The Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time March 2, 2014

Deuteronomy 11: 18-21, 26-28 + Psalm 31 + Romans 1, 16-17; 3:22-28 + Matthew 7, 21-29

The Gospel advice not to worry has always struck me as being a bit unrealistic. There is always plenty to worry about. Some of it we make up. Some of it we cause. Some of it is very real. A parent whose 16 year old child is not yet home at 11:30 pm has plenty to worry about. A single parent with two children and two jobs living hand to mouth month by month has plenty to worry about. Even the very people who heard these words for the first time from the mouth of Jesus Christ had plenty to worry about in a country occupied by a foreign power when most hours of every day were spent finding enough food to get them through the night. … more »

The Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time February 23, 2014

Leviticus 19, 1-2,17-18 + Psalm 103 + 1 Corinthians 3, 16-23 + Matthew 5, 38-48

Saint Ann Parish, Fairview, OK + Saint Anthony Parish, Okeene, OK + Saint Thomas Parish, Seiling, OK

One more Sunday with the Sermon on the Mount, and then Lent begins. We have been reading this Sermon since the beginning of February! That is a long sermon, so stop looking at your watches. No wonder the crowd got hungry and he had to feed them! But then, there wasn’t much else to do in those days without cable and satellite TV! Besides, what he saying to them was a challenge to change the way they thought and imagined God to be, and as a result, it might mean changing the way they lived. … more »

Maronite Sunday of the Righteous and the Just February 16, 2014

Our Lady of Lebanon Catholic Church, Norman, Oklahoma

Hebrews 12, 18-24 + Matthew 25, 31-46

With these verses, the narrative portion of Matthew’s Gospel comes to an end. It began with chapter five. Jesus came from the desert, was baptized by John, and then went up on a mountain and began his instruction with the first of his great sermons that we call: “The Sermon on the Mount.” Through several great sermons, Jesus has put before us his instruction and vision of the Kingdom of God. The next verse after today’s passage begins the Passion. Scholars tell us that with all the Gospels, the Passion of Christ was written first, and then the earlier parts of the Gospel were written to set the scene and introduce the characters.  … more »

The Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time February 16, 2014

Sirach 15, 15-20 + Psalm 119 + 1 Corinthians 2, 6-10 + Matthew 5, 17-37

As always, I pay attention to verbs. There are two in this text that lead us deeply into what is revealed and to what is expected of us. This is still part of the great “Sermon on the Mount”. Jesus is speaking to all those who will be his followers, and the expectation is great. Persecution for the sake of Justice. Becoming salt, which as I said last week might mean making things go BOOM! Standing tall to reflect the Light of Christ, and now this reflection on how to stand in relationship to the Law.

Jesus could not make it clearer that the Law of Moses is not abolished. … more »

The Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time February 9, 2014

Isaiah 58, 7-10 + Psalm 112 + 1 Corinthians 2, 1-5 + Matthew 5, 13-16

When I was in college, I only took one semester of chemistry at the end of which Father Thomas suggested that I switch to botany. He held me responsible for several minor explosions in the lab, and I guess he thought I could do less damage with trees and leaves. I learned a lot that semester however, even though I was one of the few students who ever turned on the exhaust fan in that glass box in the corner of the lab where things would sometimes go “Boom!” In our lab, sodium stored in kerosene would go “boom” when mixed with water in air. I know this from experience, and then I took Botany. … more »