Father David's Reflection for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Serving God in Freedom Sunday 13, Ordinary Time, Year C Inventory In one sentence, what am I living for? Would I call this my “ministry”? Am I willing to sacrifice everything else for it? Am I conscious of it all day long? Input This week the Responsorial Psalm says four things that give us a summary of the Mass prayers and readings— “You are my inheritance, O Lord” (Psalm 16; see verses 1-11). 1. God is my all, my “inheritance,” my “portion,” my “fullness of joy.” I have no good apart from God. Nothing can lure me away from him. The Entrance Antiphon invites us to express this: “All nations, clap your hands. Shout with a voice of joy to God.” He has given us himself; he has given us All. Th

Father David's Reflection for Vigil Mass of Saints Peter and Paul - Week Twelve (Ordinary Time)

For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us. (Responsorial: Psalm 79) Acts 3:1-10: Everyone knows the story of a pope who said, commenting on this text amid the riches of the Vatican, “Peter can no longer say, ‘Silver and gold have I none.’” A saint replied: “No, and neither can he say, ‘Rise and walk.’” Since the remark is attributed to various saints, it may be just legend, but it makes us think: how do money and ministry mix? No one questions the need parishes and dioceses have to pay salaries, provide services and put up necessary buildings. The question arises when buildings, their ornamentation, or the lifestyle of priests and bishops, project an image of wealth. When does the magni

Father David's Reflection for Saturday of Week Twelve (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial verses proclaim God’s goodness to the powerless: “The Lord has remembered his mercy” (see the Magnificat: Luke 1: 46-55). In Genesis 18: 1-15 Sarah is the one laughing at the idea she could conceive a child in her old age. God’s response to that is, “Is anything too marvelous for the LORD to do?” This reminds us of the angel’s words to Mary when he announced that she would conceive as a virgin and that her cousin Elizabeth had conceived in her old age: “Nothing will be impossible with God.” Mary’s faith prompted Elizabeth to exclaim when she saw her, “Blessed are you who believed that was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled!”[1] We are sometimes tempted to hold back

Father David's Reflection for Friday of Week Twelve (Ordinary Time)

Feast of The Sacred Heart of Jesus (Year C). Ezekiel 34: 11-16 follows God’s indictment of Israel’s rulers: “Ah, you shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?... You have not strengthened the weak, healed the sick, bound up the injured, brought back the strayed, sought the lost, but with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd” (34:2-6). So God himself will be their Shepherd. The Responsorial Psalm proclaims: “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want” (Psalm 23). In today’s world he will “search” for his sheep and “seek out the lost” to “look after them and tend them.” He wi

Father David's Reflection for Thursday of Week Twelve (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial (Psalm 106) reminds us never to doubt God’s goodness. On the contrary, no matter how bad things seem, we should keep saying, “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good.” Genesis 16: 1-16 shows us that God is good to us even when we bring pain on ourselves. Sarai told her husband Abram to have children by her slave Hagar. He did, but when her advice backfired and Hagar despised Sarai for her barrenness, Sarai blamed Abram and began to abuse Hagar. So Hagar ran away. Enter God. He sends an angel to tell Hagar to go back and submit to Sarai’s meanness because, even though Hagar brought it on herself by despising Sarai, God will make it up to her: “I will make your descendants so n

Father David's Reflection for Wednesday of Week Twelve (Ordinary Time)

When the Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 105) tells us “The Lord remembers his covenant forever,” this is an echo of the “virtual definition of God” that God gave us when he showed his “glory” to Moses as “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”[1] Genesis 15: 1-18 shows us the beginning of God’s covenant with Abraham and his descendants: Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able… So shall your descendants be… I am the LORD who brought you from Ur… to give you this land to possess. But Abram said, "O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?" Then God told him to offer a sacrifice as sign of the covenant. In the sacrifi

