Steve’s Columns

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 15 September 2019

“Beloved: I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry. I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and arrogant, but I have been mercifully treated…” (1 Tim 1:12-13) In the month of October our parish will present a Pauline study on grace. This will coincide with the introduction of the theme for our year of faithful inquiry entitled “Your Grace is Enough for Me, O Lord” which is a paraphrase taken from 2 Corinthians 12:9. Even before this formal announcement, this theme had already …

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 8 September 2019

‘… After laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, ‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’ (Lk 14:29-30) Our present age has increasingly little interest or regard for the resources of the past. Modern eras tend to be that way. We care about the next smart phone, the next e-book, the next technological breakthrough more than we seem to care about an in-person conversation, a classic tale, or knitting. Secularism, materialism and consumerism all contribute to this departure from the past and …

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 1 September 2

Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. (Lk: 14:13-14) Jesus gives us a new beatitude in today’s gospel reading: Blessed are those who give and are not repaid. This appears a peculiar teaching since in the Parable of the Talents Jesus indicates that even his Father in heaven expects a return on his investment (Mt 25:26-27). Yet, we know that the Father has all and needs nothing. Humanity can give nothing to God that would increase his household. God gives grace …

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time – 25 August 2019

I will set a sign among them; from them I will send fugitives to the nations… to the distant coastlands that have never heard of my fame, or seen my glory; and they shall proclaim my glory among the nations. (Is: 66:51-53) In today’s first reading from the Book of Isaiah, God declares that he will send “fugitives” to call back the nations to faithfulness. Now “fugitive” seems a strange term to use to describe a messenger of God. Is this just a poor translation of a biblical expression? In another bible translation the word used is “survivors” and in still …

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 18 August 2019

“Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household will be divided… a father… against his son and a son against his father…“ (Lk: 12:51-53) Peace is the tranquility of order. A well-ordered state is peaceful and so is a well-ordered soul. A state whose civil laws are unenforced or unjust and whose citizens do not obey the natural law is not well-ordered. A soul which is in turmoil intellectually, morally, and emotionally is not well-ordered. Further, a state whose citizens are divided against each …

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 11 August 2019

The night of the Passover was known beforehand to our fathers…  For in secret the holy children of the good were offering sacrifice and putting into effect with one accord the divine institution. (Wis: 18:6;9) The Sacred Liturgy of the Church is not man-made. It is not as in some ancient pagan religions the coordinated effort of an elite priestly class organizing myth to subjugate the people and enrich its own situation. Judeo-Christian religious practice, especially its public worship, was inaugurated by the Lord in real time, during adversity, and under the threat of enemies. All Catholics should know that …

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 4 August 2019

“There was a rich man… [who] said… I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, “Now … rest, eat, drink; be merry!”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you…’ (Lk: 12:16;18;19;20) Pride is the first of the seven deadly sins. As a vice pride also contributes mightily to the motivation of the other six deadly sins. Take for example the activity of the rich man in today’s gospel reading whose pride misguides him to other grave sins. First, improper pride leads the rich man …

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 28 July 2019

“I tell you, if he does not get up to give the visitor the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence…”; “…to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”  (Lk: 11:8;10) When we speak of Christian spirituality we use terms like endurance and perseverance. Less often do we speak of “persistence”. Most likely the reason for our reticence in talking about persistence is that it has the connotation of vice not virtue: individuals who “persist” can be rather annoying at times. Hence, it would seem improper …

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 21 July 2019

Martha, burdened with much serving… said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her … There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” (Lk 10:11-14) St. Luke offers to the readers of his Gospel many intimate moments with Jesus. In chapter nine, Luke describes Jesus summoning his twelve Apostles, Peter professing his faith, and Jesus transfiguring in glory with only Peter, James, and John in attendance. Intermixed with these …

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 14 July 2019

“For this command… is not too mysterious and remote for you. It is not up in the sky… Nor is it across the sea, No, it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out.” (Dt 30:11-14) Last week our scriptural reflection emphasized the need for our parishes and our Church to follow in the footsteps of St. Benedict by gathering to ourselves all sacred knowledge for our own sake and the sake of a bewildered world. This knowledge is not of themes unfamiliar to us, nor is …

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