Generosity of God…
In the classic “Charlie Brown Christmas Special,” Sally is writing a letter to Santa Claus and in the process generates an enormous list of toys she wants. Then at the conclusion of her North Pole-bound letter she writes, “But if that is too much to carry, just send cash.” When Charlie Brown sees this and despairs over his own sister’s greed, Sally indignantly responds, “All I want is my fair share. All I want is what I have coming to me.”
The readings for this weekend are all about a sense of human justice, contrasted with the extravagant grace of a compassionate and loving God. The first reading is from the last chapter (55) of the second Isaiah. The second Isaiah is written end of the Babylonian exile. It explains the unconditional promise of redemption. Today’s first reading Isaiah reminds us that God doesn’t think in the same way that we do. God is more merciful than we are. The Lord God says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways.”
The Gospel reading is “parable of workers in the Vineyard.” We see a generous landlord. The Kingdom of Heaven, says Jesus, is like a landowner who goes out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. Those days it was used for people who come to the town and wait for someone to call them for work. They were entirely at the mercy of chance employment. Also, the weather plays a very crucial role during the harvesting time. So it is normal the landlord goes to get people as much as possible. Their day started at 6 AM, so the workers agree to work for the usual daily wage, which is one Denarius. At nine AM, he rounds up another group. At noon, he recruits the third team, and then at three o'clock, a fourth. Finally, at 5 PM, he finds still more laborers who are willing and able to work. He sends them into the vineyard to do what they can before sundown. As the day ends, the landowner instructs his manager to pay one denarius each, the daily living wage, to all the workers, beginning with those who started at five in the afternoon.
It sounds unfair, isn’t it? If we want to understand this passage, we need to read the last part of the previous Chapter. Matthew chapter 19:21, Jesus said to a rich man, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. Then Peter asks, (27) “We have given up everything and followed you. What will be for us?” Jesus promised them ‘hundred times more’ then he said, (30) “Many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.” Even though Jesus promised a hundred times more to his disciples, this parable is a warning for them.
This parable should also be applied to our view of our relationship to God. God loves the person who is faithful throughout the day. His loves cradle Catholics who practice their faith throughout their lives. He also loves those who come to him during the day and even in the evening. Many people respond to God’s mercy at the end of their lives. God loves them for taking a huge step away from their former lives and for falling into the arms of His Mercy. We cannot impose our ways on the Lord. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.”
Thank you! We reached the goal of the rectory roof project because of your generosity. I would like to express gratitude to all those who participated in our raffle and to all those who made generous donations to this fundraising. Thank you!
The day after 9/11, Pope John Paul II on his Wednesday address to the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square said, “I cannot begin this audience without expressing my profound sorrow at the terrorist attacks which yesterday brought death and destruction to America, causing thousands of victims and injuring countless people…Yesterday was a dark day in the history of humanity, a terrible affront to human dignity. After receiving the news, I followed with intense concern the developing situation, with heartfelt prayers to the Lord. How is it possible to commit acts of such savage cruelty? The human heart has depths from which schemes of unheard-of ferocity sometimes emerge, capable of destroying in a moment the normal daily life of a people. But faith comes to our aid at these times when words seem to fail. Christ’s word is the only one that can give a response to the questions which trouble our spirit. Even if the forces of darkness appear to prevail, those who believe in God know that evil and death do not have the final say. Christian hope is based on this truth; at this time our prayerful trust draws strength from it…”
We remember September 11 with pain. Let us try to imagine we were on the ground running to save our lives or running to someone else. What will be our mental and emotional condition? It is hard to explain, isn’t it? Today we remember all those who died on that day, all those who did heroic action to save a life, and pray for them. Did we change a lot since 9/11? It seems to me what I heard about America before I came and since I came, I met a different America. If we watch the news, we hear about hate and unrest these days. Did we change?
