A Homily – The Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

First Reading – Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 127(128):1-5 ©

Second Reading – 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 ©

Gospel Acclamation – Revelation 2:10

Alternative Acclamation – John 15:4, 5

The Gospel According to Matthew 25:14 – 30 ©

(NJB)

The Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Consider these words of wisdom and be mindful; everyone has fallen short of perfection.

Know this!

The psalmist is in error.

It is vanity to believe that God will come to your aid when you are engaged in a dispute with your sisters or brothers, or in any dispute in all.

It is vanity and foolishness to believe that God will secure the foundation of your house or the peace of your city, the stability of your nation or the well-being of the world.

It is vanity and hubris to assume that those who labor from dawn to dusk are loved less by God than those who do not toil at all.

It is vanity and hubris to believe that God places sons in the wombs of the mothers on behalf of the fathers whom God loves.

God does not favor husbands over wives, God does not favor brothers over sisters, God does not favor sons over daughters.

God does not intervene in our affairs.

Listen to the apostle!

When Saint Paul says that we belong to the light, he is speaking to all of the children of Adam, to the entirety of the human race. He is speaking to the world, his audience is everyone; the message is timeless, unbounded; it comes from the infinite.

Be mindful!

The gift of grace is not transactional; God gives it freely, the creator of the universe gives grace to all, no one is excluded.

God is present throughout creation; there is no place where God is not. God touches every person, God sustains every living-breathing thing, God undergirds the whole created order, Christian and non-Christian alike, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Consider the Gospel reading for today:

It is heartbreaking to see the teaching of Jesus betrayed so completely by the writers of the Gospels.

The authors of Matthew, writing a hundred years or so after the death of Jesus, were more concerned with building up and retaining church property than they were with teaching the good news, that Christ has risen, that God loves the sinner, even the worst of them.

It is impossible to know how the way came to be betrayed in such a fulsome and complete manner, but I am thinking it has to do with the fact that over the course of a hundred years, after the destruction of Jerusalem, the leadership of Christian communities throughout the Empire fell to the wealthy, bishops were selected from among leading merchants and tradespeople, from among landowners and people of status.

It is not surprising that in this time the way that Jesus preached about came to be imagined as a kingdom, while abba, the father, became a king.

This parable views God or Jesus as a merchant and a banker, instead of a fisherman or a carpenter, a shepherd or a farmer.

The parable begins with the idea that God will distribute challenges and tasks to the people according their ability, that God knows both the powers and liabilities of God’s children, and consequently God knows what to expect from them.

Therefore, it is out of character for the loving and knowing God to punish the servant who buried his one talent. God knew that this is what this servant would do.

According to the way of Jesus, the servant who buried the talent should be the recipient of mercy, of a loving ministry, not cast out and left in the dark.

One hundred years after the death of Jesus, the leaders of the church had forgotten this.

The servant who hid the talent was not lazy, as the “master” said, but was fearful because he knew that the man he was beholden to was a hard person, who took what he had not worked for, robbing others of the fruit of their labor.

This servant did not multiply his talent as the others had done because he did not want to emulate the corrupt practices of his master as the others were willing to do.

Again, the master, who represents either God or Jesus in this parable, does not deny being hard of heart, and does not deny the charge of being a thief, reaping what he had not sewn, and gathering what he had not scattered.

He is proud of it, and that is the type of behavior he intended to promote.

He charges the frightened servant with laziness, with neglect and stupidity, calling him a good-for-nothing and has him thrown into the dark, into the place of wailing and gnashing of teeth, into hell, the place of death.

Through this twist in the narrative the authors of this parable up-end Jesus’ teaching, that the last will be first and the first shall be last.

The true reading of this parable is this:

The man who was thrown out represents the figure of Christ. Like Christ he refused to emulate the wicked practices of the rulers, he refused to profit from the suffering of others, he knew that he would be punished and he accepted the consequences. He was proven right, and he was killed for his convictions.

First Reading – Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31 ©

A Perfect Wife – Who Can Find Her?

A perfect wife – who can find her?

She is far beyond the price of pearls.

Her husband’s heart has confidence in her, from her he will derive no little profit.

Advantage and not hurt she brings him all the days of her life.

She is always busy with wool and with flax, she does her work with eager hands.

She sets her hands to the distaff, her fingers grasp the spindle.

She holds out her hand to the poor, she opens her arms to the needy.

Charm is deceitful, and beauty empty; the woman who is wise is the one to praise.

Give her a share in what her hands have worked for, and let her works tell her praises at the city gates.

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 127(128):1-5 ©

O blessed are those who fear the Lord.

O blessed are those who fear the Lord

  and walk in his ways!

By the labour of your hands you shall eat.

  You will be happy and prosper.

O blessed are those who fear the Lord.

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine

  in the heart of your house;

your children like shoots of the olive,

  around your table.

O blessed are those who fear the Lord.

Indeed thus shall be blessed

  the man who fears the Lord.

May the Lord bless you from Zion

  all the days of your life!

O blessed are those who fear the Lord.

Second Reading – 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 ©

God Will Bring with Him Those Who Have Died in Jesus

You will not be expecting us to write anything to you, brothers, about ‘times and seasons’, since you know very well that the Day of the Lord is going to come like a thief in the night. It is when people are saying, ‘How quiet and peaceful it is’ that the worst suddenly happens, as suddenly as labour pains come on a pregnant woman; and there will be no way for anybody to evade it.

But it is not as if you live in the dark, my brothers, for that Day to overtake you like a thief. No, you are all sons of light and sons of the day: we do not belong to the night or to darkness, so we should not go on sleeping, as everyone else does, but stay wide awake and sober.

Gospel Acclamation – Revelation 2:10

Alleluia, alleluia!

Even if you have to die, says the Lord, keep faithful, and I will give you the crown of life.

Alleluia!

Alternative Acclamation – John 15:4, 5

Alleluia, alleluia!

Make your home in me, as I make mine in you. Whoever remains in me bears fruit in plenty.

Alleluia!

The Gospel According to Matthew 25:14 – 30 ©

You Have Been Faithful in Small Things: Come and Join in Your Master’s Happiness

Jesus spoke this parable to his disciples: ‘The kingdom of Heaven is like a man on his way abroad who summoned his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to a third one; each in proportion to his ability. Then he set out.

‘The man who had received the five talents promptly went and traded with them and made five more. The man who had received two made two more in the same way. But the man who had received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

‘Now a long time after, the master of those servants came back and went through his accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents came forward bringing five more. “Sir,” he said “you entrusted me with five talents; here are five more that I have made.”

‘His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master’s happiness.”

‘Next the man with the two talents came forward. “Sir,” he said “you entrusted me with two talents; here are two more that I have made.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master’s happiness.”

‘Last came forward the man who had the one talent. “Sir,” said he “I had heard you were a hard man, reaping where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered; so I was afraid, and I went off and hid your talent in the ground. Here it is; it was yours, you have it back.” But his master answered him, “You wicked and lazy servant! So you knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered? Well then, you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have recovered my capital with interest. So now, take the talent from him and give it to the man who has the five talents. For to everyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough; but from the man who has not, even what he has will be taken away. As for this good-for-nothing servant, throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.”’

The Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

A Homily – The Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) All Saints Day, A Holy Day of Obligation

First Reading – Apocalypse 7:2-4, 9-14 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 23(24):1-6 ©

Second Reading – 1 John 3:1-3 ©

Gospel Acclamation – Matthew 11:28

The Gospel According to Matthew 5:1 – 12a ©

(NJB)

The Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

All Saints Day, A Holy Day of Obligation

Remember this!

God is not a king. God does not sit on a throne.

The multitude that John witnessed in his vision was numberless, there number was without measure, without end.

It is the full number of those who have experienced the persecution of the living, and have come to God, the creator of the universe over their long sojourn through time and space.

It is all of us, all of God’s children gathered together as one people, with none of us lost.

Have faith! The good shepherd has ensured it.

Be mindful.

We do not arrive in this place by the blood of the lamb, not the literal blood, not by the blood Jesus shed on the cross. That is a metaphor, we are not sanctified by animal sacrifice. We never have been and we never will be.

The world does not operate by such magical principles.

We are sanctified through the way, by fulfilling God’s will for us, as God leads us down the path.

We come into God’s presence when we have let go of all our enmities, when we have finally forgiven all who have wronged us, as God has forgiven us, and when we have accepted the forgiveness of those we have wronged. 

It is then and only then that we stand in the presence of the fullness of God, together with that great number of all our sisters and brothers, the number of people John witnessed, the number that is impossible to count.

Be mindful!

