All Saints

The Solemnity of All Saints
Revelation 7:2-4,9-14  +  1 John 3:1-3  +  Matthew 5:1-12
November 1, 2016

“See what love the Father has bestowed on us, in letting us be called children of God!” 

“Children of God.”  That is what it means to be a saint:  to be a child of God.

We all know that a child resembles his or her parent, for good and for ill.  So in telling us that we can be called “children of God”, St. John the Beloved Disciple is telling us that there’s something in us that resembles God, that is inherently good, since of course there is nothing bad in God.  From Adam we inherit Original Sin and its consequences.

As we celebrate the feast of All Saints with the Church throughout the world, we ask:  “What does it mean to be a saint?”  “What is that something in us that resembles God?”

At the moment that each of us was conceived, as our parents shared in the power of God the Creator, that very God called each one of us into existence, and gave us life.

But it’s not the fact that we are alive that makes us children of God, for God could have given us any form of life He wanted.  He could have made us a plant, or a lower form of animal on the ladder of created things.  All these things have life, but they are not children of God.

We tend to think that it’s our gifts of personality, intelligence, social status, our salaries, or the size of our homes that makes us who we are.  And sad to say, in the eyes of other people that may be true.  Other people may rate us as persons according to these things.  But God’s ways are not our ways.

In the eyes of God, what makes you human is your capacity to be transformed:  your capacity to be transformed into something other than what you began life as.  This doesn’t simply mean the ability to change form:  all animals change shape and size from being an embryo, to an infant, to a youngster, to an adult.  We are a human being throughout, and are the same person throughout.

But to put this in a single word, human life is marked by the possibility of “transcendence”.  As humans, God has given us the power to change our position on that ladder:  we can climb that ladder, and reach for Heaven.  We can approach God and become like Him.  As children of God, we resemble God to the extent that we are holy.

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

The 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time [C]
Wis 11:22—12:2  +  2 Thes 1:11—2:2  +  Lk 19:1-10
October 30, 2016

“So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus….”

Out of the 52 Sundays of the year, thirty-plus are Sundays in Ordinary Time.  When we reach these “Thirty-something” weeks, we know that the Church’s liturgical year is drawing to a close.  During these final weeks, the Church focuses on what are called “the Last Things”:  that is, realities that are commonly associated with the end of the world.  The Last Things are Heaven, Hell, death and judgment.

Of course, there’s never a shortage of prophets predicting that the end of the world is near.  However, with the world like it is today:  when we see politicians unable to speak civilly face-to-face; when we see health care premiums skyrocketing; and most ominous of all, when we see the Chicago Cubs in the World Series, you have to wonder if the Second Coming is near. Continue reading

Mon. – 31st Wk. – Ord. Time

Monday – 31st Week – Ordinary Time [II]
Philippians 2:1-4  +  Luke 14:12-14
October 31, 2016

“‘For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.’”

Although Jesus’ words today take the form of a command (“do not invite…”) to us as His disciples, we can reflect today on His words through a process of inversion.  That is, we can consider ourselves as those invited to a banquet.  The one inviting us is the Lord Jesus.  The banquet is the sacramental celebration of the Last Supper:  the Most Holy Eucharist. Continue reading

31st Sunday – Ordinary Time [C]

The 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time [C]
Wis 11:22—12:2  +  2 Thes 1:11—2:2  +  Lk 19:1-10
October 30, 2016

“…but he could not see Him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature.” 

Out of the 52 Sundays of the year, thirty-plus are Sundays in Ordinary Time.  When we reach these “Thirty-something” weeks, we know that the Church’s year is drawing to a close.  During these final weeks, the Church focuses on what are called “the Last Things”:  that is, those realities that we associate with the end of the world.  Of course, there’s never a shortage of prophets predicting that the end of the world is near. Continue reading

Sat. – 30th Wk. – Ord. Time

Saturday – 30th Week – Ordinary Time [II]
Philippians 1:18-26  +  Luke 14:1,7-11
October 29, 2016

“‘…do not recline at table in the place of honor.’” 

The virtue of humility is a thread that runs through today’s Scriptures.  Jesus weaves this thread through the parable that He tells after noticing that His fellow dinner guests were choosing the places of honor at the table (Luke 14:7).  They were not content to receive a sumptuous meal.  They wanted also to receive honor. Continue reading

Sts. Simon & Jude

The Feast of Sts. Simon and Jude, Apostles
Ephesians 2:19-22  +  Luke 6:12-16
October 28, 2016

“…with Christ Jesus Himself as the capstone.”

Those who receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders strengthen the communion of the Church by living as an image of Christ, who gave his life for the Church.  The life of the ordained minister, like that of the married person, is, first and foremost, relational.  Through this relationship between himself and Christ’s spouse, the Church, the one who is ordained administers the sacraments of the Church. Continue reading

Thurs. – 30th Wk. – Ord. Time

Thursday – 30th Week – Ordinary Time [II]
Ephesians 6:10-20  +  Luke 13:31-35
October 27, 2016

“Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the Devil.”

Today is the last day on which we hear at weekday Mass from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians.  Today’s passage comes from the last chapter of Ephesians.  It’s a fitting passage to hear within this 30th week in Ordinary Time. Continue reading

Wed. – 30th Wk. – Ord. Time

Wednesday – 30th Week – Ordinary Time [II]
Ephesians 6:1-9  +  Luke 13:22-30
October 26, 2016

“‘Depart from me, all you evildoers!’”

Christ in today’s Gospel touches upon one of the great temptations faced by those who serve Him.  Repeatedly He tells us that our motivations are as important as our words and actions.  Indeed, bad motives can cancel the “good” we think do and say. Continue reading

Tues. – 30th Wk. – Ord. Time

Tuesday – 30th Week – Ordinary Time [II]
Ephesians 5:21-33  +  Luke 13:18-21
October 25, 2016

“ ‘To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God?’ ”

Today’s Gospel passage presents two brief parables in which Jesus specifically focuses our attention on “the Kingdom of God”.  It might seem a simple question, but what exactly is this Kingdom? Continue reading

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time [C]

The Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time [C]
Sir 35:12-14,16-18  +  2 Tim 4:6-8,16-18  + Lk 18:9-14
October 23, 2016

“…the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

You might have read that the Pope recently named seventeen new cardinals, including three Americans.  These new cardinals have a big task ahead of them, not only in advising the Pope, but also as they follow in the footsteps of men who have recently served as cardinals.  Men like Raymond Cardinal Burke, Robert Cardinal Sarah, and in decades past Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger have put the Catholic faithful in their debt by serving the Church with great fortitude, wisdom, and zeal.

This past week as I attended our diocese’s annual priest conference, I found myself reflecting on one of these cardinals who is so faithful to Holy Mother Church.  Earlier this month Cardinal Sarah gave an interview about his newly published book, titled The Strength of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise.  Unfortunately, the book itself has not been translated into English, but the interview has. Continue reading