32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2019

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2019

32C19.    2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14.   The first and the third readings have seven; in the first, seven sons and their mother; in the third, seven husbands and one wife.  Captured by a conqueror who were hostile to customs that were sacred to the Hebrews, their conquerors were trying make the Hebrews convert to become loyal pagan citizens of the new regime.  The brothers responded, “We are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our ancestors”  “You are depriving us of this present life, but the King of the world will raise us up to live again forever.  It is for his laws that we are dying.”  They willingly suffered horribly and were put to death.  They witnessed to a faith that opened them to be strengthened by God in a way that was super human.   They were great Hebrew saints and martyrs.

Luke 20:27-38.  The Sadducees held on to the original Hebrew belief that there was no after life.  So they thought they would resoundingly destroy Jesus in his belief in an afterlife when they presented the case of the woman who was married legitimately to seven husbands one after the other.  They said, “Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be?”  Jesus answers that in the resurrection there is neither marriage nor, in effect, any other earthly relationship.  Heaven will be absolutely distinct and different from this world.  Our relationships will no longer be earthly but heavenly.  All relationships in heaven will have God as the center.  We will love one another in Christ far more than we ever loved them while we were in this world.  In the Catholic Church we have religious orders or, what is called, the consecrated life. Nuns, monks, sisters and brothers who give witness to how life will be in heaven by living heavenly life here and now, where God gives us the only reason to have relationship to one another, as God gives his love to us we have love for all others from the love he gives us.  They are consecrated to living life that is given to them out of God’s love for them and not out of or because of any natural motivation.

2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5.   Paul encourages us “that we may be delivered from perverse and wicked people, for not all have faith.  But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.” Paul continues, “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the endurance of Christ.”  Unless our faith life daily builds itself in a growing appreciation and dependence on God’s love for us then it will fall apart under the strains and stress of life in this world.

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2016

32c

11/1/16

In 2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-1 , at that time in the history of Israel, their rulers were trying to force the Jews to give up their Judaism and, instead, practice the religion of the rulers under the pain of severe torture and death.  For the seven brothers and their mother, their life was their Jewish religion and God.  Taking away their earthly life and inflicting horrifying torture were “as nothing.”  Their strength was their faith in their God who would raise them “up to live again forever.”

In Luke 20:27-38, the Sadducees, who did not believe in an afterlife, tried to confront Jesus with a problematic hypothetical situation that they felt proved that there was no afterlife.  Jesus explained to the Sadducees that life in heaven is not the same as life on earth.  There is no need for the institution of marriage in heaven.  My own thought is that we would all deeply love one another spiritually like the angels when we are in heaven.  There would be no need for a marital love through physical intimacy.  Secondly, entry into heaven comes, not through biological reproduction, but through growing spiritually by cooperating with the Holy Spirit to become saints.  (1 John 3:2-3) “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for shall see him as he is.  Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure.”.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5, Paul speaks of the encouragement we receive in our hearts and the strengthening we receive to be people of “good deed and word.”  All this is to make us capable of fending off the devil and his “perverse and wicked people”.  Daily we are on our way to our eternal home in heaven but on the way we may be tested by fire.

Life is a struggle in which we will always be victorious as long as we walk with the Lord in the battle.  (Romans 8:31b-32, 37)“If God is for us, who can be against us? He did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, will he not also give us everything else along with him?  No, in all these things, we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us.”

 

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time – Oct. 30, 2022

31C22.   Wisdom 11:22-12-2.    “But you have mercy on all” “and you overlook people’s sins that they may repent.”  “But you spare all things, because they are yours, O Lord and lover of souls.” “Therefore you rebuke offenders little by little, warn them and remind them of the sins they are committing, that they may abandon their wickedness and believe in you, O Lord!” God is our loving Father!  We will not be lost as long as we choose to be his devoted, obedient children.

