Saturday, November 28, 2009



Happy New Year!! A little early for the civil greeting but as you all know the Church's year begins with the Advent season. I have entitled the scripture reflections An Advent Cathechism simply because the scripture for this season is precisely that. They talk about the meaning of Faith and Hope, give us images of the Lord, remind us of the basics of our belief. It is such a beautiful spiritual season that sometimes gets lost in the business shopping, cards and all those other things whcih go to make the Christmas season so special. The readings only take a minute and give you something, hopefully, to hang your hat on for the day.

I am giving you two new links. One has to do with the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry and the other with Holy Name Province of the Franciscan Order. The web pages are beautifully done.


Monday of the First Week of Advent (Matt.8:5-11) Conversations are such an integral part of ordinary life. We meet someone, find that there is a lot we share...a friendship begins. To meet, to share, and finally to accept the other. Faith is very much like a conversation. Through grace Christ appears in our life. He begins the dialogue...tells us who He is and shares His dream with us. Finally, He asks us to accept this friendship which He has offered us. Faith is not merely an intellectual assent. No more than a conversation can be, if it is truly a conversation, can be simply “intellectual”. The entire person is involved....there exists the mutuality of giving and response. Faith is entering into this conversation with the Lord. It is His voice breaking through the noise of life. It is being in the crowded room of life, with people talking, with many distractions and having someone come up behind you and say:Hello! I would like you to be my friend. The noise continues, the distractions persist but the voice of this new Friend pierces them. Faith, continuing this simple example, is the Lord coming to us so that we may go to Him.

Tues.1stWeek of Advent (Luke 10:21-24) The song of praise and thanksgiving which Our Lord sings reminds us that faith brings us into the very community of God. It is a family affair. The family of the Trinity invites us to share their life. Reading these words of the Lord we are impressed with another fact: the activity is all on the part of God. It is the Holy Spirit who inspires Jesus to sing, it is the Father and the Son who reveal..the impression of a working God is very vivid. It is not so much then that we are trying, that we want to be members of the Family but rather that we are open to receive the invitation which is extended to us. The theme comes back that faith is the gift which God gives us so we can go to Him. It is God coming to us first. It is God working within us before we do is only because God is working that we can do anything....In some mystical way through faith we are joined with this community we call the Trinity. At the very core of who we are we live with the center of the “I” the life of God is ours.
Faith is that gift which while respecting each personality also creates inside of that personality a new relationship in life sharing with God.

Wed.1stWeek of Advent (Matt.15:29-37) Faith leads us from the human to the divine. Human expectations and human needs seem to be so very often the material from which we are led to an introduction into the Divine. Today’s Gospel is a perfect example. Hunger is one of the most basic of human experiences. To satisfy hunger is one of the most basic of human needs. Jesus in satisfying the hunger of the crowd leads those with faith to a higher plane. There is an awakening to further possibilities in life. Stopping at the human is for those without look at the human experiences and to see how the Lord has entered into them is the invitation of today’s Gospel.
Faith is that gift which is constantly “pulling” towards greater horizons A young college student comes to the Church for the first time. She has no interest in Christianity her only concern is to learn English. A human need. In teaching English the priest brings in some Christian concepts...that there is a God, that there is such a thing as love....the college student begins responding to these more than to the English. The spark of faith is ignited and she is led to a higher level. A man with seven children who thinks that he is entering a more quite phase of life, is looking forward to the quiet with the children leaving home for school....discovers that number eight is on the way. His first reaction is anger...he, as he expressed it to me, “does not handle it very well”.....the baby is born and becomes the joy of his life. God looked down and said what you are expecting now is not enough to make you happy, I will make your joy full.
Faith is that gift which helps us to look forward. When things come into our lives and little differently than we had planned, the baby, or when new possibilities make themselves known, the student learning English, faith lets us look at the human and see the divine.

