Friday, September 30, 2011

27th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A - 2011

This Sunday’s Readings

May the peace of Christ reign in our hearts.

In this Gospel there is lots of symbolism
and so we really have to be thoughtful when we try to understand its meaning.

The vineyard…symbolizes creation, or the world.
The vineyard also symbolizes our life.

Like the landowner gives the vineyard to the tenants to bear fruit.

God gives us our life to bear fruit.

Not just what we produced with our work
but who we become.

The Grapes and wild grapes…
are the fruit of our labor,
the work of our hands.

The Landowner is God…
God who gives us everything we need.

Like the vineyard described in the parable is beautiful
God gives us a wonderful world, a beautiful vineyard
a place which is capable of providing for us abundantly, richly.

God like the landowner wants to enjoy the work of our hands.

God wants to be proud of us.

God wants to rejoice in our successes and is very patient with us.

He is so desperate for us to live as we should
that he repeatedly sends
servants or prophets to encourage us and guide us on our journey.

The patience and perseverance of God is astounding.

Remember that powerfully tragic line in the parable,
“but the tenants seized the servants and one they beat,
another they killed, and a third they stoned.”

The landowner does not give up on the tenants
Even when they are steeped in sin and violence.

He forgives all these horrible offenses
and sends his Son his own flesh and blood to
help these evil tenants change their ways.

Moved by jealousy and anger and incredible greed the tenants kill his son.

Just like the religious leaders of Jesus’ time killed God’s Son.

And only after that does the landowner take his revenge.

As you can see this parable is intense.
Jesus was speaking to the religious leaders of his time
because he loved them even with all their sins.

With this parable He showed them who they were and where they were headed.

He didn’t sugar coat.
They had done horrible things.
Motivated by greed and
a lust for power they
killed the Messiah.

We all know that roughly 40 years after Jesus’ death
in a terrible war of destruction,
the Romans destroyed all that was dear to the Israel ju

st like the landowner put the evil tenants to death.

But because the scriptures are the word of God
They not only speak to the people of his time…
they speak to us.

The parables are like mirrors where God shows us who we are and who we ought to be.

Here are some questions for us the tenants of the vineyard.

God has given us the vineyard of our lives what are we doing with this incredible gift

Is the fruit of our lives, or our grapes, bountiful or wild?

Are we taking care of the vineyard?

Are we caring for it so future generations can enjoy it and benefit from it?

Are we sharing the vineyard’s, abundance fairly?

Do all of our brothers and sisters have the ability to share in its resources?

Is our first impluse to think of ourselves or others?

Do we think we know it all like the tenants?

Do we listen to the prophets and teachers that God
repeatedly sends us over and over and over again or
do  we persecute them or marginalize them, ignore them make fun of them?

These are really important questions.
We are in a difficult economic crisis.

It seems that many in our country are also motivated by greed.

What place does greed have in our lives?

Are we working for only ourselves like the tenants or are we living the generous holy lives that God calls us to live ?

This parable is as powerful today as it was when it was proclaimed over 2000 years ago.

Let us look in the mirror that Jesus holds up for us in this parable and let us see who we are.

Let us listen and learn.

Friday, September 16, 2011

25th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A - 2011

This Sunday’s Readings


Today’s Gospel passage includes a story which we have all heard many times.

Let’s look at 3 different symbols in the story and see how they relate to us.

The vineyard owner represents God,
God who is desperate for the harvest.

The Vineyard Owner was worried about his grapes.

God is worried about our souls.

He is so worried that He will do anything except take away our freedom to bring us home to Him in heaven.

God is so desperate that he sends his foreman out into the market place over and over and over again until the last moment of the day to find workers for his harvest.

Like the vineyard owner God is recklessly generous.

It doesn’t matter if we’ve worked for God’s Kingdom from our youth or if we
seek him in the last moments of our lives,
our reward is the same everlasting life with Him in heaven.

The workers are us.
Some of us are hard workers, some of us are not.
Some of us have worked for a long time, some of us have not.

Like the workers who waited all day in the hope that they would get at least some work so that they could feed their families,
all of us want a good life and want to take care of those we love.

Sometimes, like the workers in the vineyard we become jealous of what others have, even though God gives us all or want we need.