It is very meaningful that we have beautiful readings about forgiveness. The first reading ends with a good reminding and gives us a challenge, “Remember your last days, set enmity aside; remember death and decay, and cease from sin! Think of the commandments, hate not your neighbor; remember the Most High’s covenant, and overlook faults.”
The Gospel brings a similar message. We have seen Peter the last couple of weeks in the Gospel. The first one was, Peter proclaims the Faith, the second one was, Jesus, telling Peter, “Get behind me, Satan”. Here Peter proudly asks, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?” What was Jesus answer, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” In other words, Jesus was telling Peter and the listeners that there is no limit. If we look at the book of Genesis 4: 23-24, we see Lamech, who is a sixth-generation descendent of Cane, said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; wives of Lamech, listen to my utterance: I have killed a man for wounding me, a man for bruising me. If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.” In the house of Cain, they had an unending avenge.
Jesus put forward a new guideline for Christian life. Jesus replaced the Old Testament view with love and forgiveness. The first part of the Gospel is a personal dimension of forgiveness. In the second part of the Gospel, Jesus tells a story to tell them the communal dimension of forgiveness.
The second reading, Paul discusses with Christians in Rome when there were tensions among them between the Gentile Christians and the Jewish Christians on the matter of law. Apostle Paul reminds them that Christians are adopted sisters and brothers of Jesus, so there is no place of hatred and bitterness. Paul says, “None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself.” The second reading sums up the entire reading. So let us ask a question, where are we today as Christian and as an American?
The sign “The Buck Stops Here’’ was on President Harry S. Truman’s desk in his White House office. When I checked the meaning, I found out that the “responsibility for something cannot or should not be passed to someone else.” This weekend readings invite us to reflect on our responsibility as a disciple of Christ.
In the first reading the Lord said to Ezekiel, “You, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel.” What the watchman or security is supposed to do – care for their people. They were in Babylonian exile and the prophet exists like a watchman only for the good of others. He is to give them God’s words, to challenge them, and to correct them from time to time.
In the Gospel, Jesus instructs us on the responsibility of the disciple of Christ. The Gospel of Matthew 18:1-20 is followed by the parable of the lost sheep (10-14). In that parable, the shepherd leaves the ninety-nine in the hill and goes in search of the lost sheep. Today’s Gospel Jesus gives us, as a church and as an individual Christian to look for our sisters and brothers. In the book of Leviticus 19:17 we read, “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason with your neighbor, lest you bear sin because of him. Galatians 6:1 says, “Brethren if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Look to yourselves, lest you too be tempted.”
The second reading summarizes both readings, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.” Being a watchman of our brother and sister is an overwhelming responsibility. The word “watch” means to guard and protect. When the LOVE involved then it becomes easier. For example, parents, look after their children. They watch their children grow, mature, and strike out on their own. I call it, it is their love journey. Once India President Abdul Kalam who was an aerospace scientist, was asked, “what was his greatest accomplishment in life?” He replied that basically he is a teacher when his student completes his/her doctorate, he sees it as his greatest accomplishment. We can be a watchman in so many different ways. Being watchman, as Church, as an individual Christian- parent, teacher, and so on.
As Church, and as a disciple of Christ, the salvation of us and others should be the greatest concern. James 5: 19-20 says, “My brothers if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone brings him back, he should know that whoever brings him back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sin.” It starts from the family, spread through the Church and community, and conquers the world. Jesus explains in the Gospel how important that we are there for one another. We come together to celebrate the Eucharist, share from the same plate and chalice the love and life of Christ and send out to proclaim the good news of oneness – being one in Christ.
Jesus Christ brought the gift of reconciliation and life through his passion, death, and resurrection. Today’s readings confront us with two aspects of the question. First, each one of us is called to conversion. Second, each one of us is the keepers of our sister and brother.
