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November 9, 2016

Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 13, 2016

November 2, 2016
Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 6, 2016

 

October 26, 2016
Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 30, 2016

 

October 20, 2016
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 23, 2016
October 20, 2016
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 9, 2016
When I was in high school and college, we were occasionally saved by Cliffs Notes (which we usually called "Cliff Notes") when we somehow forgot to read the book or play that had been assigned. The creator of Cliffs Notes (a man named "Clifton") had gotten the idea from his Canadian counterpart, Coles Notes, and always insisted that his summaries were meant to supplement a student's reading, not replace it. I'm not sure we were always worthy of his lofty goals.
September 18, 2016

Anyone expecting to find immediate principles of conduct in the parable of the dishonest steward (Luke 16:1-8a) is bound to be frustrated. What are we to think of the steward's actions? He not only gets way with defrauding his master but he is praised for doing so by the very person he has defrauded. How Luke chooses to provide his readers with ways to apply the parable in their Christian life seems strained (vv. 8b-13). It appears as if Jesus holds up the clever, but fraudulent activity of the steward as commendable and worthy of imitation (vv. 8b- 9). Verses 10-13 contain sayings that are not directly related to the parable.

September 11, 2016

On the fifteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, this week's stories of wildly inordinate mercy may be hard to take in. Mercy sounds like a beautiful idea -- until the day it is we ourselves who suffer irreparable loss at the hands of another, and righteous outrage smolders deep in our heart. The 9/11 attacks were a horrifying public humiliation for the people of the United States, and the nation's response was anything but merciful. As violence piles up ever-higher in our city streets and around the world, responses of fear, rage, and reprisal are the norm. So many people are trapped in the conviction that violence and trauma define their identity, and that the only way out is retaliatory violence.

September 4, 2016

This Sunday Mother Teresa will be canonized and very few doubt her holiness. But in light of this canonization I think it is important to note that for many years this saint experienced a real crisis of faith. In a collection of her letters Mother Teresa: Be My Light, compiled by her spiritual director, we read that after founding the Missionaries of Charity, she had doubts about the existence of God, about the soul and therefore the promises of Jesus - and heaven. This revelation has been received in a variety of ways. In an extensive article in Newsweek published by the late journalist and atheist Christopher Hitchens, he criticized her as being an over-promoted religious celebrity. He also contended that Mother Teresa's doubts made complete sense because the Catholic faith is based on asking people to believe "impossible things."

August 28, 2016
On social media and in other venues a popular game makes the rounds. If you could invite a famous person to dinner, who would it be? Inevitably Jesus gets quite a few imaginary invites. In light of his questionable behavior as a guest perhaps we should not race too quickly to invite. This Sunday's gospel is another in the "Jesus as annoying table companion" series presented by the gospel of Luke. Consider the episodes: Jesus embarrasses his Pharisee host by pointing out all he did not do in comparison to the sinful woman intruder who anointed him (7:36-50). Jesus shakes up dinner with a parable implying his table companions would probably not get a taste of the eschatological banquet (14:15-24). Jesus invites himself to the house of Zacchaeus the tax collector (19:5). Even at the Last Supper Jesus cannot resist admonishing the disciples one more time, reminding them that the cost of greatness is paid in suffering (22:1-34).