September 29, 2013 Ordinary Time 26

Amos 6, 1,4-7 + Psalm 146 + 1 Timothy 6, 11-16 + Luke 16, 19-31

There is only one way for you and me to hear this parable. We are not Abraham. We are not Lazarus or the Rich Man. They are dead. We are not necessarily the Pharisees either. We are this rich man’s brothers, and according to Abraham who speaks with great authority, we have Moses and the Prophets. There will be no other signs and no wonders to teach us, just the Word of God.

This story, unique to Luke’s Gospel is probably not a parable because one of the characters has a name (which never happens in a parable): and what a name it is! “Lazarus” meaning, “God is my helper.” The rich man has no name inviting us into the story, into the character, into his experience. … more »

The Butler

It has taken me some time to get in a theater to see The Butler because I decided to read Will Haygood’s book first. In retrospect that may not have been a good plan for putting the film in a positive position. If you don’t read all of these comments, my suggestion is that you get the book and forget the movie, but do one or the other.  Perhaps my imagination is simply more lively that Lee Daniels; but after two weeks with the book, the time in the theater would have been better spent taking a nap.

I expected more. Perhaps it was because the timed release of the film coincided with the events in this nation 50 years ago: the March on Washington, Selma, and a bombing at a Baptist Church in Birmingham that still can bring tears to my eyes. … more »

September 22, 2013 Ordinary Time 25

Amos 8, 4-7 + 1 Timothy 2, 1-8 + Luke 16, 1-13

Until something hits us right in the face most of us are content to live quite simple and shallow lives in the immediate moment. It is a comfortable kind of existence where we find it easier to survive in a world filled with danger and uncertainties of all kinds. “Denial” is what we call it; a life-style that marks our time in history quite clearly. It often takes the loss of a job, a health crises, or the death of a loved one to wake us up with the question of what lies ahead. Until something like that happens, we just keep our heads down plugging along day by day hoping that the future will take care of itself. … more »

Ordinary Time 24 September 15, 2013

Exodus 32, 7-11, 13-14 + Psalm 51 + 1 Timothy 1, 12-17 + Luke 15, 1-32

Those scribes and pharisees complain because they think Jesus should be eating with them. They don’t think that those tax gatherers and sinners deserve the attention and the presence of Jesus. They are the good and holy ones who deserve the pleasure and privilege of eating with Jesus. They think Jesus owes them his attention and favor.

Now look how this thinking and this attitude of privilege frames our Gospel today. It starts with the good and holy scribes and pharisees complaining; and it ends with the good, loyal, hard working son complaining in the same way. He deserves a party, the fatted calf, but the father waits and runs out with ring a robe for that other one who does not deserve it. … more »

Ordinary Time 23 September 8, 2013

Wisdom 9, 13-18 + Psalm 90 + Philemon 9, 10,12-17 + Luke 14, 25-33

Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Church, Norman, OK

It was Monday of this past week when I was driving down to Norman (Oklahoma) for dinner with some dear friends when a segment of “All Things Considered” came on the radio. For me it was an interesting piece about the struggle of the Amish people with some technology of these times, particularly with computers and the internet. The reporter was clearly fascinated by some inconsistencies among various Amish communities and obvious compromises some Amish were making with technology that allowed them to be competitive in business. In one of the interviews, a gentleman spoke of the Amish lifestyle in terms of a pilgrimage which required going lightly through this life. … more »