Saturday, August 31, 2019

22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C

All  who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

In today's Gospel (Luke 14: 1, 7-14), Jesus eats at the house of Simon the Pharisee and sees that the guests chose the places of honor. St. Bruno, Bishop of Segni and Abbot of Montecassino, comments:
Every day the Lord makes a wedding feast, for every day he unites faithful souls to himself, some coming to be baptized, others leaving this world for the kingdom of heaven.... Whoever you may be who still desire the first place here – go and sit in the last place. Do not be lifted up by pride, inflated by knowledge, elated by nobility, but the greater you are the more you must humble yourself in every way, and you will find grace with God. In his own time he will say to you: Friend, go up higher, and then you will be honoured by it all who sit at table with you....
In the Church, then, the first seat, or the highest place, is to be sought not by ambition but by humility; not by money but by holiness.
Christ in the Home of Simon the Pharisee, Peter Paul Rubens (1618-20)

Saturday, August 24, 2019

21st Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C

Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough (Luke 13:24).

On this Sunday three years ago Pope Francis addressed the audience at the Angelus in St. Peter's Square and spoke about today's Gospel:

This gate is Jesus himself. He is the gateway to salvation. He leads us to the Father. And the gate that is Jesus is never closed, this gate is never closed, it is always open and open to everyone, without distinction, without exclusions, without privileges. Because, you know, Jesus does not exclude anyone.

I want to say emphatically: don't be afraid to pass through the gate of faith in Jesus, to let Him enter more and more into our lives, to go out of our selfishness, our being closed in, our indifference toward others. Because Jesus illuminates our life with a light that never goes out.... Certainly, it is a narrow gate, the gate of Jesus, not because it is a torture chamber. No, not because of that! But because it asks us to open our hearts to Him, to recognize ourselves as sinners, in need of His salvation, His forgiveness, His love, needing the humility to accept His mercy and to be renewed by Him.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

20th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C

I have come to cast fire upon the earth. These words of Jesus to his disciples in this Sunday's Gospel are interpreteted by Blessed Denis the Carthusian in this spiritual sense:
Christ with sword
(Visoki Dečanki, Kosovo, 14th c.)
In other words, I have come down from the highest heaven and appeared to men and women through the mystery of the incarnation in order to light the fire of divine love in human hearts. And how I wish it were already ablaze! How I wish it were already kindled, fanned into flame by the Holy Spirit, and leaping forth in good works. 
The way to attain the perfection of divine love is then stated. Do you think that I have come to bring peace on earth? In other words: Do not imagine that I have come to offer people a sensual, worldly, and unruly peace that will enable them to be united in their vices and achieve earthly prosperity. No, I tell you, I have not come to offer that kind of peace, but rather division – a good, healthy kind of division, physical as well as spiritual. Love for God and desire for inner peace will set those who believe in me at odds with wicked men and women, and make them part company with those who would turn them from their course of spiritual progress and from the purity of divine love, or who attempt to hinder them. 
Good, interior, spiritual peace consists in the deposit the mind in God, and in a rightly ordered harmony. To bestow this peace was the chief reason for Christ’s coming. This inner peace flows from love. It is an unassailable joy of the mind in God, and it is called peace of heart. It is the beginning and a kind of foretaste of the peace of the saints in heaven – the peace of eternity.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

19th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C

In today’s Gospel (Luke 12: 32-48), Jesus talks to the disciples about being prepared for the coming of the Lord. Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms.... For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Here’s a commentary on this Gospel passage given by Pope Francis in a 2016 Angelus Addresss:
Bronze oil lamp (North African ca. 400 AD design) by Frank Egan
In the passage of the Gospel for today, Jesus speaks to his disciples about the attitude they should have regarding the final encounter with him, and explains how the expectation of this encounter should push us toward a life full of good works.

... Jesus today reminds us that awaiting eternal blessedness does not free us from the commitment to make the world more just and more inhabitable. In fact, precisely our hope of possessing the Kingdom in eternity drives us to work to improve the condition of our earthly life, especially that of our weakest brothers. May the Virgin Mary help us to be people and communities who are not limited to the present, or worse, nostalgic for the past, but rather, projected toward the future of God, toward the encounter with him, our life and our hope.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

18th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C




This Sunday's Gospel (Luke 12:13-21) tells the parable of the Rich Fool, who stores up his crops and goods in barns, never thinking that he can't take them into eternity with him. “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?”

In a General Audience on October 20, 2004, St. (Pope) John Paul II spoke about covetousness and wealth:
“In his riches, man lacks wisdom: he is like the beasts that are destroyed” (Psalm 49[48]: 13). In other words, untold wealth is not an advantage, far from it! It is better to be poor and to be one with God.... A profound blindness takes hold of man if he deludes himself that by striving to accumulate material goods he can avoid death. Not for nothing does the Psalmist speak of an almost animal-like “lack of understanding.”
...The rich man, clinging to his immense fortune, is convinced that he will succeed in overcoming death, just as with money he had lorded it over everything and everyone. But however vast a sum he is prepared to offer, he cannot escape his ultimate destiny. Indeed, like all other men and women, rich and poor, wise and foolish alike, he is doomed to end in the grave, as happens likewise to the powerful, and he will have to leave behind on earth that gold so dear to him and those material possessions he so idolized.