With all of our faults we are still loved by God and needed by him.

The work of the harvest is saving souls,
our soul and the souls of others.

Sadly, lots people mistakenly believe that their work
or their purpose here on earth is to amass as much as they can for themselves and those they love.

We all know people who drive themselves just about crazy trying to do just that.

The scripture we heard a couple of weeks ago rings so true
“What profit a man to gain the whole world and in the process loose his soul?”

We need to remind ourselves over and over again that our work and our purpose is to find our way home to God and to bring as many people as we can with us.

If we were able to write that very important truth on our hearts lot of what we do and how we do it would change.

God needs workers.
God needs us to bring in his harvest.
Our purpose and our mission is God’s work,
not worldly success.

The reward for our work is great everlasting life.

If we are not ready or willing or able to do God’s work,
God will not give up on us.

Rather, He sends his foremen to the Marketplace of our lives over and over again,
until our very last breath to seek our help in his most important work.

Thanks be to God…

Let us be about God’s work… the harvest is great the workers are few. AMEN

Friday, September 09, 2011

24th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A - 2011

Sept 11Today (Tomorrow) is September 11th. 11 years ago it was just another day.

10 Years ago the date September. 11th took on a whole new meaning and our lives changed.

We all remember where we were when it happened.

On 9/11 I was in Washington DC and as looked South west in the sky I say the smoke from the Pentagon rising in the sky.

The whole university of 6000 pretty frightened young people and faculty gathered in the National Shrine for Mass. Some were afraid to come in thinking that a terrorist might mistake the dome of the Shrine with the Capital Building dome.

We had all night confessions and Eucharistic Adoration. They were very well attended.

At that Mass Cardinal McCarrick said something that has remained with me since that fateful day.

He begged the whole university not to let hate win.

You see hate wins and evil wins when they cause us to hate or do evil.

Think about it when someone treats us in a hateful and evil way and we respond in kind, then evil wins and love loses.

Your Boss has a bad day at home. He comes to the office and he is not him/herself they start chewing out the people that work for them, including you.

You have a miserable day and awful day and you go home and your kid runs up to you and asks you to play with them. Or your wife asks you a question.

You are still hurting from the experience at work and your respond poorly.

And sometimes that the chain of hurt or hate or anger or bitterness goes on and on and on and on.

Whenever we respond to evil with evil or anger with anger or hate with hate.

Evil wins.

If the last person in the last row of church hit the person next to them and that person hit the person next to them and that person next to them etc.

The hurt which began in one heart would be now written on many hearts.

In situations like this the Gospel calls us to respond to hate and anger and resentment in a radical way.

As followers of Christ we can’t let any hurt or anything evil take root in our hearts.

And when we are hurt we have to respond with love not 1 time not 7 times not  times but 77 times… in other words forever.

Followers of Jesus must never ever respond to evil with evil, or hurt with hurt, or anger with anger.. we are called to respond to evil with love.

We don’t have to be sucker and just allow ourselves to be repeatedly hurt. We can remove ourselves from hurtful situations however we can’t respond to evil with evil.

I know its hard.
I know it may even seem impossible,
but that’s what Jesus did and that we he calls us to do.

“Love your enemies do good to those who persecute you” Mt 5:44

“Father forgive them they don’t know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34

Has no one condemned you then I do not condemn you John 8:10

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone John 8:6

Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. Mt 18:22

If anyone here thinks that it easy being a follower of Christ…

If anyone here thinks that it is easy to be Catholic…

Then they haven’t read the instruction manual.

The only place that we can stop hate or anger is in our heart.

The only place we can prevent another Sept 11th is in our hearts.

There are two other announcements.RM.indd

As many of you know the First Sunday of Advent this year we and the whole English speaking Catholic world will begin using a new translation of the Mass.

Archbishop Mansell asked that we use this Sunday to begin to prepare you for the change.

The first translation after the VCII was done 40 years ago and was never intended to be the final translation.

We all know that there are several translations of the Bible, some are translated in a literal way and others offer a generalized translation.

This new translation was requested by Blessed John Paul II in 2000 and it remains much more faithful to the original Latin Text.

It is so important to remember that this is a new translation not a new Mass. And the new words which we use to pray can push us on to a greater appreciation and reverence for the Mass.

