Sunday, August 18, 2013

Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time

We are not used to hearing Jesus speak of division. So much of our religious language concerns unity and peace that the words of the Gospel this week seem to be at odds with what we understand as Christianity. But being a believer also means that we hold fast to certain beliefs and profess our faith by our actions in this world. There are times that others may not like what they hear from us. It is then that the division of what is true and what is false is made evident. We cannot give up the faith for convenience.

Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Each of us is making his or her own journey. It might be toward graduation from school, it might be toward marriage or toward a new career, it might be toward improved health, it might be toward retirement or it might be just a matter of trying to survive the stresses of each day. Whatever it is, time is moving us along. In our journey through life, there is an event that we definitely need to prepare for. That is the day we are going to meet our Lord, not just in prayer, not just in the sacraments, not just in the invisible ways in which he comes into our lived, but in a visible, unmistakable way at the end of life's journey through this life. It's a meeting most of us like to put off as long as possible and many people do not like to even think about. This is why our Lord warns us to prepare for it, because we may tend to procrastinate or just put it out of our minds altogether. The reason he warns us is not to fill us with fear, but because he loves us and he wants us to share in all the blessings he has for us. If we are not ready, we may miss out. So let us get started and prepare ourselves to meet out Lord!

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

What is truly valuable in our lives? In our consumer driven society we all want things, we buy plenty of stuff. We may know in our brain that the meaning of our existence is not rooted in possessions, but often we want more. The challenge arises in trying to balance the desire for economic wellbeing with the heart of the Gospel message. The Gospel this weekend asks us to take a hard look at what we have. Our riches are not the things that we hold in our hands, but those that we hold in our heart.

Henri Nouwen, in his book With Open Hands, he teaches us how to pray. He says we must open our clenched fists and let go of what we grasp most tightly. With hi, let us pray: Dear God, I am so afraid to open my clenched fists! who will I be when I have nothing to hang on to? Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands? Please help me to gradually open my hands and discover that I am not what I own, but what you want to give me. And what you want to give me is love, unconditional, everlasting love. Amen.