October 23 -Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time : The Prayer of the Humble Man

October 21st, 2016


First Reading  Sirach 35:12-14,16-18
God hears the prayer of the poor.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 34:2-3,17-18,19, 23
The Lord hears and answers the cry of the poor.

Second Reading  2 Timothy 4:6-8,16-18
Paul perseveres in faith, confident that God will rescue him.

Gospel Reading
Luke 18:9-14


Jesus draws a bluntpicture in today’s Gospel. The Pharisee’s prayer is almost a parody of thethanksgiving psalms (see for example Psalms 30,118). Instead of praising Godfor His mighty works, the Pharisee congratulates himself for his own deeds,which he presents to God in some detail. The tax collector stands at adistance, too ashamed even to raise his eyes to God (see Ezra 9:6). He prayswith a humble and contrite heart (see Psalm 51:19). He knows that before God noone is righteous, no one has cause to boast (see Roman 3:10; 4:2). We seein the Liturgy today one of Scripture’s abiding themes - that God “knows nofavorites,” as today’s First Reading tells us (see 2 Chronicles 19:7; Acts10:34-35; Romans 2:11). God cannot be bribed (see Deuteronomy 10:17). Wecannot curry favor with Him or impress Him - even with our good deeds or ourfaithful observance of religious duties such as tithing and fasting. If we tryto exalt ourselves before the Lord, as the Pharisee does, we will be broughtlow (see Luke 1:52). This should be a warning to us - not to take pride in ourpiety, not to slip into the self-righteousness of thinking that we’re betterthan others, that we’re “not like the rest of sinful humanity.” If weclothe ourselves with humility (see 1 Peter 5:5-6) - recognize that all of usare sinners in need of His mercy - we will be exalted (see Proverbs29:33). The prayer of the lowly, the humble, pierces the clouds. Paultestifies to this in today’s Epistle, as He thanks the Lord for giving himstrength during his imprisonment. Paul tells us what the Psalmist singstoday - that the Lord redeems the lives of His humble servants. We toomust serve Him willingly. And He will hear us in our distress, deliver us fromevil, and bring us safely to His heavenly kingdom.


October 16 - Twenty Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time : Persistent Widow

October 10th, 2016


First Reading  Exodus 17:8-13
Joshua and the Israelites defeat Amalek with the help of God and his servant,Moses.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 121:1-2,3-4,5-6,7-8
The Lord is the Guardian of Israel.

Second Reading  2 Timothy 3:14—4:2
Paul exhorts Timothy to continue to preach the word Timothy received from histeachers.

Gospel Reading
Luke 18:1-8

The Lord is our guardian, beside us at our righthand, interceding for us in all our spiritual battles. In today’s Psalmwe’re told to lift our eyes to the mountains,  that our help will comefrom Mount Zion and the Temple - the dwelling of the Lord who made heaven andearth. Joshua and the Israelites, in today’s First Reading, are also told tolook to the hilltops. They are to find their help there - through theintercession of Moses - as they defend themselves against their mortal foes,the Amalekites. Notice the image: Aaron and Hur standing on each side of Moses,holding his weary arms so that he can raise the staff of God above his head.Moses is being shown here as a figure of Jesus, who also climbed a hilltop, andon Mount Calvary stretched out His hands between heaven and earth to intercedefor us against the final enemy - sin and death (see 1 Corinthians 15:26). Bythe staff of God, Moses bested Israel’s enemies (see Exodus 7:8-12;8:1-2),parted the Red Sea (see Exodus 14:16) and brought water from the Rock (seeExodus 17:6). The Cross of Jesus is the new staff of God, bringing about a newliberation from sin, bringing forth living waters from the body of Christ, thenew Temple of God (see John 2:19-21; 7:37-39; 19:34; 1 Corinthians 10:4). Likethe Israelites and the widow in today’s Gospel, we face opposition andinjustice - at times from godless and pitiless adversaries. We, too, must liftour eyes to the mountains - to Calvary and the God who will guard us from allevil. We must pray always (persevere in prayer) and not be wearied by ourtrials, Jesus tells us today. As Paul exhorts in today’s Epistle, we need toremain faithful, to turn to the inspired Scriptures - given by God to train usin righteousness. We must persist, so that when the Son of Man comes again inkingly power, He will indeed find faith on earth.


October 9 – Twenty Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time : Give thanks with a grateful heart

October 4th, 2016


First Reading  2 Kings 5:14-17
Naaman is cleansed of his leprosy and chooses to serve the God of Israel.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 98:1,2-3,3-4
Rejoice! The salvation of God is made known to all.

Second Reading  2 Timothy 2:8-13
Those who remain faithful to Christ will share Christ's glory.

