November 1, 2022 at St. Peter Parish in Naples, FL
Revelation 7, 2-4 & 9-14 + Psalm 24 + 1 John 3, 1-3 + Matthew 5, 1-12
Apparently, the writher of the Book of Revelation expects one hundred and forty-four thousand to be the population of heaven. One hundred and forty-four thousand is less than half the population of Collier County. If you read this literally, it might give you some serious anxiety about whether or not you are going to make the cut. But, before make some sense of this, we ought to dig into the first reading today with a little combination of Mathematics and Bible knowledge. First of all, how many tribes are there in Israel? … more »
We have to somehow get it straight in our heads that the Gospel is not some ideal, some pie-in-the-sky wish about the future in some alternate reality. The Gospel is about now, and its examples are not just drawn from some time long-ago. If the Word of God is truly alive, then it speaks to our time, our world, and our relationships. It addresses our behavior and our choices.
Last week with two men at prayer, a tax collector being one of them, and this week with another tax collector named Zacchaeus, we see the approval of Jesus for tax collectors who are reforming their lives because of their faith. … more »
It had to have been startling and disturbing to the people listening to Jesus when he first described that scene with two men a prayer. To recognize holiness in a tax collector was impossible to those people, so despised were tax collectors. If it did anything at all it might have caused them to give some attention to the prayer rather than the one at prayer, thereby giving us all something to think about when it comes to prayer. … more »
As always with parables, things get turned upside down. No exception with this one. This weekend, a powerless, woman has all the power. The all-powerful judge with all the right connections and authority is helpless in the case with this woman. In demanding her rights, her dignity, and a respectful hearing, she stands for all the weak and powerless on this earth who cry out for justice, respect, and a dignified life worthy of God’s children.
The perseverance evidenced in this parable is not really about pestering or badgering God. … more »
We all know this episode from Luke’s Gospel very well. If after the first couple of lines you can’t finish the story, you’ve been sleeping or playing with your phone instead of listening. And, at the risk of causing a fuss with the other priests in the parish who have preached this Gospel today at different hours, I suspect that most folks have gone home thinking this all about gratitude and saying thank you. Well, those of you getting accustomed to me would know that I’m not buying that at all. … more »