioned them that  it would be better if they simply read the whole book and not random passages by chance.

Everyone knows that you can’t read one sentence randomly out of context and understand the message of a whole book.

The same thought came to mind this week as I read today’s Gospel because it never really sits well with me.

How could Jesus who calls us to love our enemies and do good to those who persecute us,

How could Jesus who calls us to honor our Father and Mother,

How could Jesus who honored and loved his parents with all his heart,

in another breath seemingly command us to hate them.

Remember we have to read the whole book and understand the context and culture in which it is written to understand its message.

The scholars tell us that in this passage Jesus was using an idiomatic phrase and hyperbole to make his point.

Just like a grandma saying to her Grandson eat your supper or I will never buy you ice cream again.

Here is another example:

If in 2000 years someone finds a copy of the Hartford Currant, (God forbid) and on the first page reads that a gunman kills two in bank robbery,

then on the sports page they read, Berlin High School kills defending state champion Xavier HS in season opener,

and when they go to financial page they read Fr. Robert made a killing on the stock market this year.

From the literal meaning of the words without the cultural context in which they were written, They would think that there were murders all over the place

But from the context we would all understand that sadly on the first page there was indeed the tragic loss of life,

the sports page simply reporting that BHS beat Xavier and beat them well in football,

and on the financial page, Fr. Robert made a lot of money on the stock market.

To understand the meaning you have understand the context of the words and the meaning they express

The word Jesus used did not mean to literally hate with anger but rather to prefer or choose.

What Jesus is saying is that Christian discipleship asks that we put God and God’s plan first in our lives no matter what. 

And that’s what this whole Gospel is about.

Jesus wants us all to know that should we chose to follow Him it may very well cost us, and cost us dearly.

One need only to look over to the Middle East now to see how much discipleship is costing Christians, in Palestine, and Egypt, and Syria, most have been forced to flee Iraq.

The Gospel is also reminding us that to be the best Husband or Wife

to be the best Mom or Dad

to be the best priest.

We have to be the best disciples first. 

The best possible way for me to serve you is not attend tons of meetings though it seems I do, but rather to be a holy priest,

If you want to be a great Dad and a great Mom for your children or a great husband and wife for your spouse,  be a holy disciple first and you will be a great parent and a great spouse.

The Scriptures and the history of our church is full of examples of people who paid the price of our faith.

Sometimes Televangelists tell people that discipleship is easy and if you are a good disciple Jesus will make you rich.

Nothing could be farther from the truth

Being a Disciple means carrying your cross

As one commentary put it, bearing your cross means voluntarily exposing ourselves to ridicule and sacrifice in order to follow Jesus.

When we chose to follow Christ we will always carry the cross like he did.

We can never say that we didn’t know or understand the true cost of discipleship.

All we have to do is follow in his footsteps to Calvary.

Are we as a Church, as a parish and as individuals willing to pay the cost of discipleship and follow our Lord?

Our  world, our country, our families desperately need us to say yes!