Faith and Service

This coming Sunday marks our journey in Ordinary Time, the 27th Sunday in Year C. You can read a complete commentary on the Sunday Gospel here.

1 He said to his disciples, “Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the person through whom they occur. 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. 3 Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’ you should forgive him.” Continue reading

First step: empathy

Lazarus-Rich-Man…between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.…”  Such are words spoken about Lazarus and the rich man, traditionally known as Dives. The words describe their fates in the afterlife: Lazarus comforted by Abraham while Dives languishes in a hellish afterlife.

But here is the thing – the chasm really wasn’t new; it was fixed a long time ago and made wider every time the rich man came and went to his safe, secure and plush home and ignored Lazarus. Don’t get me wrong, this parable indeed talks about the eternal consequences of the life we lead, but it is also about our lives now. And maybe, just maybe, St. Luke has been talking to us about the chasms, the great divides we have slowly built into our lives – and our failure to see them in the here and now. Continue reading

What you love

This coming Sunday marks our journey in Ordinary Time, the 26th Sunday in Year C. You can read a complete commentary on the Sunday Gospel here.

19 “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. 20 And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. 22 When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’ 25 Continue reading

Infinite Mercy

In Jesus’ time, large agricultural operations such as the one described in our gospel parable were rarely run by the owner or the family, such things were left to the steward to oversee. The steward had the full faith and backing of the owner to operate the business. The steward would sell the oil and wheat production for cash, trade, or in exchange for promissory notes. The bartering that preceded the execution of the promissory note was classic commodity bargaining:  I will give you so many measure of oil now, and at this future date you will repay with a higher measure of oil.  There were two thing buried in the difference between the higher amount and the original amount: profit for the owner and commission for the steward. That was the way things worked. Continue reading

Everyday Holiness: Being Stewards of Your Own Life

Last week’s column spoke about the broad sweep of history within the Catholic Church. In every age, there has been a pattern of the faithful pointing to others as the “Holy Ones of God.” The focus changed from Apostles, to martyrs, to the desert hermits, to the monastic men and women, to the age of wandering missionaries, to nascent movement of mendicant women and men seeking a lay holiness (only to be regularized into religious orders) – the focus never on the everyday holiness of believers. The focus remained on those men and women to whom miracles were attributed, whose life of heroic faith, while indeed praiseworthy, left the rest of us saying, “Surely, they are the holy ones!” Continue reading

Wealth and Trust

This coming Sunday marks our journey in Ordinary Time, the 25th Sunday in Year C. You can read a complete commentary on the Sunday Gospel here.

1 Then he also said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward who was reported to him for squandering his property. 2 He summoned him and said, ‘What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward.’ 3 The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do, now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me? I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg. 4 I know what I shall do so that, when I am removed from the stewardship, they may welcome me into their homes.’ 5 He called in his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note. Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’ 7 Then to another he said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘One hundred kors of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note; write one for eighty.’ Continue reading

It’s Complicated

The Parable of the Lost Sheep – you’ve heard it countless times before and have taken in just as many homilies. I suspect the “take away” from the parable and the homily was focused on the shepherd – as it should be. I will simply say that indeed Jesus is the Good Shepherd and is relentless in search for and finding us. No matter how far we have strayed or what we have done, Jesus will find us and ever offer to take us up on his shoulders and bring us home.  Always. That my friends, is as good a Good News as you can get. People of God, can I get an “Amen!”

Now there is a “take away” that you can take, consider, pray about, and reflect upon your life. Continue reading

History and Holiness: Being Stewards of Your Own Life

Who are the holy ones of Christianity? Or more pointedly asked, “Who do you consider the holy ones?” In the beginning it was the Apostles, the people who had actually met and lived with Jesus. They saw the miracles, heard the teaching, witnessed the healings, saw the Resurrected Savior, and went to the ends of the earth preaching and baptizing. Surely, they were the holy ones – especially called by Jesus himself! Continue reading

The Lost Sheep

This coming Sunday marks our journey in Ordinary Time, the 24th Sunday in Year C. You can read a complete commentary on the Sunday Gospel here.

Luke 15 is one of the most unique chapters in the Gospels in that it consists of three memorable parables: the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Prodigal Son. Many commentators locate these three parables (Luke 15) within a larger section of Luke that asks the question “who will participate in the reign of God?” (13:10-17:10). Continue reading

Invited

In this day and age, we receive all manner of evites: to meetings, parties, events and more. Upon receiving the evite are we excited? Were we just hoping for a day or evening off? Does this seem more obligation than interesting? Do we have to rearrange schedules? Are hoping something more exciting comes along? We have choices – delete, never open, don’t answer, answer with regrets, or accept. And then come all the consequences of all those choices we make, intended or no. Does all this seem like a phenomenon of the internet age? Not really. It is as old as time and part of the gospel. Continue reading