Sunday, September 13, 2009

Friday and Saturday

Friday September 11, 2009 of the 23rd week in ordinary to time
Readings: Timothy 1: 1-2, 12-14 Psalm 16: 1-2a, 5, 7-8, 11 Luke6: 39-42
Psalm Response: “You are my inheritance, Lord”

Paul spiritual son, Timothy, has been the recipient of two of his extant letters! Like us, Timothy was taught by his grandmother and mother. He remained like his grandparents, Christian, despite his father’s paganism. Paul encouraged him in his vocation to be a spokesperson for Christ in the areas where Paul could no longer be there in person because he was in prison.
When Timothy was faced with the skepticism and even apostasy of his recent converts, Paul reminds him of his own obstinacy when he was a neophyte, a strict Pharisee and had to be roughed up when he was acting in accordance with what he thought was the Law.
So, he advises Timothy to be forgiving, faithful and loving to those who disagree with his teaching; God has the power and the word to bring them about. They must be receptive to Him, not necessarily to His ministers. Timothy was to teach as he had been taught without wandering from the faith Paul has imparted to him.

Exuberance was to be the watchword of the Jews and to us. We are to be penetratingly obstinate when we explain the reason for our joy. Everything and all creation was enabled through God’s word so we must be when we proclaim the Gospel.

Christ departs from the parasitic teachings calling for retribution instead of forgiveness when we are demeaned or scoffed at. The practice of Love of neighbors follows the lesson of Leviticus.
As He points out, even the pagans love those who love them.
It is when we learn our lessons from Christ, Who forgave His murderers while He was being scourged and crucified. If we claim His principles, then display anything but peace and love toward those who demean us, we become active hypocrites.
It won’t be easy except if we make pardon part of our normal behavior.

Saturday September 12, 2009 of the 23rd week in ordinary time
Readings: 1Timothy 1: 15-17 Psalm 113; 1-7 Luke 6: 43-49
Psalm Response: “ Blessed be the name of the Lord, forever!

In his exhortation to Timothy, Paul uses himself as the worst of the opposition to Christ. He was given the admonition of the New Way from the high priests themselves. Therefore, armed with the power to arrest and extradite members of the sect professing Christ as the God/Man, he wrongly accused and convicted many before Christ confronted him and brought hi \m to his senses as the prodigal son di when he was brought to the truth.
We have always had the truth before us; either by our teachers or by our parents. They may not have possessed the wisdom of the ages but they followed the Church in Her wisdom unwaveringly when the imparted the faith unaltered to us as sure.

When we stand at our pew, raise our arms as a sign of our fealty, we become the example of Faith and Truth for others to follow.

The example of the pagan Centurion, in his belief in the power of Christ to forgive sin, and thereby heal sicknesses, the Centurion embossed on our souls the everlasting words disclaiming our worthiness to receive Him Body and Soul.
We truly are unworthy. However, God authorizes us to receive Him at every Eucharistic celebration if we repent and exhibit our sorrow through our love of our neighbors.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

September 10,2009

Readings: Colossians 3: 12-17 Psalm 150: 1-6 Luke 6: 27-38
Psalm Response: " Let everything that breathes praise the Lord"

Paul has confidence the Colossians whom he personally taught will remain in the traditions and Gospel he proclaimed.
They were to abhor their past lives and begin to praise God by their imitation of Christ. We also must bring into our hearts and minds the proper attitudes; thinking always, not of ourselves but as would Christ.
The sinful aspects of our society were learned not ingrained. If we follow the "celebs" who revel in notoriety, we will think nothing of their actions of fostering whatever brings them pleasure and fame; even if the fame is scurrilous.
If we will focus on the cross and the sufferings of Christ for our sake, we will be unable to wend our way into the path of unrighteousness.

The psalm and response urge us to always be aware of the sacrifice God, through the action of His Son, enabled us to concentrate on the virtues of Faith, Hope and Love!

Luke makes the life in Christ seem simple and at the same time difficult.
Love your enemies? Do good to those who harm you? What kind of irresponsibility is that. The prophets say God's foolhardy ways are wisdom when compared to our actions.
Therefore, we are to be like Him; unwisely wise!
God gives us no options! We are to think and do in terms of His love. Thereby, we become like Him; as He is in us.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Date: Sunday September 13, 2009 - 24th Sunday Ordinary Time
Readings: Isaiah 50:5-9 Psalm 116: 1-9
James 2:14-18 Mark 8:27-35

