Sunday, September 22, 2013

Tweny-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Can you pat the top of your head and rub your belly at the same time? Some folks can, but if they are asked to switch hands or to pat their belly and rub their head instead, they become members of that group who cannot walk and chew gum at the same time. Today's Gospel warns us that we cannot serve two masters. We can take the path to heaven or a highway to hell. They run parallel, but in different directions. Where are we going with our lives? Do we have a specific direction? Following Jesus is a path that leads to eternal life. Following Jesus and remaining just and true in our daily lives is not always easy, but it is the calling we have received, and we must strive to do it with all our hearts.

Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Catechetical Sunday is a time for us to pray for those who take up the important task of sharing the faith in our parish communities. This year's theme is "Open the Door of Faith," and many catechists do exactly that for the children, youth and adults who hear the good news through their teaching. Thank you to all the catechists who teach our children in both the school and CCD and to those who share their faith in our parish. Please pray for all those who are involved in opening the door of faith in our parish - their names are listed in the flyer in this bulletin.

In today's Gospel, the woman with the lost coin invited in her neighbors and the father of the prodigal son welcomed him back. These parables remind us that each of us can open the door of faith to someone through our words and actions each day.

Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

An Army sergeant was trying to motivate his soldiers to think clearly, plan purposefully and execute their orders with competence. As a visual aid, he hung up a sign in the meeting room that said: PLAN AHE. Of course it was supposed to read PLAN AHEAD; for years that sign hung on the wall, serving as an example of one who hadn't. Planning ahead is part of any large project. Whether it is the building of a home for a family, or the reconstruction of a major highway, the planning may actually take longer than the work itself. Students will talk about their "plans" for what they will do after college or even their "plans" for the weekend. The Christian life has a plan as well, and in the Gospel this weekend Jesus asks us to consider the true cost of being one of his disciples. To be a disciple and to build our faith in Jesus, we too need to calculate the cost and begin with full determination to follow through. Have we invested enough of ourselves in what it means to follow him?

Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

My rector in the seminary would say, "When you meet, you eat." And he would follow that with, "You can see that I have been at a few meetings." Gathering and eating was no different in Jesus' time. Meals are one of the great characteristics of St. Luke's Gospel. It seems that Jesus is always either eating at someone's house or talking about the banquet in God's kingdom. There will be plenty of picnics this Labor Day weekend as families take the opportunity to have what is often a final summer celebration. When we gather people together we are offering hospitality that is characteristic of God's own generous invitation to share in divine life. A Labor Day picnic isn't heaven, but how we welcome others can be an example of God's generous grace.

Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

As school doors open and the students enter a new stage of their education there is always much to learn. I remember the teacher that I had. Looking back, the teacher who were the hardest, were the ones I learned the most.

Today we hear Jesus teaching and answering the question of how many will be saved. Jesus uses this opportunity to say something about the difficulties involved in following him. What appears as harsh words from Jesus is meant to be a warning to those who have gone astray. The narrow gate is about the difficult choices we make. We can choose the easy path that will guarantee that we will not grow or mature. Sometimes passing through the narrow gate will bring a great growth and maturity. Life is a series of narrow gates. To achieve anything of value in life means we have to strive. St. John of the Cross said, "The purest suffering bears and carries in its train the purest understanding."

As those teachers of mine challenged me to think, Jesus is challenging us to take the risk by allowing his words to challenge us. We pray that we will take the challenge and enter the narrow gate that Jesus directs us. Once we proceed through we will truly be better for it.