Friday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus told his disciples a parable.

Consider the fig tree and all the other trees.
When their buds burst open,
you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near;
in the same way, when you see these things happening,
know that the Kingdom of God is near.
Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away
until all these things have taken place.
Heaven and earth will pass away, 
but my words will not pass away.

Luke 21:29-33


The peace of the Lord be with you.

As we walk through life we begin to see patterns and cycles. These help make our lives somewhat predictable and remind us of the ordering of creation. These are the finger prints of God and as Jesus tells us this is an assurance that God’s kingdom is close at hand. To see these signs and patterns we must keep the eyes of our soul open. We need time for quiet and reflection to really appreciate these communications from God. As we approach the season of Advent (Little Lent), perhaps we can think about renewing our commitment to these simple spiritual exercises.

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

Readings for Friday, November 27, 2020

Thanksgiving Day

And now, bless the God of all,
who has done wondrous things on earth;
Who fosters people’s growth from their mother’s womb,
and fashions them according to his will!
May he grant you joy of heart
and may peace abide among you;
May his goodness toward us endure in Israel
to deliver us in our days.


The peace of the Lord be with you. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Today our readings reflect the variety of ways and reasons why we should be thankful to God. As such, it is truly right that we take a day to stop, count our blessings, and thank God who has given those to us. May the peace that this reading speaks of flow through our world, our country, our communities, and our lives.

Let us pray.

Most loving and glorious God we thank you for the life that you have given to us. We thank you for your many blessings. We thank you for walking with us. In these times when there is so much uncertainty we thank you for the promise of your love and the assurance that you’ll ever walk with us, that we are never alone. We ask your blessing upon our world, our communities, our families and our individual lives. We thank you in advance knowing that these prayers will be answered according to your will and in your most perfect time. We thank you for the provision of your grace that allows us to move from moment to moment. We thank you for inviting us into the mystery of creation. As we attempt to reflect your goodness in our lives and through our actions may peace and healing flow through our world helping us to recognize we are one family with you as our Father.

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

Readings for Thanksgiving Day

Wednesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus said to the crowd:

They will seize and persecute you,
they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons,
and they will have you led before kings and governors
because of my name.
It will lead to your giving testimony.
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand,
for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking
that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
You will even be handed over by parents,
brothers, relatives, and friends,
and they will put some of you to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
By your perseverance you will secure your lives.


The peace of the Lord be with you. It’s not always easy or popular to do the right thing. This is Jesus’s warning for us today. He tells us that the opposition we may face will not always be from strangers, but sometimes from those we hold most dear. It’s not necessarily that they don’t love us, but that we live in a fallen world where division and strife are a reality.

In addition to this warning, Jesus reminds us that if we persevere to the end it will be life-restoring and life-giving. Ultimately, we will face no harm. We must face life on life’s terms by using our light to dispel the darkness. As we do so, we will ultimately find the glory of God shining behind those clouds. Be not afraid. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Monday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people
putting their offerings into the treasury
and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.
He said,

I tell you truly,
this poor widow put in more than all the rest;
for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.


The peace of the Lord be with you. I was with a group of the Associates from the Daughters of the Charity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus yesterday, and we were looking over one of the encyclicals by Pope Francis and this very scripture passage came up in our reading. Pope Francis uses the scripture to remind us that Jesus noticed the small details and made note of them. Sometimes the details really matter. In this particular case the detail of this poor woman putting in all she had is a reflection of her great love and confidence in God. Sometimes we must be cautious about getting wrapped up in the details and then other times it’s very important that we look closely at what we’re doing and understand why we’re doing it.

As we come to the end of this liturgical year and prepare for the season of Advent, perhaps it is a good time to think about the small details in our lives. Take a moment to express our gratitude for the little things that come our way that have made a difference and to seek God’s assistance in those areas where we need to grow. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Monday, November 23, 2020

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

From last weekend’s readings we learned that as disciples of Jesus we are called to be light in the world and that we must be cautious about being drawn into the corrupt ways of living that are often part of the way the world rewards certain practices in the name of success and comfort. At the same time, we cannot put on rose-colored glasses and deny the way the world is, nor distance ourselves from the evil that surrounds us at times. If we are called to be light, then we must use that light to break through the darkness. 