Thurs.1stWeek of Advent (Matt.7:21,24-27)....”You never listen to me” how often have we either heard or used these words. How often have we applied them to ourselves: I guess I should have listened to you.
Quite obviously to listen is more than just the physical act of hearing. Listening at its deepest means to respond to the wish of another. The word “respond” comes from a Latin word which means to “answer a hope”(respondere)...
To listen to the Lord means to try to enter into the very mystery of who He is , to try to come to some understanding of who He is, and what His dream is for us and to answer it. To listen to the word of God is to get so involved with the Lord that our lives become this responsive act of love. There are many people who can quote the words of the Lord, who “know” their scripture, but whose lives do not seem to match up with their utterances. To build the house of our lives on this response to the love of God is the to build it on rock.
Many years ago I attended a wedding reception. A co-worker of the groom, as a matter of fact he was a boss, got up and told the brand new bride of two hours that she should never ask the question if her husband loves her more than he loves the company for which he works. She was informed, rather bluntly, that she is expected to be a nice quiet wife and not to cause her husband any trouble. The bride, thank God, was a little smarter than the man giving the speech. She knew exactly what she wanted and was going to fight for it.
Shortly after the wedding the company went bankrupt. The man who pontificated so nicely committed suicide and the young groom who listened to the speech as if it was the way things ought to be went into a complete depression. His young bride was the only one on whom he could turn for strength. His life had collapsed but hers even though it was difficult seemed to be still standing.
There are many voices trying to tell us “what to do”..there are many voices asking us to “listen to me” there is a lot of static and sometimes we do hear the wrong voice...sometimes we do answer a false hope...but the Lord does not give up. He keeps speaking to us helping us to respond to the dream He has for us.

Fri.1stWeek of Advent (Matt.9:27-31) Faith looks confidently to the future with the hope of being able to see. In the writings of St.Paul sight is equivalent to faith. To be able to see beyond what we see now. For a person of faith there is this desire to see the hand of God but sometimes it is so difficult. The human weakness under which we all have to struggle blinds us...all the things that were learned many years ago about original sin, weakens the will, darkens the intellect and sets emotions out of control, make us blind to the working of God.
Faith in the Lord is the assurance that we can be healed and made to see. It may take time. The process may not be and probably will not be as rapid as today’s Gospel....but there will come a time when sight will return. What does this mean: to be able to see. It means that something in life will be able to be looked at no longer in the light of just personal interests but will be able to be seen from the viewpoint of God. Maybe there is a suffering in life which seems to have captured us, we do not know which way to turn...prayer rather than being the freeing experience it should be only seems to make the problem worse. No matter how hard one tries prayer instead of being God focused seems to keep coming back to oneself. Then all of a sudden the weight is taken off our shoulders.
The gift of sight will not change the real world. The problem will still be there. What we see will be different. There will be a dimension, the God dimension, which we missed before.
Faith is that gift which permits us to see and at the same time gives us the hope to know that even if at a particular time in life we may be “blind” that someday the healing hand of the Lord will touch us. In this light faith is that gift which allows us to thank God not only for yesterday’s salvation but for tomorrow’s.

Sat.1stWeek of Advent....(Matt.9:35-10,1,6-8)....Faith mean to share in the ministry of the Lord. This sharing in the ministry is more than just “working for the Lord”. Through faith and Baptism we are identified with Christ, His sign is on our souls. Baptism immerses us into the mystery of who He is so much that as one of the Fathers of the Church said: anything that is said of Christ may in some way be said of those who believe in Him. Christ is Saviour, the light of the world, life, Christ is the Son of God, and the Son of Man, all of these appellations belong to Jesus by nature and to us by our adoption in and through Him.
The ministry to which we are called, each in their own way according to their particular state in life, is a living of this identity. The Gospel command is Jesus telling His disciples to preach in exactly the same way He words and signs. Why? It is a way of telling them that they share in His life and rather than simply being a command what it is is Jesus telling them who they are. He is bringing out in a part of what it means to believe in Him....that they are called to share in His mission of preaching the Good News.
Our image of Christ when it comes to His sending forth has to be looked at again. So often they are looked at as “things Jesus tells us to do” rather than a giving to birth of that part of our personality which touches on the identity with Christ. In sending forth we preache Christ. Preached not only because He told us to but rather because it is whom He has made us.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thirty Fourth Week of the Year


