The most difficult times can produce the greatest spiritual blessings. God truly knows just what we need at every moment!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

XXVI Sunday in ordinary time - C

Penitential rite:

Lord Jesus, you became poor so that we might be made rich, Lord have mercy,
Christ Jesus, you teach us to recognize you in the poor, Christ have mercy,
Lord Jesus, you invite us to share our wealth, Lord have mercy,

May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and brig us to everlasting life. Amen.

Amos 6:1, 4-7; 1 Timothy 6:11-16; Luke 16:19-31

Wealth and richness is neither a sin, nor a crime, but is a very dangerous sickness, causing blindness.

Jesus is concerned with both, rich and poor -- and perhaps more with the rich since the poor are less in danger! God wants to save the rich from their wealth.

The brick

A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar. He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something. As his car passed, no children appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag's side door! He slammed on the brakes and backed the Jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown.

The angry driver then jumped out of the car, grabbed the nearest kid and pushed him up against a parked car shouting,

"What was that all about and who are you? Just what the heck are you doing? That's a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Why did you do it?"

The young boy was apologetic.
"Please, mister...please, I'm sorry but I didn't know what else to do," He pleaded.

"I threw the brick because no one else would stop...."

With tears dripping down his face and off his chin, the youth pointed to a spot just around a parked car. "It's my brother, "he said "He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can't lift him up." Now sobbing, the boy asked the stunned executive, "Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He's hurt and he's too heavy for me."

Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He hurriedly lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out a linen handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh scrapes and cuts. A quick look told him everything was going to be okay.

"Thank you and may God bless you," the grateful child told the stranger.

Too shook up for words, the man simply watched the boy push his wheelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk toward their home. It was a long, slow walk back to the Jaguar. The damage was very noticeable, but the driver never bothered to repair the dented side door. He kept the dent there to remind him of this message:

"Don't go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention!"

Some shameful statistics from the book of Patrick Viveret: “Reconsidérer la richesse”

Money can lead man into blind selfishness. How blind we are?

• We need 6 billion dollars yearly to assure the education for all children in the world who are not yet in school
• At the same time only in Europe, people spend annually 8 billion dollars on perfumes.
• Nearly 1 billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names.
• The world needs 13 billion dollars annually to feed all who are hungry
• At the same time in the USA, 25 billion dollars is spent each year on pet food

• Each day some 30 thousand children under the age of 5 are dying due to poverty. That is about 210,000 children each week, or just under 11 million children under five years of age, each year.
• Each day in France with a population of 63 million, 60 thousand tons of food goes to the garbage

Global Priority $U.S. (Billions)
Basic education for all 6 billion
Water and sanitation for all 9 billion
Reproductive health care for all 12 billion
Basic health and nutrition 13 billion
Total 40 billion
Military spending in the world 780 billion
only in USA 550 billion

• The world is able to feed the population of 16 billion people (currently we are about 6 billion)
• The problem is not overpopulation but the unequal distribution of goods.
• “The problem is not in demography but in lack of ethics” (Pope John Paul II)

20% of the population in the developed nations consumes 86% of the world’s goods.

Military spending in the world – 780 billion dollars
Drugs – 400 billion dollars
Alcohol (only in Europe) – 105 billion
Cigarettes (only in Europe) – 50 billion
Leisure (only in Japan) – 35 billion
Pet’s food only in USA – 25 billion

To feed all hungry during a year – 13 billion

Perfumes in USA and in Europe – 12 billion
Ice-cream only in Europe – 11 billion

Water for all in the world who don’t have it yet – 9 billion
School for all children who are not yet in school- 6 billion

In your lifetime you received all good things … what did you do with them?

It’s an important and very challenging question.

Prayer of the faithful:

The failure of the rich man to come to the aid of the poor man Lazarus is a call for all of us to recognise that our neighbour is anyone and everyone in need. On this Social Justice Sunday we pray for a true spirit of justice and mercy within the human family

Lord Jesus, you have made every man, woman and child, your neighbor, worthy of your love. Help us to embrace one another in the spirit of your universal and unconditional love, for you are Lord, for ever and ever.

Monday, September 24, 2007

25 Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle C
Amos 8:4-7; 1Timothy 2:1-8; Luke 16:1-13

Penitential Rite:

• Lord Jesus, you called St Matthew to be your Apostle, give us the courage to follow you like he did it, Lord, have mercy.
• Christ Jesus, you invite us to be your witnesses, give us the wisdom to be able to avoid the temptations, Christ, have mercy.
• Lord Jesus, you make us a Church, reunite us around the table of your Word and your Body, Lord, have mercy.