As we celebrate the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus King of the Universe we see how Jesus provides us with a model — examples and a path to follow so that we may use the light he has given us worthily and well.

What makes Jesus our model and our king is that he overcame the power of death — in all of its forms. He overcame not only physical death, but the death that comes with indifference; the death that comes with isolation; the death that comes with poverty; the death that comes with injustice. The readings from Ezekiel remind us how Jesus overcame death by gathering people back to God’s ways, how he offered relief from the stresses of life, how he became our light in the darkness, and how he offers healing to the injured. When we think about the words of Ezekiel we see how Jesus overcame death by challenging those individuals ‘the sleek and the strong‘ who thought that they had all the answers by being a living example of God’s humility, truth, and mercy. Jesus provides a model of how to use ones strength, knowledge, and gifts for the fulfillment of God’s plan for saving all people.

The readings from Corinthians remind us that Jesus is our model and our King as it outlines how the plan of salvation will unfold beginning with the life and death of Jesus. Through His selfless act of love, the Way of the Cross all authority is being and will be returned to God. By the Way of the Cross the Glory of God is being revealed and restored to its fullness.

The words from the Gospel of Matthew demonstrate Jesus is our model and our King as they point out that true success and lasting joy are not a product of worldly achievements, but a product of continuing to live out Jesus’ example of love of God and neighbor. Our real success will be based on how well we reflect his image in our world today as we feed the hungry, quench another’s person’s thirst in all its forms — by reaching out to those who feel they do not fit in and are lonely, by providing clothing and shelter for those who lack it, and by visiting those who are imprisoned or isolated due to illness.

Although it does not know it the world longs for and is calling out for Jesus. We see this longing as people march in the streets crying out for justice, we see it reflected in our world as people call for end to illness and senseless deaths, we see it as people seek leaders who will put the needs of the people ahead of there own plans… it is happening today and has been that way since biblical times when Samuel reported how Israel rejected God as their King so they could be like other nations. That light you carry — that light we carry — is the remedy the world longs for because it is the light of Christ, our true and compassionate King.

Readings for Sunday, November 22, 2020

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

I went grocery shopping at Shaw’s on Saturday morning, and noticed a huge amount of turkeys for sale, and it reminded me of this joke written by Msgr. Charles Dollen: 

A new pastor, eager to make sure the church’s employees would like him, called them together shortly before Thanksgiving Day and told them that each of them would receive a turkey. 

“In fact,” he added, “as long as I’m around, you will always have a turkey.”


A short synopsis of our readings this weekend:

Proverbs
Lady Wisdom allows us to know that when we strive to do what is right in our lives, we will receive God’s blessings in our lives — things will take on meaning and produce abundantly.

Thessalonians
St. Paul has an urgency about him, for he thinks Jesus’ return is going to happen really soon, so he is encouraging us to remain children of the light — always doing what is right and just, therefore being ready when the judge of the world arrives. We must persevere to do what is right!

Matthew
The longer version of this Gospel gives us a challenge to interpret. Who would you say is the hero of Jesus’ story? Obviously not the 3rd man who simply buried his coin (talent) and gave back to his master when the master returned! In fact, this 3rd person is the hero! For he refused to take part in a corrupt enterprise!


With all the distractions we face each day, how easy it is to be swayed. Even though our choices in our past were not always the best, the road to grace and peace is always open to us.

As we ready ourselves to enter the season of Advent (in just two weeks!) open your heart and soul to the transforming power of the Eucharist in your life!

Readings for Sunday, November 15, 2020

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Obviously, the theme of our readings this weekend has to do with the Second Coming of Christ, and for us to be prepared and not grow weary, and to be ready for when He comes. The wise person is the one who is prepared and awake; and the foolish person is the one who has wasted his or her time, talent, and treasure away, and is taken by surprise when Jesus comes.