Luke 19:1-10.   Zacchaeus “was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man.”  It is obvious from his readiness to follow Jesus that Zacchaeus had come to realize that he needed something that his wealth had failed to give him.  When Jesus invited himself to stay at Zacchaeus’ house, Zacchaeus open the door that made Jesus his new life.  Jesus was offering Zacchaeus salvation and Zacchaeus readily accepted it.  “For the son of man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”  It has often been said that we are sinners who are becoming saints.  We daily ought to accept the cross of dying to living our own life and instead to having Christ as our life.

2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2.  “Brothers and sisters: We always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose and every effort of faith.”  To accept salvation from Christ is to open ourselves to the salvific action of Christ in our daily lives rather than trying to go it on our own.

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2019

31C19.    Wisdom 11:22-12:2.    Realize how infinitely awesome is our God. Our reading says, “Before the Lord the whole universe is as a grain from a balance.”  One might expect anyone that almighty, would be scornful to those so lowly before him, but NO!!  Our reading says of him:  “For you love all things that are and loathe nothing that you have made.” And going on it says: “Therefore you rebuke offenders little by little.”  And yet further on it says, “that they may abandon their wickedness and believe in you, O Lord!”  Just as he is infinitely almighty; so too he is infinitely all-loving.  He made us so that he may share his love with us for all eternity.  However, he can only share his love with those of us who have shown that we value his love for us to the point that we love him in return.  Our life is the opportunity given to us to do just that: to grow spiritually, despite our material nature to value his love for us each day more and more and to become love as our God is love so that we love him in return each day for all of eternity.

Luke 19:1-10.   Because Zacchaeus was a tax collector who took money from the Jews to give to the pagan Romans, he was expelled from the temple and considered a terrible sinner.  For the Jews, only the Jews had the right to rule Israel because it had been given to them by God.  The Romans were considered to be an alien unacceptable obnoxious force, who, not only had taken from them the land God gave them but also were taking the money that belonged to God’s Chosen People.

In Luke 16:19-31 we read of the rich man who was burning for eternity in his earthly rotten wealth.  In Luke 18:18-23,  Jesus said to the rich man: “Sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. And when he had heard this he became quite sad, for he was very rich.”  How is it that Zacchaeus saw the poverty of his riches that cut him off from God yet the other rich men we read about were blinded by their wealth?  I personally believe that the Holy Spirit is to be understood as having been at work in the lives of all the rich men mentioned above.  However, only Zacchaeus opened himself with the Spirit’s help to see that the spiritual life that Jesus was to give to him, was infinitely superior to the material riches he had.   Salvation is ours but we must respond to the grace that enables to realize what is truly a treasure and what is not..  “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”  Growing each day to value from the depths of our being, to cherish the love that God has for us in a world that only values what is material is a daunting, but inviting challenge.

 

2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2.   Paul speaks to those chosen by God to spread the faith, empowered by God’s grace to make him known and glorified.  He asks the disciples to remain faithful to the truth that they had been taught, despite the fact that the devil was working diligently to mislead and confuse them.  The world we live in tries to envelope us into its ways of thinking and feeling.  Without accepting God’s help, we will succumb and rot for eternity.

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2016

31c                                                     10/26/16

Wisdom 11:22 – 12:2

The awesomeness of God – “Before the Lord the whole universe is a grain from a balance or a drop of morning dew…”

As the Creator – “you love all things that are and loathe nothing that you have made;”

In creating us you put something of yourself in us – “O Lord and lover of souls, for your imperishable spirit is in all things!

You are a gentle loving Father – “Therefore you rebuke offenders little by little, warn them and remind them of the sins they are committing, that they may abandon their wickedness and believe in you, O lord!”

 

Luke 19: 1 –10

Zacchaeus, it would appear, got much of his wealth through extortion by charging much more for taxes than he rightly should have and collecting the excessive overage for himself.  He “was seeking to see who Jesus was.”  Why?  Perhaps because, though wealthy, he was not happy, despite his wealth.  Jesus perceives that Zacchaeus is ready to have him enter into his life, saying to him, “for today I must stay at your house.”  Zachaeus was ready as he “received him with joy.”