May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and brig us to everlasting life. Amen.


Reading 1 - Am 8:4-7

Hear this, you who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land! “When will the new moon be over,” you ask, “that we may sell our grain, and the sabbath, that we may display the wheat? We will diminish the ephah, add to the shekel, and fix our scales for cheating! We will buy the lowly for silver, and the poor for a pair of sandals; even the refuse of the wheat we will sell!” The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob: Never will I forget a thing they have done!

Reading II - 1 Tm 2:1-8
Beloved: First of all, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth. For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as ransom for all. This was the testimony at the proper time. For this I was appointed preacher and apostle — I am speaking the truth, I am not lying —, teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument.

Gospel - Lk 16:1-13 or 16:10-13
Jesus said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward who was reported to him for squandering his property. He summoned him and said, ‘What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward.’ The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do, now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me? I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg. I know what I shall do so that, when I am removed from the stewardship, they may welcome me into their homes.’ He called in his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note. Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’ Then to another the steward said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘One hundred kors of wheat.’ The steward said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note; write one for eighty.’ And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently. “For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours? No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon.”


Thus, the lesson to be drawn from this parable is that the followers of Jesus must also act prudently in regard to their own future prospects.

"Use your worldly wealth to win friends for yourselves, so that when money is a thing of the past, you may be received into an eternal home." How many of us do this????

Somebody might have this in mind when he said, "God has given us two hands - one to receive with and the other to give with."

The epitaph found on an English grave. "What I kept I lost. What I spent I had. What I gave I have."

We might do well to reflect from time to time on this message from the Talmud while we still have the time. "We are born with our hands clenched. We die with our hands open. Entering life we desire to grasp everything. Leaving the world all that we possess slips away."

The dishonest steward reminds us of something that is deep in our Catholic tradition. Back in the fourth century St. John Chrysostom said: "Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs."

The world needs 13 billion dollars to feed all who are hungry, at the same time (only in USA) food for the pets costs 25 billion dollars each year.

So, the wealthy Christians in USA are spending twice as much for the food for pets as the whole world needs for feed the hungry. "Use your worldly wealth to win friends for yourselves …”

Each day around 30 000 (30 thousand) children under the age of 5 is dying due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.” That is about 210,000 children each week, or just under 11 million children under five years of age, each year.

- each day only in France with the population of 63 million 60 000 (60 thousand) tons of food goes to garbage

- how much does it in your household?

What did you do with your wealth?

So many are driven to get rich. What's wrong with being rich? people ask. Catholics can be, and sometimes are, very rich. But, by definition, no one can really become rich without (many) others being made or kept poor. To be defined as rich in our society means having more, much more, than the average person.

So the question of a successful life is not "How much did you make?" but "How did you use what you had to creative purposes for the general welfare of all?" That is the way to make the friends Jesus talks about in the Gospel.

God’s word has called on us to get life in balance, so that we do not make gods out of money or possessions, but rather, that we seek ways to serve the needy with justice and love.

Lord, show us your mercy and grant us your salvation now and forever through Christ our Lord. Amen

Saturday, September 15, 2007

08/09 – September, 2007 - 23 SUNDAY - C

Lord Jesus, You invite is to follow you in the sincerity of our hearts,
Lord, have mercy.
Christ Jesus, advise us to make a sincere revision of our lives,
Christ, have mercy.
Lord Jesus, ask us to go further than our human capacities,
Lord, have mercy.

May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and brig us to everlasting life. Amen.


Wisdom 9:13-18; Philemon 9b,12-17; Luke 14:25-33

"GREAT CROWDS ACCOMPANIED JESUS on his way..." During his public life, Jesus had some of the star quality that we recognize in personalities who capture the public's imagination. It seems natural that the crowds following Jesus were sensation seekers. They were out to get something from Jesus, not altogether unlike some of those who today converge in large numbers wherever some modern "miracle" or "apparition" has been reported. And, indeed, how many of us look on God or Jesus as someone to turn to when we want something we cannot get ourselves?

