Friday, September 23, 2011

Ordinary Time 26

The Gospel parable this weekend is a reminder that God is always giving us an opportunity to respond to the invitation to salvation. But, we must respond. In the parable, the one son never acted upon his father’s request, while the other at first ignored it, but then later changed his mind. We cannot ignore God. We may put off our response, or we may find some excuse for not acting on God’s invitation right away, but to ignore God forever leaves us without hope. The way of righteousness lies before us. We only have to choose to act.

Thank you to Bishop Zubik and the Deacon Class of 2013 for blessing our parish with your presence as you received the Ministry of Acolyte. May God bless these faith-filled men.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Ordinary Time 25

God’s thoughts, the prophet Isaiah tells us today, are not our thoughts and God’s ways are not our ways! It is so easy to forget this, to think we have a corner on the market of understanding and explaining God. The parable Jesus tells in today’s Gospel clearly reminds us that we don’t. God doesn’t think at all like we do if we are to believe he is like the landowner Jesus describes. This rather bothersome parable is not about good hiring practices. Often people are upset about the unfairness of the treatment of the laborers who worked all day. Read through a business person’s eyes, the parable is a horror! But God’s ways are not our ways. God delights in being generous; God delights in giving more, not less. Experiencing God’s generosity changes who we are and the way we see our lives. Thus dwell on all God has done for you and rejoice; give thanks. If you see others receiving blessings like you have, or more than you have - rejoice! Give thanks.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Ordinary Time 24

On this tenth anniversary of 9/11 our Sunday readings have a lot to say to us about forgiveness. Please take some extra time this day and reread our readings. Sirach says, “Wrath and anger are hateful things.” We all know so well that many evils have been done in the name of justice and retribution. We must be above an eye for an eye and be people who are kind and merciful, slow to anger and rich in compassion as our Lord is. Sirach also reminds us “Forgive your neighbor’s injustice; then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven.” We who live for Christ must live as Christ lived: in compassion, in mercy, and in love. Thus do we show that we are indeed the Lord’s.

I wish to share a beautiful piece called “Christ in the Rubble” by Benedictines Genevieve Glen and Tobias Colgan.

O Christ, beneath the fallen stones,
Nailed fast to twisted bars of steel,
And slain in flesh and blood and bones,
Pierced by the fear all mortals feel:
Arise from ash and dust and death,
And breathe into crushed hearts new Breath.
O Christ, within a world at war,
Where love and hate fight for the soul,
And all sights trained on death see far,
But only love can see the whole:
Arise from unforgiving pain,
And teach us how to love again.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Ordinary Time 23

In the Gospel readings of this weekend and next we will hear that the work of forgiveness and reconciliation does not come easily. This week Jesus insists that we must seek reconciliation first by seeking out the one who has harmed us. Only then do we bring it to the larger community. Reconciliation is hard work, something to reflect on as we also celebrate Labor Day. While the holiday gives us a chance to relax, we can never take a break from fostering a spirit of unity and harmony. Reconciliation is our work as baptized Christians.

Next weekend, our parish welcomes Fr. Paul Farin from Cross International Catholic Outreach. Cross International Catholic Outreach is working to establish a stronger spiritual relationship between America’s Catholic parishes and their counterparts overseas - with the ultimate goal of helping the poorest of the poor. Parishes in underdeveloped countries represent more than an important source of spiritual truth for their community. They also stand as a beacon of hope for impoverished families who have nowhere else to turn for help. We all can make a difference in the lives of our least brothers and sisters in the Third World.