20 November 2017 Monday Thirty Third Week Ordinary Time Year 1 Homily

20 November 2017 Monday Thirty Third Week Ordinary Time Year 1 Homily

Maccabees 1:10-15, 41-43, 54-57, 62-63

Psalm 119

Luke 18:35-43

We are treated to a fascinating if general resumen of some of the many complicated political struggles of the Judean people.

Israel is situated in a geographically accessible and therefore vulnerable place.

Invading armies on the way to conquering powerful rivals often found Israel a convenient place to set up a puppet government and therefore control Judean culture, politics and, as we here today, issue decrees about religion that included the “death penalty” for those who did not obey them.

“Covering the mark of the circumcision” was a way to renounce one’s Judean religious heritage.  Young people were encouraged to join clubs and engage in games and sports that required nudity.  The mark of the circumcision needed to be covered in conformity to the Greek occupying government’s requirements.  

As an interesting parallel,  Pope Benedict was a member of the Nazi  Youth Movement during World War Two in Germany. His father was a policeman and loyalty to Hitler was most probably advised if not required.

The “ horrible abomination” was the setting up, by the Greeks, of the “King’s Standard” on the altar of sacrifice in the Temple.

The serial persecution of the Judeans is not “fake” news but is historically verified over their long and tragic history.

 

Today in the Gospel Jesús cures a man who begs by the side of the road.

The man is clear about what he needs when asked by Jesús: “What do you what me to do for you?”  That is a really telling question if we consider the person whom we want to help may want a say in what “we” think they want or need.

The man asks “Jesús,Son of David have mercy on me?”

The blind man sees that Jesús is the one who is to come from the line of David, thus fulfilling Luke’s teaching that Jesús fulfills the prophetic promise.

Are we able to see, be compassionate, respond to God’s visiting his people in Jesús the Christ?

Can our blindness be healed?

Are we too be able to follow Jesús giving glory and praise to God?

 

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18 and 19 November 2017 Thirty Third Sunday Ordinary A Homily

18 and 19 November 2017 Thirty Third Sunday Ordinary A Homily

 

Proverbs 31: 10-31

Psalm 128

First Thessalonians 5:1-6

Matthew 25:14-30

My sisters and brothers in Christ.

Saint Paul, in the  Second Reading continues to address the issue of  “times and seasons” with the community of Thessalonica.

People have always wondered about when “the end” would come.

For the first generation of  Christians this was a very perplexing subject.  The Thessalonians believed the Christ would return before they “fell asleep” (died).

It was  a very disconcerting fact that “the end” was not arriving on schedule. Astrologers, philosophers, “seers”, “wise men”, magicians and prophets of various stripes and pedigrees stepped into the marketplace of “assurances” about divining and reading the  “times” and “seasons” so that people could prepare for “the end” on a certain day or during a certain “season.”

Paul gives us several metaphors or quasi parables about the “day of the Lord.”

First, people may say “peace and security”  but the day of the Lord, Paul says, is like “labor pains (coming) upon a pregnant woman.”

Secondly, “the day of the Lord” will “overtake us like a thief.”

Third, we are like “children of the light and children of the day.”

We are not committed to darkness or night.

Fourth,we are especially gifted and thus must remain “alert and sober.”

Paul notes we are not “like the rest” who live in darkness and the night.

 

The Gospel tells us the story of a man going on a journey.

The man entrusts his possessions to three servants.

The man gives different amounts of the money (talents) he possesses to the servants.  

There is no information given at the outset of the story as to

why the man is going on a journey or

w

here he is going or

how long he will be gone or

even what he expects of the servants when he returns.

 

Given Paul’s description of the unknown time of the “day of the Lord”,

our  “being children of the light”,

our need to be “sober and watchful”

we might surmise that the Master expects the servants to use the opportunity, given them,

in a joyful optimistic way.

The man (master) returns “after a long time.”

The man summons the servants and asks for an accounting.

The first two servants have “doubled” the master’s money and the master gives them

“great responsibilities” and invites them to share the “master’s joy.”

 

The third servant comes with excuses and fear.

The character of the master is revealed at this moment. The master is a “demanding

person” and takes away what little the third servant has.

The third servant has not made use of the opportunity the master gave him.

