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25th Sunday of Ordinary Time

For anyone who is a parent, or anyone who’s had to mediate a dispute among children, you likely have confronted the phrase “But that’s not fair!”  Even as adults we have a tendency to equate “justice” with “fairness.”  But here’s the thing… what is “just” may not always be “fair,” and what is “fair” to one person may not be to the other.  Our readings this week deal with just that problem… the difference between what we think is fair, and what God thinks is fair…


The Word for the 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time Isaiah 55:6-9
Psalm 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18
Philippians 1:20c-24, 27a
Matthew 20-1-16a

We open with a reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah… in this case, from the closing chapter of Deutero or “second” Isaiah.  This comes from a point in Israelite history where the people have been released from their Exile in Babylon.  The Lord has shown them great mercy and forgiveness, and freed them from exile.  But why?  They broke their covenant with God and they were punished.  Wh…

24th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Last week our readings spoke of a conversion of heart… learning that we not only must love one another, but that we have a duty to each other.  A duty that demands that we speak out when we see injustice, personally at first, and publicly as needed.  But in order for love to survive, take root, and grow, we also need to learn to forgive…


The Word for the 24th Sunday of Ordinary Time Sirach 27:30-28:7
Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12
Romans 14:7-9
Mathew 18:21-35

We open with a reading from the book of Sirach… which is also referred to as the “Wisdom of Ben Sira” in honor of its author (Yeshua [Jesus or Joshua = chosen of God], son of Elezar, son of Sira).  The prophet wrote during the post Exilic period, completing his work around 175 BCE, with his grandson preparing the Greek translation around 117 BCE.  The book is also referred to as “Ecclesiasticus”, which translates to “Church Book” because it was commonly used in the preparation of catechumens… like an early catechism for …

23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

One of the most difficult tenants of our Christian faith is the Law that Jesus himself gave us… “to love one another.”  But that love needs to extend beyond just helping others when they are in need, it means reaching out and taking action when we see things going wrong.  Our readings this week state that we’re not responsible just for the salvation of our own souls, but for the salvation of everyone’s souls…


The Word for the 23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time Ezekiel 33:7-9
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
Romans 13:8-10
Mathew 18:15-20

We open with a reading from the book of the prophet Ezekiel, who tells us that we are not only responsible for our own actions, but for the actions of others as well.  Ezekiel is teaching us that the sins of others, if left unchecked, becomes our sin as well.  This is at the heart of issues that revolve around the idea of “social sin.”  In other words, if we know what is right, we can’t just turn out back to it.  For indeed, the mark of a civilized society are…

22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

What is the cost of discipleship?  Since the beginning of their journeys together, Jesus has been teaching his disciples of the difficulties they face by following him.  They will need courage, and strength of conviction as they continue to follow him and preach the Gospel.  Our readings for this 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time reminds us that following Jesus is not only difficult, but can come at the cost of our very lives.


The Word for the 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time Jeremiah 20:7-9
Psalm: 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
Romans 12:1-2
Matthew 16:21-27

We open with a reading from the prophet Jeremiah.  In a passage that is typical of what I call “the prophet’s lament,” we hear Jeremiah complaining to God about how he has been duped.  His life as a prophet has brought him nothing but derision and reproach, yet he cannot help himself… he still must preach God’s message.  The pain of holding back is still greater than the pain he must endure from those who don’t care for his message.  While w…

21st Sunday of Ordinary Time

Who’s in charge?  Whenever we find ourselves working in a group situation this is a very fundamental question.  While all the members of the group may have certain skills they can bring to the table, it takes a leader to effectively marshal those skills (and individuals) to their goal.  In fact, it’s built into our human nature.  Think about any crisis situation… without someone to step in and take charge, chaos reigns.  Yet when it comes time for someone to step up, many people also find comfort in letting someone else do it.

When it comes to Church, however… the People of God, the question of who’s in charge is both simple and complex… and is the core question considered in our readings for this 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time:

The Word for the 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time
Isaiah 22:19-23
Psalm: 138:1-2, 2-3, 6, 8
Romans 11:33-36
Matthew 16:13-20

Our first reading comes from a rather obscure passage from the book of the prophet Isaiah.  In fact, this passage is so obscure it only …

Is Religion the Answer for Teens in Crisis?