First of all, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your generous support to our parish, and early Catholic Service Appeal (CSA). Your generosity makes a difference. This weekend is the KICK-OFF of our annual CSA 2020-2021. The theme for this year's appeal is “Together in Mission...Alive with Hope!” It is also about the dedication and commitment of our life. Bishop James Powers says, “A community that is made up of priest, religious and laity, all of us working on that same mission to evangelize, to go forth to all nations to bring God’s Word of Love, Hope and Salvation to all... How important it is that all do whatever we can to make our mission possible.”
Sometimes we ask why do I need to give my money to the diocese. It could be used in my local church. It is a valuable thought. The reality is we are part of the universal church; we are part of the bigger mission. “Whether promoting vocations, educating our future priests, providing lay ministry formation, teaching, evangelizing, providing outreach to youth, young adults, and those in need, diocesan ministries reach beyond the ability of any single parish to support.” We benefit from the diocese in so many different ways. You should have received the CSA booklet in the mail. It will give you a picture of how our money is used and how many lives you touched. There are some wonderful testimonies, please take time to read it.
The goal for this year for our parishes are: St. Anthony $33,648; Immaculate Conception $10,599; and St. Francis $4,834.
Please participate and reach the goal this year. Our participation becomes successful by our own participation and by encouraging others to participate. Even nonparishioners will participate for the right cause. Let us respond to Bishop James Power’s invitation and make it a successful one. If everyone makes a commitment, we will reach this goal in two or three weekends. Let us do a miracle.
Do we carry the Cross with a grateful heart?
Does Jesus sound funny in the gospel today? We all love to have a joy-filled life, but Jesus says that anyone who wants to be his follower must take up his cross. ‘Really?’ you may ask, ‘why do we have to take up a cross to follow Jesus as he asked in the Gospel today?’ What the year 2020 tells us. I have heard people say, “I wish we didn’t have the year 2020.” Always suffering is a matter of study or discussion. It always leaves us with unanswered questions.
This weekend reading reminds us what it means our discipleship, and what it demands? Look at Peter and Jeremiah. This weekend reading we see Peter objected to Jesus’ prediction of his sufferings. We hear Jeremiah says, “You duped me, O LORD and I let myself be duped; you were too strong for me…”
The Gospel passage for today can be divided into two. 1) Matthew 16:21-23 Peter’s refusal to accept Jesus’ predicted suffering and death. We saw in last weekend reading Peter proclaims the faith, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Then Jesus gave him “keys of the kingdom” and the authority to teach, govern, and forgive sins. Today we see when Peter heard about suffering says “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” Does it say something to us? Does Peter represent each one of us?
2) Matthew 16: 24-27 gives a definition of discipleship. If we want to be a disciple of Jesus, there are three things which one must be prepared to doing: he must deny himself, take up his cross follow Jesus. It gives us a scale to measure our life.
16:27 says, “For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay all according to his conduct.” The first coming of Christ was for the salvation of the world. In order to attain salvation, one has to believe in him. Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead (Rev. 22:12, 2 Tim 4:1). This will happen at an unexpected time (Matthew 24:36-51). So we have to be watchful, (Matthew 13:32-37). Rev 21:1-8 says, God will establish a new heaven and new earth where he will eternally dwell with all the redeemed. This will be the reward for discipleship.
A Sunday school teacher asked Charlie, “Do you remember your memory verse?” Then Charlie, “I sure do. I even remember the zip code…Matthew 16:16.”
What is in Matthew 16:16? Peter proclamation of faith, "You are the Christ, Son of the Living God." Todays' Gospel passage summarizes the Catholicism.
One of the social phenomena in the modern world is opinion polls. These are conducted everywhere, especially in the political and commercial spheres. One day Jesus also wanted to do an opinion poll, but for a different purpose. He was not looking for the approval ratings, but he was looking for a relationship rating. Jesus used every opportunity to teach his disciples and the common people. Jesus asked them, “Who do people say that the son of man is?” They answered: "Some say John the Baptist; for example, Matthew 14:2 Herod said to his servants "This man is John the Baptist" others Elijah; example-Malachi 3:23 "I will send Elijah, the prophet before the day of the Lord Comes." others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Jews were waiting for the coming of Messiah, but when he came, they were confused and identified with someone else.
