Every parent with more than one child has had the experience of turning to one of the children and saying, “Go get your brother for dinner”; and the child, without taking a step, turns and yells, “Tommy! Dinnertime!” And every parent always says the same thing: “Well, I could have done that!”
Today we celebrate the conclusion of another liturgical year. We have systematically celebrated the gift of God’s self-giving love to us humans, restoring us to a state wherein we can achieve the original Divine design for us … participation in God’s life of love.
The Gospel today has a play on words in English. A talent in Jesus’ time was a unit of coin of a large amount. A talent for us in English is of course the special gifts that God gives to each one of us.
The readings today provide an antonym between the Gospel’s message of rejoicing and the Second Reading’s message about grieving. Both are part of life and can be very close to each other. Today I may attend a solemn profession, tomorrow a funeral.
A quick glance at today’s first reading and gospel could lead us to declare this Sunday: Clergy Depreciation Day.
These readings offer profiles of ministry. Not all of these profiles are for our imitation, as you probably noticed. They are more a listing of what not to do, how not to act.
After silencing the disingenuous questions of the Sadducees, Jesus addresses the Pharisees whose question about the law was equally insincere. Although it is not expressed here, the follow-up of his response about loving God and neighbor is a warning to his hearers not to follow the example of the religious leaders, but to listen to the spirit of the law...
Flattery is excessive praise, usually employed to lower someone’s guard and make him vulnerable to being used or attacked. In today’s Gospel, Jesus is being set-up by a hostile group who hope to trap him in a maze of conflicting allegiances.
The reign of God is not so much about the menu as it about the guest list. Who can argue with the menu of juicy, rich foods and pure, choice wines? The first reading from the prophet Isaiah is a description of God’s great dream and hope...
Some years back, I had a conversation with a friend of mine, Ed, about the joys and struggles of fatherhood. He has seven children, and thus a great deal of experience and wisdom. So when I have questions about raising children–or if I am simply looking for a homily idea–Ed is often a good source.
This parable may sound as if it described an imaginary situation, but that is far from the case. Apart from the terms of payment, the parable describes the kind of thing that frequently happened in Palestine, when the grape harvest ripened towards the end of September, and close on its heels the rains came. Any worker was welcome...
Who hasn’t become acutely aware lately how angry, aggressive and abusive our interactions have become? This is not a sudden occurrence, as some would have it, that began only with the most recent presidential election cycle. It has been moving in this ugly direction for quite some time. Who doesn’t get angry sometimes?
New York Story: A Second Chance - Many years ago, during my first assignment at St. Nicholas of Tolentine parish in Queens, New York, I served on a clergy panel for a program called second chance. The second chance program was established by the Queens County district attorney’s office.
Almost daily we receive solicitations in the press and social media “to get behind” some movement or cause, asking us to sign a petition or to volunteer to further a work of justice, peace, and charity. In today’s gospel we hear Jesus rather sharply say to his friend Peter to “get behind” him but in a very different sense.
Jesus was a teacher who taught many types of people in many different ways. Today he teaches by asking questions. He is with his disciples and asks them the question, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
A Japanese parishioner of mine went on a tour of the Holy Land. His pilgrimage took him to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, where he was gazing with admiration at the people praying there so devoutly. Overcoming his shyness, my friend approached a man and asked politely if he came here often to pray before the holy stones. “I sure do,” replied the man.
It happened 30 years ago, but it seems like yesterday. I was visiting my family in the States after a 5-year stint in Japan. But now the holiday was over, tomorrow I would be returning to Nagasaki. We were having a farewell party with parents, brother and sister, and ten little nephews and nieces running about the house.
Great things can happen on mountain tops. And great things can happen on the plains below as well. Today’s gospel has great things happening in both places.
First, the mountain top. In a totally unexpected gesture, Jesus gives a brief glimpse of his full person to three of his disciples, Peter, James and John.
One of the most extraordinary experiences of being a prayerful Christian is our engagement with the Holy Scriptures. Each of us has had that moment, whether sitting in church during a Sunday liturgy or weekday mass or praying with our personal Bibles, where the Scripture speaks a word to the very heart of our personal concerns.
The word of God is like a seed that falls on good ground that will yield a fruitful harvest. By using the imagery of a farmer whose seed falls on good and bad soil, Jesus offers us a meditation that can help us examine our consciences to see and understand what might be the condition of our receptivity to God’s word growing within us.
I try to listen intently whenever I listen to the Gospel being proclaimed. But whenever I hear the Carpenter of Nazareth telling a story about building a house on rock or making farm tools out of wood, my ears always perk up.