MONDAY OF THE LAST WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 21:1-4) This week is full of hope. The widows mite begins our meditation on hope. What did Jesus see when He saw the widow give her last or next to last pennies? His heart must have been a little heavy after confronting the obdurancy of the religious leaders. They were not listening to him. He was calling them to be among the poor of God but they chose not to follow. He was inviting them to be among the "just" but all they insisted on doing was fighting the message.
Then he see the widow. How His heart must have jumped for joy. The money she gave symbolized something far in God, a looking to God. She was one of the poor. When Jesus saw her He knew there was something to look forward to, even though the leaders did not listen. This woman who perhaps never heard the Master was in her little offering summarizing all He had been preaching.
He also saw in this act of sacrifice the sacrifice which He would be called upon to make...the money was all she had. His life would be the final giving. The money for the widow was a symbol of her faithful walking with God. His death would be the sign of His obedience to the will of His Father. Christ saw in the giving, the light that in a world which was not listening to him, which seemed to be turning from Him there were people faithful.
To be able to see the signs of hope in our life. When a sense of failure overwhelms us, when isolation or a feeling of having been betrayed comes into our go within ourselves and find that person faithful to the find that person who gives the last and in finding that person we find the hope which Our Lord gives us.

TUESDAY OF THE LAST WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 21:5-11) "the time is at hand"...time and hope at times seem like enemies. In order to attain what we want (the hope) we have to go through time.
Why can't we get what we want right now? Why do we have to go through this measurement of change called "time'? Perhaps it is because we have to grow into our hope. Perhaps it is because we do not see that the hope is already achieved.
In this sense, hope is the what we see with the sight of faith .
We see salvation in our lives...we see the "time" which Jesus talks about because we hope for it, look forward to it, expect it. Hope is that virtue which opens us up to what God wants to give so that we can receive the gift given. The "time" is not the future but it is right now with the working of the Lord within us. Hope for a Christian is a paradox: we hope for (the saving power of the Lord within us) what we already posses( the time is at hand ).
We must remember that we live on a couple of different levels of existence. We do have natural see children grow up into good human beings…to experience an ever deepening love between spouses...for a promotion...all good hopes. Where is the "time" of the Lord when all we meet with is disappointment of his level of our being? The heartbreak which is experienced in these disappointments may be opportunities of grace to remind us who we really are and that our hope is not in what we may have thought but how the Lord is going to work. These "crosses" which we may have to carry are not a denial of hope but rather the "time" of the Lord in our lives.

WEDNESDAY OF THE LAST WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 21:12-19) Hope is that virtue which is courageous. Living the life of a disciple at times is not that easy. There are many difficulties which face the one trying to follow the Lord. Misunderstandings, hatred, fear are just some of the attitudes which may come into the life of a disciple. Being manhandled and brought to prison , although still alive in the world, will not be our lot at the same time figuratively we are called before the court of the world many times. Many times we are asked to defend our faith, and the words see so inadequate.
Hope is the virtue which gives us the courage to overcome these "persecutions". I think of the early martyrs and ask myself the question: why did they die what was it inside of them that kept them faithful? Of course the foundation was faith, but it was a faith with a vision and that vision we call hope. Even though they were the captives of their persecutors they were not captives of time. That is, they could see beyond the present pain. They knew that even though they had to walk through the valley of death, the death had meaning.
Without hope there can be no real courage. The reason being very simple: why go on if there is nothing to look forward to? Why try to wend our way through the many "valleys of death" which may come into our lives if there is not the dream of life at the other end. Someone once said: show me a brave man and there you will have an example of hope.
It is the virtue acting courageously which is based on the firm conviction that as we walk the "way" it is not by ourselves. We do not have to have all the answers, all the explanations. God has the answers and explanations and will share these with us when we need them. How often in trying to explain the faith to someone have words come which even surprised you. Words, ideas which make you stand back and ask: where did that come from? God giving us "words of hope"

THURSDAY OF THE LAST WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 21:20-28). Hope assures us that Christ will come again. The second coming of Christ is at one and he same time one of the most important parts of our faith and one which most people spend little time thinking of. Every time we attend the Eucharist we proclaim our faith that the Lord will come again. Every time we say the "Our Father" there is an act of faith that the Lord will come. We let the words pass too quickly without reflection. It is an old promise, we have been waiting for 2000yrs. Perhaps for some it is like the promise of a friend that he will do a particular favor for us but never quite gets around to it. He keeps telling us that he will but words pass us by.
Christ is always faithful, to renew the hope that He indeed will come again, to keep that hope alive, takes us from a state of secular humanism to one of Christian humanism. Secular humanism is looking at the world, people events without a God-vision. It is one-dimensional, there is nothing beyond the "here and now".
Christian humanism on the other hand looks at people, events as part of the journey back to the Lord. They are stones in the mosaic which at some point the Lord will come and complete. It is difficult to see personal history and world history in the context of the glory of the Lord. But the glory of the Son of Man is precisely this, that all the imperfection and brokenness which we see now will be healed. The glory of the Lord lies in his saving acts fully at the end of time but now inside each and everyone of us.
To use a rather simple simile: there is a great parade taking place. The participants are all people who every lived with all their actions, good and bad, This parade is comprised also of all human events, wars, peace, floods etc. and this parade is heading to the Lord. The work of a disciple is to try to make sure that the music is good and that everyone and everything is in step.