Jesus was preparing them to answer a bigger or personal question. So he immediately followed his first question with a second: “Who do you say that I am?" We see here, only Peter is answering this question. He said, "You are the Christ, Son of the Living God." We see at the baptism of Jesus, (Matthew 3:17) "A voice came from heaven saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." Also, we heard two weeks ago, when Jesus walked on the water and entered the boat, those who are on the boat did him homage, saying "Truly you are the Son of God." (Matthew 15:33) Peter, here again, proclaims the core of our faith.
Peter publicly proclaims that Jesus is the anointed one (Christ) of God who incarnated to save humanity. Jesus responds to that and says that it is a revelation from the Father. As I mentioned before at the baptism of Jesus, the voice of the Father revealed as the beloved son. Now through Peter, it is repeated and proclaimed publicly.
In the second part of today's Gospel, Jesus reveals his plan for the Church. Jesus gave Peter the key and authority and builds the Church on the rock 'petro' Peter.
Before we go further, let us look at the first reading from the book of Isaiah. The section of Isaiah is chapters 13 to 23, the oracle against the different pagan nations. The first reading for today is from chapter 22, Shebna, the master of the place, is going to be removed from his place because of his unfaithfulness, and the Lord is going to appoint Eliakim and give him the robe, sash, and key of Shebna. The Key is a symbol of authority.
The Lord said he will place the "key of the house of David" on Eliakims' shoulder. In the Gospel, Jesus, from the house of David, gives the keys to the kingdom of heaven to Peter. God gave the key to Eliakim, but the words of Isaiah are completed in the New Testament, when Jesus, the offspring of David gave the key to Peter. Jesus chose a leader for the Church. That key is handed over again and again and at present Pope Francis holds that office.
Thank you! I would like to express my gratitude towards everyone who participated in the raffle and all those who generously donated towards the roof fundraising. We made $ 5000.00 profit from the raffle and received $ 35,670.00 as donations. We are halfway through. If you have not yet made a donation, please prayerfully consider making a donation. Thank you!
God is walking around Heaven one day, and notices a number of people in the heavenly streets who shouldn't be there. He finds St. Peter at the gate and says to him, "Peter, you've been remiss in your duties. You're letting in the wrong sort of people."
"Don't blame me, Lord," replied Peter. "I turn them away just like you said to. Then they go around to the back door and your mother lets them in."
August 15th we celebrate Assumption of Mary: a journey that we’re all called to walk: from here to Heaven. We didn’t celebrate this year because it falls on Saturday. This solemn feast of Mary was defined by Pope Pius XII in 1950 but was celebrated in the Church from its earliest days as the Feast of the Dormition, or falling asleep of Mary. Mary received the grace to be body and soul in Heaven along with her son. Our Lord ascended into Heaven in glory; Our Blessed Mother was assumed into Heaven.
We know from the Bible, God created Adam and Eve in the image and likeness of God. Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God's command. This is what man's first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.” God gave us second Adam and Eve: Jesus and Mary. If we look at the first book of the Bible, Genesis 3:15, we read, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; they will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel.” God chose Mary, second Eve, in a special way to bring Jesus, the second Adam, who brings our salvation.
This weekend all readings talk about God’s love for his people and through the Israelites extend to all nations. The first reading is the third section of Isaiah. This section witnesses to the struggles and hoped-for blessings of the postexilic community now back in the homeland of Israel. Today’s reading prophet gives instruction for those who wish to live according to God’s word and covenant. Isaiah declares in the reading, “my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”
In the Gospel, Jesus declares that salvation is extended for all nations through faith. In last Sunday's gospel reading, Peter's prayer was condensed into three words, "Lord, save me!" In today's reading the Canaanite woman's prayer is “Lord, help me.” Peter was the Lord's chief disciple, the Canaanite woman was a pagan; but their prayer was the same. Jesus said to Peter, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” on the other hand Jesus said to the Canaanite woman, “O woman, great is your faith!” Both of them received his blessing.