Every time I hear the term, "Suffering Servant", my mind immediately pictures Jesus in an attitude of unbelievable pain on the cross.
Christ had been curing people of various ills in the gentile regions of Palestine.
Jesus was a Jew; however, He took seriously, a Jew's obligation to love one's neighbor as oneself. (Lv. 19:18).
We read Isaiah's suffering servant oracles and assume he's predicting the future distress for Jesus. In reality, Isaiah had no concept of the future, and, in fact, was addressing the Israel, in exile, living in captivity in Babylon, as the suffering servant. The people of Babylon weren't very hospitable to these immigrants. After all, there were only enough jobs around to satisfy the needs of the Babylonians. They didn't need immigrants from across the Euphrates to take away their birthright.
Matthew and Luke repeat Mark's story of Jesus asking His disciples," Who do the people say I am?" When Pete responded, "You are the Christ, the Messiah", we attach attributes to his declaration , far from Peter's mind. The disciples, including Peter, used "Messiah" and Christ as synonyms for someone who would rid the people of the Roman conquerors. When Jesus declared His eventual suffering and death, Pete naturally, was taken aback. He thought, "If you die, what happens to the revolt?" Jesus wasn't anxious to die either! However, He was aware of the tremendous outpouring of the Father's love for His people. Therefore, He willingly accepted the task of emptying Himself of all glory and death on the cross, as His gift of Love.
We have an opportunity, every day, as the Body of Christ, to make up for anything which may be lacking in Christ's ultimate sacrifice.
St. James gives us the blueprint. Our Faith is empty without love of neighbor. We manifest our Christian heritage when we clothe, feed, and shelter those in need (our neighbors). Whether we fulfill their need physically, by alms, psychologically, by our show of care and commitment, or, spiritually, by our prayer, we give what we have for the sake of those God loves.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Wednesday 9-9,2009

The 23rd week in ordinary time
Readings: Colossians 3: 1-11 Psalm 145: Luke 6: 20-26
Psalm Response; "The Lord is compassionate toward all His works"

If one professes and is a Christian, Paul outlines the difficulties and the joys of being so!
The Colossians had been part of the pagan culture and were, in the past, immune to the virtues cited in Paul's letter.
Four major sins, included in Paul's litany consisted in their practices before they became aware of their salvation.
Murder, Apostasy, Adultery and Idolatry were considered the norm.
Murder included personal killing but also hatred, indifference and lack of compassion.
Apostasy was rampant because they sacrificed to and adored Adonis, Zeus and a myriad of deities they worshiped.
Adultery meant illicit relationships with beings of both genders; no one was immune!
Idolatry encompassed the love of money, power and esteem. The One God was an aberrant concept.
Paul wanted and instructed them to remain in close contact with the principles he had taught them. Not for personal aggrandizement but to emphasize God's role in their life and practices.

The Psalm tells of God's providence. He never leaves us without then support of His Holy Spirit. At times, we ignore His wise counsel. However, He is compassionate toward all His works.

Luke's beatitudes number four(4) as opposed to Matthew's nine(9). Luke has four(4) contrasting "woes".
If we are truly Christian, we can rejoice when others oppose our principles. The prophets of old were similarly opposed, although they were God's spokespersons.
Don't expect open arms and your disappointments will be nil.
Love God!; Love your neighbor as you love yourself!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mary's birthday

Tuesday 9/8/09; Nativity of Mary the mother of God; of the 23rd week in ordinary time.
Readings: Micah 5: 1-4a Romans 8: 28-30 Psalm 13: Matthew 1: 1-12. 18-23
Psalm Response: " With delight I rejoice in the Lord"

The prophet Micah foresees the Davidic line continued through the least of the tribes of Israel, Bethlehem. He also forecasts the rejection, by the old Israel, the Jewish nation, the savior who, according to the prophecy of Isaiah, burned into their brain; would be born of a virgin as applied typologically to Jesus' mother.

Although the Church denies the fatalistic, general predestination, it agrees God predestined some souls to be His vessels and messengers from time immemorial. These are the predestined mentioned in Romans 8!

The psalmist presupposes the forthcoming of his salvation through the forgiveness of sin.
He has been good to us! Therefore we rejoice in the Lord!

The genealogy of Matthew categorizes many Jewish ancients as kin to Jesus going back to Abraham, who was the father of the Hebrew nation.
Although Christ was to His elder brethren, none-the less, to show His love for all people, through the Holy Spirit's prompting, He included several gentile women in His genealogy to open His salvation to all of His creation.
Joseph, His foster-father had the right to separate from Mary who in his mind was no longer a virgin. However, in a dream. emulating Jacob's son, Joseph, he was given a vision of her innocence. Therefore, he took her into his home as his wife. He was a righteous man and God's choice as Christ's early caretaker.
We can substitute for Joseph when we care for and attend to the needs of the Church, His Body!

