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Showing posts from August, 2016

23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

“For everything there is a price.”  This idea is so ancient and so well known that there’s no one person to whom this quote or idea can be attributed.  In fact, it’s an idea that’s built into our human nature and human condition.  Put another way, there’s always a trade-off we have to make when making decisions.  We can’t have our cake and eat it too.  When we elect to follow Christ, not only to accept Jesus as our savior but to adopt the Christian way of life, there is a cost.  Our readings this week remind us that following that Christian way of life is not going to be easy:

The Word for the 23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time Wisdom 9:13-18b
Psalm 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14-17
Philemon 1:9-10, 12-17
Luke 14:25-33

Our first reading comes from the book of Wisdom, a work that dates back to some 50 years before Christ.  Given its date and origins, we can consider this to be a contemporary work for Jesus and his Apostles.  Like last week’s first reading from Sirach (dating about 200 years …

22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Humility.  As Christians we are taught that we should be humble before God, not only recognizing God’s greatness, but also recognizing that no one of us is any better than the other.  This is a difficult concept for us, however, because our human nature seems to push us toward exceptionalism… whether it’s by putting others up on a pedestal, or by fighting to get on that pedestal ourselves.  But our readings this week suggests a different path:

The Word for the 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29
Psalm 68:4-5, 6-7, 10-11
Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24a
Luke 14:1, 7-14

Our first reading comes from the book of Sirach.  Though this book in not included in the Jewish and Protestant canons, Catholics have included it as inspired.  The work dates back to the second century before Jesus and is attributed to Yeshua ben Sira, a notable sage who lived in Jerusalem.  Like most wisdom literature in the Bible, it no doubt served as a kind of catechism for the faithful, and was li…

Summer of Mercy video series - Week 10

Our Summer of Mercy video series concludes this week with the feature film:Chocolat (2000, 2hrs, 1 min).

About the story: Vianne Rocher, a “free spirit” and her young daughter find their way to the small French village which is led by a very traditional mayor, the Comte de Reynauld.In fact, he considers it his duty to make sure the village maintains its traditional values, even preparing the new young pastor’s sermons.Deep down, however, this seemingly idealic town has a number of problems, and they learn the hard way that you just can’t ignore them in the hopes that they will fix themselves or just go away.
It takes the outsiders, Vianne, and later the Gypsy traveler Roux to reveal these problems, forcing the various townspeople to confront them for what they are.In the meantime, Reynauld sees things getting out of control, and when tragedy strikes, finds himself unable to turn the situation back to the way it was.Fear of change drive the characters until they must admit the truth of…

Summer of Mercy video series - Week 9

Fr. Michael Gaitley's Divine Mercy: The Second Greatest Story Ever Told

Episode 9:Mary’s Knight From the Augustine Institute:In the mix of people and events surrounding the Second Greatest Story Ever Told, one man emerges for his instrumental role in conquering Polish hearts for Mary Immaculate, including the heart of Pope St. John Paul II.
Episode 10:The Final Question From the Augustine Institute:The historical reality of the Second Greatest Story Ever Told includes every one of us—if we’re willing to enter the story. Father Gaitley concludes the series with inspirational and practical tips to show us how.
This week our journey through this Divine Mercy series comes to a conclusion.  Fr. Gaitley takes us through the devotion's final journey to acceptance... but now what?  Fr. Gaitley tells us how we can practice Divine Mercy.
For those of you who may have missed some or all of this series, we will be showing it again later this Fall... watch this space for details. 

20th Sunday of Ordinary Time

The battle between good and evil.  Today’s society has, to a certain extent, marginalized evil.  Yes, those things that are truly horrendous are recognized as evil, but we’ve grown somewhat complacent to how some lesser evils can lead one in the wrong direction.  Our readings this week try to stir things up to point us in the right direction:

The Word for the 20th Sunday of Ordinary Time Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10
Psalm 40:2, 3, 4, 18
Hebrews 12:1-4
Luke 12:49-53

Our first reading is from the book of the prophet Jeremiah.  Jeremiah, as we may remember, is that great prophet who foresaw and witnessed the beginning of the end for Jerusalem.  Our passage this Sunday takes place shortly before the fall.  King Zedekiah, the last king of Judah (placed there by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar himself) has always had difficulty with the aristocracy of Jerusalem.  Here the “princes of Jerusalem” are tired of Jeremiah’s continuing cries against them and his predictions of the ruin of Jerus…

Summer of Mercy video series - Week 8

The feature film:  Unbroken (2014, 2 hr 17 min)

About the story:
Louie Zamperini was born January 26, 1917 in Olean, New York to Italian immigrant parents.  The family moved to Torrance, California in 1919, and attended Torrance High School where we became a star distance runner.  His performance on the track won him a place on the 1936 US Olympic Team, making him the youngest American to qualify for the 5000 meters at the age of 19.  After the Olympics he attended USC, setting a collegiate record in the mile run that stood for 15 years, earning him the nickname “Torrance Tornado.”

In 1941 Louie enlisted in the US Army Air Corps and was eventually sent to the Pacific as a bombardier.  While on a search-and-rescue mission in 1943 his plane developed mechanical problems and crashed into the Pacific.  He and two others survived the crash, but were stranded at sea for 47 days until they were picked-up by the Japanese Navy.  He spent the remainder of the war as POW, regularly su…

19th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Faithful servants.  This is what we are called to be as Christians, but do we fully understand what this means?  Our readings for this 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time explores both what it means to be faithful, and to be a servant:

The Word for the 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time Wisdom 18:6-9
Psalm 33, 1, 12, 18-19, 20-22
Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19 or 11:1-2, 8-12
Luke 12:32-48 or 12:35-40

Our first reading is a short passage from the book of Wisdom.  As always when we read from the book of Wisdom, it’s helpful to remember that for Jesus and the Apostles, this was a contemporary work, having been written only some 50 years before Christ.  It was also popular because it comes from a people who were being persecuted… the Jews of Alexandria in the final throws of the Seleucid Empire, expressing feelings that the Jews of Jerusalem likely felt under the Romans.  In our short passage this week, we are reminded of the Exodus story… how those who trusted in the Lord celebrated the Passover and we…

Summer of Mercy video series - Week 7

Fr. Michael Gaitley's Divine Mercy:  The Second Greatest Story Ever Told
Episode 7:  The Secret of Divine MercyFrom the Augustine Institute:  In a certain sense, God’s School of Trust culminates in Blessings from blood, victory through suffering, designs of mercy amidst desperate situations, such are God’s hidden ways of mercy, ways that triumph over evil.
Episode 8:  God’s Master PlanFrom the Augustine Institute:  Through Pope St. John Paul II and the triumph he helps inaugurate, God reveals a beautiful plan that amazes and blesses the whole world.
Our most recent episodes have shown us all the different lives that were involved in revealing God's Divine Mercy to us... from St. Therese, to St. Faustina, to St. John Paul II.  But what does it all mean?  In this Thursday's episodes we begin to look deeper at this devotion and what it really means, to us personally and to the entire world.