Steve’s Columns

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 25 October 2020

Thus says the LORD: “You shall not molest or oppress an alien… You shall not wrong any widow or orphan. If ever you wrong them and they cry to me, I will surely hear them cry.” (Ex 22:20-22) In our first reading today we hear how God commands his chosen people not to molest or oppress any alien people whom they encounter, for they themselves were once an alien people oppressed in Egypt. The Lord God continues: the Israelites are to do no wrong to any widow or orphan.  Still the Lord God persists, for the Spirit makes it clear that …

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 18 October 2020

Then they handed him the Roman coin. He said to them, “Whose image is this…” They replied, “Caesar’s.” At that he said to them, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” (Mt 22:19- 21)     Justice is giving to each person that which is due to him.  God is a person, albeit a Divine Person, who is ever entitled to his own due. In truth, every good thing is due back to God because every good thing comes from God. Now what good and sincere person who received a rich bequeathal from another …

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 11 October 2020

The king said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’ But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside…” (Mt 22:11- 13)    In the Lord’s Prayer we petition God the Father by asking, “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  Is it any wonder then that this once most pervasive prayer has become less so in a world that would appear to retort, “My will be done, in heaven as it …

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 4 October 2020

Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir… They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. (Mt 21:37-39) Admirers of The Lord of the Rings will recall that great line J.R.R Tolkien put into the mouth of Gandalf the White when speaking to the Lord Denethor of Gondor: “Authority is not given to you, steward, to deny the return of the king”.  Denethor was one in a long line of stewards whose duty it was …

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 27 September 2020

“A man had two sons.  He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ He said in reply, ‘I will not,’ but afterwards changed his mind and went.” (Mt 21:28-29) Man has free will.  It is one of the two excellent powers in the human soul besides the intellect which God has given to man to form him in the divine image and to distinguish him from the animals.  The great Greek philosopher Aristotle called man “rational animal” to indicate that man, although a physical creature needing nourishment and having material appetites, is …

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 …

1234...10...