The third servant is paralyzed by his fear and is unable to respond to the master’s trust or enter the “master’s joy.”

The third servant is very much like the “five foolish virgins” in the parable last Sunday.

There are two types of servants in this parable.  The first two servants are resourceful, joyful, and ready to trust in their master’s kindness.

The third servant could hardly be joyful since he lives in fear of the master and does not see or trust the master or himself enough to enter into  the master’s joy and generosity.

Responding to the kingdom, requires attention, alertness, resourcefulness and faith in the goodness of the master even when he seems to have gone away forever.

We are invited today to be children of the light and children of the day.

We are to put away the ways of darkness and the night.

We are to greet the master when he returns and enter into his joy.

 

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15 November 2017 Wednesday Thirty Second Week Ordinary Time Year 1 Homily

15 November 2017 Wednesday Thirty Second Week Ordinary Time Year 1 Homily

Wisdom 6:1-11

Psalm 82

Luke 17:11-19

“Desire therefore my word;

Long for them and you shall be instructed.”

The Book of Wisdom directs these words to the kings.  Kings know about authority and they sometimes make power and control of others into an idolatrous exercise.

Kings and other leaders can become delusional about what is “owed” them by those whom they lead.  

The Book of Wisdom counsels humility for the Princes and “learning” wisdom.

 

Luke cannot contain Jesús the Master in the confines of Judea.  He travels, according to Luke,  from one backwater, Galilee to Samaria. Samaria was practically enemy  territory.

Jesús however must go to “foreign” places and crash through cultural, linguistic and the usual “barriers” in his need to proclaim the Kingdom.

Foreigners, non Judeans are cured and give thanks to God.

We stand up after being fed, forgiven and healed on our pilgrimage to the Kingdom.

 

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14 November 2017 Tuesday Thirty Second Week Ordinary Time Year 1 Homily

14 November 2017 Tuesday Thirty Second Week Ordinary Time Year 1 Homily

Wisdom 2:23-3:9

Psalm 34

Luke 17:7-10

 

The belief in individual afterlife came late to Judaism. The Book of Wisdom is one of the sources for this belief.

Jesús sided with the Pharisees in their struggle with the Sadducees since the Sadducees had a more traditional approach to the afterlife.  The Sadducees believed  that there was no individual afterlife or resurrection.

 

Today, in the Gospel, Jesús lays out the special nature of the call to discipleship.

Jesús teaches that the disciple is a person who is grateful for the opportunity to follow the way of Jesús.

The disciple understands following Jesús means we are servants to the point of being “slaves” in total service to the needs and demands of the Kingdom.

We may find the work of the Kingdom is challenging, even daunting but we understand carrying the cross, dying to self, putting others first is the path of Jesús.

Jesús did what the Father asked.

Can we do any less?

 

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11 and 12 November 2017 Thirty Second Sunday Ordinary Time A Homily

11 and 12 November 2017 Thirty Second Sunday Ordinary Time A Homily

 

Wisdom 6:12-16

Psalm 63

First Thessalonians 4:13-18

Matthew 25:1-13

 

My sisters and brothers in Christ.

Jesús talks about a wedding feast in the Gospel today.

Wedding feasts at the time of Jesús were not “quickie” ceremonies that were judged on the basis of how little time they took from “Here comes the Bride” to “There goes the couple.”

We might think of the “ten virgins” as the “ten bridesmaids” but they actually were the young and unmarried sisters and cousins of the bridegroom.

Their task was to go to the bride’s house and await the arrival of their relative the “bridegroom” so they could accompany him back to the bridegroom’s father’s home where the couple would live after they were married.

If the bridegroom was a man of means and had his own home the “bridal party’s destination would be the bridegroom’s own home where his family would receive the couple, the bride and bridegroom as well at the bride’s family.

I would like to share a cultural and personal note on these customs.  A similar set of customs is practiced in the Indigenous Tzutuhil Mayan people in Santiago Atitlan Guatemala where I served for a time.

As today’s story develops the “ten young girls” might have fallen asleep because negotiating the “bride price” or dowry might take as long as a couple of days to be agreed upon.  The negotiations, like the match making were not done by the couple to be married but by their parents and other trusted and/or bossy family members.

