Steve’s Columns

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 11 November 2018

“Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had…” (Mk 12:43-44) Jesus instructs us in today’s Gospel reading that our church offerings are to be a sacrifice. He gives us the example of the poor widow who makes an offering to the temple not out of her “surplus” but from what little she has to manage her own domestic affairs. This does not mean that the widow gave to the temple, …

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time – 4 November 2018

Moses spoke to the people, saying: “Fear the LORD, your God, and keep, throughout the days of your lives, all his statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you, and thus have long life… and prosper the more.” (Dt 6:2-3) For the ancient Israelites, as with most ancient nations, material prosperity was believed to be directly related to divine favor. Many pagan nations known to Israel created their pantheon of gods based on their physical and societal needs (e.g. fertility, agriculture, war, etc.). Is it any wonder then that the One True God reached out to Israel with a promise …

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 28 October 2018

“Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.” He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.  Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?”  The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.”  Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.”  (Mk 10:49-52) The Gospel reading this Sunday recounts the story of Bartimaeus, a blind man sitting on a roadside who called out to Jesus as He departed from Jericho with a large crowd in tow. Bartimaeus not only called out to Jesus, he called …

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 21 October 2018

“For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  (Mk 10:45) Redemption is the salvation of humanity by Jesus Christ. This is not to say that the God the Father and God the Holy Spirit do not participate in salvation. They fully do. However, Jesus Christ is the called the “Redeemer” of humanity simply because He is the ransom of humanity. We get our word redemption from the Latin redemptio meaning “a buying back” or “ransom”. Since Adam, (and until the time of Jesus’ appearance …

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 14 October 2018

“…Indeed the word of God is… sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit … able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. No creature is concealed from him, but everything is … exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account. (Heb 4:12-13) Ever since his first transgression in the Garden of Eden, man has tried to hide his sin from God (Gen 3:8). Man has a knack for hiding his turpitude by burrowing deep into his soul and squirreling away his offenses. In fact by accumulating an assortment of lesser …

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 7 October 2018

But Jesus told them… from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female… and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” (Mk 10:5-6; 8-9) First, God made them male and female. Second, God made them to function as one. Third, God made them into a union. Fourth, God made the union indissoluble on earth. Any craftsman who builds one thing from two parts knows that the parts must be entirely complimentary since only by fitting one part true to the …

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 30 September 2018

“Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me.”  (Mk 9:38-39) The Church is devoted to the Holy Name of God. This devotion has been handed down through our worshipful, Jewish progenitors. Out of reverence, those of the Jewish faith will not even write down the letters of the name of the “Lord”. St. Paul in his epistle to …

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 23 September 2018

The wicked say: Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings… (Wis 2:12) Hamlet to Polonius: … Will you make sure the actors are made comfortable? Polonius: My Lord I will give them all they deserve Hamlet: Good heavens, man, give them more than that! If you pay everyone what they deserve, would anyone ever escape a whipping? Justice is giving to each person that which he deserves. What he or she deserves are all the rights (and duties) customary to human nature created by God. What he or she …

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 16 September 2018

“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 and that of the gospel will save it.” (Mk 8:34-35) Many of the statements Jesus made while on earth were spoken exclusively to His disciples or to his smaller group of twelve Apostles. However in regard to the quotation above taken from today’s gospel reading, Jesus “summoned the crowd” showing His intention to speak this instance to all mankind. It is important to emphasize this point …

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 9 September 2018

Thus says the LORD: Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you. (Is 35:4) This scriptural quotation aptly applies to how we should respond to the present state of Church affairs regarding the sexual mistreatment of children and seminarians so well camouflaged over the years by some of our bishops and cardinals. Yet it applies also to how we should face the general malady of our society and culture and our daily spiritual struggles against malicious powers. Not knowing what awaits …