October 2 - TwentySeventh Sunday in Ordinary Time : Faith as a mustered seed

September 28th, 2016

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First Reading  Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4
The patience of the just man shall be rewarded when he sees the visionfulfilled.


Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 95:1-2,6-7,8-9
Sing joyfully to God, our salvation.


Second Reading  2 Timothy 1:6-8,13-14
Paul urges Timothy to remain strong in the Spirit of faith Timothy received.


Gospel Reading
Luke 17:5-10 


The power of our faith doesn't depend on its quantity but its quality;It seems to me that this is why, when the apostles said increase our faith,Jesus took them immediately out of the area of quantity, and broughtthem to the smallest seed he could think of, the mustard seed. Jesus could havesaid, for example: If your faith were the size of a grain of sand, or aspeck of dust, but the point of the comparison with the mustard seed isthat it is living; it has a living power which a grain ofsand does not. Just as a small weed can split a slab of concrete, or a mustardseed can produce a huge tree in which the birds of the air find shelter, so theliving power of faith can move mountains. The secret of the living power whichfaith has is that it is built on the living word of God. Faith, trust and deepcommitment to the wonderful things that God does through the strangeness ofhis ways, are the basis of the Christian life. Through a deep and trustingacceptance of the goodness, yet strangeness of God’s ways, revealed to usthrough the loving gift of His Son, we can make sense of our lives. We, whohave received this gift of living faith in God’s Word, have a responsibility forits growth in us, or more precisely, we have a responsibility to grow inthis gift of faith.

September 25 – Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time : Who is the Lazarus in my life?

September 21st, 2016

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First Reading  Amos 6:1,4-7
God will judge the complacency of the people and their leaders.


Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 146:7-10
Happy are those who find solace in God, the help of the poor.


Second Reading  1 Timothy 6:11-16
Paul exhorts Timothy to stay faithful to God in all things.


Gospel Reading
Luke 16:19-31


 

The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarushas left Bible readers wondering why the rich man had to go to hell. We are nottold he acquired his wealth by foul means or that he was responsible for thepoverty and misery of Lazarus or that he committed any crime or evil deed. Hewent to hell not for the things he did but for the things he didn't do. Weoften think that we sin by doing what we are not supposed to do -by thought,word and deed (i.e. the sin of commission). Today’s parable reminds us that thesin of omission can land someone in hell. The poor man Lazarus waslying at his gate. And the rich man simply couldn't care less. Of course he didnothing against Lazarus. But he has failed to do a good deed, failed to reachout and share a little of his blessings with someone in need. His sin is thatof omission, and for that he was going to roast in hell.

 

Another problem we have with this parableis why Lazarus went to heaven. This is the only parable of Jesus where thecharacter in the story has a name. So the name must be significant forinterpreting the parable. The name “Lazarus” means “God is my help.”Lazarus, therefore, is not just a poor man, but a poor man who believes andtrusts in God, which opens the gates of heaven to him.

The good news of this parable is this: Ifyou feel like a Lazarus right now, battered by sickness, poverty and pain,forgotten by society and by those whom God has blessed in this life, continuebelieving and trusting in God knowing that it will be well with your soul inthe end. If you see yourself as one of those blessed by God with the goodthings of life, open your door and see. Probably there is a Lazarus lying atyour gates and you have not taken notice.

 

These readings remind us that the law oflove (see John 15:12; Romans 13:8) means that each of us in some way will bejudged by the mercy we show to the poor. As the rich man learns in the parableof Lazarus - the distance between ourselves and God in the next life may be thedistance we put between ourselves and the poor in this life (see Matthew25:31-46; James 2:8,14-17).

September 18: Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time -The parable of the Unjust Steward

September 13th, 2016

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First Reading  Amos 8:4-7
Unfair business practices and injustice to the poor will be judged by God.


Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 113: 1-2,4-6,7-8
Praise be to God, who raises up the poor.


Second Reading
1 Timothy 2:1-8


In today’s Gospel, Jesus relates the parable of the Unjust Steward. It’s a verytricky parable. The steward was a rogue, who dishonestly reduced the quantum ofdebts of his master’s tenants, but the master praised his cleverness. Themaster praised not his dishonesty, but his foresight, prudence and astuteness.We can learn a lot of lessons for our spiritual life from the way men behaveand organize their worldly affairs. We should not adopt their goals, but we canprofitably use their methods for our spiritual well being. We should hate theirends, but we must love to adopt their methods. The children of this world maybe wise but their wisdom pertains only to this passing world. Though thisworldly wealth is not to be trusted for our happiness, it could be used assubservient to our pursuit of our happiness in the other world. Now is the onlytime we have got to make good use of our gifts, talents and possession to gainheaven. 

September 11 – Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time : Joyful Finding

September 8th, 2016

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First Reading  Exodus 32:7-11,13-14
Moses stands up to God, recalling all of God's great promises. 


Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 51:3-4,12-13,17,19
Once we are forgiven, we can hope for a new heart and a fresh start.


Second Reading  1 Timothy 1:12-17
Paul proves it's never too late to repent and serve God. 


Gospel Reading
Luke 15:1-32   


The words of the father in the story, to the sulking elder brother, are filled with the pathos of Jesus’ appeal: ‘My son, you are with me always and all I have is yours’. The‘best robe’, the ‘ring’, the ‘sandals’ and the ‘feast’, all marks of special regard, point to a mercy and generosity that have no limits. We are left to imagine the aftermath. Surely, the son’s life is transformed, as he comes, at last, to share in the love in the heart of his father. The future the Saviour promises to the world, in fact, will be a sharing in the love of his Father (cf. John 14:25 etc). The merciful, loving heart of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is the merciful, loving heart of God our heavenly Father. His mercy tirelessly seeks out each sinner and should the sinner respond there is delirious happiness and rejoicing in the whole court of heaven. To every sinner in the state of mortal sin I say as simply as I can, ‘Your sin is not the big deal you think it is; the big deal is your return to the merciful love of God. Trust in his mercy, not in your sin. And if you continue to sin, continue to trust and to return to his mercy.’

 

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