The crowd grumbled, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”

In that part of the world, the culture is that the dirt of the sinner soils those who are near him, but Jesus is the one who can wash away the dirt of sin and make sinless/holy.  Zacchaeus is washed clean by presence of Jesus, whom Zacchaeus has not only received into his house but also into his heart.  “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.”  Jesus responds, “Today salvation has come to this house…”  For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”  Zacchaeus was open to the work of the Spirit so that he recognized his sinfulness and sought salvation.  He opened the door to Jesus when he knocked.

 

2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2

“that our God may make you worthy of his calling and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose and every effort of faith”.  It is by God’s action that every good thing is done; however, he requires of us that we cooperate with his grace.  When we do work with him, according to his Will, Jesus is glorified in us and we in him.

 

  1. B.: disregard anything or anyone who declares they know the day of the coming of our Lord.

 

 

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time – October 23, 2022

30C22.    Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18.   The Lord is “not unduly partial toward the weak,” the oppressed, the orphan, the widow, “the one who serves God,” and the lowly.  Nevertheless, He will not delay in responding to their prayer.

Luke 18:9-14.  The Lord makes a point in this parable of dealing with those who “were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else.”  The Pharisee “took up his position” in a both physical and spiritual sense and thanked God that he made himself better than “the rest of humanity” by his observance of the Law or Torah.  In Luke 6:36-37ab, Jesus said, “Be merciful, just as [also] your Father is merciful.  Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.” It belongs to God alone to the Judge.  We are made righteous or justified by the grace of God and our cooperation with that grace, not by the force of own actions alone without God, because we know the rules and follow them.  Secondly, we must live and breathe in union with our God who is loving and merciful.  Thoughts and feelings of being superior to others only serves to rob us of the prayers we ought to be making instead that all live in the grace of God.

2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18.  “Beloved: I am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand.”  Paul feels totally drained of life.  He feels that he has given everything he has and that there is nothing left.  “From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance.” Paul is so much ‘at home’ with God his loving Father that he feels totally confident in God’s closeness to him that he Paul will be in heaven along with the many others who are like him.  Paul remembers that when he was alone in dire circumstances, the Lord stood by him.   So Paul writes, “I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.  The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and will bring me safe to his heavenly kingdom.  To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.”    There is a time for fear when we realize we have been going along without God.  There is a time for confidence when we know that we have been living in union with our loving God.

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2019

30C19.   Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18.   “God hears the cry of the oppressed,” the orphan, the widow, the lowly and of those who serve him. Those who feel a need for God and who recognize that only God can give them what they need and desires to help those call upon him in their need, he will judge as being just and right.

Luke 18:9-14.   The Pharisee implies that he is better than the rest of humanity because he, and he himself only, makes himself better than the rest of humanity.   He knows what to do and gets the job done on his own without the help of anyone, not even God.  The tax collector, on the other hand, recognizes he needs God because without God he falls short of what God wants him to do and be; and so, he has become a sinner.  Jesus finishes this parable saying, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”  Humility requires of us to recognize that only with God’s help can we become holy and just.  Only with God actively working for us in our lives can we reach heaven.  Those who delude themselves in thinking that they can reach heaven without God will end up in hell.

2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18.   Paul is confident that he will go to heaven because he knows that day after day he did God’s will and worked with the strength that God had given him to promote the belief that Jesus is the Savior of the world.  He especially recognized the strength of the presence of God when he was being threatened with death for his preaching.  Paul finishes by writing: “The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and will bring me safe to his heavenly kingdom.  To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

 

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2016

30c 10/23/2016

In the first reading(Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18) the author states that Yahweh is not unduly partial toward the weak, yet he does hear the oppressed, the orphan, the widow, the lowly, always affirming what is right.  In other words, those who are powerful because they have earthly resources can depend and use what they have at their fingertips, but those who are without earthly resources have God to call upon to enable them to obtain what is just and right.

The gospel reading this Sunday (Lk 18:9-14) starts: “Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else.”  The Pharisee starts off by thanking God that he is so much better than ‘the rest of humanity’.  However, it is not recognize what God does that makes him so much better but what he does: “I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.”  The tax collector, however, has much to be sorrowful for but he puts himself in the hands of God’s mercy and power.  When God does it, it is truly done.  When we think we do it without God, it is a mirage.  If we please ourselves and not God, we are lost.  If we please God, no matter what others think, we have truly accomplished something.

