The 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time [C]

The Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time [C]
Amos 6:1,4-7  +  1 Timothy 6:11-16  +  Luke 16:19-31
September 25, 2016

“When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.”

Brothers and sisters spend a fair amount of their childhood trying to be different from one other:  to distinguish themselves.  Knowing this, my own parents gave the same middle initial to all five of their children.  In fact, they gave the same middle name to both their daughters:  Marie; and the same middle name to each of their three sonsMichael.

In religion class when I was a boy, whenever we were asked to study one of our patron saints, I always chose my first name.  Maybe I didn’t want to learn about the patron saint that I shared with my brothers.  Not until I was older did I become grateful to my parents for giving me St. Michael the Archangel as one of my patron saints. Continue reading

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The 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time [C]

The Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time [C]
Amos 8:4-7  +  1 Timothy 2:1-8  +  Luke 16:1-13
September 18, 2016

“You cannot serve both God and mammon.”

Father Hasenpfeffer made it a practice to visit his parish school each week.  One day he walked into the Fourth Grade, where the children were studying the fifty states.  Father asked how many of the states they could name, and they were able to come up with about forty of them.  He told the students that when he was a schoolboy, he could name all of the states from memory.

A little boy in the second row raised his hand and said, “But Father, back then there were only thirteen.”

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Of course, I myself am not nearly as advanced in age or wisdom as Father Hasenpfeffer.  But the older I get, the more I find myself wanting to simplify my life.  Or to use another image, the more I want to carry out some pruning. Continue reading

The 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time [C]

The Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time [C]
Exodus 32:7-11,13-14  +  1 Timothy 1:12-17  +  Luke 15:1-32
September 11, 2016

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”

Now that we’re past Labor Day, the school year is in full swing.  Instead of their fond memories of summer play, students once again are having to focus on homework and the dreaded test.  That reminds me of a story about an eight year-old girl who didn’t like school very much, and liked taking tests even less.  One evening her mother was kneeling with the girl at her bedside as she offered her night prayers, one of which went like this:  “Now I lay me down to rest. / I pray I pass tomorrow’s test. / If I should die before I wake, / That’s one less test I’ll have to take.”

We all have tests to take.  Children sometimes look forward to the day they graduate from school, knowing that they’ll never have to take another test.  But they don’t understand that adult life is full of tests:  they just come in different shapes and sizes than the ones we got in school. Continue reading

The 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time [C]

The Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time [C]
Wisdom 9:13-18  +  Philemon 9-10,12-17  +  Luke 14:25-33
September 4, 2016

“…when things are in Heaven, who can search them out?”

In the middle of a forest, two hunters were suddenly confronted by a huge, mean bear, followed by Mama Bear and Baby Bear.  In their fear, all of the hunters’ attempts to shoot the bears were unsuccessful.  Finally, the hunters turned and ran as fast as they could.  They reached the edge of a very steep cliff.  Seeing no way out, the first hunter got down on his knees, raised his arms, and exclaimed, “Dear God! Please make these bears ‘religious’!”

The sky darkened.  Lightning flashed across the sky.  Just a few feet short of the hunters, Papa Bear came to an abrupt stop, fell to its knees, looked up into the sky and folded its paws together.  Mama Bear and Baby Bear followed suit, and the three bears began praying in whispered voices. Continue reading