In today's Gospel reading, however, he appeared rather reluctant to help the woman. "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" meant "I was sent to help Jews, not Canaanites." To make it worse, he added "It is not fair to throw the children's food to dogs." The 'children' were the Jews, "the children of Israel." The 'dogs' were foreigners. It was a Jewish nickname for all foreigners at that time. In the end Jesus praises her faith and blesses her with healing for her daughter. Let us grow in our faith and bring us to Jesus for his blessing.
In one of his books, Mark Twain recalls a visit to the Holy Land and a stay in Capernaum. It was a moonlit night, so he decided to take his wife on a romantic boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Twain asked a man in a rowboat how much he would charge to take them out on the water. The man saw Twain's white suit, white shoes and white hat and supposed he was a rich Texan. So he said the cost would be twenty-five dollars. Twain walked away as he said, "Now I know why Jesus walked on water." This weekend’s reading Elijah encountering God in whispering sound and the apostles encountering Jesus while he was walking on the water. Unexpected ways and place God come to our life.
The story of Elijah’s journey to Mount Horeb was a flight from danger. Ahaz was the king of Israel, but the real power was his wife Queen Jezebel, the promotor of pagan god Baal.Elijah challenged the all the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel and which ended up Elijah’s victory and annihilated all of them. Queen Jezebel was angry and ready to take Elijah’s life. Elijah fled to Mount Horeb to save his life. Mount Horeb is an alternate name for Mount Sinai, where Lord appeared to Moses. Here Elijah acknowledges the presence of God by covering his face and coming out of the cave where he had been staying and received a commission. There is a Hebrew idiom, “to serve the Lord.” We read in the first reading God said to Elijah, “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” In a way, God was asking him, why you are hiding here, I want you to go back and do the prophetic service.
We hear in the Gospel the continuation of the feeding of the Five Thousand. We see creative power and authority in the multiplication of loaves and fish. The Gospel illustrated this weekend, Jesus’ power over other elements of creation. In the Gospel, Jesus is walking on crashing waves of a terrible storm at Sea of Galilee. On the other hand the apostles, in the middle of the night a few miles away from the shore being tossed by the waves. They were fishermen; they go for fishing always in the middle of the night. They know quite well the Sea of Galilee, but still they are scared.
When we are scared or in pain, do we have a tendency to see ghost or evil instead of God? It is very hard to see good when we go through tough time, isn’t it? When the apostles were laboring against the turbulent sea, Jesus came to save them. They saw Jesus walking on the water, what did they think? “It is a ghost.”
Jesus told them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” It is I; here Jesus does a self-identification. We see in the book of Exodus 3:14, God said to Moses: “I AM WHO I AM.” Then HE said to Moses to tell Israelites, “I AM has sent me to you.” Jesus revealed his identity to the apostles.
St. John Paul II always, repeated the phrase from the Bible, “DO NOT BE AFRAID.” Jesus tells us today, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” He is with us always, be ready to encounter his unexpected place, time and situations.
We are surrounded by bad news, isn't it? Turn on the TV or look at any media, all over we can see sad news. Especially in 2020 with COVID-19 totally changing our lives. But we still have reason to celebrate and share the good news. Our young people are receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Please join me in congratulating our Confirmation Candidates from Immaculate Conception, who will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation this Sunday, August 2nd in the afternoon and Confirmation Candidates from St. Anthony who received on Thursday, July 30th. You can see their names on cover of our bulletin, so when you see them congratulate them and continue to pray for their faith journey.
This weekend I would like to reflect on the Sacrament of Confirmation. Most of us may not remember our baptism. We were so little, our parents and godparents stood for us and expressed their commitment to bring us in faith. When we grew up, we stood up for ourselves and proclaimed our faith. This week, our young people are doing the same at their Sacrament of Confirmation.