Do not look for God in the vestiges of glory and power and honors; for those kinds of illusions are easy to dwell on…cling to, and easy to misunderstand. Remember the humility of Jesus, and look for God there, in his wisdom, as if God were as soft and gentle as a lamb.

Consider the psalm for today.

All things and person have their being in God, who is the foundation of all that is and without whom there is nothing, true nothingness in which there is not even the possibility of something.

If you wish to climb the mountain to find God, that is fine, though God might prefer for you to turn to your neighbors to see God reflected in their face.

See them, behold the face of God, and in that holy presence give thanks. 

Be mindful, and do not worry about your own holiness. Know that God loved you before the creation of the world, when only the possibility of you and all that you are existed. And know that all things and everyone who are loved by God, are holy.

There is no vanity in emulating the love that God bears for all of God’s children.

Look for God’s blessing in the service you provide to your neighbor, to your mother and father, to your sister and brother. Seek justification through the quality and extent of your mercy.

If you look for the God of Jacob, instead of seeing God in Jacob you will only be looking at idols. God is not confined to the pages of a book, of by the inked letter on a scroll, neither is God bound by the history and mythology of a people. Look to those things for glimpses of God, and remembrances of past encounters, but seek the living God in living beings.

Be mindful of the words of the apostle…he is not always right, and in the reading for today he is wrong.

Know this!

Every person is a child of God. God, the creator of the universe, God loves all people equally, and there is not a single one of us whom God rejects.

Understand this, the devil has no children.

There is no devil.

Acknowledge your own faults without blaming the “forces of evil.”

Every one of us has sinned, no one is free from it. Living a saintly life does not wipe out sin, or make it so that the sins we have committed never happened. God’s promise is not to erase our sins as if they never happened, but to undo the harm they have caused to us and others, to transform the consequences of those sins into something good.

The teachings of Jesus cannot be treated like a shell game, though they are, and have been since the beginning, as Matthew’s illustrates.

The way of Jesus is not a long con, it is not a bait and switch, it is a simple teaching that cannot be controlled or owned by any one group of people.

The truth is in the open for anyone to see.

The wise and the powerful, the learned and the clever, the weak and the meek, everyone has access to the same truth, to the knowledge of God, of justice, of hope and love.

Who are the wise and powerful, who are the learned and the clever, who are the faithful and childlike. In every generation, you will see a new group labeling the elder group as out of touch, blind, privileged, in the dark, corrupt.

It is an endless cycle, and the way remains the same; love justice, be merciful, do good, serve God through the loving service you provide to one another: your family, your friend, your neighbor, the stranger, even your enemy.

Just because a person may be wise and powerful, learned and clever, or a child of the Church, does not mean they will inerrantly recognize the truth when they see it, or act upon it when they do.

It is not your station in society, it is not how other people regard you, it is not the titles you have earned, or the ways that you have been marginalized that give that determine how you will fulfill the calling to follow Jesus. What matters is what is in your heart, and your willingness to trust in the content of your hope, the hope you hope for yourself and the hope you hope for everyone.

Consider the Gospel for today.

Much has been written about the sermon on the mount. It is hard for me to believe that I would have anything new to add to that discussion, but adding something new is not as important as sharing the story itself, and how it shapes our understanding of the Gospel.

It is important that we share our perspective and keep the conversation moving.

In this teaching Jesus shares a way of seeing the world, of living in society, of understanding our relationship to the creator; it is a teaching that reverses the expectations that were prevalent in his time.

He might have said; the providence of heaven belongs to all people, regardless of who they are or where they came from or how far they think they are from the love of the creator, no matter what creed they profess, or what traditions bind them, and no matter how little they may think about God.

The gentle seek no possessions, they have nothing to guard, are themselves unguarded and free. By freeing themselves from their desires they have gained everything.

Have hope, all sadness and all mourning come to an end.

Strive for what is right and just, for what is universal and true, for what touches all people, give up your concerns for yourself and your tribe.

The narrow path leads to misery, and the broad road leads to joy.

Mercy follows upon mercy, as the sun follows the rain.

All people will come to the vision of God, as certain as they will come to know their true selves. The fullness of God is at the center of all people; it is the indelible bond that connects us to one another, from the beginning of time to the end.

Accept the parentage of the divine. Take up the task God has set before us. Love justice, be merciful, make peace.

The providence of heaven belongs to all people, to possess it you must share.

If you are abused and persecuted for the sake of peace and mercy. Have no fear, the powers of sin and evil, and the pain they bring, the reality of sickness and death, these are temporary; they will end.

First Reading – Apocalypse 7:2-4, 9-14 ©

I Saw a Huge Number, Impossible to Count, of People from Every Nation, Race—Tribe and Language

I, John, saw another angel rising where the sun rises, carrying the seal of the living God; he called in a powerful voice to the four angels whose duty was to devastate land and sea, ‘Wait before you do any damage on land or at sea or to the trees, until we have put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.’ Then I heard how many were sealed: a hundred and forty-four thousand, out of all the tribes of Israel.

After that I saw a huge number, impossible to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe and language; they were standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands. They shouted aloud, ‘Victory to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ And all the angels who were standing in a circle round the throne, surrounding the elders and the four animals, prostrated themselves before the throne, and touched the ground with their foreheads, worshipping God with these words, ‘Amen. Praise and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honour and power and strength to our God for ever and ever. Amen.’

One of the elders then spoke, and asked me, ‘Do you know who these people are, dressed in white robes, and where they have come from?’ I answered him, ‘You can tell me, my lord.’ Then he said, ‘These are the people who have been through the great persecution, and they have washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb.’

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 23(24):1-6 ©

Such are the men who seek your face, O Lord.

The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness,

  the world and all its peoples.

It is he who set it on the seas;

  on the waters he made it firm.

Such are the men who seek your face, O Lord.

Who shall climb the mountain of the Lord?

  Who shall stand in his holy place?

The man with clean hands and pure heart,

  who desires not worthless things.

Such are the men who seek your face, O Lord.

He shall receive blessings from the Lord

  and reward from the God who saves him.

Such are the men who seek him,

  seek the face of the God of Jacob.

Such are the men who seek your face, O Lord.

Second Reading – 1 John 3:1-3 ©

We Shall be Like God Because We Shall See Him as He Really Is

Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called God’s children; and that is what we are.

Because the world refused to acknowledge him, therefore it does not acknowledge us.

My dear people, we are already the children of God but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed; all we know is, that when it is revealed we shall be like him because we shall see him as he really is.

Surely everyone who entertains this hope must purify himself, must try to be as pure as Christ.

Gospel Acclamation – Matthew 11:28

Alleluia, alleluia!

Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest, says the Lord.

Alleluia!

The Gospel According to Matthew 5:1 – 12a ©

How Happy Are the Poor in Spirit

Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up the hill. There he sat down and was joined by his disciples. Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them:

‘How happy are the poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Happy the gentle: they shall have the earth for their heritage.

Happy those who mourn: they shall be comforted.

Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right: they shall be satisfied.

Happy the merciful: they shall have mercy shown them.

Happy the pure in heart: they shall see God.

Happy the peacemakers: they shall be called sons of God.

Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right: theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

‘Happy are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.’

The Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

All Saints Day, A Holy Day of Obligation

A Homily – The Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

First Reading – Exodus 22:20-26 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 17(18):2-4, 47, 51 ©

Second Reading – 1 Thessalonians 1:5-10 ©

Gospel Acclamation – Acts 16:14

Alternative Acclamation – John 14:23

The Gospel According to Matthew 22:34 – 40 ©

(NJB)

The Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Listen to the word of God, creator of the universe.

God wills that we take care of the stranger in our company, that we do not oppress her or him.

This is the way to holiness.

Love the immigrant and the alien, show compassion to the widow and the orphan, do not abuse the poor or put them in your debt.

Consider this:

There are times when a psalm of thanksgiving is little more than an appeal to vanity; the psalmist gives credit to God for saving him, but it was not God. God did not hear his voice alone among all of the others and fly from the temple to save him.

The psalmist saved himself, or he was saved by his allies, though he may have been spared only by chance.

We know this is true because God, the creator of the universe, God does not favor one child over another, not one family, not one tribe, not one nation, not one sect. God loves all of God’s children equally, no matter whether they live in sin and rebellion or in the peace that comes through faith.

God, the creator of the universe; God is not like Zeus or Jupiter, Indra or Thor. God does not step onto the battlefield, shoot arrows and hurl lightning.

It is foolish to think so.

Therefore be mindful of the life you live and set the example for all those you meet as you follow the way.

God is with you. God will hear you, and though God will not intervene in this world to spare you any pain, God has a plan to resolve all pain in a place beyond time and the bounds of space.

