Saturday, July 20, 2013

16th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year - C - 2013

May the peace of Christ reign in our hearts

Today’s Gospel is very familiar we’ve all heard it over and over again.

Sometimes all of us have felt the same indignation that Martha felt when it seemed that we were:

doing all the work,
making all of the sacrifices,
or doing all the forgiving.

Jesus loved Martha and Mary
He seems to have enjoyed their company,

and when they needed Him the most he came, risking his life and the lives of his followers to raise their dear Brother Lazarus from the dead.

Let’s look a little more closely at Martha for a minute

Martha was a doer,

She was a get the job done kind of woman her whole life.

The only problem was that Martha was so worried about hospitality  that she didn’t really allow herself to realize who Jesus was.

The Messiah, The Son of God, had come into her house and she was worried about the potatoes.

She was probably so busy that she rarely took the time to sit still and reflect on anything.

So true to form, when Jesus came, She failed to realize the significance of the moment and she missed the better portion which her sister Mary had enjoyed.

When we heard that Jesus told Martha that she was worried about many things...

We understand that Martha must have been not only  busy also  anxious .

Being Busy and Anxious are two personality traits which make it difficult for us to open our heart to God’s word and God’s will.

If we are busy then we find it difficult to think and reflect about our lives.

If we are always anxious it makes us difficult for us to trust the loving providence of God.

I am sure that Jesus enjoyed Martha’s hospitality but he didn’t need it.

All he needed all he really wanted was to share the message of God’s love with Martha but he couldn’t get her to sit down and listen.

The Gospel calls us to look at ourselves:

Do we live reflective lives?

Do we take time to sit and think before we get busy doing something?

Do we hid in our busyness?

Do we take pride busyness and look down at others who are not as conscientious.

If God were to come into our lives today would we be worried about the dinner and the drinks and the potatoes or would chose the better portion that Mary found and Jesus spoke about.

Let’s try to worry a little less.. and trust a little more.

My Mom used to have a note on the door of her refrigerator it’s on my dresser now.

It said.

Good Morning this is God

I’ll be taking care of all of your problems today and I don’t need your help.

Truer words were never spoken.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

15th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year C - 2013

Many of us going through life with questions like:
What do I need to do to be successful?
What do I need to do to be happy?
What should I do to be healthy ?

How much money do I need to send my kids to college ?
How much money do I need so that I can retire comfortably ?
These are all valid questions and frankly many of us live with them day in and day out.
But...all of these questions are about our life here on earth, which all of us know  is so very fragile and so very short.

The question that Scholar asked Jesus was very important.
What must I do to enter the Kingdom of Heaven?

Today’s Gospel and this questions remind us so poignantly  to raise our eyes and our thoughts and our worries beyond  the normal everyday challenges of this life.

The story of the good Samaritan reminds us to fix our eyes and our will and our efforts on ,life with God, eternal life, which is our true destiny and our only real hope.
There was a little old lady in my very first parish in a very poor violent neighborhood of Rome.  She had all kinds of challenges, she was desperately poor. She practically lived in Church. 
One day she spent the whole day in a park picking mushrooms and as I passed here walking home she was so excited that she would have mushrooms with her pasta that night. The next day when I saw her I asked how her pasta was. For the briefest of brief moments she looked sad and then she said.
I put them out in the garden to dry and someone climbed the wall and stole them.

But Father when you think about eternity what difference does it make?

Anytime there was a disappointment or a challenge or something to endure in this holy woman’s life, her refrain was always the same. When you think about eternity what difference does it make?

The Scholar asked Jesus 
Master what must I do to enter the Kingdom of heaven ?

And Jesus responded,

“What is written in the law?
How do you read it?”

The Scholar said in reply,

“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly;
do this and you will live.”

Our purpose in this life no matter what challenges we face is to love God and love our neighbor always keeping our eyes raised to heaven.

Let us do so that we may live.


Saturday, July 06, 2013

Fourteenth Week of Ordinary Time Year - C - 2103

May the peace of Christ Reign in our hearts, today’s Gospel should give us all pause.

