Saturday, November 25, 2017

11-26-17 -- Christ Our King, Year A

Nov. 26, 2017 - Christ Our King, Year A 
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church

Jesus paints a picture of the final judgment for us. There is a king seated on a throne surrounded by angels.

The king is judging and the judgment requires a separation into two groups: sheep and goats.

Sheep are domesticated. They are able to follow the voice of the shepherd. Goats, on the other hand, are undomesticated. They are unruly. They cannot follow.

So the final judgment Jesus describes is very simply about those who are willing to follow and those who are not.

And to be honest, Jesus is showing us God’s tenderness and mercy. And in showing us God’s everlasting merciful love, God sets the bar pretty low.

And for that we should be eternally grateful. For that, we should be willing to make an even greater effort.

If you notice, Jesus is not judging sins against purity. We usually put those sins at the top of our judging list.

Rather, look at what Jesus puts the top of the list: sins against charity, the corporal works of mercy.

Feed the hungry. Give drink to the thirsty. Shelter the homeless. Visit the sick or those in prison. Bury the dead. Clothe the naked or give arms to the poor.

What we do for the least among us, we do for Jesus. And why do for Jesus? Listen again to what the Prophet Ezekiel says Jesus does for us.

I will look after and tend my sheep. I will rescue them when they are scattered. I will seek them out when they are lost. I will bring them back. I will bind them up. I will heal them.

The Lord Jesus, Christ our King, is tender and kind and merciful and loving to those who follow him.

Let us pledge during this holiday season, to listen more carefully to his voice and to be more attentive to the least in our midst.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

11-19-17 -- 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Nov. 19, 2017 - 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A 
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church

The writer of the book of Proverbs says that a worthy wife has value far beyond pearls. Pearls are very expensive. There are precious. They are prized possessions. Is it just a worthy wife that the writer is saying is so valuable?

Or could the writer be giving us an example? Could the writer also be talking about a worthy husband, or a worthy son or daughter, or even a worthy friend?

Love, appreciation, generosity, charm, helpfulness and kindness are all prized possessions. These characteristics are precious.

We all want that. We want to be that. I want to be a worthy pastor. I am not, but I want to be.

You want to be a worthy friend or a great wife or a treasured husband. Yes?

Yes, of course. In reality, maybe not so much, but deep inside that is what we want. There is a desire. Or at least there should be.

The Psalmist sings, blessed are those who walk in the ways of the Lord. They shall be fruitful.

We want to be fruitful. Better yet, Jesus wants us to be fruitful. That’s why he tells us the parable of the talents.

Jesus has called us and entrusted his possessions to us. Our children, our husbands, our wives, our parents, this parish church. These are very precious to the Lord.

So what do we do with these? This is very important. We have been entrusted with much. We cannot say peace and security. I will sit back and do nothing for everything has been taken care of for me.

No. We must be vigilant and take good care of the possessions Jesus has given to us. Of course we are not there yet. We are not yet worthy wives. We are not yet worthy husbands. We are not yet worthy friends. We are not yet worthy children. We are not yet worthy pastors.

But that’s no reason for us to stop trying. We are on our way and the effort we make is never overlooked or tossed aside. And we must continue to struggle to do better. Jesus has entrusted his very own possessions to us, and we must work vigilantly to be good stewards.

So that when the time comes, Jesus will say to us as he said to so many before us, well done my good and faithful servant.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

11-05-17 -- 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Nov. 5, 2017 - 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A 
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church

The Scribes and the Pharisees want to be noticed. They want seats of honor. They want fancy titles. Look at me, I’m important. I’m somebody.

They are puffed up and full of themselves. They are arrogant and boastful. They want others to bow down and defer to them.

But Jesus says don’t be like that. Don’t follow their example. Be humble instead.

Humility is having a modest view of our own importance. Humility is freedom from pride and arrogance.

But humility is not weakness. Humility requires character and strength. It is more difficult to be humble than it is to be arrogant.

The proud always want to do something that will gain the admiration of others. However, one who is secure does not need to gain the admiration of others. One who is secure is free to do what is good and right and just.

So a humble person is a happy person. A humble people is thankful. A humble person is helpful. A humble person is tender. A humble person is kind.

Humble people don’t feel a need to boast and to brag. Humble people put others before themselves. Humble people see everyone as equal.

The Pharisees and the Scribes are not humble. They think they are better than everyone else. Jesus says don’t be like them.

Jesus says, be humble and be kind.