Be mindful of this! The grace of God is not transactional, and while love fosters love, there is always love and God is always with you. The divine love is always present to you, even when you are at your worst, when you are most hateful and your most destructive self.

Consider the Gospel reading for today.

This is the way, it is the core of Jesus’ teaching, it is the sacred path to the divine.

Any interpretation of Jesus’ life and mission that do not reflect these teachings are false.

Every pericope and parable; every metaphor, simile and analogy; every story, fable and myth must adhere to this canon.

We only encounter God through each other, in relationship to one another. We serve God through the service we give to the other another. The love we bear toward God is only made resplendent in this light.

First Reading – Exodus 22:20-26 ©

If You Are Harsh with the Widow and Orphan, My Anger Will Flare Against You

The Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell the sons of Israel this:

‘“You must not molest the stranger or oppress him, for you lived as strangers in the land of Egypt. You must not be harsh with the widow, or with the orphan; if you are harsh with them, they will surely cry out to me, and be sure I shall hear their cry; my anger will flare and I shall kill you with the sword, your own wives will be widows, your own children orphans.

‘“If you lend money to any of my people, to any poor man among you, you must not play the usurer with him: you must not demand interest from him.

‘“If you take another’s cloak as a pledge, you must give it back to him before sunset. It is all the covering he has; it is the cloak he wraps his body in; what else would he sleep in? If he cries to me, I will listen, for I am full of pity.”’

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 17(18):2-4, 47, 51 ©

I love you, Lord, my strength.

I love you, Lord, my strength,

  my rock, my fortress, my saviour.

My God is the rock where I take refuge;

  my shield, my mighty help, my stronghold.

The Lord is worthy of all praise,

  when I call I am saved from my foes.

I love you, Lord, my strength.

Long life to the Lord, my rock!

  Praised be the God who saves me,

He has given great victories to his king

  and shown his love for his anointed.

I love you, Lord, my strength.

Second Reading – 1 Thessalonians 1:5-10 ©

You Broke with Idolatry and Became Servants of God; You Are Now Waiting for His Son

You observed the sort of life we lived when we were with you, which was for your instruction, and you were led to become imitators of us, and of the Lord; and it was with the joy of the Holy Spirit that you took to the gospel, in spite of the great opposition all round you. This has made you the great example to all believers in Macedonia and Achaia since it was from you that the word of the Lord started to spread – and not only throughout Macedonia and Achaia, for the news of your faith in God has spread everywhere. We do not need to tell other people about it: other people tell us how we started the work among you, how you broke with idolatry when you were converted to God and became servants of the real, living God; and how you are now waiting for Jesus, his Son, whom he raised from the dead, to come from heaven to save us from the retribution which is coming.

Gospel Acclamation – Acts 16:14

Alleluia, alleluia!

Open our heart, O Lord, to accept the words of your Son.

Alleluia!

Alternative Acclamation – John 14:23

Alleluia, alleluia!

If anyone loves me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him.

Alleluia!

The Gospel According to Matthew 22:34 – 40 ©

The Commandments of Love

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees they got together and, to disconcert him, one of them put a question, ‘Master, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?’ Jesus said, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets also.’

The Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

A Homily – The Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

First Reading – Isaiah 25:6-10 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 22(23) ©

Second Reading – Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20 ©

Gospel Acclamation – John 1:14, 12

Alternative Acclamation – Ephesians 1:17, 18

The Gospel According to Matthew 22:1 – 14 ©

(NJB)

The Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Listen to the prophet and remember this, God, the creator of the universe, God seeks the well-being of all people. God is working toward the salvation of every single one of us.

The prophet asks us to do the same; to hope for it, to pray for it, and to wait for it in humility, with kindness and patience.

Everyone has a seat at the table; all people of all nations, from every clan and tribe, everyone will be healed.

Listen to the psalmist!

God is shepherd to us all, and if we walk in the way of God, we may serve as a shepherd to our sisters and brothers.

Whenever the circumstances of our life are such that we struggle with wants and needs, when we experience a sense of lack in our lives, know this: our time in this world is not the end of all things.

Everything is transitory.

If we are hungry, we are hungry only for a time. If we thirst, it is but for a moment.

We live and breathe but for a time, before we are called to the divine.

Trust in God, there is peace in it.

The power of death and sin are temporary, it is only God that endures forever, and we are the children of God.

It is not only because God loves you that God guides you, but it is for God’s own sake that God blesses you. Follow the way, when your table is set share it with the world, and turn enemies into loved ones.

Consider the life of the apostle:

It is sad to read of him begging for money. This is not something that Jesus is ever depicted doing in the gospel.

Jesus never asked for anything for himself, but only for the poor.

It is sad to read of the apostle promising the communities of believers that God will reward them lavishly now that they have given him everything he needs…neither salvation not its promise is a commodity to be exchange.

Much harm has come to the world because of these words, many priests and bishops and would be prophets have enriched themselves while doing little for the poor.

Listen!

Do not repeat the errors of John, do not depart from the message that all people are the children of God, we do not come into being by any other power, not by a power that comes from within us, neither by a power that is external to us. We are born as children of God, created in the Word, by the Word and through the Word.

Our status as children of God is as unconditional as God’s love for us.

Remember this, and meditate on the life of Jesus, and God; whom he called Father

May each and every one of come to the full knowledge of God. There is hope in the knowledge of God, and remember this, the hopes you have for yourself and for those you love are meant to be extended to everyone; even those you do not love, for that is the way God leads us and that is the way God heals us.

If you think that God has promised riches and glories to be the inheritance of the saints; remember that the first will be last and the last will be first, and that riches are not counted in gold and silver and precious things.

Know this, God considers the greatest glory to be the divine parents living in relation to us, that is the secret of the Gospel.

Consider the Gospel reading for today:

It is shameful when the Gospel writers betray the teaching and mission of Jesus, when they allow their own fears and their own reflections on the tribulations they suffered to warp the Good News that Jesus proclaimed as the way to God.

Let it be understood that heaven is not a kingdom, it is a garden, and God is not a king, god is a loving parent. Jesus is not a princeling, he is our brother.

Any reflection on the way that does not reflect those principles, is a distortion or a deliberate deception.

God does not command troops, God is not a warrior, God does not deliver the death sentence as punishment for any crime.

God’s Justice is merciful, it is loving and kind.

As Isaiah said, God has laid a table for everyone to share. God has invited the good and the bad alike, the rich and the poor, the friend and the stranger, everyone to a place there.

The feast at God’s table is less a wedding celebration and more of a family reunion, the feast is not to celebrate the joining of two, who were not one already, but the celebration of a unity that pre-exists all things.

All people are the children of God.

We are all brothers and sisters in Christ, whether we know it or not.

At the feast in the garden, there are no wedding garments, we wear no badges, we are not asked to present credentials. Everyone is welcome and none are rejected, there will be no darkness, no weeping and no gnashing of teeth.

First Reading – Isaiah 25:6-10 ©

The Lord Will Prepare a Banquet for Every Nation

On this mountain, the Lord of hosts will prepare for all peoples a banquet of rich food, a banquet of fine wines, of food rich and juicy, of fine strained wines.

On this mountain he will remove the mourning veil covering all peoples, and the shroud enwrapping all nations, he will destroy Death for ever.

The Lord will wipe away the tears from every cheek; he will take away his people’s shame everywhere on earth, for the Lord has said so.

That day, it will be said: See, this is our God in whom we hoped for salvation; the Lord is the one in whom we hoped.

We exult and we rejoice that he has saved us; for the hand of the Lord rests on this mountain.

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 22(23) ©

In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.

The Lord is my shepherd;

  there is nothing I shall want.

Fresh and green are the pastures

  where he gives me repose.

Near restful waters he leads me,

  to revive my drooping spirit.

In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.

He guides me along the right path;

  he is true to his name.

If I should walk in the valley of darkness

  no evil would I fear.

You are there with your crook and your staff;

  with these you give me comfort.

In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.

You have prepared a banquet for me

  in the sight of my foes.

My head you have anointed with oil;

  my cup is overflowing.

In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.

Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me

  all the days of my life.

In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell

  for ever and ever.

In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.

Second Reading – Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20 ©

With the Help of the One Who Gives Me Strength, There Is Nothing I Cannot Master

I know how to be poor and I know how to be rich too. I have been through my initiation and now I am ready for anything anywhere: full stomach or empty stomach, poverty or plenty. There is nothing I cannot master with the help of the One who gives me strength. All the same, it was good of you to share with me in my hardships. In return my God will fulfil all your needs, in Christ Jesus, as lavishly as only God can. Glory to God, our Father, for ever and ever. Amen.

Gospel Acclamation – John 1:14, 12

Alleluia, alleluia!

The Word was made flesh and lived among us: to all who did accept him he gave power to become children of God.

