Friday, October 16, 2020 at 2:41 PM
October is the month of the rosary and is dedicated to the Blessed Mother. Consider praying the rosary together as family during this time of COVID-19.
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Reflections

TWENTY-NINTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, Oct. 18, 2020
[Isaiah 45: 1, 4-6; Thessalonians 1: 1-5; Matthew 22: 15-21]

“Shine like lights in the world, as you hold on to the Word of life.”

We see today that Jesus is, once again, being confronted by the Herodians and Pharisees. They are trying to make Him take sides: being loyal either to Caesar, or to His own Jewish people.  Their scheme to trick Jesus backfires on them.  In the process, Jesus teaches them, and us, a very moving lesson.

“Whose image is this and whose inscription?”  Obviously, the image on the coin is that of Caesar…so, give it back to him.  However, the lesson, for us, is much deeper!  “Whose Image do we bear?”  The lesson today continues the lesson of last week with the wedding garment.  This time Jesus uses the symbol of the coin.  From our Baptism we have been inscribed with the image of God, and the Word of God written in our hearts.  This image of God is something like a coin.  Coins can get pretty dirty and tarnished.  It gets to the point you can’t read the image.  Sometimes you can’t tell a penny from a dime, until you clean it up.

We need to re-new and re-activate the image of God in us at various times.  Like a coin/currency, we are used by God to purchase!  What are we to ‘purchase’ with the image of God in us?  We are to encourage other people to be part of the Kingdom of God by the life we live…by the image of God that we portray to others, especially on this World Mission Sunday.  That is why we need to ‘clean up’ and renew the image of God in us by our daily prayer life.  We know at times we demonstrate other behaviors which are not ‘of God.’  We come together, these days on the phone reflection, to have the Word of God re-planted in our hearts. May we “Shine like lights in the world, as [we] hold on to the Word of life.”

 

TWENTY-EIGHTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, Oct 11, 2020
[Isaiah 25: 6-10; Philippians 4: 12-14,19-20; Matthew 22: 1-14]

“May the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, enlighten the eyes of our hearts
so that we may know the HOPE that belongs to our calling
.”

The readings today describe the end-time as a banquet, filled with much goodness and celebration.  Isaiah shares that “the Lord will provide for all peoples, a feast” of many choice foods and drink.  Death will be destroyed forever and the Lord will save us!  God is present on the mountaintop.

Psalm 23: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want…only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life…”  Jesus is the good shepherd who attends to our every need…leads us to shelter and safety…protects us from predators and dangers…leads his sheep to food and water.  It is the image of all the things a good shepherd does! 

Saint Paul tells us “God will supply whatever [we] need, in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”  Saint Paul knew both abundance and want.  Many people have an abundance of food while many more go hungry.  Has any of us ever overeaten...had more than enough and yet decided dessert looked too good to pass up?  There is enough food in this world for everyone…yet how many go to bed at night hungry?  “I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.”  May we pray for the strength and conviction to reach out to our neighbors in their needs. 

In the Gospel Jesus tells another very familiar parable:  it is about the king who puts on a great feast for his son.  Many are invited, and the ‘many’ seem to have excuses.  But the King does not give up.  He is convinced that this feast is important.  Perhaps he knows much better than these people that they need what he is now offering them.  So, he goes about forming another set of people, a new community.  We are continuously called to “put on Christ” since we received the white garment at our baptism and to share the message of the gospel…for All are called to the celebration…the feast!  How do we answer and give witness to that call?

 

SOLEMNITY OF THE FEAST OF ST. FRANCIS, Oct. 4, 2020
[Sir 50: 1, 3-4 ,6-7; Ps 16: 1-2, 5, 7-8, 11; Gal 6: 14-18; Mt 11: 25-30]

“Come to me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you.”

Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Francis in our Franciscan parishes.  Therefore, the readings used are not the ones for the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time in order to celebrate St. Francis.  In his early years, Francis lived a high-spirited lifestyle typical of a wealthy young man indulged by his parents.  At one point, he had a vision and eventually heard God’s voice calling him to a deeper experience of his faith.  Ultimately, Francis changed his lifestyle of great wealth to one of poverty and trust in the Lord.  The Responsorial Psalm, “You, Lord, are my allotted portion” seems to describe Francis’ submission and trust in the Lord versus the material world.

