Friday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus said to his disciples:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal.
But store up treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

The lamp of the body is the eye.
If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light;
but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness.
And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.

The peace of the Lord be with you.

In the first reading today Paul boasts of his weakness and how in his weakness it allows the greatness and strength of Christ shine through. One of my weaknesses is I like stuff and have a lot of stuff. If you’re like me in that regard then Jesus‘s words probably really speak to you as well. I have to ask myself why do I collect all these things when I know eventually I’m going to have to leave them behind? I know that it ends up costing me more time and labor but still I persist. Not everything I buy or accumulate is unnecessary but sometimes I get caught up in the thrill of the chase.T his is not reason to despair. For as I said above Saint Paul says of these moments of weakness we very often can find our strength by turning to Jesus for his help and guidance.

Dear Jesus help me to understand that some of my accumulation and collecting is really this longing for the peace and fullness that comes from having you in my life. Help me to remember that when the impulse to spend comes again. Help me as your Gospel indicates today to store up treasures in heaven that nothing can touch or destroy.

In the name of the Father, the So,n and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Friday, June 18, 2021

Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus said to his disciples:

You have heard that it was said,
    You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.

— Matthew 5:43-48

The peace of the Lord be with you. Today, Jesus tells us that we cannot allow resentment and revenge fill our hearts if we are going to be sons and daughters of God. To be a reflection of God’s family, we must be vessels of love and mercy. As the passage reminds us, God does not withhold good things from those who do evil, or those who reject His ways. Personally, I do not know how God works these things out, but Jesus is reminding us today that figuring that out is not our job. We are called to be conduits of God‘s love.

May God grace us with the patience and understanding to do this worthily and well today.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus said to his disciples:

You have heard that it was said,
    An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one to him as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand him your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go with him for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

Matthew 5:38-42

The peace of the Lord be with you.

Jesus affirms something for us today that we all already know. We all know that life can be difficult. In the Gospel today, Jesus instructs us about how to deal with difficulty. By encouraging us not to respond with violence or threats he’s helping us to come to a place of acceptance. Once we are at this place of acceptance we often become much more teachable and creative about how to approach difficulties. In Godly terms this would mean hearing the Spirit. When we allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit, these dark moments become times of creativity and acceptance where the glory of God shines through because we realize that he is never far from us.

God is walking with us, helping us to face the challenges that come our way with dignity and integrity.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Monday, June 14, 2021

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Each weekend our readings come from different time and seek to address different needs that have happened in the course salvation history. In our Old Testament reading, Ezekiel is inspired to write as the chosen people are experiencing what it’s like to be ruled by a foreign power during the Babylonian exile. The second Reading, from 1 Corinthian’s, takes place as Paul is traveling throughout Greece spreading the good news about Jesus and what it means to be one of his followers. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is tasked with the difficult situation of trying to put into words that we can understand, what is meant by the kingdom of God.

That is precisely the focus of our readings this weekend the building and the meaning of the kingdom of God. Those words we heard from Ezekiel, tell of how God is going to eventually end a period of exile and restore the leadership to the line of David. Saint Paul, in Corinthians, is describing a tension that exists between the “present and the future as this kingdom of God is being revealed”. This is all pulled together as Jesus describes how the planting of a seed, and the growth of a plant from that seed, is like how God works in the world.

In this parable, Jesus seems to emphasize that we won’t necessarily understand or be able to comprehend what God is doing — that much of the work by God will seem to us like it is random, and that just happens or occurs on its own. Bishop Barron, in his commentary on this parable, emphasizes that this process will be gradual and slow. He says this is a gradual unfolding will happen so we can comfortably grow into what God is giving to us. Bishop Barron further emphasizes that God is inviting us to participate — he does not just want us to stand by. He wants us to use our gifts, talents, and intelligence to be co-creators with God. This kingdom is still unfolding and it is not something that we have to wait to experience after death. No, it is something that is happening now — that we can enjoy now. This kingdom is something that is not only happening to us — as individuals, but it is happening in our community, and throughout the world. Ultimately, the kingdom of God is not so much a thing or a process but a relationship… perhaps even a series of relationships. A relationship to God — yes; but also a relationship to each other, and all created things. A relationship, to which, we must give our consent. In closing I would like to offer you these words from Father Thomas Keating from the prologue of his book Intimacy with God.

Readings for Sunday, June 13, 2021

Wednesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus said to his disciples:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.

The peace of the Lord be with you. Have you ever been traveling and missed a turn or an exit which made it more difficult or took you longer to get to your desired destination? Have you ever been putting something together and missed a critical step that made it impossible to go any further? This is what Jesus is getting at this morning. If the law and its fulfillment were created, and the prophets sent by God, then God intended them to help us move through life less encumbered. Like the trip and the project above each element is critical to the outcome. Jesus is our mentor, coach, teacher, and guide who helps us with these good, orderly directions. Directions that lead to a perfect and everlasting love. Enjoy this day.

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Wednesday, June 9, 2021

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Two years ago, Saint Rose of Lima Church was broken into from the downstairs. Early on a Monday morning at about 5:00 am I was informed by George Dimick, our groundskeeper, to come over to the church to check things out.  Several doors were busted down, as if the robber was trying to find something specific, but nothing seemed to be taken, other than a dozen eggs from the downstairs refrigerator. Of all things weird, it was obvious that the robber thought that our Tabernacle was a safe! He had to have worked through the night chiseling away to get into the inside of the Tabernacle! Once the Tabernacle was opened, the robber must have realized what he had done, for he actually tried fitting everything back together (an impossible task for anyone other than John D’etcheverry).