Alleluia!

Alternative Acclamation – Ephesians 1:17, 18

Alleluia, alleluia!

May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our mind, so that we can see what hope his call holds for us.

Alleluia!

The Gospel According to Matthew 22:1 – 14 ©

Invite Everyone You Can to the Wedding

Jesus began to speak to the chief priests and elders of the people in parables: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a feast for his son’s wedding. He sent his servants to call those who had been invited, but they would not come. Next he sent some more servants. “Tell those who have been invited” he said “that I have my banquet all prepared, my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, everything is ready. Come to the wedding.” But they were not interested: one went off to his farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his servants, maltreated them and killed them. The king was furious. He despatched his troops, destroyed those murderers and burnt their town. Then he said to his servants, “The wedding is ready; but as those who were invited proved to be unworthy, go to the crossroads in the town and invite everyone you can find to the wedding.” So these servants went out on to the roads and collected together everyone they could find, bad and good alike; and the wedding hall was filled with guests. When the king came in to look at the guests he noticed one man who was not wearing a wedding garment, and said to him, “How did you get in here, my friend, without a wedding garment?” And the man was silent. Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot and throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.” For many are called, but few are chosen.’

The Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

A Homily – The Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

First Reading – Isaiah 5:1-7 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 79(80):9, 12-16, 19-20 ©

Second Reading – Philippians 4:6-9 ©

Gospel Acclamation – John 15:15

Alternative Acclamation – John 15:16

The Gospel According to Matthew 21:33 – 43 ©

(NJB)

The Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Be mindful of the prophet’s words, and know this:

God, the creator of the universe, God does not directly intervene in the affairs of human beings, but nevertheless there is an intention behind creation and God is pulling all of us toward God’s desired end.

God wills that we be good and just, loving and kind, humble and accepting, but God does not create us with these qualities fully matured, preferring that we develop them naturally throughout the course of our lives.

The prophet likens humanity to a vineyard:

In one generation a vineyard will produce beautiful fruit, in another generation it will be sour.

A single vine in the vineyard will produce fruit of mixed quality, some branches will dry up and wither, while others go on to produce a wonderful bounty.

In one year a vineyard will go to rot, in another it will be restored.

Briar patches and thorns may impede the vine in one season, while at the same time returning vitality to the soil.

This is the way of things, and it is the way of all human  institutions, it is the way of civilization, and the Church is not excepted from this rule.

Be mindful of the writings of the psalmist, the psalmist  frequently misunderstands how historical events unfold in relation to the will of God.

God did not rescue the Israelites from Egypt. God did not send the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Ptolemy’s, or the Romans. God did not destroy the temples, and God will not protect you, or show you favor in this world no matter how fervently you pray.

Know this!

God is the shepherd of all people, not of Israel only.

God does not reside on a throne and God is not a general who comes at the head of an army. When we imagine God thus we do a disservice to the divine.

God’s face shines on everyone, look for it in the face of your neighbor, in the face of your enemy, in the faces of those who persecute you.

It is up to us, God’s children, to love, to show mercy, and to care for those who are downtrodden.

It is the desire of God that all people be well and happy. God desires that we be tolerant of one another and care for one another, that we serve the happiness of our neighbors with a spirit of charity. Therein rests the peace of God, in the work of a servant

Meditate on what is true, to the truth that ennobles us and is rooted in love. Commit yourself to what is good, known by the good fruit that goodness bears and the benefit that is derived in the community from it.

Be mindful of those who seek honors, speak of virtue and love praise, these are good and lofty things, but we are easily deceived by them and easily deceived for them.

Know this!

The greatest commandment is love, and love is the whole of the law.

To love one another, to give of one’s self to another in love, there is no greater gift.

The love that we are called to is not the love we call desire, though to desire and be desired is an experience of great joy.

We are called to move past desire and to move past the love we have for family and friends, because to love those nearest to us is only a short extension of the love we have for ourselves, seeing ourselves in the faces of our mothers and fathers, seeing our ambitions as tied to the ambitions of our friends. It is good to love in this capacity but we are called to love in a greater capacity than that.

We are called to love to the point of selflessness, to love even those who are against us, to love our enemies, to forgive those who have hurt us and done us harm, to feed the stranger and protect them…to do so out of love.

This is the great commandment.

Consider the Gospel for today, it is a piece of pure propaganda. It is an apology.

It is an attempt by the writers of Matthew’s Gospel, written in the first generation after the Roman conquest of Palestine and the destruction of the Temple, to explain to a largely Jewish audience, the divine purpose behind those events.

While Matthew’s community was predominately Jewish, there were gentile converts among them, and the warning to the readership is this: if you do not give up your insistence on retaining your distinctively Jewish traditions, you will be destroyed and the gentiles among you will take your place a heirs to the promises that God made to your ancestors.

The narrative is one that the writers of Matthew borrowed from the early prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah and Daniel, whose books were also written in the apologetic mode, to explain the destruction of Israel by the Assyrians, the destruction of Judea by the Babylonians and the invasion of the Holy Land by Antiochus Epiphanes.

The basic move that all of these writers make is to explain current events through the lens of past events. In this case they are putting a prophecy in Jesus’ mouth to explain the Roman invasion of Palestine and the destruction of the temple, along with the ongoing persecution of the Jewish people.

The lesson they intended to impart is this:

Everything unfolds according to God’s plan. If you resist God’s plan you will be destroyed and all of your hopes will be dashed. It has happened before and it will happen again.

Be mindful.

All good things come from God.

Nothing you have belongs to you, it can be taken away in the blink of an eye.

Listen to me now, this reading is flawed.

First Reading – Isaiah 5:1-7 ©

Against the Lord’s Vineyard

Let me sing to my friend the song of his love for his vineyard.

My friend had a vineyard on a fertile hillside.

He dug the soil, cleared it of stones and planted choice vines in it.

In the middle he built a tower, he dug a press there too.

He expected it to yield grapes, but sour grapes were all that it gave.

And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, I ask you to judge between my vineyard and me.

What could I have done for my vineyard that I have not done?

I expected it to yield grapes.

Why did it yield sour grapes instead?

Very well, I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will take away its hedge for it to be grazed on, and knock down its wall for it to be trampled on.

I will lay it waste, unpruned, undug; overgrown by the briar and the thorn.

I will command the clouds to rain no rain on it.

Yes, the vineyard of the Lord of Hosts is the House of Israel, and the men of Judah that chosen plant.

He expected justice, but found bloodshed, integrity, but only a cry of distress.

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 79(80):9, 12-16, 19-20 ©

The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.

You brought a vine out of Egypt;

  to plant it you drove out the nations.

It stretched out its branches to the sea,

  to the Great River it stretched out its shoots.

The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.

Then why have you broken down its walls?

  It is plucked by all who pass by.

It is ravaged by the boar of the forest,

  devoured by the beasts of the field.

The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.

God of hosts, turn again, we implore,

  look down from heaven and see.

Visit this vine and protect it,

  the vine your right hand has planted.

The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.

And we shall never forsake you again;

  give us life that we may call upon your name.

God of hosts, bring us back;

  let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.

Second Reading – Philippians 4:6-9 ©

If there is Anything You Need, Pray For It.

There is no need to worry; but if there is anything you need, pray for it, asking God for it with prayer and thanksgiving, and that peace of God, which is so much greater than we can understand, will guard your hearts and your thoughts, in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, fill your minds with everything that is true, everything that is noble, everything that is good and pure, everything that we love and honour, and everything that can be thought virtuous or worthy of praise. Keep doing all the things that you learnt from me and have been taught by me and have heard or seen that I do. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Gospel Acclamation  Jn15:15

Alleluia, alleluia!

I call you friends, says the Lord, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father.

Alleluia!

Alternative Acclamation – John 15:16

Alleluia, alleluia!

I chose you from the world to go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last, says the Lord.

Alleluia!

The Gospel According to Matthew 21:33 – 43 ©

This is the Landlord’s Heir: Come, Let Us Kill Him

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people, ‘Listen to another parable. There was a man, a landowner, who planted a vineyard; he fenced it round, dug a winepress in it and built a tower; then he leased it to tenants and went abroad. When vintage time drew near he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his servants, thrashed one, killed another and stoned a third. Next he sent some more servants, this time a larger number, and they dealt with them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them. “They will respect my son” he said. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, “This is the heir. Come on, let us kill him and take over his inheritance.” So they seized him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’ They answered, ‘He will bring those wretches to a wretched end and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will deliver the produce to him when the season arrives.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures:

It was the stone rejected by the builders

that became the keystone.

This was the Lord’s doing

and it is wonderful to see?

‘I tell you, then, that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.’

The Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

A Homily – The Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

First Reading – Ezekiel 18:25-28 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 24(25):4-9 ©

Second Reading – Philippians 2:1-11 ©

Gospel Acclamation – John 14:23

Alternative Acclamation – John 10:27

The Gospel According to Matthew 21:28 – 32 ©

(NJB)

The Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Be mindful of the teachings of the prophet.

As much as we might wish it to be so, divine justice is not an analog of human justice, even when human justice is being represented at its best.

The goodness or wickedness of a human being is not based on the sum of their actions, as if you could measure their merit or weigh them in a scale. The relative values of good and evil are considered in relation to a person’s disposition and orientation to those values.

No human can judge the ultimate value, in terms of good and evil, of any person deeds, including their own. The things we do go out from us and take on a life of their own. Good intentions have harmful consequences, and evil deeds have good ones. This is one of the great mysteries. The things a person does in their life continue to shape the world long after they are gone; what matters in terms of merit or culpability is the intention that motivates the action and the reflection that follows.

Consider the words of the psalmist.

Lift up your spirit and give your life to God, the creator of the universe, to God who has given you everything.

Do not expect God to take sides with you in any conflict, because God loves all of God’s children equally. God does not discriminate. God does not pick favorites.

If you ask God to punish the faithless and the promise breakers, you must know that you are asking God to punish you—yourself.

Pray for wisdom and guidance, knowing that God desires for you be well, but God has made you and all of creation free, God will not intervene in the course of your life.

God is merciful, and God has allowed for your existence even knowing of all your crimes; Giod has known these since the beginning of time. God will forgive you for them but God will not forget them.

Remember; all the ways of God are kindness and mercy.

Walk humbly, love justice, act with mercy and compassion. This is the way of faith, which is trust in the Good News; the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

God is not concerned with glory. Jesus is not interested in having a name above all other names. Jesus is not a price or a king, he was our friend and brother.

Do not worry about bending the knee, just confess the truth that God is love, reflecting the love of God in your own life, in all the things you do.

Love fosters love, but there is always love and God is always with you.

Be mindful of this: the grace of God is not transactional.

Everyone who is, everyone without exception, follows in the way God has set for them, there is no other way. Do not trouble yourself if you do not understand the journey that another person is on, God is guiding them, just as God is guiding you.

If you resist, God will be patient.

If you delay God will wait, as God waits for everyone out of a superabundance of patience, kindness and love.

Believe!

God will not lose a single one of us; none of us will be lost to God. God is with us and there is no place where God is not.

Consider the gospel reading for today, it is a piece of pure politics.

The writers of Matthew’s gospel are making a direct appeal to the remnants of John’s followers, which is a recurring theme in Matthew, who would have us believe that John and Jesus were cousins.

The writers of Matthew are doing everything they can to bring John’s followers into the way, into the new church, both by convincing them that Jesus was the heir to John’s ministry, and by convincing the new church to accept the outcasts, to bring them in and not treat them as outsiders.

The words in the Gospel appear to be directed to the chief priests and elders of the temple, as well as the rabbinical authorities who were the leaders of the synagogues outside of Judea, but at the time Matthew’s gospel is being written they temple had been destroyed and the Jews had been scattered.

In reality these words are being addressed to the leaders of the new church, telling them to make room for the outsider, for the tax collector and the prostitute and the Children of Israel who were fleeing Judea in exile, those remnants of the people looking for safety and comfort in a new home.

First Reading – Ezekiel 18:25-28 ©

When the Sinner Renounces Sin, He Shall Certainly Live

The word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows: ‘You object, “What the Lord does is unjust.” Listen, you House of Israel: is what I do unjust? Is it not what you do that is unjust? When the upright man renounces his integrity to commit sin and dies because of this, he dies because of the evil that he himself has committed. When the sinner renounces sin to become law-abiding and honest, he deserves to live. He has chosen to renounce all his previous sins; he shall certainly live; he shall not die.’

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 24(25):4-9 ©

Remember your mercy, Lord.

Lord, make me know your ways.

  Lord, teach me your paths.

Make me walk in your truth, and teach me:

  for you are God my saviour.

Remember your mercy, Lord.

Remember your mercy, Lord,

  and the love you have shown from of old.

Do not remember the sins of my youth.

  In your love remember me,

  because of your goodness, O Lord.

Remember your mercy, Lord.

The Lord is good and upright.

  He shows the path to those who stray,

He guides the humble in the right path,

  He teaches his way to the poor.

Remember your mercy, Lord.

Second Reading – Philippians 2:1-11 ©

Be United in Your Love

If our life in Christ means anything to you, if love can persuade at all, or the Spirit that we have in common, or any tenderness and sympathy, then be united in your convictions and united in your love, with a common purpose and a common mind. That is the one thing which would make me completely happy. There must be no competition among you, no conceit; but everybody is to be self-effacing. Always consider the other person to be better than yourself, so that nobody thinks of his own interests first but everybody thinks of other people’s interests instead. In your minds you must be the same as Christ Jesus:

His state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave, and became as men are; and being as all men are, he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross.

But God raised him high and gave him the name which is above all other names so that all beings in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld, should bend the knee at the name of Jesus and that every tongue should acclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Gospel Acclamation – John 14:23

Alleluia, alleluia!

If anyone loves me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him.

Alleluia!

Alternative Acclamation – John 10:27

Alleluia, alleluia!

The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice, says the Lord, I know them and they follow me.

Alleluia!

The Gospel According to Matthew 21:28 – 32 ©

Tax Collectors and Prostitutes Are Entering the Kingdom of God Before You

Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people, ‘What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He went and said to the first, “My boy, you go and work in the vineyard today.” He answered, “I will not go,” but afterwards thought better of it and went. The man then went and said the same thing to the second who answered, “Certainly, sir,” but did not go. Which of the two did the father’s will?’ ‘The first’ they said. Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you solemnly, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you, a pattern of true righteousness, but you did not believe him, and yet the tax collectors and prostitutes did. Even after seeing that, you refused to think better of it and believe in him.’

The Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

A Homily – The Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

First Reading – Ecclesiasticus 27:33-28:9 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 102(103):1-4, 9-12 ©

Second Reading – Romans 14:7-9 ©

Gospel Acclamation – 1 Samuel 3:9, John 6:68

Alternative Acclamation – John 13:34

The Gospel According to Matthew 18:21 – 35 ©

(NJB)

The Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Be mindful of the sage, let wisdom points to the way.

Love your neighbor, including the stranger among you. Pray for those who persecute you, forgive and seek forgiveness, accept it when it is offered.

Walk with humility, be merciful and love justice all the days of your life, these are the teaching of Jesus.

Where the author of Ecclesiasticus errs is when he suggests that God keeps account of our sins; the creator of the universe is not a bookkeeper, or a banker. Our lives are not summarized by a double entry ledger, marking our merits and demerits.

The economy of salvation is not a marketplace where we exchange mercy for mercy.

Grace is a gift, and all of God’s children receive it freely.

No one is left out.

Consider the words of the psalmist:

Give thanks to God, for the peace of God’s blessing, for the blessing of life, of freedom, of self-determination and every other aspect of our being that contributes to our personhood.

Give thanks to those who are loving, to the peacemakers and bless them as you are able.

Bless all of God’s children, as God does, love them all, both the good and the bad, the helpful and the harmful, the just and the unjust.

And remember this, God is not a king, God is not a Lord. God does not favor one group over another. God does not intervene in the affairs of human beings.

God, the creator of the universe, God is the God of everything, of everyone, in all places and all times.

God always identifies with us, desires what is good for us and works in subtle ways to bring us toward that end. God is confident of God’s plan and the fulfillment of God’s will, even if we are not.

Listen!

When leaders arise among us we must acknowledge them; when that leadership is pure, and we see that their work is holy we must acknowledge that. Though in acknowledging these things it is important that we do not embellish.

Know this:

God speaks to all people. God speaks in the human heart. God is present to anyone who will listen, but God does not favor some over others, and God does not appear in visions.

In every way, but the way of the hear, God is silent.

This is the good news: God loves you and you are saved. You are not saved for anything that you have done, you did not earn your salvation, you are saved because God loves you.

The promise of salvation is not that you will be spared from suffering and torment in hell, or that when you are judged God will forgive you.

God has already forgiven you. You are already saved.

God has prepared you as God has prepared everyone, for eternal life.

Believe it!

Let the goodness of the promise flow through you now, and start living this life as if it were true.

We are not called to believe in the idea that Jesus is this or that, the Holy One of God, we are called to act on the principles of his faith, to live lives of charity and service to one another.

Love one another.

To follow Jesus is to lead with love.

Love as Jesus loved. Be humble, be merciful, be just.