The wedding feast was also an extended affair. It often could a take week or even more time to properly celebrate the couple’s marriage.

The five wise young girls and the five foolish young girls differed in the fact that the “wise” young girls made “preparation” for the wedding feast.

The five “foolish” young girls went “along for the ride” and may well have been participating out of “duty”, “guilt” or “obligation.”  

These “good time” lassies may well have looked for or been open to a better offer if it had come along before they fell asleep.

The “unthinking” as in foolish girls when they awoke “expected” to be “taken care of” by their more thoughtful companions.

The “foolish” young girls may have felt “entitled” to a share of the oil that their sisters and cousins had decided to bring to the vigil. No one, including the bridegroom, knew when the bridegroom might come.  The bridegroom hopefully would come sometime before dawn.

The “wise” young girls were practical in their response to their “foolish”, unthinking, “advantage taking” sisters and cousins.

When asked to “share” the thoughtful companions  wisely suggested that their unthinking relatives go, in the middle of the night, to buy their own oil.  

This may well have been a fool’s errand since there was probably not a 7-11 down at the corner that was open 24-7 to address the needs of the “foolish” young girls.

We might ask, “Why the bridegroom is so mean or rude to his own family by refusing to ope the door?”

The bridegroom is cut of the same cloth as the “wise” young girls.

The foolish, “entitled” girls petition saying;

“Lord, Lord, open the door for us!”

But the bridegroom said in reply.

“Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.”

The bridegroom is addressed as “Lord” because he symbolizes, as does this whole parable, Jesús the Christ whose wedding feast celebrates God’s love incarnate in Jesús the Christ.

Jesús the Christ is “wedded” to us.

We are the “cherished, honored, profoundly and eternally “loved one” of the bridegroom Jesús the Christ.

The foolish, “entitled” girls say:

“Lord, Lord, open the door for us!”

One reason the “foolish” young girls are not let in is that they, like the man who came to a feast without the proper festal  garment,  do not “know” or “get” what this feast is about.

They are invited but are incapable of understanding or comprehending who it is that invites them and what it is that is being offered and celebrated.

Jesus does not expect or accept lazy, halfhearted, foolish and distracted participation in the business of the coming of his Father’s kingdom.

Today’s Gospel ends with a simple sage piece of advice:”

Therefore, stay awake,

for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

 

“Estén pues, preparados,

porque no saben ni el día ni la hora”.

 

 

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8 November 2017 Wednesday Thirty First Week Ordinary Time Year 1 Homily

8 November 2017 Wednesday  Thirty First Week Ordinary Time Year 1 Homily

Romans 13:8-10

Psalm 112

Luke 14:25-33

 

“The one who loves another has fulfilled the law….”

Paul presumes love of God in saying loving our neighbor fulfills the law.

In fact Paul and Jesús  do not think we have the wherewith

all to love our neighbor if we first do not love God.

 

Jesús does not sugar coat the costliness of responding to the coming of the God’s kingdom into our hearts and lives.

How can Jesús say you must “hate..father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life….to be my disciple”?

Jesus uses two images or metaphors or parables to say what it is like to be his disciple.

It takes wisdom and courage.

Builders and generals need to make calculations about their human and material resources.

Jesús is not interested in distracted, half hearted or incompetent efforts.

It takes courage and wisdom and freedom and faith to be dispossessed of family and things.

The qualities are necessary for anyone who dares to be a disciple of Jesús.

 

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7 November 2017 Tuesday Thirty First Week Ordinary Time Year 1 Homily

7 November 2017 Tuesday Thirty First Week Ordinary Time Year 1 Homily

Romans 12:4-16

Psalm 131

Luke 14:15-24

Paul’s message today  opens with some shocking observations.

First: “We though many are one Body in Christ…”

Second: ”and individually parts of one another.”

This means we are responsible for and to each other.

How can I possibly be a part of you and therefore be responsible for you and how can you be a part of me and responsible to and for me?

The first clue comes from the opening three words of this reading;

“Brothers and sisters….” Paul begins his letters with similar words.

Paul was a person of his own time and culture so in a patriarchal society the “males” precede the “females in common word order usage.

Our sisterhood and brotherhood, our shared “spiritual sibling-hood” we might say, Is not by our choice but by God’s call and God’s decision.

