Today is the Feast of St. Martha and the day’s celebration offers the celebrant two choices for a gospel reading. One is the well-known Lukan gospel in which Martha wants Jesus to make her sister Mary help her: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” And in that moment we wonder if we are being told that Mary’s spirituality is the preferred one and poor Martha was so busy she was missing the great moment of faith. Continue reading
In today’s gospel we heard the explanation of the parable of the wheat and the weeds previously told in Mt 13:24-30. The explanation is straight forward: “field is the world, the good seed the children of the Kingdom. The weeds are the children of the Evil One.” And indeed that is a simple explanation of ourselves and our circle of family, friends, associates and acquaintances. The world has children who seek the Kingdom, those who reject the Kingdom and its claim upon us, and those who do not accept nor reject. One of our possible responses is to take care of ourselves and let God sort out the rest. As the parable makes clear and the subsequent explanation supports, God indeed sorts it out in the end. Continue reading
13 When Jesus heard of it [the death of John the Baptist], he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. 14 When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick. 15 When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 (Jesus) said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.” 17 But they said to him, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.” 18 Then he said, “Bring them here to me,” 19 and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over —twelve wicker baskets full. 21 Those who ate were about five thousand men, not counting women and children. (Matthew 14:13-21) Continue reading
Deacon Ray is preaching this weekend at the Mass I am celebrating, so here is one from a past 17th Sunday, Year A.
The kingdom of heaven is like…. There are lots of parables that begin with those words. Maybe we can do a thought experiment – a kind of fill-in-the-blank thing. Keep your answers silent within your own thoughts. And since no one is listening, you can be completely honest with your answer. For you…. the kingdom of heaven is like……. What? (No hurry, I’ll wait….) Continue reading
Good and Loving God – so far today, I am doing well.
I have not gossiped or lost my temper
I have not been greedy, grumpy, selfish, or over-indulged.
I have not whined, complained, cursed, or whimpered
I have not envied the possession of others
I have not thought ill of others
I am not aware of any sin or transgression
But I am just getting out of bed this morning
So, now, Lord, I am in need of your grace and help.
“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” So said Pope Francis as part of a papal audience. But it is not original to Pope Francis; he is quoting St. Jerome, the great biblical scholar and translator from the late 4th and early 5th century. What about you? What is your comfort level with Sacred Scripture? Where would you place yourself on the scale? Continue reading
The word “love” is certainly the topic of poetry, minstrels, Hallmark cards, stories, and life. But what do the Hebrew Scriptures have to say about love? Several weeks ago I mentioned the prayer, the Shema, speaking about the word “hear” or “listen”:
“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone! Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength“. (Dt 6:4-5).
But a key part of that prayer is to “love the Lord” to “ahavah the Lord.” As the popular song asks, “What’s love got to do with it.” The answer is everything – if love is properly understood.
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We easily speak the phrase “heaven and earth.” But most of us have trouble thinking about the concept of heaven the way the Bible actually describes it. We tend to imagine it as a beautiful place where we go after we die, but it’s so much more than that. Heaven and earth—God’s space and humans’ space—were originally united as one. When humanity chose to go their own way, those two spaces were driven apart. Continue reading
Today’s readings continue Micah’s challenge to the people of Jerusalem: “I remember the devotion of your youth.” There is something haunting about the phrase, hoisting up the image of our ventures, projects and endeavors that we begin with such enthusiasm, hope, and expectations. There is something inspiring about see a person years on that carries that same passion and hope for the now many years of efforts, the venture still ongoing. Continue reading