Steve’s Columns

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 20 September 2020

‘My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? (Mt 20:13-14) When we think of a generous person we often think of one who is wealthy or of sufficient means who gives often to those in need.  Therefore in religious terms when we speak of God’s generosity we recall his act of creation when he takes from his own great store of truth, beauty, and goodness to form a physical universe which has within it …

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 13 September 2020

Wrath and anger are hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tight. The vengeful will suffer the LORD’s vengeance, for he remembers their sins in detail.  (Sir 27:30 – 28:1) Vengeance in the human heart is the angry portion of justice.  Vengeance, or the infliction of punishment upon one who has done moral wrong, is not a bad thing in itself as it is certainly a part of justice.  The only thing is – vengeance belongs entirely to God (Dt 32:35). God gives the law to man to temper his desire for vengeance and because he wants man to exercise …

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 6 September 2020

Thus says the LORD: You, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel; when you hear me say anything, you shall warn them for me.  (Ez 33:7) The Church offers “vigil” Mass because of the many duties and complications the modern world has imposed upon Sunday especially the requirement of work.  Still, there was a time when the vigil was not the celebration itself, but the liturgical preparation with accompanying prayers and fasting for the celebration to follow the next day.  The vigil was once the expectation; it was not the culmination. In any case it …

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 30 August 2020

I say to myself, I will not mention him, I will speak in his name no more. But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it. (Jer 20:9) Someone I once knew faulted me for being “addicted to religion”.  This person was disturbed at how my belief in heaven colored all that I saw on earth.  Interestingly, if I had spoken all day in support of liberal progressive subjects and of nothing else, this person would have judged me to be a concerned and vital …

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time – 23 August 2020

And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. (Mt 16:18) Gates generally don’t prevail; at least they don’t in any kind of military offensive.  Armies don’t move about in great mobile enclosures with gates that open and close gobbling up their enemies like a giant Pac Man. It is true that a strong and protected gate can add to a sturdy defense and hence may “prevail” against those trying to enter.  However, it is difficult to see how “the …

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 16 August, 2020

Thus says the LORD… The foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, ministering to him, loving the name of the LORD… will be acceptable on my altar, for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. (Is 56:1, 6-7) You have probably read how the United States Representative from New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, recently denounced the statue of the missionary priest St. Damien of Molokai (which stands in the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall), as part of a “pattern” of “patriarchy” and “white [supremacy]”.    This charge has been ably addressed by many such as Dr. Paul …

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 9 August 2020

At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” (Mt 14:27-20) For the virtue of fortitude to arise in Christian hearts it must play out in two parts.  First, we ought to come to firmly believe that God is present to us.  Second, this belief should instill within us courage for acting boldly especially on God’s behalf. If you have ever been in a situation where the primary reason you were …

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2 August 2020

Thus says the LORD… Heed me, and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare. Come to me heedfully, listen, that you may have life. (1 Kg 3:5,9,10) Heedfully is not a term we use in daily conversation.  You won’t tell your children to do their homework “heedfully” although perhaps you should, since besides teaching them a new word you would be telling them to be especially attentive to their assignment. However, perhaps it is best that we don’t use this word too often in common speech.  In this way we can reserve it for Sacred Scripture and …

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 26 July 2020

God said, “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.” Solomon answered… “Give your servant… an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong…The LORD was pleased that Solomon made this request.  (1 Kg 3:5,9,10) Most of the time in our prayer, we are asking things of God.  We make petitions for ourselves and intercessions for others.  We are the ones who initiate the requests or supplications.  We may even feel at times that we are knocking at a closed door behind which is an empty room.  We do not consider often enough …

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 19 July 2020

There is no god besides you who have the care of all… For your might is the source of justice; your mastery over all things makes you lenient to all. (Wis 12:13, 16) Even if one were to rule a nation with all just laws and administer those laws with perfect equity so that only what was right and good was dispensed to every person through the executive power and through the courts, there would still be injustice without the might to oblige what is good and right since man is so often apt to err and sin. In our …

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