In today’s Jesus does not send out only the Apostles, or his “professional followers” but rather he sends out the Church, His Church, in other words he sent out all those who followed Him then, and those who follow Him now.

Today’s Gospel reminds us that he sends out you into the world to preach the kingdom.

The Scripture scholars tell us that 70 is a symbolic number, a universal number, which many scholars believe was meant to include everyone.

This passage teaches us that evangelization (the sharing of the gospel the sharing of our faith) is not just the work of our priests or the religious leaders.

It is not just the work of those who wear a habit or a funny black shirt with a little white collar.

Today’s Gospel proclaims a universal call to ministry which will be repeated over and over again in the ministry of Jesus.

At the end of the Gospel of Matthew Jesus commands all of his followers  “go and make disciples of all men baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Sadly we all know that this universal call to evangelization often falls on deaf ears.
Especially when you sit in the pew of a Catholic Church.
For many of us our religious practice has become a private devotional thing rather than a radical witness to the love and truths of God.

I think this happens for a couple of reasons, here are just a few:

We all know that there have been moments in the life of the Church when the laity was encouraged to not get involved, or participate in the mission of the church.

Church leaders felt that the Gospel and the deposit of faith were safer and more secure in the hands of the priests and religious.

You guys were supposed to just come and listen  sit in the pews and do what you are told.

Hopefully this type of Clericalism is gone by the wayside... but truth be told it has not been gone for a long time.

Another reason that many just don’t get involved in the preaching of the Gospel is because for many years we just haven’t done a good job of giving the members of our Church the knowledge they need to know what to say and how to bring others to faith.

Many people just don't’ feel qualified or even more comfortable enought to share our faith, and yes it our fault, but it is also yours .

If a Catholic does not feel informed enough to share the gifts to the Gospel it is their job to get informed to read, to study to pray, to listen and to go deeper in their love and appreciation of the gift of our faith.

We’ve tried to help a little with fr. Peter’s build up faith seminars, we’ve concentrated more on giving meaningful homilies sometimes we succeed and sometimes we don’t. But it not for lack of trying I assure you.

Another reason that many do not take the step of sharing their faith is because they have filled up their lives with so many other things.

That’s what the Gospel is speaking about when Jesus tells the disciples to carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way.

Sometimes, many times we fill our lives with so many things that we have no time for God. IIt just not convenient for us to become more active in our faith.

Some people are so consumed about the things that they posses that they don’t even have time for other people, people close to them, their own family, parents  or children.

In one of the commentaries I read, a scripture scholar toured a luxurious castle, and as he walked out he said “these are things that make it difficult to die.” When we find ourselves saying the same thing about our possessions and position, we have made a great mistake.  

Everything we own, everything we posses, should bring us closer to God no farther away from Him and the practice of our faith.

Nothing on earth
Nothing we posses
Nothing we long for  should block our view of heaven our home and our final destiny.

And so good people there is much to be done, The Gospel is clear the harvest is abundant but the labors are too few.

All anyone has to do is look around our country and our world and know that we all need God and something has to change.

In the seminary I had the privilege of have a professor who had survived a concentration camp.  
That experience had change his life
Even 40 years after the concentration camp he had a keen insight into what was really important and what was not.

One day in class he stopped his explanation of this passage we heard today and paused. It was a long pause and we all wondered what was going on.

When he finally spoke we were all very attentive.
And this is what he said.
We all sin.
We all have done things that we are ashamed
We have all failed to love as God called us to do.

These failings are all part of human weakness and God will forgive them.

Then he looked us all in the eye and continued

In the end we will be judged by how many people we brought to faith. Period.

Evangelization is so important because if even one generation drops the ball the message is lost and souls are lost.

Souls are lost.

We all of us, are the 70 Jesus sent out into the world
we are  all of us sent are called to proclaim the Good news by our lives and if necessary by our word.

Let us be about our work for by our witness it we will be judged.