Be prepared to risk everything for the sake of love, even your life.

In this way you will be true to Jesus, there is no other way.

Faith (which is the trust we place in God); faith is not about words, it is about actions. Faith is not ideology, it is not partisan, it is not dogmatic, it is not doctrinaire. Faith is not a legally binding agreement or a contract. Faith is not concerned with creeds, or secrets, or magic words.

Faith is love.

Consider the gospel for today:

Forgive, be merciful.

Forget every word in this passage except these:

Do not settle on merely forgiving someone seven times, but forgive them seventy-seven times.

Do not place limits on your mercy.

If it is in your power to forgive someone, forgive them.

Forgive your sister and brother, your father and mother, your neighbor, the stranger, even the one who persecuted you.

Forgive them from your heart, and forgive yourself.

Do not be like the servant who receives mercy, and then refuses to be merciful.

Do not be like Peter who time and time again failed to understand the teaching of Jesus.

The writers of Matthew’s Gospel remembered to articulate the endless bounty of Jesus’ compassion. They remembered this and placed that at the beginning of this passage.

Forgive the wrongdoer, Jesus said, not once, not twice, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

They remembered this and then quickly drafted a parable in which the principle actor fails to follow suit, forgiving his servant once, but not a second time.

Follow Jesus, and correct the Church.

First Reading – Ecclesiasticus 27:33-28:9 ©

Forgive Your Neighbour the Hurt He Does You; and When You Pray, Your Sins Will Be Forgiven

Resentment and anger, these are foul things, and both are found with the sinner.

He who exacts vengeance will experience the vengeance of the Lord, who keeps strict account of sin.

Forgive your neighbour the hurt he does you, and when you pray, your sins will be forgiven.

If a man nurses anger against another, can he then demand compassion from the Lord?

Showing no pity for a man like himself, can he then plead for his own sins?

Mere creature of flesh, he cherishes resentment; who will forgive him his sins?

Remember the last things, and stop hating, remember dissolution and death, and live by the commandments.

Remember the commandments, and do not bear your neighbour ill-will; remember the covenant of the Most High, and overlook the offence.

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 102(103):1-4, 9-12 ©

The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy.

My soul, give thanks to the Lord

  all my being, bless his holy name.

My soul, give thanks to the Lord

  and never forget all his blessings.

The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy.

It is he who forgives all your guilt,

  who heals every one of your ills,

who redeems your life from the grave,

  who crowns you with love and compassion.

The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy.

His wrath will come to an end;

  he will not be angry for ever.

He does not treat us according to our sins

  nor repay us according to our faults.

The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy.

For as the heavens are high above the earth

  so strong is his love for those who fear him.

As far as the east is from the west

  so far does he remove our sins.

The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy.

Second Reading – Romans 14:7-9 ©

Alive or Dead, We Belong to the Lord

The life and death of each of us has its influence on others; if we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord, so that alive or dead we belong to the Lord. This explains why Christ both died and came to life: it was so that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Gospel Acclamation – 1 Samuel 3:9, John 6:68

Alleluia, alleluia!

Speak, Lord, your servant is listening: you have the message of eternal life.

Alleluia!

Alternative Acclamation – John 13:34

Alleluia, alleluia!

I give you a new commandment: love one another just as I have loved you, says the Lord.

Alleluia!

The Gospel According to Matthew 18:21 – 35 ©

To Be forgiven, You Must forgive

Peter went up to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? As often as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven times.

‘And so the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who decided to settle his accounts with his servants. When the reckoning began, they brought him a man who owed ten thousand talents; but he had no means of paying, so his master gave orders that he should be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, to meet the debt. At this, the servant threw himself down at his master’s feet. “Give me time” he said “and I will pay the whole sum.” And the servant’s master felt so sorry for him that he let him go and cancelled the debt. Now as this servant went out, he happened to meet a fellow servant who owed him one hundred denarii; and he seized him by the throat and began to throttle him. “Pay what you owe me” he said. His fellow servant fell at his feet and implored him, saying, “Give me time and I will pay you.” But the other would not agree; on the contrary, he had him thrown into prison till he should pay the debt. His fellow servants were deeply distressed when they saw what had happened, and they went to their master and reported the whole affair to him. Then the master sent for him. “You wicked servant,” he said “I cancelled all that debt of yours when you appealed to me. Were you not bound, then, to have pity on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you?” And in his anger the master handed him over to the torturers till he should pay all his debt. And that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart.’

The Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Homily – The Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

First Reading – Ezekiel 33:7-9 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 94(95):1-2, 6-9 ©

Second Reading – Romans 13:8-10 ©

Gospel Acclamation – John 17:17

Alternative Acclamation – 2 Corinthians 5:19

The Gospel According to Matthew 18:15 – 20 ©

(NJB)

The Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Listen to the prophet and be mindful!

We are one family and we are made to love one another, to care for one another, to be watchful and take steps to protect one another. This is what it means to be in community, to live together as a family, and this is what Ezekiel intends to convey.

However, today’s reading makes the mistake of promoting an image of God and God’s justice that deviates from the way Jesus followed and encouraged us to join. Ezekiel’s instinct is to circumscribe God’s love, making God a cruel judge and an executioner rather than a healer.

Consider this wisdom from the psalmist.

It is God who makes us well, who creates in us the possibility of wellbeing.

God is our wellbeing, but God is not a king, and there are no other gods.

All of creation belongs to God, all that is good and all that frightens us, everything comes from God and will redound to the good, ultimately.

It is good that we show our respect for the creator and to sing songs in praise of God, but remember, God is our loving parent, and God has prepared each of us for God’s blessing.

Listen to the apostle when he says that love is the law!

Let the knowledge of the law fill your heart, so that it governs you interpretation of it; love with justice, justice with mercy, love with respect, respect with caring.

Our hearts must always be focused on the other, knowing that God is present in the spirit of our neighbors.

Listen!

You cannot lie and serve God at one and the same time.

The apostle tells us in the simplest of terms that the mission of the church is to announce the reconciliation. Everyone is reconciled in the loving embrace of God, God who created the universe. The members of the church are meant to be ambassadors of this good news.

The church is not, nor should it ever be a recruiting agency, with the purpose of signing up members for whom the reward is reconciliation. The reconciliation has already occurred, it occurred in Christ at the beginning of time.

The mission of the church is to proclaim it.

Consider the Gospel reading for today:

Always be wary of the scriptures that cast Jesus in the role of a litigator, a legislator, as the author the law code. These are the machinations of later generation, writing into the sacred text a justification for the authority they have usurped. They put words into the mouth of Jesus, making both him and themselves into liars.

This is the summary of the reflections Jesus gave on the law:

Love God with all your strength, all your heart and all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.

That is the whole of the law.

The ministry of Jesus was a ministry characterized by mercy. He said do not forgive seven times, but seventy-seven times, and if you go to prayer while there is a conflict between you and your sister or brother, go first to your sister or brother, resolve the conflict, and do not return to prayer until you do.

Every community has a duty to protect itself from dangerous people and predators. Jesus was not suggesting that we keep our doors open to violent, deranged and dangerous people…our hearts yes, but not our doors.

However, if the recalcitrant member of the community is just a stubborn person, or merely argumentative, if they are someone with a different understanding of the faith and the way, and they will not conform to the norms of the community…by all means treat them as Jesus would have treated a pagan or a tax collector, invite them dinner, sit down and eat with them, do not refuse them anything.

This is the way.

Do not believe the Church when it claims to have the authority to free people, or put them in chains, either here or in the world to come. The Church does not have that authority, the disciples did not have that authority. The claim to possess that authority is derived from fear, the fear of losing control over the communities they presided over.

Every single one of us possess the power to forgive, to forgive those who have done us harm, so that the harm they have done ceases to have power over us. We have the power to forgive ourselves…more importantly to accept the forgiveness of those we have harmed, so that our guilt does not continue to be a stain on us, and a determinant of our path in life.

We have both the power and the obligation as followers of the way to do so.

First Reading – Ezekiel 33:7-9 ©

If You do not Speak to the Wicked Man, I Will Hold You Responsible for His Death

The word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows: ‘Son of man, I have appointed you as sentry to the House of Israel. When you hear a word from my mouth, warn them in my name. If I say to a wicked man: Wicked wretch, you are to die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked man to renounce his ways, then he shall die for his sin, but I will hold you responsible for his death. If, however, you do warn a wicked man to renounce his ways and repent, and he does not repent, then he shall die for his sin, but you yourself will have saved your life.’

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 94(95):1-2, 6-9 ©

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

Come, ring out our joy to the Lord;

  hail the rock who saves us.

Let us come before him, giving thanks,

  with songs let us hail the Lord.

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

Come in; let us bow and bend low;

  let us kneel before the God who made us:

for he is our God and we

  the people who belong to his pasture,

  the flock that is led by his hand.

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

O that today you would listen to his voice!

  ‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,

  as on that day at Massah in the desert

when your fathers put me to the test;

  when they tried me, though they saw my work.’

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

Second Reading – Romans 13:8-10 ©

Your Only Debt Should be the Debt of Mutual Love

Avoid getting into debt, except the debt of mutual love. If you love your fellow men you have carried out your obligations. All the commandments: You shall not commit adultery, you shall not kill, you shall not steal, you shall not covet, and so on, are summed up in this single command: You must love your neighbour as yourself. Love is the one thing that cannot hurt your neighbour; that is why it is the answer to every one of the commandments.

Gospel Acclamation – John 17:17

Alleluia, alleluia!

Your word is truth, O Lord: consecrate us in the truth.

Alleluia!

Alternative Acclamation – 2 Corinthians 5:19

Alleluia, alleluia!

God in Christ was reconciling the world to himself, and he has entrusted to us the news that they are reconciled.

Alleluia!

The Gospel According to Matthew 18:15 – 20 ©

If your Brother Listens to you, you Have Won Back your Brother

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘If your brother does something wrong, go and have it out with him alone, between your two selves. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you: the evidence of two or three witnesses is required to sustain any charge. But if he refuses to listen to these, report it to the community; and if he refuses to listen to the community, treat him like a pagan or a tax collector.

‘I tell you solemnly, whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.

  ‘I tell you solemnly once again, if two of you on earth agree to ask anything at all, it will be granted to you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them.’

The Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

A Homily – The Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

First Reading – Isaiah 56:1, 6-7 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 66(67):2-3, 5-6, 8 ©

Second Reading – Romans 11:13-15, 29-32 ©

Gospel Acclamation – John 10:27

Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 4:23

The Gospel According to Matthew 15:21 – 28 ©

 

(NJB)

 

The Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

 

 

Listen!

 

This is the promise of God, the creator of the universe. God promises to save all people.

 

It is God’s will that all people come to the mountain Isaiah spoke to us about, God will’s that we all ascend it, take a seat at the table and ,make the holy offering of our lives to God, a sacred gift to be shared with all.

 

Be mindful, the conditions that the prophet sets out for a seat at the table, are conditions that God fully intends for everyone of God’s children to meet.

 

God will lead the way, have no fear.

 

We cannot exhaust the patience of the divine; the integrity of God is everlasting.

 

Consider the words of the psalmist:

 

The psalmist is right to ask God to bless all peoples and all nations; to have pity and to merciful, as we pray we look forward to the promise of God fulfilled.

 

Know this!

 

God is not confined to one place, nor to one time, neither does God belong to one people, one nation, one church or one tribe.

 

God, who created the universe, God is the God of everyone.

 

Praise the fairness of God; ask for God’s blessing, not just four yourself but for everyone.

 

Be mindful of the meandering mind of the apostle.

 

Saint Paul often allows himself to wander into legalisms that distract us from the way, erecting barriers to the faith and hope which enkindle love and light the path that Jesus set before us.

 

Skip across the mire, do not get bogged down in these tricks of the mind, look to the other side of the morass and see this, the essential truth:

 

It is god’s will to show mercy to every human being. God, the creator of the universe intends to save us all.

 

Know this!

 

The sheep do not choose the shepherd; the shepherd who chooses the sheep.

 

Everything and everyone belongs to the divine, the divine essence infuses everything and the words indwells us all.

 

There is just the one shepherd, one sheepfold.

 

Listen for the voice of the shepherd and do not trouble yourself with how the shepherd speaks to you, in what language, in what text. Do not concern yourselves with how the shepherd speaks to your sister or your brother, to your neighbors or the stranger; know that the shepherd speaks to them to, and they listen as they are able.

 

Everyone who is, everyone without exception follows in the way of God, there is no other way. Do not trouble yourself if you do not understand the journey that another person is on, God is guiding them, just as God is guiding you.

 

If you resist God will be patient; if you resist God will wait for you, just as God waits for everyone. The God of Jesus Christ, the good shepherd, the God of all people, the God of creation, our God is love; love is patient and love is kind.

 

Have faith!

 

God will not lose a single one of us. Neither will any one of us lose God. No matter what; God is with us.

 

There is not place, not a single place where God is not.

 

Be mindful of the scriptures, especially when the authors are attempting to fit their narrative of the life of Jesus into a picture that makes it look as if he is fulfilling a prediction made by a prophet from past ages.

 

In these cases the literal story is always false and cannot be relied on for anything, even to provision a metaphor, if a narrative rests on false foundation even an allegory which comes from it should be treated guardedly.

 

This is the truth, the future is not predetermined, it never has been and it never will be.

 

God, the creator of the universe made us, and creation free.

 

Prophets only speak of the future for two reasons; to engender hope and to warn of danger, there is no other purpose and there is no predictive power in it.

 

The words of a prophet are always addressed to the people in their own time, in their own place. Prophecy is never meant to guide the lives of future generations, except in cases when the prophet is addressing an issue of universal truth, such as the nature of justice itself, which is unchanging.

 

Consider the Gospel reading for today:

 

There are multiple currents taking place in this passage.

 

Note well, this is the only place in any of the Gospels, in all of the scriptures where Jesus is rebuked and corrected by another person.

 

The woman pleads to Jesus as the son of God for aid and is among the first people in the entire gospel narrative to recognize Jesus as King, and the Son of David.

 

Also of enormous significance is the fact that the person who corrects him is a woman, and she is not Jewish, she is not instructed in the law and yet she knows better than Jesus how his gifts are to be directed.

 

Pay attention to the disciples. They uncharacteristically call for Jesus to give the woman what she asks for. However, they are not moved by the spirit of love and mercy, but rather they bothered by her, and her insistence.

 

For his part Jesus is not inclined to give in to her demands; he refuses her, stating in error that his mission and his gifts are only intended for his fellow Israelites.

 

Then the woman asks again for his help.

 

Jesus responds by comparing her to a dog, stating that it would not be right to take food away from the children of Israel and give it to the unworthy.

 

At this point she corrects Jesus; she humbly accepts being likened to a dog, and uses the analogy to make her point, stating that even dogs are fed scraps from their master’s hand beneath the table.

 

Jesus stands corrected and remarks on the strength of her faith, suggesting to the disciples that because her faith is so strong she will receive the gift she has asked for, a gift of healing for her daughter.

 

Here the gospel writers get it wrong, again, make the entire matter transactional: a demonstration of faith in exchange for the miracle.

 

Know this!

 

God, the creator of the universe does not offer God’s favor in exchange for anything. God gives because God loves. God loves all people. God loves all of God’s children without exception, without qualification.

 

 

First Reading – Isaiah 56:1, 6-7 ©

 

I Will Bring Foreigners to My Holy Mountain

 

Thus says the Lord: Have a care for justice, act with integrity, for soon my salvation will come and my integrity be manifest.

 

Foreigners who have attached themselves to the Lord to serve him and to love his name and be his servants – all who observe the sabbath, not profaning it, and cling to my covenant – these I will bring to my holy mountain. I will make them joyful in my house of prayer. Their holocausts and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar, for my house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.

 

 

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 66(67):2-3, 5-6, 8 ©

 

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

 

O God, be gracious and bless us

and let your face shed its light upon us.

So will your ways be known upon earth

and all nations learn your saving help.

 

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

 

Let the nations be glad and exult

for you rule the world with justice.

With fairness you rule the peoples,

you guide the nations on earth.

 

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

 

Let the peoples praise you, O God;

let all the peoples praise you.

May God still give us his blessing

till the ends of the earth revere him.

 

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

 

 

Second Reading – Romans 11:13-15, 29-32 ©

 

With Israel, God Never Takes Back His Gifts or Revokes His Choice

 

Let me tell you pagans this: I have been sent to the pagans as their apostle, and I am proud of being sent, but the purpose of it is to make my own people envious of you, and in this way save some of them. Since their rejection meant the reconciliation of the world, do you know what their admission will mean? Nothing less than a resurrection from the dead! God never takes back his gifts or revokes his choice.

 

Just as you changed from being disobedient to God, and now enjoy mercy because of their disobedience, so those who are disobedient now – and only because of the mercy shown to you – will also enjoy mercy eventually. God has imprisoned all men in their own disobedience only to show mercy to all mankind.