Labor Day 2009

Monday Labor Day September 7, 2009 of the 23rd week in ordinary time
Scripture readings; Colossians 1:24- 2: 3 Psalm 62: Luke 6: 6-11
Psalm Response; "In God is my safety and my glory"

I suspect this letter of Paul's is different than some of his other letters.
Often the writer of the letters attributed to specific authors were not exactly as he said; but, rather the writer would outline the theme and ask the scribe to put the theme into a coherent form.
One of the differences in this letter is the sentence length.
I always was chagrined Paul could say, in verse 24f, that his suffering for their sake, filled up what may have been lacking in the affliction of Christ. A better interpreter than I, clarified the situation for me when he pointed out, the context was that Paul knew the "Body of Christ" was the Church and we were expected by Christ to emulate Him in our everyday life to, if necessary, give up our life for the sake of His people.
Another aspect of these verses is the reference to Laodicea, one of the Churches mentioned in the book of Revelation. It was so named for its lukewarm attention to the mores of Christianity. In John's vision, the Lord proposed they be either hot or cold. If they remained lukewarm, He said He would spew them out of His mouth. Rather graphic!!

The psalm iterates the position of the people of God in every age.
Only God will give us eternal rest. He is the source of every good thing! Our Hope; Our Faith and Our Love all stem from His gift of the Holy Spirit. Consequently, He should always be at our beck and call when we are in trouble, serene or threatened in any way.

The Pharisees were the lay leaders of the Jewish people. They set the standard! therefore, when they observed the man with the withered hand, they weren't concerned about his pain and suffering. They were interested in perhaps, catching Christ in some sin based on their interpretation of the Law.
Even when He challenged them to be compassionate whether it was the Sabbath or any other day, they were over scrupulous and plotted to do Him ill when He showed He was the Lord of the Sabbath.
We can learn a lesson from the passage cited. Some of the practices we engage in aren't mandatory despite the urging of the Church to be involved in them. Rosaries, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and other devotions are exemplary and we should be involved in each or all! However, one daily celebration of the Eucharist is a thousand times more efficacious than thousands of our expressions in devotions!
Be like Paul. Although he was a Pharisee, he learned the Spirit, rather than the letter and put the spirit into practice; not to the exclusion of but placing the Eucharist first.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Saturday Sept. 5, 2009

Readings: Colossians 1: 21-23 Psalm 54: Luke 6: 1-5
Psalm Response: " God Himself is my help"

Paul, in his usual style, has difficulty ending a sentence! Since he probably didn't
personally hand write the words but had a scribe to do this chore, in his dictation, thoughts arose while he was dictating, so his sentences seemed too long for our culture.
However, his purpose was always clear! His converts to Christianity were to remain faithful to his teaching; persevering even when others around them were either ignorant of God's word or they reverted to their pagan ways when he or another Apostle wasn't present to correct them.
Like us, he urges them to remain steadfast to the principles he taught them. Paul knew from his own experience the Faith would develop in the years beyond his own. Consequently, his letters to the churches would act as the response to questions they might have about the Faith. We are privileged to have the same Tradition even until our day almost 2000 years after he had posted his last letter. Papal encyclicals are meant to update, with the societal mores of our time. Therefore, when a Pope writes on Faith and Morals, we Catholics are to believe his writings with a firm resolution to put his writings into practice.
Sometimes the Popes wrote on difficult subjects at cross-purposes to the society, i.e. "Humanae Vitae", but, as in that case, Pope Paul's warnings have become fact with respect for life relegated to the trash heap. As Christians, we must always and in every case regard disrespect for life in any stage to be sinful, even to Anathema.

In the Gospel passage, Jesus, affirms His Divinity to the Pharisees. He, the Son of Man, is the Lord of the sabbath. While they were scrupulous in keeping the Law and the traditions, to the letter, leaving no room for compassion, He told them not to be so strident as human suffering (hunger) is to be satisfied before tradition and the Law!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Friday Sept. 4, 2009

Friday September 4, 2009 of the 22nd week in ordinary time
Readings: Colossians 1: 15-20 Psalm 100:1-5 Luke 5: 33-39
Psalm response: " Come with joy into the present of the Lord:"

