The Solemnity of All Saints + November 1, 2014 + Lourdes, France

Revelation 7, 2-4, 9-14 + Psalm 24 + 1 John 3, 1-3 + Matthew 5, 1-12

It is the formula for Sanctity that we receive today from Matthew’s Gospel. It is the way of life led by Bernadette and remembered by all who gather in this holy place day after day, season after season. However it is translated, “Blessed” or “Happy”, the original sense of the word Matthew used is really a word of Congratulations. So if this text were literally translated we would be reading: “Congratulations you people who are poor or mourning, or meek or hungry.” This is a good way to be. This is the way it is in the reign of God.

Poverty is not a good thing, but being helpless is. … more »

Toulouse, France + Church of the Jacobins + October 30, 2014

Isaiah 52, 7-10 + 2 Timothy 4, 1-5 + Matthew 8, 5-8

 So many people live the anguish of the centurion of this Gospel who begs Jesus Christ: “Only say the word, and my servant will be healed”. The community of men and women who call this place home preach to give that Word of healing to the world. Dominic and those who followed him preach because they burn with this desire, and their desire has illuminated the church since they made a home in this place. The purpose of Dominican preaching is to generate others: “The object of their preaching is either to cause the faith to be born, or to allow it to penetrate people’s entire lives more deeply” according to their own constitution. … more »

Sixth Week in the Season of the Glorious Cross October 26, 2014

Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Church, Norman, Oklahoma Sunday, October 26, 2014

Matthew 25: 14-30

Jesus has just spoken the parable we heard last week about the virgins and the lamps. This parable today is the last before he begins to speak of the in-gathering to come at the end of time. Next week, the Seventy Sunday of the Glorious Cross, and then we move into the season that is a bridge to the Season of Christ’s Birth. All of this gives this parable great importance for us. As last week, this parable is directed to us, insiders, people who have their lamps lit or people who have been given gifts. Do not miss the point that everyone in this parable has been given something. … more »

The Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time October 26, 2014

 Exodus 22, 20-26 + Psalm 18 + 1 Thessalonians 1, 5-10 + Matthew 22, 34-40

In a world that loves far too much “black” and “white”, and likes things neatly separated into categories it is very easy to listen to these verses as though there are two commands. Love God. Love Neighbor. That kind of think is legal and comes out of some thought that Jesus is making some ethical proposal. To dismiss these verses with that thinking is shallow and avoids the theological statement that is being made here which is quite different.

We have to ask a question here. At these two commands set side by side to indicate that human responsibility involves two parallel but separate areas of accountability, or are the two interrelated? … more »

Maronite Liturgy Fifth Week after Holy Cross October 19, 2014 Our Lady of Lebanon Church, Norman, Oklahoma

October 29, 2014  11:00 a.m. Maronite Parish Norman, OK

Matthew 25: 1-13

At this point in chapter twenty-five of Matthew’s Gospel, the Passion of Christ is very near. It is the final parable. Jesus makes one last effort to awaken and urge the Leaders of the people and all who have not yet taken seriously his message and his life. The story today is found only in Matthew, and some think it is his best. For us there are three levels of development are here:

the historical level of Jesus providing a parable about the Kingdom of God for the leaders

the Matthew level of the early church providing a parable about how to survive the long wait for Christ’s return,

and finally, our use of the parable in as entirely different age. … more »

The Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time October 19, 2014

Isaiah 45, 1, 4-6 + Psalm 96 + 1 Thessalonians 1, 1-5 + Matthew 22, 15-21

This biblical story is being retold and relived in our own life time. The context is different, and the way the dilemma emerges is different, but not the message. It is as troubling and challenging today as it was then. At the time Matthew recorded this incident I like to imagine people laughing, or at least smiling and poking each other with a wink a little over the situation and the way it works out. At the actual time if this is an historical event, there must have been some gasps of amazement and wonder, shock and perhaps some smirking. For disciples of the Pharisees to join up with Herodians would have been quite amazing. … more »