Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ordinary Time 22

There’s a sign posted on the fence along a rural highway. Beyond the fence is a ranch house in the distance. The sign indicates that the property owners must be church-going people. It says: “PRAYER is the best way to meet the Lord.” Underneath that line, it says: “TRESPASSING is faster!”

In today’s Gospel, Jesus shows the disciples that while it might be nice for him to continue to pray, teach and heal, he must instead go to Jerusalem and be killed. Jesus is called to trespass against the ways of the day in order to bring new life to all humankind.

Jesus tells his disciples that his own death is a mirror for what must happen in their lives. Each person must take up the cross and follow. What that means in daily life for each person will be different since our cross is our own. But accepting it and carrying it is what is means to follow Jesus.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ordinary Time 21

At first glance today’s Gospel may seem to have two parts to it: Peter’s confession of faith in Jesus and Jesus’ commission to Peter as “rock” of the Church. But what is revealed in this scene from St. Matthew’s Gospel with Peter is really what happens in the life of each Christian.

Peter professes his faith; Jesus gives him a job. For each and everyone of us it is the same. We profess our faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God, and then we get a commission.

Living the Christian life is not just standing up and saying, “I believe in Jesus.” Living the Christian life is also being empowered by the Holy Spirit to share God’s love through our actions of care for others; it is using the Spirit’s gifts to tell others about Christ; it is acting as a reconciler, bringing people closer together as one family of God.

We are still divided, and the struggle seems almost eternal, but we should see that living faith - being loyal to Jesus - as a door that leads to a permanent solution.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ordinary Time 20

What could a stranger expect of us? How would we react if a foreigner asked us for assistance? Jesus is set upon by a Canaanite woman in the Gospel this weekend and in the end, because of her faith, he heals her daughter. He responds to the woman’s need, even though she is not of his people. While the saying “Charity begins at home,” is true, sometimes we are called to respond to the needs of humankind in distant places and foreign lands. In the end, because we are all children of God, no one is a foreigner to us.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Ordinary Time 19

Plenty of people have been going through turbulent times. There are plenty of folks who can relate to the experience of the disciples in the boat. Just as Peter and the rest were being tossed about, there are many whose lives have been turned topsy-turvy by the economy, by illness, by unemployment, by war. Peter’s words to Jesus, “Lord, save me!” have certainly found their echo in many households in these troubled days. Our faith tells us that the Lord does indeed reach out to save us, even if we are not aware of it right away.