The following story is written by Joshua Van Cleef:

Thousands of pilgrims filled St. Peter’s Square on April 9, 2014. Pope Francis commenced a series of teachings on the Holy Spirit, starting with the Holy Spirit and the gift of wisdom. Surrounded by Church officials and television cameras, the pope began his address rather pensively, pacing through his prepared text as the audience silently nodded along to his theological sketch.

Then rather abruptly he departed from the text, looked up, and in Francis’ fashion lobbed a question to the crowd. The question sounded something like this:

Imagine a mother running around after her children all day, attending to their every need. Eventually the mother gets tired, loses her patience, and starts scolding her child. Is that wisdom?

The crowd seemed caught off guard by the question; hardly any response could be heard. With even more gusto, the pope doubled down on the question:

Scolding children — I ask you — is this wisdom? What do you say: is this wisdom or not?

Wasting no time, he shot back with his own answer:

No!

Francis then contrasted wisdom with scolding. Wisdom happens when a tired mother takes her child gently aside, addressing the child patiently and lovingly. That is what the wisdom of God looks like.


During this teaching, Pope Francis offered the Church a definition of wisdom that today we hear unfolding in our scriptures. He said,

Wisdom is precisely this: it is the grace of being able to see everything with the eyes of God. This is wisdom.

Today we are invited to grow in wisdom:

  1. To see God as God is
  2. To see the world, ourselves, and one another through God’s eyes
  3. And, to live accordingly

Stay awake… be prepared… be ready!!

For the Bridegroom is coming!

Readings for Sunday, November 8, 2020

Solemnity of All Saints

A little joke written by John Bach: 

Finally, after years of testing business software, I landed my dream job — trying out computer games. My first day at work I was listing various ideas in a spreadsheet program when my manager walked by.

He looked at my screen for a moment, then said sternly,

I’d better not catch you using spreadsheets on company time when you know you should be playing games.


Obviously, our joke and the scripture this weekend reminds all of us that we might need to change our perspective on things, every now and then.

Our Gospel is from Matthew, and this passage is often used at funerals, not only because we live in Mountain Country, but also the Beatitudes speak of how the beloved deceased family member held on to what was most important in their lives and what made them truly successful in life. If we polled 100 people out on Main Street in Littleton and asked them, “What is a sure sign of success?” What do you think they would say? Most likely they will say things like: a college education, a family, a big house, lots of money or power, a state championship, etc. In today’s Gospel, Jesus describes a very different kind of success, that of a disciple. He speaks of attitudes, behaviors, and actions that exhibit a different kind of power.

Jesus comes to a resting place alongside a mountain, where he can sit down, but on higher ground, where he can instruct not only his disciples, but the crowds of people that just wanted to hear him speak. Jesus offers them some human experiences that he had experienced and wanted them to know that if they did as well, that they would be “Blessed”.  Trust me, the people did not feel like God even knew that they existed. Yet, Jesus tells them that if they find life hard and burdensome in the here and now, how different, and better it will be within the Kingdom of God. Instead of Blessed, think about the word being Fortunate.

Worldly success, no matter how wealthy or powerful a person is, does not bring peace of mind or of the heart. To be in the right place might seem strange if we are experiencing mourning, meekness, hungering for justice, in need of mercy, having a pure heart, and/or striving for peace. In this world, it is as good as it gets. In the kingdom of heaven, there is a lot more to come. It brings the symbol of the cross to a whole new level of understanding!

Jesus encourages us to keep making the right choices, the moral choices — in our relationships, conversations, and actions. That is not always an easy thing to do.

This weekend we celebrate “All Saints”, and we should be encouraged by those who have gone before us, who now rejoice in the heavenly kingdom.  Our saints are cheering us on, lifting us up by their faithfulness and helping us by their prayers. Remember, when humans die, they do not change into angels, but rather, hopefully have become members of the Communion of Saints in the Holy Kingdom of God. Angels are created by God, and have souls, minds, and free will.

All of us might have a favorite saint, possibly it is the name that we chose for our confirmation. Think about what that saint is popular for, and then think of how hard their lives might have been. Because of their example, how “Blessed” or “Fortunate” we are for not only knowing of them, but also trying to imitate them.

We now head into the Liturgy of the Eucharist, where we will gather with people of every nation, race, people, and tongue — seeking in the Eucharist the strength to live the Beatitudes!

Readings for Sunday, November 1, 2020

Monday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said,

Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.

He laid his hands on her,
and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.

— Luke 13:12-13


The peace of the Lord be with you. Today’s reading from Luke says volumes about Jesus and the mercy of God. Jesus recognizes the torment and suffering of one of those he was called to save and rescue. Even though it is the Sabbath, he recognizes that this is something that needs to be dealt with right away. Once again the officials criticize him for doing this on the Sabbath. He points out to them that there are times when there are things that need to be done — you wouldn’t neglect one of your animals on the Sabbath.

This passage also reflects that Jesus is trying to let them know that he is the Son of God by these actions of healing. He also makes a link between this action and the salvation handed down through Abraham and those sent before him. Throughout all of history God has never stopped reaching out to us, offering us his love, offering us his healing, and inviting us to the freedom of his way of life.

May the grace of God allow us to set our priorities properly, hear his voice, and share his love with those around us. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Monday, October 26, 2020

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

A little joke written by Noah Hart:

Carpooling to work, a man got increasingly stressed with each trip. After a week of panic attacks, he went to the doctor. “I’m fine on the bridges, in the traffic and even in the dark after a long day,” the man explained. “But when I go through tunnels with those four other guys, I feel like I’m gonna explode. Am I crazy?” “Not at all,” the doc said. “You just have CARPOOL TUNNEL SYNDROME.”


I know, another stupid joke! But I picked this one to emphasize the point that we all might get to the point that we might panic when life hits us hard, and things simply do not make sense to us.

In our first reading from Exodus, we hear of the people Israel being at the base of Mount Sinai. There they accept the challenge to serve God, who alone has delivered them from captivity and protected them thus far along their journey to the promised land. They are reminded of how good God is to them — and even though they were considered aliens in the land of Egypt — they are now the Chosen children of God, and will receive His generosity and protection. Because of this, they all must promise (make a Covenant) with God to protect the less fortunate of the family of God, namely the widow and the orphan, those who had no one to otherwise provide for them. This responsibility is seen as vital in the eyes of God, and if someone does not do what is expected, it would be a reason for them to panic.

So, we skip ahead in time, and we find Jesus, within the Gospel of Matthew, who always likes a little controversy. Jesus had just silenced the Sadducees, and we see a group of Pharisees hanging around in the temple courtyard discussing which Law of the Covenant was the most important — something they did on a regular basis — and look who they catch walking nearby, this one they call Jesus, let’s see what he has to say about this question.

Jesus looks at them with pity, seeing that they not only should have known, but also be the ones who sets the example for others to follow.

A little history — Judaism believed that, in addition to the Torah, Moses also received from God 613 oral laws. 248 positive ones and 365 negative ones.

So, a scholar of the law, a scribe, tests Jesus regarding which law is the greatest. Jesus does not just have an opinion, he does the obvious thing, he quotes scripture: 

Deuteronomy 6:5…

Hear O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone! Therefore, you shall love the Lord our God with all of your heart, and with all of your soul, and with all of your strength.

and Leviticus 19:18…

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Once Jesus combined these two teachings, the scribe along with the Pharisees had reason to panic. Everything made sense! Their hypocrisy was made apparent.

This became solid orthodoxy for not only Judaism, but also for Matthew’s Jewish Christian community.

My brothers and sisters, simply keep this Golden Rule as the Law of your lives, and there will be no reason to panic. And, if for some reason you do — do not worry, you too might just have CARPOOL TUNNEL SYNDROME.

Readings for Sunday, October 25, 2020