Father David's Reflection for Tuesday of Week Twelve (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial (Psalm 15) declares the fruit of “justice”: “Those who do justice will live in the presence of the Lord.” For Christians “justice” means living up to the identification with Christ that Baptism gave us. Genesis 13: 2-18 shows us Abram seeking peace and good relationships with his nephew Lot. Abram and Lot were coming into conflict over grazing rights. So Abram told Lot to choose whatever territory he wanted: Let there be no strife between you and me… for we are kindred… If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left. Our baptismal consecration as priests commits us to community. This is a commitment to “commo

Father David's Second Reflection for Monday of Week Twelve (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial (Psalm 33) situates our relationship with God within the context of a whole community’s relationship with God: “Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.” In Genesis 12: 1-9 we see that from the very beginning, when God chose Abraham he was choosing relationship with a community: I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you…. All the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you. “Shall find blessing in you” is usually translated “in you shall be blessed.” In Acts 3:25 Peter explains that God sent Jesus to the Jews first because they are the descendants of Abraham. In Galatians 3:8 Paul uses the same text to explain why the Gospel is extended to

Father David's Reflection for Monday of Week Twelve (Ordinary Time)

The Birthday of Saint John the Baptizer Vigil readings: Jeremiah 1:4-10; 1Peter 1:8-12; Luke 1:5-17 (586) (Day readings: Isaiah 49:1-6; Acts 13:22-26; Luke 1:57-66, 80) The Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 71) invites us to hope in God’s strength for what we are called to do: “Since my mother’s womb, you have been my strength.” Christians minister authentically only as the body of Christ. At Mass we join Jesus in saying to the whole world, “This is my body, given up for you.” In this act we surrender our bodies to let Jesus, living within us, express himself with us, in us and through us to give his divine life to others. This sounds presumptuous. Do we really believe Jesus himself is speaking and

Father David's Reflection for Corpus Christi Sunday

“As You Eat You Proclaim” When do we as Church experience the reality of the risen Jesus in our midst? What keeps us aware of his power operating through us and for us? Our abiding temptation is to ignore the constant infiltration into our minds of the attitude that the way of Jesus really doesn’t work, and that the resources we need to establish his kingdom are just not available to us. We don’t actually look around us in church and say to Jesus as the disciples did when they had a whole crowd of people to deal with and night was coming on, “Send the crowd away... for we are here in a deserted place,” but neither do we invite all our friends and co-workers, our next-door neighbors and every

Father David's Reflection for Saturday of Week Eleven (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial (Psalm 34) urges us: “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord” (Psalm 34). The readings show us how to identify and recognize God’s special goodness to us. In 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 Paul defends his ministry by referring to the “exceptional character of the revelations” he received from God; being “caught up to the third heaven — whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows” — and hearing things it is beyond the power of human speech to utter. But he says it is foolish to boast of this; that he only mentions it because “you forced me to it.” He did it to convince the Corinthians, who “should have been the ones commending me,” that he is “not at all inferior

Father David's Reflection for Friday of Week Eleven (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 34) gives us a needed assurance: “From all their distress God rescues the just.” 2Corinthians 11: 18-30 gives an appalling list of what Paul’s ministry cost him: labors, imprisonments, beatings, shipwrecks, hunger and dangers. Paul concludes, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” Why? because the true effectiveness of ministry comes, not from learning, eloquence, energy or technique, but from union of heart, mind and will with Jesus Christ. Enduring hardship and persecution brought on by our ministry — and enduring them with love — is a sign of where our heart is. It is evidence of union with Christ. To be a “priest in the Priest”

Father David's Reflection for Thursday of Week Eleven (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 111) gives us a guide for discerning true ministry from false: “Your works, O Lord, are justice and truth.” In 2Corinthians 11: 1-11 Paul denounces people who were proclaiming a distorted version of Christianity. They may even have based their claims on an “appeal to the authority of church leaders in Jerusalem” and carried “letters of recommendation from them.” But since “their preaching is marked at least by a different emphasis and style,” Paul sees them as seducing people away from Christ as the devil seduced Eve.[1] Not all ministers, even accredited ministers, are trustworthy. There always have been and always will be distorted teachings in the Church. The

