Thursday, November 16, 2017

Faithfulness in the Little Things: The 33rd Sunday in OT


St. Josemaría Escrivà, the founder of the personal prelature
Opus Dei, has often been called the “saint of the ordinary” for the emphasis he placed on achieving holiness in every-day living.


In fact, one of his most famous sermons was entitled “The Richness of Ordinary Life.”

St. Josemaría once said he could tell a great deal about a man’s interior life by looking in his closet.  Good order in one’s soul is often reflected by good order in one’s lifestyle.  A man who is sloppy or inattentive in the care of his personal effects will often likewise be careless in his life of prayer.

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Parable of the Talents (The Mass Readings Explained)

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Thursday, November 09, 2017

Waiting for the Party to Start: 32nd Sunday in OT




Many years ago I worked in a cafeteria in northern Virginia with a large group of people who mostly knew each other and lived in the same neighborhood.  Around the 4th of July, they all decided to have a party, and out of politeness invited me, even though I was a bit of a stranger.  They told me the party would start at “six” and I dutifully showed up at six sharp with a dish to pass.  Little did I know that, in the local culture, things tended to start about two hours after the stated time.  It was a lot like what we used to call “Hawaiian time” when I lived on Oahu.  Anyhow, I was the only one there at 6pm, and by 7:30 I had eaten my own dish and was hanging around with still just 2 or 3 other people.  I ended up going home before the party ever really got going.

In the Gospel Reading for this Lord’s Day, we have five young women who, like me, weren’t prepared to wait for the party to start.  The Readings are full of images of the wise person who is prepared for the “long haul”—that is, to endure to the end and to stand upright before God at the final judgment.

1. Our First Reading is taken from the Book of Wisdom:

Monday, November 06, 2017

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Good Leaders for God's People: 31st Sunday in OT



Some years ago at Franciscan University, we had Alexandre Havard on campus to speak about virtuous leadership.  His fine talk is on You Tube here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hf36I-n752w

We've also been blessed with visits by Andreas Widmer, another leadership expert, based on his experiences as a Swiss Guard during the pontificate of Blessed John Paul II.  He has an excellent book, The Pope and the CEO.

These men of leadership came to my mind this week as I pondered the Sunday Readings, because virtuous leadership for the people of God is the unifying theme of these Scriptures.

Our First Reading comes from the prophet Malachi, who prophesied to the people of Judah during the post-exilic period, after they had returned from the Babylonian exile.  Although restored to their land, the people of Israel were forbidden to establish their hereditary king of the line of David.  They were still ruled politically by the Persian emperor or his representatives.  In this situation, the priesthood seems to have come to the fore once more, and taken a more active role in governing the people, as it had done in earlier times in Israel’s history, and as the Law of Moses had intended.

Unfortunately, the priests in post-exilic Judah were abusing their authority, as we see in this reading: 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Call No Man "Father" (The Mass Readings Explained)

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Of Law and Love: Readings for 30th Week of OT

 
How does love relate to law?  The two can seem opposed, a contrast to one another.  Love is a romantic dinner for two on a veranda overlooking the Seine.  Law is a solemn old man in a black robe, sitting behind a high podium with police officers at his side. 



The Readings for this Sunday insist that law and love, as strange as it may seem, are ultimately united.  Without love, law is cold.  Without law, love is mere emotion.  The Readings show the unity of the Old and New Testaments in pointing to the love of God as the highest law.



1.  Our First Reading is from the Book of Exodus:


Monday, October 23, 2017

The Two Greatest Commandments (The Mass Readings Explained)

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Religion and Politics: Readings for the 29th Week of OT

Religion and politics are a volatile mix, such that the old dictum was, these were the two topics one should not raise in polite conversation.  

The readings for this Sunday are concerned, in part, with the interaction of religion and politics, in the rule of God vs. the rule of men.  The Scriptures affirm that despite appearances to the contrary, ultimate control of human history is in the hands of God.  Human rulers have their place, but even they are ultimately instruments by which God guides human affairs.  In the midst of the chaos that is human politics, we cannot become distracted from the true goal of human life, which is union with God.  

The First Reading is taken from the second part of Isaiah: Is 45:1, 4-6:

Monday, October 16, 2017

Jesus, Caesar, and God (The Mass Readings Explained)

My latest video is now out for this upcoming Sunday's Mass Readings. I hope it is helpful!

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

All Dressed Up: The 28th Sunday in OT




The standard of dress at Mass has declined in recent years.  People show up looking like their ready for the beach or a football game.  Some pastors are calling attention to this problem.  I agree—I’m all for encouraging modesty and taste in the way we physically dress for worship.

But our external dress is not the main point of this Sunday’s Readings.

What kind of “clothing” does the King see us dressed in at Mass this weekend?

Our readings for this week begin with Isaiah’s famous prophecy of a feast on Mount Zion:

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

The NEW Mass Readings Explained: Year B

If you would like to subscribe to the NEW Mass Readings Explained for Year B, which will begin in Advent and walk through the Mass Readings for next liturgical year in the Gospel of Mark, check out Catholic Productions' site where they are running a pre-subscriber special.  Thank you all.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2017

The Fruitful Vineyard: 27th Sunday in OT

 
The past several Sundays we have been reading from the vineyard parables of Jesus in Matthew, and this Sunday we reach a climactic point in the hostility between the leaders of the people (chief priests and Pharisees) and Jesus.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Once Again: Is God Fair? 26th Sun in OT


Apparently Holy Mother Church wants us to learn something about God’s justice and mercy, because the themes of this Sunday’s Readings repeat, with variation, those of last week’s.

Last week we had to deal with the difficult Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, which raised the issue of whether God is “unfair” in his merciful generosity

This week the topic of God’s “fairness” rises again at the beginning of the First Reading: