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25th Sunday of Ordinary Time

God’s ways are not our ways.  This is one of the points Jesus was trying to make with his Apostles in last week’s gospel, and that theme continues be examined in our readings for this week…

The Word for the 25tth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Wisdom 2:12, 17-20
Psalm 54:3-4, 5, 6, 8
James 3:16-4:3
Mark 9:30-37

Our first reading comes from the Book of Wisdom.  By way of reminder, the Book of Wisdom was written about fifty years before Christ.  For Jesus and his followers, this was a contemporary work, and like most wisdom literature, served as a sort of catechism for the Jewish community.  In this case, however, the community wasn’t from Jerusalem, but from Alexandria, and was written in Greek (not Hebrew) while patterned on a style used in Hebrew verse.  For most Christians reading this passage it sounds very much like how Jesus was treated.  It can be hard for us to remember that this verse comes to us a couple generations before Jesus was even born.  Still, the theme of “the suffer…
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24th Sunday of Ordinary Time

What is the cost of discipleship?  Let’s be honest… Christianity can be a tough sell... especially during this times when the sins of the Church herself weigh on all of us.  In order to follow Jesus it means making sacrifices, changing and forming our lives to model what Jesus taught us… to what God wants of us.  For many this is a difficult path to follow, and even harder to explain to others.

The Word for the 24tth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Isaiah 50:5-9a
Psalm 114:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
James 2:14-18
Mark 8:27-35

Our first reading is an elegant poem from second Isaiah.  Coming from one of his well known “servant songs,”  this first reading is a lament of sorts, as Isaiah bemoans the trials he must endure in his mission as a prophet.  For all his complaints, however, he knows his mission is just.  With the Lord God behind him, who could prove him wrong?  Our Psalm reflects this idea of God standing behind us, both in this life and the next, as we sing, “I walk before the Lord, in th…

23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Ephphatha.  Translated from the original Aramaic, it means “be open.”  For those who have been through the RCIA process, this word is familiar as it is used in the minor rite just ahead of the Easter Vigil.  It’s meant to be a calming meditation prior to the celebration of the Easter Sacraments, intended remind us to “be open” to the moment, open to the Spirit moving within and around us...  Open to the possibilities ahead.  This word, and our gospel for this week, is also a great way to start the Adult Formation process as we resume our regular catechetical sessions, hoping that new souls will be “be open” to hearing the Holy Spirit… Be open to the process…  and be open to the Word to see what God is offering us.
The Word for the 23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time
Isaiah 35:4-7a
Psalm 146:7, 8-9, 9-10
James 2:1-5
Mark 7:31-37

Our first reading comes from the Prophet Isaiah.  It is a time of fear for the people of Judah.  The Northern Kingdom of Israel has fallen to the Assyrians and…

22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Actions speak louder than words.  When Jesus railed against the Pharisees and the Scribes, this was one of the key elements he used to call attention to their hypocrisy.  While putting on the face of piety they consistently ignored the needs of the poor, and more often than not, stood as a barrier, not a facilitator to building a relationship with God.  While our readings for this Sunday remind us that we much follow the Law set down by the Lord, but neither should we ignore the spirit of that law when confronting the letter of the Law.

The Word for the 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time
Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8
Psalm 15:2-3, 3-4, 4-5
James 1:17-18, 21b-22, 27
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Our first reading comes from the Book of Deuteronomy.  Here Moses is presenting the Law of God to the people of Israel.  Our passage is actually from two different sections… the first, from the opening of Chapter 4 where Moses enjoins them to her the law, and not to add or subtract from it.  Our text then…

20th Sunday of Ordinary Time

God provides everything that we need, but are we smart enough to see this?  Do we have faith enough to believe it?  To help us better see this, our readings this week use the images of a banquet, food and drink, as the enticement to come to the table of the Lord.

The Word for the 20th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Proverbs 9:1-6
Psalm 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
Ephesians 5:15-20
John 6:51-58

Our first reading comes from the Book of Proverbs, one of the first of the books of wisdom dating back to the middle of the period of the Hebrew monarchy.  Typical of wisdom literature in the Bible, it is a collection of sayings and instructions intended to teach listeners about the ways of God and the world… an ancient type of catechism for the faithful.  As is typical for this genre, this Sunday’s passage presents wisdom as a woman.  Here she has prepared a sumptuous banquet.  It is evident she has gone to great effort to set her table, and then she summons “all who are simple” to come and dine.  The unde…

19th Sunday of Ordinary Time

During last week’s readings we were introduced to Jesus as the bread of life.  Just as God provided manna in the desert for the Israelites, God gave us his son so that we may live.  This week we continue with this theme of bread as we dive deeper into our understanding of bread bringing life.

The Word for the 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time
1 Kings 19:4-8
Psalm 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
Ephesians 4:30-5:2
John 6:41-51

We open with a reading from the 1st Book of Kings.  As we enter the narrative the great prophet Elijah is on the run (as Jezebel has falsely accused him of killing all the other prophets).  He’s traveling South, out of Israel, through Judah, on his way to Mt. Horab, the mountain of the Lord.  Halfway through his journey he’s ready to give up.  As he sleeps, however, an angel of the Lord bring him a hearth cake and a jug of water.  Strengthened by this food, he is able to continue his journey of forty days and forty nights (yes, that well known biblical number indicating …