How many of us know Jesus? We may say, “Yes, I know Jesus.” Then the question is how deep do we know him? The Apostles were the closest followers of Jesus. They walked with Jesus, witnessed miracles, and listened to his teachings. They thought they knew him well. In reality, they did not know Jesus until the Pentecost.
Look at the Crucifixion scene, they were scattered, and then they were hiding in the upper room. Jesus after resurrection appeared to them. After Jesus' passion, death, and resurrection, they gradually started to learn and know Jesus.
At the coming of the Holy Spirit, their eyes were opened, they understood the teaching of Jesus, they got ever closer to Jesus. The Pentecost experience filled their hearts with joy and courage. They were no more afraid for they understood the true meaning of peace Jesus shared with them. They were not stuck there either, they grew in their journey and went around the whole world and proclaimed the Good News!
In another way to look at the celebration of Sacrament of Confirmation, it is our Pentecost, our young people are receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation. The rest of us are renewing our commitment. Confirmation is one of the seven Sacraments. And one of the three Sacraments of Christian Initiation. Those who receive Sacraments as an adult, receive all three Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation) at the Easter Vigil.
Our young men and women were preparing for a long time for this day, for the reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation. The Apostles received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It was life changing for them. They received the gift of the Holy Spirit. What are the Gifts of the Holy Spirit? There are seven of them: 1. Wisdom which helps to understand things from God’s point of view; 2. Understanding which helps us to understand the deeper meaning of supernatural truth; 3. Knowledge helps us to appreciate the life God has given: begin to see God’s presence in people, things, and nature and treat them with proper dignity; 4. Right Judgement or Counsel which helps to make the right decision God would want me to make; 5. Reverence or Piety which helps to trust God more, relationships become stronger; 6. Courage or Fortitude which helps to stand up for what we believe; 7. Fear of the Lord or Awe and Wonder which helps us to stay on the right path to heaven. Fear of the Lord is because I love God and I want to please Him.
Let us congratulate our young men and women on their Confirmation, and continue to pray for them and let us reaffirm our commitment.
Invitation to live in the presence of God!
Let me start by congratulating our St. Anthony Confirmation Candidates, who will receive Sacrament of Confirmation on July 30th. Let us keep our Candidates, sponsors, and families in prayer. This weekends reading invites us to live in the presence of God. Let us pray that our candidates may encounter and receive the Holy Spirit at the reception of the Sacrament. Immaculate Conception Candidates will be making their Confirmation in the following week.
A couple of years ago, I read a story about the Pink Diamond of Tanzania. Dr. Williamson was a geologist doing some archeological excavation work in Tanzania. One day he found himself driving in a deserted area, slipping and sliding along a rain-soaked road. Suddenly his four-wheel-drive vehicle sank up to its axles in the mud and got stuck. Pulling out his shovel, Dr. Williamson began the unpleasant task of digging the car out of a mud hole. He had been at it for a while when his shovel uncovered something strange. It was a pinkish stone of some sort. Being a geologist and naturally curious about rock formations, he picked it up and wiped away the mud. The more mud he removed, the more excited he became, and he could hardly believe what he saw. When the stone was finally clean, Dr. Williamson was beside himself with joy. He had discovered the diamond which became known as the famous Pink Diamond of Tanzania and is now set in the royal scepter of Great Britain. In today’s two parables, Jesus tells of two other men who unexpectedly discovered treasures.
Jesus is trying to sell us a great treasure. I didn’t know how many of us are going to buy it. Jesus invites us to inherit the Kingdom of heaven. Gospel of Matthew chapter 13, we started to read the last couple of weeks. It started with the Sower sowing the seed and then moved to wheat and weed, mustard seed, and yeast mixed with the flour. This weekend we hear two more brief parables of hidden treasures. Both of them are buried treasures and the pearl. This weekend parable invites to reflect on a personal commitment to acquiring the treasure.