In the second reading (2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18), Paul sees himself as having been poured out like a cup of sacrifice and now he is empty.  He sees the Lord as ready to award him, and all who have lived longing for his appearance, “the crown of righteousness.”  Then Paul goes on to relate how “the Lord stood by me and gave me strength.” “And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.” (2 Timothy 4:14 – Paul relates that Alexander the coppersmith had done Paul great harm.  Paul in insinuates that he had to defend himself against Alexander.)  “The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and will bring me safe to his heavenly kingdom.  To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.”  Paul proclaims his absolute dependence on God.  It is to God’s glory that we are saved, we are made holy, we are rescued from the evils of this world, from our own self-righteous inclinations.

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Oct. 16, 2022

29C22.     Exodus 17:8-13.   “As long as Moses kept his hands raised up, Israel had the better of the fight.”  As long as we continue in prayer dependent upon the Lord, the end result will always be success, as God measures success.  “Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other.”  We join together and, as the People of God, we pray putting our faith in the Lord our God.

Luke 18:9-14.  “Two people went to the temple to pray.”  The Pharisee “spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity.’”  He goes on so to say that he himself has made himself good.  In other words, he is his own God who has made himself good without God.  He prides himself on what he has accomplished without God.  The tax collector, on the other hand, throws himself on the mercy of God, acknowledging that he has not been able to make himself good.  The Pharisee is not justified in the eyes of God but the tax collector is.  If we try to be our own savior without God, we are lost.  If we allow God to be truly the God of our lives, we are saved by the God in whom we live.

2 Timothy 3:14-4:2.   Be immersed in the sacred Scriptures “so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”  The sacred Scriptures “are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”  Through the Bible the invisible God makes himself very much present to us so that we come to appreciate God, as a living person, vibrant and active in our lives.

 

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2019

29C19.   Exodus 17:8-13.  The Israelites were battling the Amalekites to the death.  “As long as Moses kept his hands raised up, Israel had the better of the fight, but when he let his hands rest, Amalek had the better of the fight.  Aaron and Hur helped Moses keep hands up until Joshua, commander of the Israelite forces, mowed down Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.”  The “Lord, who made heaven and earth,” helped his people to victory because Moses appealed to him persistently with raised hands.

Luke 18:1-8.  ”Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.”  He then tells of a widow who keeps bothering the unjust judge persistently without any sign of giving up until she got a fair decision against her adversary.  Widows were considered powerless without a male to protect them but this widow put her faith in God without any earthly being to help her.  In Luke 11:10 Jesus says: “For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”  People of faith entrust themselves into the hands of God, our Father, as do babies into the hands of their parents.  1 John 5:14 reads, “And we have confidence in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” Our journey through life on the way to heaven is filled with joys and troubles.  Trusting in the Lord through it all requires, demands, makes it absolutely necessary to live each moment with the Lord as the strength that will enable us to remain faithful till our final moment here.  Jesus ends this reading with a question that deals with our discouraging earthly frailty: “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”  I think that Jesus answers his own question in John 17:12: “When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled.”  This Sunday’s psalm 121 reads: “The Lord is your guardian;” and further on: “The Lord will guard you from all evil; he will guard your life.”  He never sleeps; he is always vigilant.  Jesus says in John 16:33 to assure us:  “I have told you this so that you might have peace in me.  In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.”

2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18.  As with any journey we must know where we are going and how to get there.  As we go through life, we need to take advantage of every opportunity to learn the “wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”  The Holy Spirit is forever active in guiding us by using Scripture and the wisdom (mind) and courage (heart) given to us through others who become part of our lives through the years.  The Holy Spirit is “our help from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” He uses some of the things of this earth (as in the pages of the Scripture) and the people (whom he sends us on this earth) as the earthly means to help us for our spiritual benefit.  We must be ever mindful that life has been given us as a one-time opportunity to reach eternal happiness.  If we are mindless and careless, we risk eternal hell.