February 17, 2019
Jesus is speaking to his disciples. A disciple is one who wishes to learn and to follow. Jesus says to them: “Blessed are you who poor… Blessed are you who are hungry … Blessed are you who are weeping … Blessed are you when people hate you, exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man… Rejoice and leap for joy on that day!” It is a wonder that Jesus has any followers! But his disciples will learn that Jesus calls them blessed, not because their weeping, hunger, poverty and rejection have value in themselves, but because God’s intervention is about to take place and it is especially the poor, women, children, outcasts, strangers and sinners who will experience God’s salvation. Jesus is promising the downtrodden and forgotten that they will participate in the kingdom of God.
Conversely, Jesus also warns his attentive listeners: “Woe to you who are rich… who are filled now… who laugh now… and when all speak well of you…” Jesus is challenging an attitude or mindset of privilege that we can do as we please with what we have. We are stewards. What we claim as “ours” or “mine” we hold in trust.
We are “blessed” in our poverty and “blessed” in our affluence when we have the mind of Christ. St. Paul explains it this way in his letter to the Corinthians: “For your sake he [Christ] became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9) God, rich in mercy, sent his son Jesus who did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at. Rather Jesus emptied himself taking the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men in order to walk side by side with us, poor among the poor.
Baptism of the Lord Our custom is to have baptisms during Mass. At the very beginning I ask the parents: “What do they ask of the Church?” The dad usually looks to mom to answer the question. If one parent replies: “baptism” I ask the other parent: “What are you hoping for or desiring for your daughter or son?” What does baptism mean to you? Water is ... READ MORE
Epiphany Saturday morning, I went out for the News but before I opened the paper, I noticed the stars in the pre-dawn sky. The stars caught my attention. I stopped and lost interest in the paper. Saturday afternoon, I was looking out my garage door and saw three deer running across the parking lot. I lost my train of thought and became more focused on the richness of t... READ MORE
Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph They have no “Amber Alert!” When Mary and Joseph realize that Jesus is not with extended family or neighbors, they have no alternative but to break from the safety of the caravan and return to Jerusalem searching for their missing twelve-year-old son. After three days they find Jesus sitting in the temple amid teachers and aski... READ MORE
Christmas Each year at Christmas we are invited to visit Bethlehem like the shepherds. Shepherds are a scruffy and smelly bunch belonging to a low estate with sinners and outcasts. Yet while tending sheep in the fields and keeping night watch, an angel of the Lord appears to them with a startling announcement: “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good new... READ MORE
During Advent we celebrate the coming of Jesus in the past, in the future and in the present. The dimension of time is emphasized but time is always associated with a place. When we remember Jesus coming in the past we think of Bethlehem or today coming to us at Eucharist. We can imagine moments in the day when Jesus comes as we wait in line, as we call someone on the phon... READ MORE