We may wonder, "Why would God, take the body of any of His creation, come into our existence, live a normal youth and then put himself in jeopardy, be manhandled and crucified?"
As strange as it might seem and so far from our thinking, we might rightfully deem Him weird!
However, He created us with free will, so His first creation lost the perfection He had deigned for them and sinned against Him. We were lost with no champion to rescue us. He loved us so much, He wanted to have us regain the perfection. The only way it could have been done was the way He did it. He became the second perfect man, remained perfect, to allow us by His direction and Church to become perfect whenever our troubled humanity wavered from His desire for us.
His first choice, the Jewish nation only abided in His way when it suited them. He came to earth as a baby, grew into manhood for the express purpose of being the method of our salvation by the forgiveness of our sins.
When He established His Church, He had selected a bunch of country bumpkins, innocent men who would learn and bring His message, first to the Hebrew people. Failing in their task, they were then instructed to take His teaching as He had presented it to them to the rest of the world. We are the recipients of His way through the Catholic Church unwavering in its presentation and presenting His Faith truthfully and fully.

That is why the Psalmist urges us to praise and adore Him always. He has the option to keep us under His control but He allows us to falter while at the same time pouring out His grace to allow us to return to Him. As He told the Apostles. He and they were to offer forgiveness, not 7 times but 70 x 7. In other words infinitely.

The Gospel of Luke tells the same story as Matthew and mark but with different emphasis. Using the metaphor of a wedding progression, Jesus advises the Scribes and the Pharisees they wouldn't break the tradition of celebrating while the bridegroom(Himself) was still with them.
In other words, there will be plenty of occasions when they will exercise their practice of fasting and praying when He is no longer with them.
We are the inheritors of the tradition; whereby, daily we can celebrate His unbloody sacrifice in the Eucharistic tradition.
Be like Him. Do His Father's will!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Thursday 9-3-09

Thursday September 3, 2009 of the 22nd week of ordinary time
The feast of St Gregory the Great
Readings: Colossians 1: 9-14 Psalm 98: Luke 5: 1-11
Psalm response: " The Lord makes known His salvation"

Verses 9-12, in the New American translation of Paul's letter to the Colossians is one long sentence!
In it Paul breathlessly relates his love for the Colossian community and his constant prayer on their behalf.
His mandate to them was for their strength to persevere and imitate him by thanking God for His welcoming them into the community of Christ through the forgiveness of sin , the evidence of their salvation.

Although the Psalmist related the message to the children of Israel, we, as the adopted children of God can be assured of His love when we do His Will in all things.

God, at times uses ordinary, every day events to convince us of His love and His expectations for us. In using Simon's boat to preach His word to skeptical people to His way, He has Peter, James and John, fishing partners, who had fished all day to no avail to make another attempt to get a catch.
He obviously wasn't a fisherman but His words were so convincing, they reluctantly lowered their nets to assuage Him. The result was a massive catch.
Each in his turn paid Christ homage. Jesus then commissioned them to be fishers of men.
How often have we thought our example and exhortation of our Faith would be useless in our indifferent world?
Who knows our random act of kindness and compassion, might be what's needed to save a soul from sinking into the morass of our sinful society, into the safe harbor of our Faith!


Sorry folks! The reflection I blogged for Tuesday September 1, was actually for Wednesday September 2. So, today my reflection will be for Tuesday Sept 1, 2009

Tuesday September 1, 2009 of the 22ND week of ordinary time
Readings 1Thessalonians 5: 1-6, 9-11 Psalm 27 Luke 4: 31-37
psalm Response: " I believe i shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living".

Paul had just written to them of the end times. In his previous letter, Paul inferred the end was immanent.
Today's passage encourages them not to expect god soon, but to always be prepared. For, no one has any idea of the day or the hour, so, it's best to always be prepared, sinless.
By doing what is taught by Paul, they will be ready, whenever,in God's time,the end comes.
In our day, there are only a few who predict, with certainty, the end of the world. They've all been wrong so far!They usually don't ask their adherents to confess their sins and repent. Their clarion call is to be "saved" insinuating when it comes they'll be caught up into the air.
DON'T BUY IT! It is not by Faith alone!
In the Gospels Jesus is recorded as preferring DOING stuff for others. Feeding, clothing, housing, praying for others are His ways of being prepared!
( Matthew 5: 1-12; 17-19; 7:12;21-27; 25: 31-46)

The psalmist realizes the importance of worship and praise of God. Not that He needs it but because we have need of it. The ancients didn't have TV, Movies or other diversions so they studied His word. We don't spend much of our time on the most important of our obligations. God urges our commitment in His direction.

Luke's version of the exorcism of the demon in Jesus' hometown, emphasizes His authoritarian way of excising. Even the demons are His creation so they have no alternative but to ultimately obey.
We are emphatically His creation. Our response to His call should be whole-hearted and immediate!