Gospel Reading
Luke 17:11-19

Today's readings are about remembering andthanksgiving, healing and salvation. In the Old Testament reading, (SecondKings 5:14-17) Naaman the Syrian remembers to thank Elisha for his cure, andone of the 10 lepers cured by Jesus remembered to turn up and thank his healer.It is the foreigner who returns, who praises God and who expresses gratitude toJesus. When Jesus says: “Your faith has made you well," the blessingcertainly refers to some benefit other than that which all, including the othernine, had received earlier. The verb “made well” is the same very oftentranslated “to be saved.” The stories of the lepers teach us some powerfullessons about remembrance, gratitude, healing and salvation. Grateful heartsare the hallmark of authentic Christians. Those who possess the virtue ofgratitude are truly rich. They not only know how richly they have been blessed,but they continuously remember that all good things come from God. There is anold saying: Justice is when you get what you deserve. Mercy is when youdon’t get what you deserve. Grace is when you get what you don’t deserve. I like you get asked a dozen times a day, “Howare you doing?” I have trained myself to often answer, “More blessed than Ideserve.” Yes, All is gift. Thankful people store up in their grateful memoryall the good experiences of the past, just as the French proverbstates:“Gratitude is the heart’s memory.”


October 2 - TwentySeventh Sunday in Ordinary Time : Faith as a mustered seed

September 28th, 2016


First Reading  Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4
The patience of the just man shall be rewarded when he sees the visionfulfilled.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 95:1-2,6-7,8-9
Sing joyfully to God, our salvation.

Second Reading  2 Timothy 1:6-8,13-14
Paul urges Timothy to remain strong in the Spirit of faith Timothy received.

Gospel Reading
Luke 17:5-10 

The power of our faith doesn't depend on its quantity but its quality;It seems to me that this is why, when the apostles said increase our faith,Jesus took them immediately out of the area of quantity, and broughtthem to the smallest seed he could think of, the mustard seed. Jesus could havesaid, for example: If your faith were the size of a grain of sand, or aspeck of dust, but the point of the comparison with the mustard seed isthat it is living; it has a living power which a grain ofsand does not. Just as a small weed can split a slab of concrete, or a mustardseed can produce a huge tree in which the birds of the air find shelter, so theliving power of faith can move mountains. The secret of the living power whichfaith has is that it is built on the living word of God. Faith, trust and deepcommitment to the wonderful things that God does through the strangeness ofhis ways, are the basis of the Christian life. Through a deep and trustingacceptance of the goodness, yet strangeness of God’s ways, revealed to usthrough the loving gift of His Son, we can make sense of our lives. We, whohave received this gift of living faith in God’s Word, have a responsibility forits growth in us, or more precisely, we have a responsibility to grow inthis gift of faith.


September 25 – Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time : Who is the Lazarus in my life?

September 21st, 2016


First Reading  Amos 6:1,4-7
God will judge the complacency of the people and their leaders.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 146:7-10
Happy are those who find solace in God, the help of the poor.

Second Reading  1 Timothy 6:11-16
Paul exhorts Timothy to stay faithful to God in all things.

Gospel Reading
Luke 16:19-31


The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarushas left Bible readers wondering why the rich man had to go to hell. We are nottold he acquired his wealth by foul means or that he was responsible for thepoverty and misery of Lazarus or that he committed any crime or evil deed. Hewent to hell not for the things he did but for the things he didn't do. Weoften think that we sin by doing what we are not supposed to do -by thought,word and deed (i.e. the sin of commission). Today’s parable reminds us that thesin of omission can land someone in hell. The poor man Lazarus waslying at his gate. And the rich man simply couldn't care less. Of course he didnothing against Lazarus. But he has failed to do a good deed, failed to reachout and share a little of his blessings with someone in need. His sin is thatof omission, and for that he was going to roast in hell.


Another problem we have with this parableis why Lazarus went to heaven. This is the only parable of Jesus where thecharacter in the story has a name. So the name must be significant forinterpreting the parable. The name “Lazarus” means “God is my help.”Lazarus, therefore, is not just a poor man, but a poor man who believes andtrusts in God, which opens the gates of heaven to him.

The good news of this parable is this: Ifyou feel like a Lazarus right now, battered by sickness, poverty and pain,forgotten by society and by those whom God has blessed in this life, continuebelieving and trusting in God knowing that it will be well with your soul inthe end. If you see yourself as one of those blessed by God with the goodthings of life, open your door and see. Probably there is a Lazarus lying atyour gates and you have not taken notice.


These readings remind us that the law oflove (see John 15:12; Romans 13:8) means that each of us in some way will bejudged by the mercy we show to the poor. As the rich man learns in the parableof Lazarus - the distance between ourselves and God in the next life may be thedistance we put between ourselves and the poor in this life (see Matthew25:31-46; James 2:8,14-17).


September 18: Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time -The parable of the Unjust Steward

September 13th, 2016


First Reading  Amos 8:4-7
Unfair business practices and injustice to the poor will be judged by God.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 113: 1-2,4-6,7-8
Praise be to God, who raises up the poor.