Challenging words

With the people in today's Gospel Jesus suddenly stops in his tracks. He turns round and says words that were quite shocking to his hearers and sound pretty harsh to us too: "If anyone comes to me without hating father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes, and his own life, that person cannot be my follower/disciple." The Jews, like a number of other ethnic communities, are recognized for their close family ties. What were they and what are we to make of such an extraordinary statement? And surely we have an incomprehensible contradiction here. Jesus, who tells us to love our enemies, now tells us to hate our nearest and dearest! Is this the same Jesus who cured the mother-in-law of Peter? The same Jesus who told the story of the Good Samaritan? The same Jesus who enjoyed the hospitality of his good friends, Mary and Martha?

I suppose the majority of us follow a lifestyle largely dictated by the surrounding culture and our goals are the goals of that culture and, somewhere on the side, we try to fit in some aspects of Christian living. In most of our modern, urban societies that lifestyle is for the most part competitive, consumerist and materialistic. We would not want our Christianity to get in the way of that. But it is precisely to people like us that Jesus is speaking..

It is quite obvious from the overall context of Luke's gospel that Jesus could not mean us literally to hate our parents, brothers and sisters. Nor does Jesus literally mean us to hate our own lives. People who feel that way effectively commit suicide. (Hate and the anger and violence that it produces are the product of fear.) On the contrary we are called to have love and compassion for every single person, irrespective of who they are or what their relationship may be to us. True love casts out fear. What Jesus is saying today is putting in another way what we have already seen in discussing other passages, such as, the story of the Good Samaritan and the Lord's Prayer.

“Those who come to me
cannot be my disciples
unless they love me more than they love
father and mother, wife and children,
brothers and sisters, and themselves as well.”

These words of Jesus are simply a irrespective way of saying that our priority in life must be to Jesus and to his work of completing God’s kingdom on earth.

They are simply a provocative way of saying that as followers of Jesus; our responsibility extends beyond our flesh-and-blood family to the entire human family.

They are simply a provocative way of saying that if we want to follow Jesus, we must follow him not only into church on Sunday morning but also into the marketplace on Monday morning and during the whole week as well.

Because: “The Lord is first, my family and my friends are second, and I am third.’’

Sunday, September 02, 2007

01/02 – September 2007 - 22 Sunday - C

Penitential rite:
God invites us to this Eucharistic banquet. Let us ready ourselves to be gracious and grateful guests …

• Lord Jesus, you are our heavenly Food ands Drink: Lord, have mercy,
• Christ Jesus, you lift up the lowly, Christ, have mercy,
• Lord Jesus, you offer us the wisdom of humility, Lord, have mercy,

Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29; Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24a; Luke 14:1, 7-14

“My child, conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts. Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God.” –

These words from the first reading are absolutely not for our world. We can protest and say it’s not for the contemporary world full of the competitions of "the rat race”.

But today's Gospel contains two teachings of similar styles. Both start with when, "When you go to a banquet" or " When you give a banquet." Both have a cautioning phrase, "Don't sit at a high place, lest you be put down," and "Don't put out a spread for the rich to impress them, lest you already receive your reward." Both have the same teaching, "But when..."

The Lord is not playing Miss Manners. He is not afraid to say something important in a direct and politically incorrect way. He's not giving lessons in proper etiquette. He is teaching us the proper way to view ourselves and others. He is teaching us about honor, respect, and, particularly, about humility.

A number of years ago there was a terrible article in T.V. Guide entitled "You are where you sit." Part of it is as follows:

“In Hollywood you are where you sit. This is called power seating. A strategically placed table indicates to the community your prominent and important position in the industry. It’s so important that one major studio assigns a full time PR person to make sure the studio doesn't play second fiddle to anyone. One television producer has his secretary call before a meal and politely notes that if the table isn't in the right place, her boss won't go. One producer put it this way, ‘Information is power. I don't want to be seen seated with two dentists and three veterinarians. It ruins my image and they have nothing to offer me.’ You are where you sit and with whom you eat dinner.”

Put both dinner instructions (this one of Jesus and those from Hollywood) together and we have, enough:

- recognize the presence of the Lord in ourselves and in others and honor that presence.
- This is Christian humility. Humility is rejoicing in who we all are before the Lord.
- If we live this way then, the humble, will be exalted by the Lord. As the prophet Micah put it:
"All the Lord wants from us is to do justice and love kindness and to walk humbly before our God."

This is the wisdom Jesus is teaching us … a wisdom which seems unreachable to our contemporaries and to so many of us.