In the Second Reading, we hear St. Paul share with the Galatians “I bear the brand marks of Jesus in my body.”  In 1224, Francis received the stigmata which would make him the second person in Christian tradition after St. Paul to bear the wounds of Christ's Passion.

In the Gospel, Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you…learn from me for I am gentle and humble of heart.”  We are all concerned, stressed, and worried at times about ourselves and our loved ones, especially in these days of this virus.  When we ‘wear’ the spiritual yoke of grace, it allows Jesus to bear the weight of our burdens, the weight of life with us.  St. Francis came to know that he could lean on Jesus for strength on his journey through life.  Jesus bore the hardships Francis encountered in his ministry.  Jesus will bear our difficulties if we also come to him…for he will refresh us!

On this Feast of St. Francis, let us pray for the Franciscans who have been part of our lives…part of our journeys…part of our faith.  For those who have lifted us up in times of difficulties to continue our faith journeys when times seemed burdensome.  Let us pray also for Pope Francis as he continues to lead and to guide us as Church.

 

TWENTY SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, Sept 27, 2020
[Ezekiel 18: 25-28; Philippians 21: 1-11; Matthew 21:28-32]

‘Thus says the Lord God’: “You say, the Lord’s way is not fair.’
Hear now, is it my way that is unfair, or rather are not your ways unfair?”

This quote from the First Reading helps us to continue the theme of these last Sundays.  Remember the parable about the generous land owner who gave everyone the same wage?   Jesus was teaching us that He will reward all of us who seek to follow Him and do his work.  He takes us where we are, and recognizes what we have to offer.  Today we have in the Gospel the two sons.  The first son, refuses to do the work, but then has a change of heart and responds by doing what is right.  The second son says the right thing and does nothing to back up his words.  This is a challenging lesson. 

Jesus uses this story to make a point.  It is not the people who follow Him in word only that are truly His followers and disciples.  Rather it is those who take the Word of God to heart and truly ‘follow-through’ day-by-day in trying to hear and follow the voice of the Spirit.

Choices:  Work in the field.  Do not work in the field.  Be a disciple.  Do not be a disciple.  What we say is powerful.  What we do is even more powerful.  Living out the Gospel message of love and forgiveness is not easy.  It is also challenging us…stretching us…sometimes to a point of being uncomfortable…painful…too hard.  “Christ emptied himself…humbled himself, becoming obedient…”  At what cost…Living with God in eternity.  “My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them and they follow me.”

 

TWENTY-FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, Sept. 20, 2020
[Isaiah 55: 6-9; Philippians 1: 2-24, 27; Matthew 20: 1-16]

“Seek the Lord while He may be found, call Him while He is near.”

We hear in our readings today that Jesus is continuing the theme of God’s love and forgiveness He taught us in the Parable and readings of last week.  “Seek the Lord, while He may be found…” the First Reading tells us.   The amazing fact is God is also seeking us, while we may be found. 

In the Gospel, Matthew tells us the landowner is in search of workers for his vineyard.  He continues to go out at various times of the day looking for laborers.  He finds people still standing “idle all day” and hires them with only a couple more hours of daylight to work.  When it is time to be paid, those who worked all day received the same pay as those who worked a couple of hours.  Fair?  How can the landowner do that?  Simple…it is his land, his money, etc. to decide what he wants to do.  As he says to those who worked all day, “Are you envious because I am generous?”

God seeks out those when others of us may not want them around.  Like those in the gospel who stood around all day “because no one has hired them.”  God loves us all equally as in the parable the landowner paid all equally.  God is willing to accept and recognize our smallest efforts at conversion, at turning toward Him.  God also recognizes our smallest efforts of kindness, compassion, and forgiveness with each other.  

Some might say the owner is not fair.  To quote from Scripture: Is it God who is not fair, or are we not fair?  God is willing to ‘take us where we are.’  Are we willing to accept God’s generosity and share that goodness with others? 

As we celebrate catechetical Sunday this weekend, let us pray for those catechists in our lives who have shared God’s goodness with us…who have helped us “Seek the Lord while He may be found.”