The “parts” are to work together.  How is this possible?

Paul says  very simply: “Let love be sincere.”  He is not talking about romantic love, or “liking”, love at first sight or infatuation.

Paul is talking about love without conditions, without asking why, without expectations of great return.

Paul is speaking about “self emptying” love which is the kind of love Christ has for us.

Self emptying love is love that invites to dinner those who cannot repay us.

 

Jesús spoke yesterday about “dining”.

Someone “dining with Jesús” today speaks about those “who will dine in the Kingdom of God”.

Jesús would like it to be clear that the invitation in the end goes out to the least likely candidates because “none of those who were invited will taste my dinner.”

Other concerns and priorities must not become more important than our participation at the table with the one who gives us the bread of life.

 

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6 November 2017 Monday Thirty First Week Ordinary Time Year 1 Homily

6 November 2017 Monday Thirty First Week Ordinary Time Year 1 Homily

31 Romans 11:29-36

Psalm 69

Luke 14:12-14

 

Paul speaks about how sin and grace work in the history of salvation.

The “disobedience” of the people was the cause for them to receive the “mercy” of God.

In fact without the “disobedience of all” God could not have “mercy upon all”.

During the singing of the Exultet at the Easter Vigil this “disobedience” is referred to as “the happy fault”.

Paul recognized the “wisdom and Knowledge of God are “inscrutable” and “unsearchable”.

 

The table is a place for eating and drinking and instruction for Jesús.

The kingdom of God works in such a way as to have us look differently about how we do such basic things as eat and drink.

Jesús suggests we invite those with the inability “to repay” us in kind.

Jesús asks us to think about where all good things come from. What we have is gift.

Gifts are meant to be shared with others and not guarded for oneself.

We ask for a spirit of gratitude and generosity for this day, this meal and the gift of each other.

 

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4 and 5 November 2017 Thirtieth First Sunday Ordinary Time A Homily

 

4 and 5 November 2017 Thirty First Sunday Ordinary Time A Homily

Malachi 1:14-2:2,89

Psalm 131

First Thessalonians 2:7-9,13

Matthew 23: 1-12

 

My sisters and brothers in Christ.

 

“Cree lo que lees,

Ensena lo que crees,

Practica lo que predicas.”

 

“Believe what you read,

Teach what you believe,

Practice what you preach.”

 

This past Friday evening I spent a couple of hours in Our Lady’s Cathedral.

The occasion was the Ordination of twenty two men to the order/rank of  deacon. I was there at the invitation of Ray Butler who was in this year’s Deacon Ordination class.

Deacon Duane Fischer and I were asked to assist Ray in his first putting on of the Deacon’s vestments.

My job was to help him put his “stole” over his left shoulder draping it across his chest.

I let Ray show me which shoulder was his left one.  Duane helped Ray put on his “dalmatic” which is a long vestment that goes over the stole.

I was honored to be asked by Ray to take part in this important moment.

I take these rituals and ceremonies seriously.  

However I found it humorous that Ray was a bit taller than me and certainly taller than Deacon Duane.

I suggested to Duane and Ray that the next time Duane helped him vest Duane might use a step ladder.

 

I am often asked “Do you miss anything about Guatemala?” My standard answer is: “I really enjoyed many aspects of my time in Santiago Atitlan but the religious and Catholic culture relies a great deal on words and rituals”.  

For example, a typical Sunday afternoon mass, with processions, blessings of various groups and translations from Spanish to Tzutuhil could take two hours.  I do not miss two hour liturgies on a weekly basis

 

Friday evening I, and the Cathedral full of people, listened twenty two times as the Archbishop said to each newly ordained Deacon as he handed him the Book of the Gospels:

 

“Believe what you read,

Teach what you believe,

Practice what you preach.”

 

It seems to me that is exactly the message of today’s Scriptures.

The deacons were also instructed to

assist at the altar,

visit the sick and

have a special devotion to the poor.

 

It seems to me that is also the message of today’s Scriptures.

 

The prophet Malachi today says:

“O priests, this commandment is for you….lay it to heart…

give glory to the LORD of hosts….(or)  of your blessing I will make a curse….