Posted from today's daily Angelus News email:

Adolescents in Crisis: Why We Need to Recover Religion
Some interesting ideas but I think they miss the mark... For those who weren't with us last night for Bishop Barron's video on G. K. Chesterton, we learned that Chesterton was equally at home on both the right and the left of the political spectrum, and while he may not have always agreed, he did always listen, and didn't let a person's views get in the way of friendship and civility. A lesson we could all use in these times... but I digress...

This article comes from the National Register, founded by William F. Buckley Jr. You can't get much more conservative than that! So even if your leanings are more toward the left, there's some good nuggets in this article.

As a life-long catechist, clearly I believe that being the member of a religious community is beneficial in many ways, and the article does point out the Pew studies that show how thos…

20th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Who is God for?  EVERYONE!  The answer should be automatic for modern day Catholics… one barely even needs to think about it to know this is true, yet our scriptures for this 20th week of Ordinary Time remind us that this understanding was not always so obvious nor accepted.


The Word for the 20th Sunday of Ordinary Time Isaiah 56:1, 6-7
Psalm: 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8
Romans 11:13-15, 29-32
Matthew 15:21-28

We open with a reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah… Trito-Isaiah or 3rd Isaiah to be more precise, authored during the post-Exile period.  This week’s passage has the prophet telling us that God will accept the sacrifices of all peoples… that is, people who are not of Israel.  The God of Israel is telling his people that he’s not just the God for them, but for all others who follow his commands.  The foreigner, the Gentile, also have an open invitation to join in the Covenant.  There are two ways to look at this passage.  On one side we see this a generous offering by a gener…

Freedom of Choice and a Nation of Converts

A very interesting article from The Atlantic magazine posted by our daily Angelus News email.

Convert Nation:  More than one-third of Americans identify with a religion different than the one they grew up with.

Being involved in the RCIA, you could say that I'm in the "conversion" business, and I often like to quote a study I read where that found that nearly 24% of Catholics come to the Church as adults. At the same time, our Catholic faith looses many of it's members, sometimes only temporarily, sometimes permanently. And that's not taking into consideration the many "holiday" Catholics who come back for Christmas and Easter. But I digress...

This issue of choosing one's religion has always been something of a mystery and a fascination for me. Being of Irish and Italian heritage, who's relatives emigrated to the US in the late 19th century, my family has very deep roots in Catholicism. And I would be a fool not to recognize tha…

19th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Revelation.  The word itself is a noun formed from the verb “to reveal,” and for Christians, the revelation is that Jesus is Lord.  This is one of the most basic truths of Christian theology, yet for the average Christian (and for many non-Christians) the word revelation is not always understood.  Putting grand theological ideas aside for the moment, revelation, simply stated, is the act of how God reveals himself to us.  To help us understand this idea of revelation, we turn to our readings for this 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time:


The Word for the 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time 1Kings 19:9a, 11-13a
Psalm: 85:9, 10, 11-12, 13-14
Romans 9:1-5
Matthew 14:22-33

We open with a reading from the 1st book of Kings.  We enter the passage with great prophet Elijah as he is seeking shelter in the sacred mountain in the Sinai (mount Horeb).  While in the cave God tells him to stand outside, because the Lord will be passing by.    A strong wind comes, but that was not the Lord.  An earthquake …

Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

This week we interrupt this cycle of Ordinary Time to celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord.  This is a fixed-date feast that falls on the 6th of August, so when it falls on a Sunday our usual readings are put aside because the readings for the feast take precedence…


The Word for the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
Psalm 97:1-2, 5-6, 9
2 Peter 1:16-19
Matthew 17:1-9

We open with a reading from the Book of the prophet Daniel.  The Book of Daniel is an unusual work, taking its name not from its author but from its main character, Daniel, a Jewish captive being held in the prisons of King Nebuchadnezzar during the Exile.  The book itself, however, is dated some 350 years after the events of the Exile, and is written in a “apocalyptic” style that doesn’t come into vogue until around 200 BCE.  Not only is the book’s literary style unusual, its classification is also unusual.  Listed as one of the major prophetic works, it could be cla…

