Archives for the month of: September, 2017

In the Gospel for the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jesus tells the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard.  “When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’  When those who had started about five o’clock came, each received the usual daily wage.  So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage” (Matthew 20: 8-10).    I sympathize with the grumblers who worked all day and got the same pay.  I think God owes me for being a good Catholic all my life.  Why should God have mercy on those who are less faithful?  This reversal of fortunes parable illustrates God’s generosity especially to the needy.  God provides me and everyone what we need.  How has God been generous to you in your time of need?  How have you been generous to others in need?

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In the Gospel for the Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jesus teaches his disciples about forgiveness.  “Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive?  As many as seven times?’  Jesus answered, ‘I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times’ ” (Matthew 18: 21-22).   Feeling pretty generous, Peter suggests forgiving others four more times than the current religious practice.  Jesus tells him to be as generous in forgiveness as God is generous.  Then Jesus tells the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant.  His master forgave him a huge debt.  He refused to forgive his servant a smaller debt.  Jesus makes it pretty clear that forgiveness is an essential part of the Christian life.  Forgiveness of ourselves and others acknowledges our dependence on God, deepens our compassion for ourselves and others when we respond in an unloving way to life’s struggles, and empowers us to try to love again.  How generous are you with your forgiveness?  How has God helped you to forgive?

In the Gospel for the Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time,  Jesus advises his disciples about making decisions.  “Amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18: 19-20).   After months considering all the pros and cons, consulting with mentors and friends, praying for wisdom, and checking my heart,  I decided to propose to my wife.  Ultimately I trusted in God present in our agreement of love.  When you made a major decision, how was God present to you in other people?

 

In the Gospel for the Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jesus tells his disciples there is great suffering ahead for him.  Peter tells Jesus he is talking nonsense.  Jesus replies.  “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16: 24-25).  Self denial is submission to God’s will.  Following the example of Jesus means giving of oneself – one’s life – for others.  Doing what God wants often means forgoing what we want.  Sleeping parents wake up in the middle of the night to feed their infant child.  A senior citizen on a fixed income shopping at a discount store makes a donation to Red Cross hurricane relief.  How do you deny yourself – do God’s will – for others?