July 31, 2016 at Saint Peter the Apostle Church in Naples, FL
There is a little detail in the first verse of the parable Jesus uses in response to the quarreling brothers. It slips by easily either because we know the story, or because we too often want to get to the end and see what it’s all about. However, this little detail is the key to opening up what is to come in the parable. It says: There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. The point is: he did not produce that bountiful harvest. … more »
July 24, 2016 at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church in Norman, Oklahoma
This story comes immediately after an encounter with a blind beggar. What Luke gives us then is a stark contrast between someone poor and someone rich. Both of them get to see Jesus. One chapter earlier there is another story of an encounter with a rich man that ends sadly leading us into this story that has a different ending, because Zacchaeus, unlike the other rich man in the previous story, can and does give away. This story is a powerful one for us, because the poorest among us in comparison the rest of the world are very, very rich. … more »
July 24, 2016 at St Joseph Church in Norman, OK (Spanish Mass)
Luke tells us today that Jesus is at prayer when someone comes and asks him to teach them how to pray. They do not ask Jesus what is praying about. So he teaches them how to pray. What he teaches them is a technique more than the words to use. What he says to them is: This is how you do it, and these are some things to pray about.
First, put yourself in the presence of God and acknowledge your relationship and give God glory. “Father, you are Holy.”
Then he proposes some things to ask for: God’s Kingdom, whatever is needed for the day, forgiveness, and the courage to resist temptation. … more »
July 17, 2016 at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church in Norman, Oklahoma
It is almost impossible to get to the point of this episode of Matthew’s Gospel because of that verse about unforgiveable sin. I cannot tell you how many times in my 48 years as a priest people have come to talk about this either because they are intellectually curious or because they are frightened and guilt ridden. Countless good people have tormented themselves unnecessarily by the thought that they are guilty of the unforgiveable sin. A wise preacher once said that those who worry about the unforgiveable sin cannot be guilty of it. … more »
At some point in time, and for some reason completely unknown to me, this fragment of Luke’s Gospel has been twisted and distorted to suggest that sitting around at the feet of Jesus is better than feeding Jesus. If that were really the purpose of telling this story, Jesus would have left that house looking for something eat somewhere else. I have always believed that he went there because Martha was a good cook, and that the ancient Jewish tradition of hospitality would always be extended to him, and maybe his twelve companions. … more »
2 Corinthians 5, 20 – 6, 10 & Saint Luke 4, 14-21.
July 10, 2016 at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church in Norman, Oklahoma
These Gospel verses today record for us the very beginning of the mission of Jesus Christ. Jesus has emerged from the shadows of his youth as a man of purpose and direction. He knows who he is. He knows what his life is for and what he should do with his gifts. He is focused, consistent and clear about his life. We never get a sense in Luke’s Gospel that Jesus was self-conscious, doubted what God asked of him, or what direction to take with the choices he faced. … more »
July 3, 2016 at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church in Norman, Oklahoma
Matthew frequently quotes Old Testament texts that his first readers would find familiar. This one from Isaiah 42 is the longest of all his quotations. The great Persian king, Cyrus is the subject of Isaiah’s prophecy in chapter 45 Isaiah presents Cyrus as a gentle conqueror as the King marched across the east in conquest. This makes him quite unlike conquerors then and now who lay waste to everything in their path as a show of power and control. Cyrus seems to have known that destruction and oppression would eventually mean the costly rebuilding of the conquered territory and the problem of controlling angry resentful conquered peoples. … more »