October 23, 2017

Monday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time [I]
Romans 4:20-25  +  Luke 12:13-21

“…one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

In our little corner of the world, celebrations of harvests take place roughly this time of year.  Even if most in industrialized nations don’t live directly off the land, our celebrations of thanksgiving help us relate to today’s Gospel passage:  both Jesus’ interaction with the jealous brother, and His parable to the crowd. Continue reading

The 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time [A]

The Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time [A]
Isa 45:1,4-6  +  1 Thes 1:1-5  +  Mt 22:15-21
October 22, 2017

He said to them, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?”

The last sentence of today’s Gospel passage is well-known.  “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God.”  Jesus’ reply to the malicious, hypocritical disciples of the Pharisees is effective in shooing them away, as the verse following today’s passage reveals.  But Jesus’ rhetorical skills aren’t the point of this passage.  His reply leaves an implied question unanswered:  “What exactly belongs to Caesar, and what belongs to God?”

Some might reply, “Everything belongs to God!”  But the context of today’s Gospel passage suggests otherwise, with Jesus implying that the coin does indeed belong to Caesar.  This doesn’t contradict the plain truth that every good thing ultimately comes from God.  But the fact that something comes from God doesn’t mean that it belongs to God.  God has reasons for entrusting things over to our belonging.

But is the coin one of these good things?  If the coin belongs to Caesar, perhaps Jesus is admitting this because it’s bad?  In the last sentence of the passage, is Jesus simply making a distinction between bad and good, between the things of earth and the things of Heaven?  If so, then why didn’t He encourage His disciples to flee from society and everything associated with it, including “filthy lucre”, as some call it? Continue reading

October 21, 2017

Saturday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time [I]
Romans 4:13,16-18  +  Luke 12:8-12

“For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.”

Twice in today’s Gospel passage, God the Holy Spirit is referred to.  The first mention is somewhat ambiguous in meaning:  in its plainest sense, “blaspheming against the Holy Spirit” would refer to denying that the Holy Spirit is truly and fully God.  The Church has had to combat such denial throughout her history. Continue reading

October 20, 2017

Friday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time [I]
Romans 4:1-8  +  Luke 12:1-7

“Be afraid of the one who after killing has the power to cast into Gehenna….”

In the secular culture that surrounds modern Western man, the only image of Jesus that is acceptable is that of a spiritual teddy bear.  The idea that Jesus makes demands or sets boundaries is incompatible with modern secularism. Continue reading

Sts. John, Isaac, et soc.

Sts. John de Brébeuf & Isaac Jogues, Priests, et soc., Martyrs
Romans 3:21-30  +  Luke 11:47-54
October 19, 2017

“Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood!”

On the occasions when Jesus refers to persons from the Old Testament, it’s usually Moses or Abraham of whom He speaks.  Today’s Gospel passage, though, is the only time that Jesus refers to Abel (along with the parallel passage in Matthew 23:34). Continue reading

St. Luke the Evangelist

St. Luke the Evangelist
2 Timothy 4:10-17  +  Luke 10:1-9
October 18, 2017

“Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.”

On this feast day of Saint Luke the Evangelist, we can imagine that the First Reading was chosen for its brief mention of the saint.  The Gospel passage is taken from Luke’s account of the Gospel, but he is not mentioned there, as he never met Jesus during His earthly life.  Nonetheless, today’s Gospel passage is about being appointed and sent by Jesus.  As such, each of us can directly relate it to his life as a disciple. Continue reading

St. Ignatius of Antioch

St. Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr
Romans 1:16-25  +  Luke 11:37-41
October 17, 2017

The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from Heaven against every impiety and wickedness….

Saint Paul wastes no time.  After a brief introduction to his longest and most important epistle, he dives into his first point of contention.  It becomes obvious quickly that Paul does not fear debate. Continue reading

October 16, 2017

Monday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time [I]
Romans 1:1-7  +  Luke 11:29-32

Through Him we have received the grace of apostleship….

Romans is the longest of St. Paul’s letters:  that’s one reason why you find it first among all the apostolic letters, immediately following Acts of the Apostles.  But Romans is also the most profound of St. Paul’s letters.  St. Paul explores for the Romans every important theme of the Gospel.  This week—perhaps in an hour of Adoration, or in your prayer corner at home—take your study bible and read the introduction to this great letter of St. Paul. Continue reading

The 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time [A]

The Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time [A]
Isa 25:6-10  +  Phil 4:12-14,19-20  +  Mt 22:1-14
October 15, 2017

“My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?”

My oldest sister has two daughters.  These two nieces have always been very different, and their wedding receptions were also.  The older niece’s reception was held in a large hotel ballroom, and was very formal in its decorations and dinner.  The younger niece held her wedding reception on a farm, under a huge open-air gazebo.  The decorations were informal, and the meal was BBQ.

In today’s Gospel passage we hear of a wedding feast hosted by a king.  As we’d expect, the feast reflects his personality.  We’re given hints of how lavish it was.  Yet this earthly king symbolizes God the Father.  Just as the king’s feast is a feast fit for a king, so the feast that it symbolizes is a feast befitting God:  an infinite feast.  In other words, the feast in the parable symbolizes Heaven itself.  Jesus preaches this parable to help those listening imagine what Heaven is like.

In describing “the kingdom of Heaven”, the parable first explains Heaven’s seating capacity, if you’ll pardon the expression.  God wants everybody there.  Not everybody may end up there, but if not, that’s contrary to what God wants. Continue reading