 

 

Gospel Acclamation – John 10:27

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice, says the Lord, I know them and they follow me.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 4:23

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

Jesus proclaimed the Good News of the kingdom and cured all kinds of sickness among the people.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

The Gospel According to Matthew 15:21 – 28 ©

 

The Canaanite Woman Debates with Jesus and Saves Her Daughter

 

Jesus left Gennesaret and withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. Then out came a Canaanite woman from that district and started shouting, ‘Sir, Son of David, take pity on me. My daughter is tormented by a devil.’ But he answered her not a word. And his disciples went and pleaded with him. ‘Give her what she wants,’ they said ‘because she is shouting after us.’ He said in reply, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.’ But the woman had come up and was kneeling at his feet. ‘Lord,’ she said ‘help me.’ He replied, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs.’ She retorted, ‘Ah yes, sir; but even house-dogs can eat the scraps that fall from their master’s table.’ Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, you have great faith. Let your wish be granted.’ And from that moment her daughter was well again.

 

 

The Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

 

A Homily – The Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

First Reading – 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 118(119):57, 72, 76-77, 127-130 ©

Second Reading – Romans 8:28-30 ©

Gospel Acclamation – John 5:15

Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 11:25

The Gospel According to Matthew 13:44 – 52 ©

 

(NJB)

 

The Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

 

 

Be mindful when you read the sacred text, there is a great deal of propaganda and untruth in it. Sometimes there are outright lies, not merely misinterpretation of history, or the mythologization of narrative, but deliberate prevarication.

 

This text from the Book First book of Kings is propaganda, but not the worse sort.

 

Consider this:

 

It is well known that Solomon was actually a despot. He enslaved his people and broke their backs with labor. Because of his malign rule the kingdom of David fell apart in the generation following him dividing into two.

 

Solomon was not the wisest and he was not the richest. He was a spoiled child who ascended to a throne and abused it, misusing his power and authority, squandering his wealth, and treating the people unjustly.

 

Know this: The reading speaks the truth on one point, when it says that discernment and wisdom are more valuable than gold and riches it is echoing the voice of God that speaks in the heart of everyone.

 

Pay attention to the psalmist! Shake the scriptures free from lies.

 

We are free in the world and the world itself is free, God does not intervene in our affairs and the future has not been determined.

 

Have faith in the mercy of God, for even though the future is not set, God’s mercy has no bounds.

 

Follow the teaching of God, live a life of justice and humility. Judge the decrees of men and determine for yourself what their worth is.

 

If you are looking for salvation, turn around; salvation has already found you.

 

God is equally good to all people, because God loves all people, the good and the bad alike, the lawful and the unlawful alike.

 

Know this!

 

God is not responsible for your suffering; you are.

 

Taking peace in God’s refuge merely makes enduring the suffering of the world easier, following God’s command means that you live your life in a way which strives to reduce the suffering of others.

 

Protect yourself from the proud and the dishonest, from other criminals, but love them as God loves them; love them because they are God’s children, they are your sister’s and brother’s.

 

The consolation that will come from God; will not come in this life.

 

Do not make the mistake of believing that the good things or the bad things that you experience, or that are experienced by others come in some way at the direction of God, the creator of the Universe.

 

God does not involve God’s self in human affairs. When people claim to be favored by God, they are lying, first to themselves, then to everyone else.

 

Be mindful.

 

God’s law isd simple, love thy neighbor, any other decree must be in synchrony with this, and written as a foot note to it. A law is just, only insofar as it is merciful and demonstrates compassion.

 

Those who fear God, do not understand God, if they are speaking to you of the fear of God, they are communicating their doubt and mistrust of God. Either that or they are pretenders, claiming to speak for God when they do not, and asking you to fear them.

 

If you strive for righteousness and justice, do so in the knowledge that you will fall short of the mark. Have mercy on those who also fall short.

 

Be wary of your own pride, especially when you assume a special place because you proclaim to love God, because you go around telling people that you follow God’s ways.

 

This is the statute of God: Love, love your neighbor as yourself, serve God in serving them.

 

Do not look to God to prevent you from breaking the law, God has made you free, God promises to love you in your errors.

 

Know this!

 

Love is better than gold.

 

If you hate deception, hate first the deception that lies within yourself.

 

God; the creator of the universe, God is light, and God is warmth, God is a God of love. Love God in return and demonstrate that love through the care you have for your sisters and brothers, your neighbor and the stranger in your midst.

 

Give thanks to God for being made a vessel of love, capable of receiving love and capable of sharing it.

 

Consider the words of the apostle and remember; we are all created in the divine image.

 

Remember this as well; we are all children of God.

 

Each of us carries a seed of the Word within us, and where God is, God is there fully.

 

Each of us were called from the beginning of time. When we were called, we were called as we are; sinful and compromised, but in a state of becoming.

 

We were called to be justified.

 

God does not merely co-operate with those who love God, God co-operates with all of those whom God loves, and God, the creator of the universe, God loves everyone.

 

Know this:

 

There is no condition on the friendship Jesus offers to the children of God; we are friends because God loves us, our friendship to Jesus comes from the superabundance of love that Jesus bore toward all human beings, not the love of a lord but the love of a friend and brother.

 

The teachings of Jesus cannot be treated like a shell game, though they often are, and they have been since the beginning, as Matthew’s Gospel illustrates.

 

The way of Jesus is not a long con, it is not a bait and switch, it is a simple teaching that cannot be controlled or owned by any one group of people.

 

Consider the Gospel reading for today.

 

The authors of Matthew’s Gospel should have stopped there writing with the good news, the really good news as it was presented in the first two examples of what the God’s garden is like.

 

It is the most priceless thing, it is to be guarded, protected, invested in, like a field with a hidden treasure or a pearl of great value.

 

God’s garden is like a fisherman’s net, full of a great and diverse quantity of fish, none of which are set aside for destruction.

 

Every fish will encounter God’s fire, the drying heat, the broiling pan, every person will encounter the fire as well, but know this, in scripture, fire is always an image of our encounter with God.

 

Every fish will be kissed by the flame of the Holy Spirit, everything and everyone it touches will be changed.

 

God’s fire may be like a blazing furnace, but the fire refines, rather than destroys.

 

The refining process may be painful, there may be weeping, but after the tears there will be joy.

 

 

First Reading – 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12 ©

 

Solomon Chooses the Gift of Wisdom

 

The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, ‘Ask what you would like me to give you.’ Solomon replied, ‘O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in succession to David my father. But I am a very young man, unskilled in leadership. Your servant finds himself in the midst of this people of yours that you have chosen, a people so many its number cannot be counted or reckoned. Give your servant a heart to understand how to discern between good and evil, for who could govern this people of yours that is so great?’ It pleased the Lord that Solomon should have asked for this. ‘Since you have asked for this’ the Lord said ‘and not asked for long life for yourself or riches or the lives of your enemies, but have asked for a discerning judgement for yourself, here and now I do what you ask. I give you a heart wise and shrewd as none before you has had and none will have after you.’

 

 

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 118(119):57, 72, 76-77, 127-130 ©

 

Lord, how I love your law!

 

My part, I have resolved, O Lord,

is to obey your word.

The law from your mouth means more to me

than silver and gold.

 

Lord, how I love your law!

 

Let your love be ready to console me

by your promise to your servant.

Let your love come and I shall live

for your law is my delight.

 

Lord, how I love your law!

 

That is why I love your commands

more than finest gold,

why I rule my life by your precepts,

and hate false ways.

 

Lord, how I love your law!

 

Your will is wonderful indeed;

therefore I obey it.

The unfolding of your word gives light

and teaches the simple.

 

Lord, how I love your law!

 

 

Second Reading – Romans 8:28-30 ©

 

Those He Called, He Justified

 

We know that by turning everything to their good, God co-operates with all those who love him, with all those he has called according to his purpose. They are the ones he chose specially long ago and intended to become true images of his Son, so that his Son might be the eldest of many brothers. He called those he intended for this; those he called he justified, and with those he justified he shared his glory.

 

 

Gospel Acclamation – John 5:15

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

I call you friends, says the Lord,

because I have made known to you

everything I have learnt from my Father.

 

Alleluia!

 

Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 11:25

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

Blessed are you, Father,

Lord of heaven and earth,

for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom

to mere children.kingdom.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

The Gospel According to Matthew 13:44 – 52 ©

 

He Sells Everything He Owns and Buys the Field

 

Jesus said to the crowds, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off happy, sells everything he owns and buys the field.

 

‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls; when he finds one of great value he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it.

 

‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea that brings in a haul of all kinds. When it is full, the fishermen haul it ashore; then, sitting down, they collect the good ones in a basket and throw away those that are no use. This is how it will be at the end of time: the angels will appear and separate the wicked from the just to throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.

‘Have you understood all this?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ And he said to them, ‘Well then, every scribe who becomes a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out from his storeroom things both new and old.’

 

 

The Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)