In the Bulletin for the next several weeks we will provide additional inserts to help you understand the meaning of the changes and help you renew your appreciation of the Mass.

There will also be a lot of resources on our parish website. Including some great videos explaining the changes. On the first Sunday of Advent you will find pew cards in the pews to help us learn what to say.

Change is never easy but the promise of this new translation of the mass is that we will be able to enter more deeply into the mystery of our Faith and the Mystery of God’s love for the World.

Once again this year we will be starting up our RCIA Program. This is the program the church uses to welcome people into our community. If you or anyone you know is interested in becoming a Catholic please visit our website for more information. Last year 7 very fine people became members of our Church. All are welcome we look forward to hearing from you.

God Bless You All

Friday, September 02, 2011

23 Sunday of Ordinary Time Year–A 2011

This Sunday's Readings

Love is the most noble things a human being can do.
With love there is often joy and we all know that with love there are also tears and sacrifices.

Love supports,
love surrenders, love heals,
love forgives,
love encourages,
love exhorts
love gives life.

Today’s Gospel teaches us about an essential characteristic of love which many of us would prefer to forget or put aside.

Jesus reminds us today that when our love is real,
when we love like God loves
we must also care enough to humbly correct or challenge those we know and love.
We all understand this when it comes to our children.

What parent would let a little child play around a stove with boiling water on it and not correct them?

What parent would let a little kid run into the street and not stop them and correct them?

However this type of love is just so hard when our kids get older,
or with our friends, our peers and our families.

Quite often in these situations when we see a person making a bad choice we chose to remain silent.

We don’t say a word.
We cop out with phrases like…
“It’s none of my business.”
“I’m no Saint”
“Who am I to say anything?”

Sometimes we know something is going on in a marriage.

Sometimes we know that a person is stealing from the job or

we know that a person is becoming more and more dependent on alcohol or some other substance

but  we prefer to stay quiet, removed and safe from the situation.

We simply don’t want to get involved in the mess sometimes.
Even when the mess is someone that we love.

Then when disaster hits that person’s life we may even say something like…
“I saw that coming for a while.”
“I knew that marriage was going to end.”
“I knew that he or she was a DUI waiting to happen.”

I knew said nothing

Why are we so hesitant to love like Jesus calls us to love?

Maybe we are loath to say anything because we don’t’ have our own house in order.

Often we sit back and watch our friends and our loves ones paddle a canoe over the falls because we are so afraid that we don’t know what to say or how to say it.

I understand all of these excuses I’ve used them myself.

Jesus wants more from us
And Jesus and our loved ones need more from us.

In today’s Gospel He gives us some pointers on how to love someone enough to correct or challenge them.

The first point he makes is simply this.
Don’t remain silent….

If we see someone living contrary to the gospel,
or if we are hurt or upset by someone,
then love does not permit us to look the other way.

Jesus does not want us to humiliate someone.
Whenever something is wrong our first obligation is to address it privately,
confidentially, humbly.

Maybe we could say something like
“I love you so much I can’t keep quiet anymore.”

If a one on one conversation doesn’t work love does not let us off the hook.

Jesus would then find others who are worried and concern and bring them into the discussion

Once again this type of intervention should be done humbly and quietly.

If the person sinning continues to refuse to see the error of their ways
then Jesus once again tells us to try again and widens the circle a little more asking us to even involve the church in an attempt to save them from themselves.

Finally when all else fails Jesus says treat them like you would as a tax collector or a gentile.”

At first glance this seems to indicate that we should distance ourselves from the person we are concerned about.

The Jews of Jesus’ time looked on gentiles and tax collectors with distain.

It is important to remember however that Jesus did not.
He loved sinners and tax collectors and prostitutes.

Jesus was a friend to them even before they changed even if they never changed he loved them.

Holy ones let’s write this on our hearts.

Love real love cannot remain silent when a brother or a sister is headed in the wrong direction

Love cannot remain silent when someone is hurting themselves or others or not following God’s law.

Love always corrects and challenges in a humble way.

Love never permits us to give up even when a person refuses see the error of their ways.

Love must be persistent and patient with a person who sins.

Love endures

Lord take away our fear

and please help us love always.