I am sure we all want to find the best in our life, the supreme treasure. Do we succeed in finding the treasure? In those moments of distraction, are we chasing false treasures? The real valuable pearl is God’s life/presence here on earth and later in heaven.
Some time ago I listened to a message. It is about walking with Jesus in our daily life. Rise in the morning with Jesus, and whatever you do that day do with Jesus. Whenever we include our fellow being part of our life, whenever our love overcomes sin and our faith overcomes suffering, whenever we render humble service to others, we are walking with Jesus.
This weekends entire reading is about living in the kingdom of heaven/the presence of God. In the first reading, God visited Solomon in a dream. God told Solomon to ask for a favor. He could ask anything, but his request was for an understanding heart. What would you and I ask if we had an opportunity like Solomon? The LORD was pleased in his request and told him that “I give you a heart so wise and understanding.”
In the second reading St. Paul says to Romans, “we know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” Let us love and live in the presence of God.
If God came in your dream tonight and asked you to ask for one thing and one thing only, what would you/I ask for? Through these readings, Jesus reminds us that to inherit the true treasure, the kingdom of heaven, the presence of God.
Thank You Mary Rybak and Welcome Tammy Radlinger at the Immaculate Conception Office!
As you know Mary Rybak is leaving her position at Immaculate Conception and Tammy Radlinger is going to take the secretary position along with some of her existing job. Let us express our gratitude to Mary for her years of service and welcome Tammy into her new position. I am sure she will do a great job!
Anthony De Mello, S. J., in “TAKING FLIGHT” narrates a story: a woman dreamed one night that she walked into a brand new shop. Much to her surprise, she found God working behind the counter. She asked God, "What do you sell here?" "Everything your heart desires," God replied. It was incredible. She was talking face to face with God. "I want peace of mind and love and happiness and wisdom and freedom from fear," she told God. Then almost as an afterthought, she added, "not just for me, but for everyone on earth." God smiled, "I think you've got me wrong, my dear. We don't sell fruits here. Only seeds."
How is your garden doing? I think this year we have just enough rain, so we don’t have to do too much watering in the garden. Last weekend we heard the parable of the sower and seed, and this weekend, we hear the parables of wheat and weeds, mustard seed, and yeast in the wheat flour. The core of these parables is the Kingdom of God. Matthew is talking to a Jewish audience, so he is the phrase Kingdom of heaven instead of the Kingdom of God. Jesus believed that they are not worthy to call Yahweh. So they used different words to say about God. The kingdom of God means the presence of God.
First, Jesus tells them the parable of wheat and weeds. In Palestine, it was very common to see the wheat and tares growing together. It is very hard to distinguish one from the other. Jesus tells them in the parable, “Let them grow together until the harvest.”
There were people in Jesus’ time who wanted him to separate the bad from the good as well. Among them were people who claimed the good people, the Pharisees whose name means “the separated ones” and others were sinners. Like Pharisees and Scribes, we will be tempted to do the same.
St. Augustine says that the field, he explained, is, indeed, the world, but it is also the Church, the place in which saints and sinners live side-by-side, and in which there is room to grow and to be converted. "The evildoers," he said, "exist in this way either so that they will be converted, or because through them the good exercise patience."
Then Jesus talks about the two other parables. The first speaks of a mustard seed that is sown in a garden. What’s special about this mustard? That it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it grows, it becomes a bush bigger than the other vegetables. The second parable speaks of a woman who mixes a little yeast into a large mass of flour. Without anyone knowing how the yeast goes about working silently until the whole mass is fermented. In both cases, it is small beginnings but leads to great transformation.
The Spirit of God is still working among us. It may have a small beginning, it promoting solidarity, love and joy-filled family, Church, Community, Nation and the World. But we need to allow the Spirit to work in us and grow. Our God is loving and merciful.