Father David's Reflection for Wednesday of Week Eleven (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial Psalm may surprise us: “Blessed is the one who fears the Lord” (Psalm 112). We don’t think of fear as a blessing. But if we read the rest of the Psalm, it tells us that those who “fear the Lord” will fear nothing else. Their children will be blessed. They will have wealth and righteousness. “They shall not fear an ill report; their hearts are steadfast, trusting the LORD Their hearts are tranquil, without fear, till at last they look down on their foes.” This explains the next line: “Lavishly they give to the poor.” Those who fear the Lord are not particularly concerned about their security on this earth. They know that “their prosperity shall endure forever.” (Friday’s Gosp

Father David's Reflection for Tuesday of Week Eleven (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial (Psalm 146) encourages us: “Praise the Lord, my soul!” and the readings give us reasons to praise based on faith and the experience of faith in action. In 2Corinthians 8: 1-9 Paul does not just praise the Corinthians for their generous contribution to the collection for the suffering Church in Jerusalem. He sees in their response another manifestation of the gift of grace in them: “you excel in everything — in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in the love that we have communicated to you” (Jerusalem Bible). The love the Corinthians show is a love they have learned — or better, seen — in Paul, who reminds them we have all seen it in Jesus, who, “though

Father David's Reflection for Monday of Week Eleven (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial Psalm declares the fruit of authentic Christian ministry: “The Lord has made known his salvation” (Psalm 98). The reading from 2Corinthians 6: 1-10 begins by saying that we “work together with him” (Revised Standard Version). The word Paul uses, synergountes, is just one example of many words he coined by adding the prefix “co-“ (in Greek syn-) to verbs declaring what Jesus did. Our union with Christ is his theme song. Christian ministry is not just a human activity; it is the mystery of Jesus himself acting with, in and through every member of his body. 1 When what we do is so far beyond human power that it is obviously Jesus who is acting, then we reveal his resurrection a

Father David's Reflection for Trinity Sunday

“To Know the Mystery of Your Life....” Questions to Ask Yourself How central to your spirituality is the doctrine of the Most Holy Trinity? How much are your actions and choices influenced by what God actually is: three Persons in one God? How does this trinity of Persons enter into your prayer? Ideas to Consider We were baptized — that is, received the gift of Life as Christians — “in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” It is logical to expect we would live in awareness of and interaction with those three Persons from then on. This awareness is cultivated by the one greatest sustaining force of our Christian life that Jesus established in the Church: the Mass. We

Father David's Reflection for Saturday of Week Ten (Ordinary Time)

The love of Christ urges us on. Paul says, “One died for all; therefore, all have died.” This is the mystery of Baptism. When Jesus hung on the cross, we were in his body. Because he took us into his body with all of our sins, “he who knew no sin was made to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” “For anyone who is in Christ, everything old has passed away.” When we died in Christ our sins were “taken away,” annihilated. We have no record of past sins. Through the death of Christ, “God has reconciled us to himself.” Completely. Totally. Even though we still have some work to do. “Everything has become new!” Through rebirth, we have received life under a new

Father David's Reflection for Friday of Week Ten (Ordinary Time)

We have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear... Christian ministry is an extraordinary power: the power to give and enhance divine life. It must be “made clear that this power belongs to God and does not come from us.” What makes that clear? The answer lies in the principle, “The absence of the human reveals the presence of the divine.” The absence of a human father in the virginity of Mary revealed that the Father of Jesus was God. The absence of human resources when Jesus sent his disciples out on mission revealed that they were relying on God. The absence of any human explanation for the radical lifestyle Christians choose to live bears witness to the life of the risen

Father David's Reflection for Thursday of Week Ten (Ordinary Time)

All of us, gazing… on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed. St. Ignatius (of Loyola) suggest we divide Scripture texts into “bullet points” for meditation. If these reflections have helped you up to now, you should be able to get more out of meditating on what St. Paul says here than by reading my thoughts on it. Try thinking about the points below: The Gospel [is the light] of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of Jesus Christ. And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being tra

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