In reality, it is our safe, and it does hold our most treasured person, it holds the very Body of Jesus Christ — the actual Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ!

As your pastor, there is no greater feeling than to restore the Body of Christ to the Tabernacle following Mass at the Easter Vigil! The Tabernacle is emptied prior to the start of the Holy Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil). I know this building is where the Church gathers (brothers and sisters of Christ), and that is why they call it a church, but in reality, without the bodily presence of Jesus, it would feel just like a building. It simply feels sacred and holy to me, and I know from the depth of my existence how important that is to me, and you!

I would like to end this week’s sermon with a little joke written by Deacon Tom Sheridan:  

Recently at Mass, the gruff pastor’s homily was just four minutes long, a fraction of his usual ramblings. Why? “I regret to inform the congregation,” he explained from the pulpit, “that my dog, which is very fond of eating paper, ate that portion of my sermon which I was unable to deliver this morning.” Following Mass, a visitor from another parish shook hands with the pastor and said, “Father, if that dog of yours ever has any pups, I want one to get one for my priest.”

Readings for Sunday, June 6, 2021

Friday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

As Jesus was teaching in the temple area he said,

How do the scribes claim that the Christ is the son of David?

David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said:

The Lord said to my lord,
‘Sit at my right hand
until I place your enemies under your feet.’

David himself calls him ‘lord’;
so how is he his son?

The great crowd heard this with delight.

The peace of the Lord be with you.

Here is  another one of those readings that has a intention or meaning that is very hard to discern without a commentary. The footnotes related to this reading indicate that Jesus is reminding the people about his nature of being fully divine and fully human. This is important because it reminds those around him that God is not distant and far away he is dwelling in their midst. It is also important for those of us who share in Jesus humanity. By the word becoming incarnate by the divine uniting fully with the human it elevates the already inherent dignity of the human person is even more deeply. We are called to see in our selves and others the likeness of God himself. That my brothers and sisters is a true reason for celebration.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Friday, June 4, 2021

Memorial of Saint Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs

The peace of the Lord be with you.

He is not the God of the dead but of the living…

Once again in the face of challenges Jesus takes an opportunity to clarify who God is and what God does. God gives life and is the source sustenance for all creation. Anything that is contrary to these two points is not from God.

Jesus understands how hard this can be for us to grasp and how we can get caught up in a lot of details that offer nothing more than confusion. Please note that Jesus does get upset with these people in the scriptures today — he simply lets them know that they have been misled and urges them to reconsider their viewpoints. As this day unfolds may we experience the love God is pouring out on us that we may have life abundantly.

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Thursday, June 3, 2021

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

In our first reading from Deuteronomy, the people Israel have come to the end of their forty-year journey. They find themselves at the river’s edge of the Jordan River. Moses gives them a stern warning that the Promised Land is filled with many temptations and false worship of pagan gods. If the people remain faithful — as the God of Israel has been for them — then not only will their future be safe, but it will also be prosperous. We know the outcome.

In our own country, we have been given so much, and yet there are so many temptations to turn away from worship of the One True God. I’m sure you’ve heard the joke about Father O’Malley…

Father O’Malley answers the phone.

“Hello, is this Father O’Malley?” a woman’s voice says.

“It is,” he replies.

“This is the IRS. Can you help us?”

“I can”.

“Do you know Ted Houlihan?”

“I do.”

“Is he a member of your parish?”

“He is”.

“Did he donate $10,000 to the church?”

“He will.”

Yes, this is Trinity Sunday, and no I can’t fully explain this great mystery of our faith. I do, however, believe in the most important part. In today’s Gospel from Matthew, we see that the early church understood the baptismal formula that Jesus used, by stating go forth and baptize In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. The early church understood that God continues to be with them, just as he was for the Israelites as they began a whole new life in the promised land.

God remains faithful, even when do not.

This is also Memorial Day Weekend, let us please pause in silence in honor of all of our men and women who laid down their lives for all of our freedoms, including our practice of religion and for the dignity of the human person.

Readings for Sunday, May 30, 2021

Thursday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Now will I recall God’s works;
    what I have seen, I will describe.
At God’s word were his works brought into being;
    they do his will as he has ordained for them.
As the rising sun is clear to all,
    so the glory of the LORD fills all his works;
Yet even God’s holy ones must fail
    in recounting the wonders of the LORD,
Though God has given these, his hosts, the strength
    to stand firm before his glory.
He plumbs the depths and penetrates the heart;
    their innermost being he understands.
The Most High possesses all knowledge,
    and sees from of old the things that are to come:
He makes known the past and the future,
    and reveals the deepest secrets.
No understanding does he lack;
    no single thing escapes him.
Perennial is his almighty wisdom;
    he is from all eternity one and the same,
With nothing added, nothing taken away;
    no need of a counselor for him!
How beautiful are all his works!
    even to the spark and fleeting vision!
The universe lives and abides forever;
    to meet each need, each creature is preserved.
All of them differ, one from another,
    yet none of them has he made in vain,
For each in turn, as it comes, is good;
    can one ever see enough of their splendor?

Most glorious and blessed Father we thank you for these inspired words that remind us of the wonders of your love for all you have created. We thank you for your tender and loving care that accompanies us without ceasing. We thank you for the knowledge that helps us to appreciate the wonder which surrounds and invites us to be co-creators with you. With all you have given, help us to approach this new day with humility, generosity, and a desire to be ambassadors of your goodness to all we shall meet today.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Thursday, May 27, 2021