Patience and hope, forgiveness and love

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Sept. 9 (Wisdom 9:13-18; Psalm 90; Philemon 9-10, 12-17; Luke 14:25-33)

At first glance, the book of Wisdom does not seem very encouraging. Human reasoning is useless, it insists, and human plans are bound to fail.

Humanity, nature go hand-in-hand

{mosimage} My old friend Julia was describing her battle with her body. Conflict between body and spirit is often part of physical illness. Sometimes it seems the body is attacking us, as though it were the enemy.

God makes us whole and wise

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C), Sept. 2 (Sirach 3:17-20, 28-29; Psalm 68; Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24; Luke 14:1, 7-14)

Twelve-step programs have freed countless people from addictions and restored them to health and sanity. The first three steps are the hardest, and they are the downfall of not a few. The sufferer must admit that his or her life is out of control and that they are not God after all.

God is not to be taken for granted

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Aug. 26 (Isaiah 66:18-21; Psalm 117; Hebrews 12:5-7, 11-13; Luke 13:22-30)

New experiences — even difficult and painful ones — provide the opportunity for transformation and a change in spiritual awareness. The Israelites endured the destruction of their city and 50 years of painful and humiliating exile in Babylon. But that experience left a deep mark on their understanding of God.

Jesus challenges us to step away from the herd

20th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year C) Aug. 19 (Jeremiah 38:1-2, 4-6, 8-10; Psalm 40; Hebrews 12:1-4; Luke 12:49-53)

Jeremiah is not the first or the only prophet to get into trouble by voicing contrary views during a crisis or time of war. Usually the party line is the only voice desired or permitted. But Jeremiah has the dubious honour of proclaiming the word of God — not his own — and it is not something that those in power want to hear.

The Spirit shows us reality in ways we never dreamed

On a trip to France I had a weekend in Paris, which meant serious decisions about what to visit and what to leave out. After Notre Dame, I went to nearby Sainte Chapelle, advertised as having the best stained glass in the country. Stained glass was not a particular interest of mine, but the day was sunny and the destination close.

True faith is not blind

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C), Aug. 12 (Wisdom 18:6-9; Psalm 33; Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19; Luke 12:32-48)

What did the Israelites know and when did they know it? The book of Wisdom is a late interpretation of Israel’s foundation myth and it leaves one with the impression that the Israelites had God’s master plan tucked under their arm all along. In real life, things are seldom that clear or simple.

Our mission is to know God

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C), Aug. 5 (Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23; Psalm 90; Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11; Luke 12:13-21)

What is real? We have so little time on earth — what is the most important thing in life? These are questions that people have asked for millennia and they are addressed by both testaments of the Bible.

Even one person can work wonders

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C), July 29 (Genesis 18:20-21, 23-32; Psalm 138; Colossians 2:6-14; Luke 11:1-13)

Fifty – 40 – 30 – 20 – do I hear 10? The image of Abraham and God haggling and bargaining for the fate of a city and its inhabitants is rather disconcerting. It is one of many all-too-human images of God in the Bible, and reflects the mentality and understanding of people at the time it was written.

There is no ‘cheap grace’ from God

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C), July 22 (Genesis 18:1-10; Psalm 15; Colossians 1:24-28; Luke 10:38-42)

In the ancient near east, especially among the nomadic people, hospitality to strangers and travellers was a sacred duty. The host was responsible for the physical well-being of his guest: food, water, lodging and protection.

Doing the right thing

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C), July 15 (Deuteronomy 30:10-14; Psalm 69; Colossians 1:15-20; Luke 10:25-37)

The holiest and most precious things are usually close at hand. Sometimes we think that a spiritual quest involves trips to deserts, monasteries or mountaintops. Many want to consult gurus and teachers, or practise ascetic regimes. All of this to answer a few basic questions: Who is God? Who am I? How should I live? What is right and wrong?