Second Reading
1 Timothy 2:1-8

In today’s Gospel, Jesus relates the parable of the Unjust Steward. It’s a verytricky parable. The steward was a rogue, who dishonestly reduced the quantum ofdebts of his master’s tenants, but the master praised his cleverness. Themaster praised not his dishonesty, but his foresight, prudence and astuteness.We can learn a lot of lessons for our spiritual life from the way men behaveand organize their worldly affairs. We should not adopt their goals, but we canprofitably use their methods for our spiritual well being. We should hate theirends, but we must love to adopt their methods. The children of this world maybe wise but their wisdom pertains only to this passing world. Though thisworldly wealth is not to be trusted for our happiness, it could be used assubservient to our pursuit of our happiness in the other world. Now is the onlytime we have got to make good use of our gifts, talents and possession to gainheaven. 


September 11 – Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time : Joyful Finding

September 8th, 2016


First Reading  Exodus 32:7-11,13-14
Moses stands up to God, recalling all of God's great promises. 

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 51:3-4,12-13,17,19
Once we are forgiven, we can hope for a new heart and a fresh start.

Second Reading  1 Timothy 1:12-17
Paul proves it's never too late to repent and serve God. 

Gospel Reading
Luke 15:1-32   

The words of the father in the story, to the sulking elder brother, are filled with the pathos of Jesus’ appeal: ‘My son, you are with me always and all I have is yours’. The‘best robe’, the ‘ring’, the ‘sandals’ and the ‘feast’, all marks of special regard, point to a mercy and generosity that have no limits. We are left to imagine the aftermath. Surely, the son’s life is transformed, as he comes, at last, to share in the love in the heart of his father. The future the Saviour promises to the world, in fact, will be a sharing in the love of his Father (cf. John 14:25 etc). The merciful, loving heart of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is the merciful, loving heart of God our heavenly Father. His mercy tirelessly seeks out each sinner and should the sinner respond there is delirious happiness and rejoicing in the whole court of heaven. To every sinner in the state of mortal sin I say as simply as I can, ‘Your sin is not the big deal you think it is; the big deal is your return to the merciful love of God. Trust in his mercy, not in your sin. And if you continue to sin, continue to trust and to return to his mercy.’



September 4 - Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time : Hating our own life

August 30th, 2016


First Reading  Sirach 3:17-18,20,28-29
Humble yourself and you will find favor with God

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm68:4-7,10-11
The just rejoice and exult before God.

Second Reading  Hebrews 12:18-19,22-24
You have approached Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.

Gospel Reading
Luke 14:1,7-14

We have yet to comment on the phrase “hating our own life”. This is justan extension of the earlier part. Jesus wants our lives to be lived in totaltruth and love. Our lives are not to be determined and manipulated byattachments, desires, ambitions or fears and anxieties which can become verymuch part of ourselves. We are to live in total freedom. “None of you can be mydisciples unless he gives up all his possessions.” It is the ability to let go,even of health and life itself. Any aspect of a person or anything that lessensthat freedom to follow truth and love is to be “hated” and transcended. Today'steachings are addressed to people who have not yet made the option fordiscipleship but are considering it. It reminds Luke's Christian readers of thechoice they have already undertaken.


August 27 - Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time : Take the Lower Place

August 24th, 2016


First Reading  Isaiah 66:18-21
Nations of every language shall come to see my glory.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 117:1-2
Praise the Lord, all you nations.

Second Reading  Hebrews 12:5-7,11-13
Whom the Lord loves, he disciplines. 

Gospel Reading
Luke 13:22-30 

In the Gospel of Luketoday we also hear Jesus talking about humility. Our Gospel acclamation todaysays “I am meek and gentle of heart.” Indeed this quality of humility is onefor which Jesus is very much a role model. We often talk about how Jesuslowered himself to become like us – a God becoming a man! How much more humblecould he be? So when Jesus talks about humility we know that he is “walking thetalk”! This idea is actually a theme in Luke, and it is the same theme that weread in the first reading: The greater you are, the more you must humbleyourself; so you will find favor in the sight of the Lord. Luke startedthis theme in the first chapter with the beautiful Magnificat of Mary we heardtwo weeks ago: He has filled the hungry with good things and the rich he hassent away empty. He will end it with Jesus at the Last supper taking on therole of servant.



August 21 – Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C : Enter through the narrow Gate

August 16th, 2016


First Reading  Isaiah 66:18-21
Nations of every language shall come to see my glory.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 117:1-2
Praise the Lord, all you nations.

Second Reading  Hebrews 12:5-7,11-13
Whom the Lord loves, he disciplines.

Gospel Reading
Luke 13:22-30

 “The gate to perdition is the devil,through whom we enter into hell; the gate of life is Christ, through whom weenter into the kingdom of Heaven. The Devil is said to be a wide gate, notextended by the mightiness of his power, but made broad by the license of hisunbridled pride. Christ said to be a strait Gate not with respect to smallnessof power, but to His humility; for He whom the whole world contains not, shutHimself within the limits of the Virgin’s womb” (St. John Chrysostom).


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