17th Sunday of Ordinary Time

What is the Kingdom of God?  We hear this term so often it can lose its meaning, assuming we had any clear understanding of this idea to begin with.  The “Kingdom” is what we’ve been promised.  The “Kingdom” is what we struggle to obtain.  The “Kingdom” is why we follow Christ.  But ask your average Catholic what the Kingdom of God is, and you’re likely to get many different answers.  Our readings this week help us to wrap our minds around what the Kingdom really means…

The Word for the 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12
Psalm: 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-128, 129-130
Romans 8:28-30
Matthew 13:44-52 (shorter version Matt 13:44-46)

Our first reading comes from the 1st Book of Kings.  King David has died, passing his crown to his son, Solomon.  In this Sunday’s passage, the Lord appears to the young king in a dream, and asks Solomon what he, the Lord, can give him.  Solomon responds humbly, addressing himself as the Lord’s servant, and asks for “an understanding heart.”…

The celibate male priesthood revisited

A very interesting article posted from today's Angelus News email. I encourage everyone to read it. The Prophetic Nature of the Male Celibate Priesthood
The nature of our priesthood being exclusively male and celibate is one of those hot-button issues in the Church with many people, Catholic or not, weighing in with opinions. Putting aside my own personal biases for the moment, this article, as the author states, presents some arguments that are underappreciated, and worth examining. One should never take on an issue without first examining all sides. Only then can one support their case. Far too many issues today are boiled down to ideological soundbites with neither side listening to the other. And as we all should know, especially as Church, context is everything. Even our Holy Father has been preaching this message of context as the avenue toward understanding and compassion.
That being said, the nature of our priesthood continues to be an issue calling for debate. I per…

16th Sunday of Ordinary Time

One of the beauties of Ordinary Time is the opportunity to “play the long game” when it comes understanding Jesus and his teachings.  We literally journey with Jesus and the Apostles during his mission to spread the Word, and because many of our readings pick up where we left off the previous week, we have an opportunity to learn as we go, much like the Apostles themselves.


The Word for the 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time Wisdom 12:13, 16-19
Psalm: 86:5-6, 9-10, 15-16
Romans 8:26-27
Matthew 13:24-43 (OR Matthew 13:24-30)

Our first reading comes from the Book of Wisdom.  This book, coming about 50 years before Christ (most likely from the Jewish Community of Alexandria) served, like most of the wisdom books, as a kind of “catechism” for the faithful.  Our passage this week reminds us that God is both mighty and benevolent.  In fact, the text goes to great lengths to say that this might comes from his benevolence.  Not only has God taught us what is good (through The Law), he gives …

Artificial Inteligence: An Existential Risk?

Posted from today's Angelus News email.

Elon Musk Warns Governors: Artificial Intelligence Poses an Existential Risk

Wait... isn't this a page dedicated to the Catholic faith? So why all this talk of Elon Musk and Artificial Intelligence? Because it's relevant to our world!

In Gaudium et Spes, the Constitution on the Church in the Modern World promulgated by the Second Vatican Council, we are taught that "we must now consider this same Church inasmuch as she exists in the world, living and acting with it." Our faith does not stand outside and separate from the world we live in, even though we have a tendency to separate our secular lives from our religious lives. Instead we need to recognize that the Church is in and of this world. This isn't anything new. The Church has struggled with what we call "modernity" since the Renaissance (no, this was not just a 20th century issue...).

So how does our Faith form us and inform us in relati…

15th Sunday of Ordinary Time

As Catholics we’re taught that we should read the Bible, but how many of us actually do?  The Bible, after all, is not what you would call an “easy read.”  The Bible, the collection of the Sacred Scriptures actually form an integral part of our faith tradition.  This importance was noted in the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Word of God:  Dei Verbum.  Here we are taught that both the Scriptures and our Apostolic Tradition flow “from the same divine wellspring,” and that both are needed for Church teaching.  Our readings this week remind us of the importance of the Scriptures…


The Word for the 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time Isaiah 55:10-11
Psalm 65:10, 11, 12-13, 14
Romans 8:18-23
Matthew 13:1-23

