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Showing posts from October, 2016

31st Sunday of Ordinary Time

Justification.  What does that mean… in a Catholic sense?  According to the Oxford dictionary, it is “the action of declaring or making righteous in the sight of God.”  In other words, to be seen as being right (or justified) by God.  How do we do right by God?  Some people have some definite opinions when it comes what they think is considered doing right by God.  Still others say that our mere faith in Christ justifies us before the Lord.  As always, let’s see what our readings have to say on this topic:

The Word for the 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time Wisdom 11:22-12:2
Psalm 145:1-2, 8-9, 10-11, 13, 14
2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2
Luke 19:1-10

Our first reading comes from the Book of Wisdom.  Similar to the Book of Sirach (which we heard last week), the Book of Wisdom is newer (dating to about 50 BCE), and comes from the Jewish community in Alexandria instead of Jerusalem.  What makes Wisdom stand apart from Sirach, however, is its perspective as from a people who are being oppress…

30th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Humility.  It’s a virtue that seems to have been left behind in our current civil discourse.  To many people being humble connotes a sense of weakness.  Contrary to popular thinking, humility actually takes courage and strength, and affords even greater rewards as our readings this week will show:

The Word for the 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18
Psalm 34:2-3, 17-18, 19, 23
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
Luke 18:9-14

Our faith teaches that we must approach our prayer with humility.  Our first reading from Sirach is an example.  Here he reminds us that all our prayers are heard by God, but those coming from the most humble among us “pierce the clouds”.  This sage from the 2nd century BCE reminds us that though we are all equal in God’s eyes, he also hears the cry of those who are marginalized… the weak, the oppressed, the orphan.  This idea has echoed through the ages, including in our Psalm when we sing, “The Lord hears the cry of the poor.”

Our second reading conclu…

29th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Persistence.  The Oxford Dictionary defines this as “firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.”  Persistence is an important part of our faith tradition, as our readings this week will teach us:

The Word for the 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time Exodus 17:8-13
Psalm 121:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
2 Timothy 3:14-4:2
Luke 18:1-8

Our first reading is a story from the book of Exodus.  Here Moses and the Israelites, not long after their flight from Egypt, are pushing forward into Southern Canaan where they are experiencing resistance from the nation of Amalek (named for the grandson of Esau, Abraham’s other son… though this may just be a literary device).  As they engage in battle, Moses holds out his hands (as he would in a prayer position) and the battle goes in favor of Israel, but as Moses grows tired and lowers his hands, the tide of battle shifts.  With the help of Aaron and Hur, Moses is able to keep his arms up so that Israel wins the day. …

28th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Thank you.  It’s a phrase we hear and use every day.  It’s an accepted and expected courtesy for a variety of interactions.  In fact, when we don’t hear it when we expect to, we feel slighted and unappreciated.  Here’s a question:  Does God feel slighted and unappreciated when we don’t give him thanks for his great gifts?  Let’s see what this week’s readings might say on the subject…

The Word for the 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time 2 Kings 5:14-17
Psalm 98:1, 2-3, 3-4
2 Timothy 2:8-13
Luke 17:11-19

Our first reading comes from 2nd Kings.  Naaman, a Syrian military commander, seeks to thank Elisha for curing him of his leprosy (an act that King Joram of Israel isn’t likely to appreciate).  Not only does Naaman wish to give thanks to Elisha, but also to his God.  This is nothing short of a complete conversion for Naaman, who not only sees the glory of God, but recognizes the importance of the land in this covenant relationship.  In fact, his recognition of God’s covenant with the p…