Give the Lord more than we receive

Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time (Year A) Nov. 16 (Proverbs 31; Psalm 128; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6; Matthew 24:36; 25:14-30)

A capable wife, who can find her? The same question could (and should) be asked of husbands.

God is closer than our heartbeat

Dedication of St. John Lateran (Year A) Nov. 9 (Ezekiel 47:1, 2, 8-9, 12; Psalm 46; 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17; John 2:13-22)

Where does God dwell? To ancient people the answer was simple: In His house, where else?

Life can overcome death

My friend Susan had been thinking about death. “What if there’s nothing after?” she mused to me, with some alarm. “How do we know? I love life — with all its suffering. Life is too wonderful for it just to end in nothing. But how do I know?”

Our culture makes it easy to ignore death (up to a point). The reality of death can get lost among our flurried lives, just another “issue” we might or might not decide to put on today’s to-do list.

God doesn't promise a free ride

All Souls (Year A) Nov. 2 (Lamentations 3:17-26; Psalm 103; 1 Corinthians 15:51-57; Matthew 11:25-30)

How do we react when we experience loss and tragedy? Many act with shock and outrage, especially if they consider themselves religious. Why me? Am I not faithful to God? Haven’t I practised my faith diligently?

Disciples called to higher standard

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A), Oct. 26 (Exodus 22:21-27; Psalm 18; 1 Thessalonians 1:5-10; Matthew 22:34-40)

Don’t ever forget who you were and always remember your own experience. This is good advice in any setting, but in this week’s Scripture readings it is a divine command rather than a suggestion.

God is the only valid authority

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) Oct. 19 (Isaiah 45:1, 4-6; Psalm 96; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5; Matthew 22:15-21)

Cyrus would probably have been very surprised and even amused to discover that he was the Messiah of the Jewish people. After all, he did not share their culture or religion, and he was not a member of their nation at all. In fact, he was their enemy — the one who ruled them during the latter part of their exile in Babylon. But the Hebrew text of Isaiah is clear — Cyrus is called moshiach — messiah or anointed one.

We're all invited to God's Kingdom

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) Oct. 12 (Isaiah 25:6-10; Psalm 23; Philippians 4:10-14, 19-20; Matthew 22:1-14)

Visions of redemption and hope are born out of suffering, pain and despair. Conquest, disgrace and exile had been the lot of the people of Israel and they asked the question asked by so many human hearts: when will it all end? Is this all there is? Is there any meaning at all in either our suffering or our lives?

It's God's vineyard

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) Oct. 5 (Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 80; Philippians 4:6-9; Matthew 21:33-43)

Many people can identify with God’s frustration in Isaiah’s parable of the vineyard. Perhaps they have given many hours of backbreaking work in a yard or garden with heat and blisters thrown in as a bonus. And when there are no results, when the anticipated flowers, trees or plants fail to grow or grow in wild and bizarre ways, there is only disappointment, frustration and anger. Why bother!

Our problems can't be laid at God's feet

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) Sept. 28 (Ezekiel 18:25-28; Psalm 25; Philippians 2:1-11; Matthew 21:28-32)

People often shake their fist at heaven and lament the “unfairness” of God. Sometimes this can mean that God did not deliver the goods when they prayed for something. The apparent inequalities and injustices of life are another source of disappointment in the divine. Why do vicious, aggressive or dishonest people seem to get ahead?

We are truly alive in Christ

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) Sept. 21 (Isaiah 55:6-9; Psalm 145; Philippians 1:20-24, 27; Matthew 20:1-16)

Isaiah’s plea to seek the Lord while He may be found and call upon Him while He is near leaves one with the impression that God is going somewhere. But God is not about to check out or disappear.

God is the antidote

Triumph of the Cross (Year A) Sept. 14 (Numbers 21:4-9; Psalm 78; Philippians 2:6-11; John 3:13-17)

As anyone who has ever been on a long journey knows well, there is nothing like heat, thirst and hunger to bring out the worst in people. The Israelites provide a good example of human fickleness and fear during their journey through the wilderness.