Our first reading is from the master story teller of the Hebrew scriptures… Isaiah.  In a short poetic stanza from the time near the end of the Exile (from Deutero-Isaiah), the passage paints a picture of the rain and snow giving nourishment to the earth, which then produces…

14th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Last week’s readings focused on what kind of people God wants us to be, reminded us of the blessings he bestows on those of us who extend kindness and hospitality to everyone (regardless of their affiliation).  This week our readings focus on the kind of kingdom God envisions for his people.  Not one of military might or laborious worship, but something much different from what we’ve come to expect…


The Word for the 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time Zechariah 9:9-10
Psalm 145: 1-2, 8-9, 10-11, 13-14
Romans 8:9, 11-13
Matthew 11:25-30

Our first reading is from the book of the prophet Zechariah.  It is helpful to remember that Zechariah’s prophecy comes from the early post-exile era, around 520 BCE, around the same time as Ezekiel and Ezra, and is attributed to two different authors (1st Zechariah forming Chapters 1-8, 2nd Zechariah forming chapters 9-14).  Our passage for this Sunday comes from 2nd Zechariah with a vision of a restored Jerusalem with a new king.  But Zechariah’s visi…

13th Sunday of Ordinary Time

God takes care of his own.  What does that mean?  Put another way, those who love God and show love to others will not be denied their eternal reward.  Our readings this week show us not only what God expects of us as followers, but what rewards could come our way by showing our love to him and one another…


The Word for the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time 2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16a
Psalm 89:2-3, 16-17, 18-19
Romans 6:3-4, 8-11
Matthew 10:37-42

Our first reading comes from the 2nd Book of Kings.  The prophet Elisha (student of the great prophet Elijah) has been traveling, so when he enters the town of Shunem, a woman of influence urges him to dine with her.  This eventually became a regular thing, so the woman askes her husband to arrange a small room for him in which he can stay when he comes to town.  Elisha is so moved by this gesture that he feels he must do something for the woman.  Seeing that she had no children, he promises that this time next year she will have a baby son.  No…

Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, but for those who remember their Latin, you might better recognize it as the Feast of Corpus Christi (Latin for Body of Christ).  The Feast was originally established in 1246 by Bishop Robert de Torete, of the Diocese of Liège, Belgium, but not without the 40 year effort of St. Julia of Liège, a Norbertine sister who had a special devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, who spend most of her life petitioning for this special feast day.


The Word for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14b-16a
Psalm 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20
1 Corinthians 10:16-17
John 6:51-58

When Jesus established the Eucharist at the Last Supper, his use of bread and wine was deliberate and purposeful.  They were the most ordinary of foods, yet represented what was necessary to sustain us.  In Jewish ritual, bread and wine have always been an important part of the Passover meal, and have long been …

Justice for all?

A thought provoking article was posted today in our daily Angelus News email...
Supreme Court rules in favor of religious hospitals in pension dispute

I urge you to read and consider this question:
Is this really a win?

Religious freedom under the law is one thing, but when it flouts the moral responsibility of the institutional Church to care for it's workers, I really think we, the greater Church, need to stand up for justice.

This is a very important and highly charged issue, but one the larger Church is, unfortunately, not well aware.  Anyone who has worked for the institutional Church (or has someone close to them who does) know this issue well and must deal with this daily.

Poor wages, poor working conditions, poor benefits, and pathetic retirement plans are the norm. This is particularly poignant given that this Sunday we're being encouraged to give to the annual collection for the priests retirement fund. Why do we need this fund? Because back in the da…

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

With Pentecost behind us, the Easter Season has come to a close, but as is typical for the Church, she’s not yet ready to leave the party behind, so for these next two weeks we continue the celebration by looking at the Church’s most sacred mysteries:  The doctrine of the Trinity with this Sunday’s Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (Trinity Sunday), and next week with doctrine of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist with the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (also remembered as Corpus Christi).


The Word for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity Exodus 34:4b-6, 8-9
Daniel 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56
2 Corinthians 13:11-13
John 3:16-18

Our first reading for Sunday comes from Exodus, where God, after having set his wrath upon Israel for the Golden Calf incident, has agreed (with Moses’ urging) to take back his people.  As you may recall, Moses went up the mountain for 40 days and came back with the tablets containing the Ten Commandments.  Upon his return, howe…