There is more:

“You have turned aside from the way,

and have caused many to falter by your instruction…”

I remember Bishop Reed  saying to me in a very warm evening in August 1970 as he handed me the Book of the Gospels:

“Tomas,

Cree lo que lees,

Ensena lo que crees,

Practica lo que predicas.”

 

“Thomas,

Believe what you read.

Teach what you believe.

Practice what you preach.”

 

As Archbishop Coakley repeated these words I reflected upon how simple and practical was this instruction, invitation, encouragement or Gospel command.

 

Jesús in the Gospel today actually complements the scribes and Pharisees.  He recognizes that the scribes and Pharisees teach what Moses taught. Jesús says “to the crowds and his disciples”:

“..do and observe all things whatsoever they (the scribes and Pharisees) tell you, but do not follow their example.”

Jesús identifies the basic problem: “They (the scribes and Pharisees)  preach but do not practice.”

If we listen carefully at every Baptism we will hear these words,

“I anoint you with the Holy Chrism (oil) of salvation,

so that united with Christ’s people

you may remain for ever a member of Christ

who is Priest, Prophet, and King.”

The scribes and Pharisees the elders and chief priests, the priests at the time of Malachi loved the idea of being “king” in terms of having authority and control and telling people what to do.

The community of Matthew, when this Gospel was written, struggled  with what kind of leaders they needed to serve their community.

Each of us leads by our words, actions and attitudes.

Jesús’ has a few final words of advice to the crowds and disciples in today’s Gospel:

“The greatest among you must be your servant.

Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;

Whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

The word “Deacon” comes from the Greek word “diakonia” which means “to serve”.

May we, with our deacons, “lay to heart” the words Archbishop Coakley spoke to the Deacons he had just ordained Friday evening:

“Cree lo que lees,

Ensena lo que crees,

Practica lo que predicas.”

 

“Believe what you read,

“Teach what you believe,

“Practice what you preach.”

 

 

 

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Eucharist of Resurrection Brenda Evelyn Thompson November 3, 2017

                  Eucharist of Resurrection Brenda Evelyn Thompson   November 3, 2017

 Wisdom 3:1-9

 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Matthew 11:25-30

                                             

Family and Friends of Brenda Evelyn Thompson.

The Parish Family of Saint Patrick Parish wishes to extend to you today our support and consolation at this time of your great loss of Brenda Evelyn Thompson.

Our prayers for Brenda and for you will not only be offered up to our Lord  today.

We have a “Book of Life” that is kept on the Main Altar here in our church.

Brenda’s name was put in that book shortly after we learned of her death.

Each time we gather here to “break open “God’s sacred word” and share consecrated bread and wine we remember those who have gone before us in life and have entered, what we believe is, eternal life.

 

 

Brenda was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts and moved to Oklahoma in 1964.

Brenda treasured and dedicated herself to her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Brenda was also very involved in the community here at Saint Patrick’s.

Brenda was a regular at coffee after Sunday Mass and enjoyed visiting with other parishioners.  She also enjoyed special activities held here at the church.

Brenda enjoyed and loved everybody.  Her “family” really included neighbors and people she worked for and with.

Brenda was known as “MeMaw” by her    children     grand children  great grand children.

Brenda liked to take care of stray animals so you might say her idea of “family” extended to all of God’s creation.

Brenda also liked to read the Bible and draw. Some of her sketches included religious themes like the Cross and a drawing of Jesús.

One of the highlights of Brenda’s life was when her grandchildren and great children were born.  Brenda delighted in life and was deeply moved by the miracle of the birth of her grand children and great grandchildren.

The last two years of Brenda’s life were difficult in terms of her health.

The Book of Wisdom today tells us about “the just” being in the “hand of God”.

“Grace and mercy are with God’s holy ones and God’s care is with the elect”.

Brenda shared with us God’s grace and mercy. As one of God’s “elect”, that is God’s  “chosen ones” Brenda shares directly and eternally in God’s mercy and grace.

It is difficult for us to let go of Brenda. She was many things to many people.  Brenda was daughter, sister, grandmother, great grandmother, friend, parishioner, companion and counselor.

We take comfort and solace in the words of Jesús today:

“Come to me all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest.”

We let go of Brenda today so that she may lay down her burdens and rest.

Brenda now is free to be taken into the Lord’s warm, joyful and eternal embrace.

 

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