The Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time [C] Sirach 3:17-18,20,28-29 + Hebrews 12:18-19,22-24 + Luke 14:1,7-14 August 28, 2016
“Humble yourself the more, the greater you are….”
In the Catechism’s discussion of the Tenth Commandment—forbidding the coveting of thy neighbor’s goods—humility is mentioned. You might wonder what humility has to do with not coveting thy neighbor’s goods. To illustrate the connection, the Catechism quotes the fourth-century saint Gregory of Nyssa.
In one of St. Gregory’s writings, titled “On Blessedness”, he states that Jesus:
“speaks of voluntary humility as ‘poverty in spirit’; the Apostle [Paul] gives an example of God’s poverty when he says: ‘For your sakes He became poor.’”
One of the most important points that St. Gregory makes here is that humility is a kind of poverty. This is key to pondering today’s Scriptures: humility is a kind of poverty. Continue reading →
The Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time [C] Isaiah 66:18-21 + Hebrews 12:5-7,11-13 + Luke 13:22-30 August 21, 2016
“God treats you as sons.”
I’m sure during the course of growing up that I gave my sisters many reasons to call me a “nerd”, but one of them had to do with the start of school. For those of you who don’t have school-age children, you’ve surely noticed that the start of school is upon us by the bright, smiling faces seen this past week on the faces of youngsters when you pass them on the sidewalk. Our young people are tired of staying up late at the lake, or watching movies. They cannot wait to hit the books once again: to be filled with the knowledge and virtues that will make them upstanding citizens in our fine nation. Or maybe not.
When I was growing up, my sisters just shook their heads at me when—every August—I begged our mother to go shopping for school supplies. Each year as summer wound down, I would walk up to our grade school every morning, hoping that that would be the day that classroom assignments would be posted in the window telling who my teacher would be. One year when I got home from this walk and announced with enthusiasm who my new teacher was, one of my sisters asked our mother if I was adopted. Continue reading →
The Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time [C] Jeremiah 38:4-6,8-10 + Hebrews 12:1-4 + Luke 12:49-53 August 14, 2016
“Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin….”
Those words remind me of growing up with two older sisters. If I ever did something wrong, I was immediately “surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses” who reported to Mother every burden and sin of mine. But having two “deputy mothers” wasn’t the only challenge connected with my sisters. Another came to mind recently as I heard some children talking about the start of school.
When I was a boy and a new school year would start, I would have the same experience. My teacher would ask my name, and when I told her, without fail the teacher would say, “Oh! You’re Angie and Janelle’s little brother!” Continue reading →
The Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time [C] Wis 18:6-9 + Heb 11:1-2,8-19 + Lk 12:32-48 August 7, 2016
“Much will be required of the person entrusted with much….”
When Jesus says these words about us, two questions immediately pop up. And they’re intertwined. First, what has Jesus entrusted us with? Second, what therefore will be required of us?
Each of us, naturally, has been given the gift of life. You’ve probably seen the bumper sticker that says, “Smile: your mom chose life!” In our day and age, this is not a gift that we ought to take for granted. But still, when we thank God each day for the gift of life, what exactly are we giving thanks for? Continue reading →
The Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time [C] Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23 + Colossians 3:1-5,9-11 + Luke 12:13-21 July 31, 2016
“[Y]ou have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
In 1998, while in my first assignment as a priest, I was invited to attend a conference in Oxford, England about Cardinal Newman. Newman taught at Oxford as an Anglican priest, but during his years there he studied his way into the Catholic Church. In later life, he said, “To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.”
Since this would be my first trip to Europe, I decided to see as much as possible. But when my plane landed in England, I did not head straight to Oxford. The first site I visited wasn’t the great monastic Ealing Abbey, or the cell where St. Thomas More was imprisoned by Henry VIII. Eventually I did visit all those sites, but not first. Continue reading →