FRIDAY OF THE LAST WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 21:29-33)Hope, another view of courage. There is no tree of Palestine which seems so dead during the winter as the fig tree. It is absolutely barren . One would think that it would never come to life again. But every year with the return of the new sap running through its twigs the tree springs to life. The winter is over.
In our life with the Lord there is a winter which we must pass through. At times this winter is communal. Persecution seems to have won the day. Churches are closed, decrees are issued about the death of God, all the powers of the world are lined up against the message. There is pain, suffering, even death. Christianity seems to be loosing, the tree is so bare. Then something happens, a political change takes place. That which was thought to be dead is not. The closed Churches are filled, the sap of new life runs through the community.
This cycle is also personal. Our growth in the relationship with the Lord has as its theme this death-life cycle. Something inside of us, a negative attitude, a tendency towards a particular sin, a broken relationship which still bears the scars of unforgiveness, all of these demand a dying. They ask to enter into the winter so that new life may come forth. As a matter of fact they are the winter when the tree of our relationship with the Lord seems so barren.
Hope is that virtue which gives us the courage to go through the long winter months with the assurance that summer will come again. This is the promise of the Lord, we call it salvation. We look forward to being saved, and this hope is not in vain. We see God in this new life.
Once winter is over it is the new sun coming into our lives enlightening everything. Then we pass through winter again, but this time with the courage which only God gives. Winter is no longer a time of barrenness, it is the time of great expectation wondering how God will do His great things within us.

SATURDAY OF THE LAST WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 21:34-36)These verses close the public ministry of Jesus in Luke's Gospel. The journey is finished. He assures them that He will come again but that this coming will not be soon. To be watchful at all times for the "comings" which He does consistently in our lives. He asks for prayer, to be always turned to God so that the "God of light" give us the wisdom to see. He reminds us of the great mystery of life, that our actions all have a meaning which we do not see right away. As He looks forward to his suffering He gives those who believe in Him the courage the vision to know that not all is over. New life will come. He stands before all people with His arms outstretched telling them that He will not forget and that someday will return to claim that which is His. The end of the journey has come and with the end a new beginning for all. He has taught us the pilgrim way this is the journey which He invites us to walk.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

This Week
We are getting close to the end of the Church Year. We have only two weeks and it will be Advent again. It is a beautiful time of the year, a time to renew ourselves in that great gift God has given us, hope.
It is about time to get busy on the pod cast. That is my Advent resolution, to post a sermon every week. God gave us these beautiful tools why not use them for something good.
This week in our social justice component we will feature Project Create. It is a ministry to people who have addicitions living in Harlem. Fr.Ben Taylor has been doing it for over 40 yrs.. Well worth the time. The address is:

Thirty Third Week of the Year


MONDAY OF THE THIRTY-THIRD WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 18:35-43) A few years ago a young man received the gift of faith. It was a long hard road that the Lord had picked for him to walk but he walked it and was finally Baptized. Shortly after his Baptism he shared with us a very touching part of his relationship with God. Before he believed in the loving God he looked at the evil in the world and said to himself that this is the way things are. Suffering was one of those things which went to make up life. Then he came into contact with the infinite love of God. He shared with us that it was when he started to believe that suffering became a problem.
I do not want to get into the problem of evil but what is interesting about this story is that the young man started to see things differently. He believed this was the new sight which the Lord gave him. This sight however brought a new situation into his life...he had to reconcile the two things which he now saw...the love of God and suffering.
Our lives of faith should be this bringing together of what we see in the world(the joys and hopes as well as the sadness) with seeing the All Good God.
Faith is the light which brightens the room of our hearts, it is the eyes of a heart which has been allowed to enter into the very mystery of is the eyeglasses which God gives us to see properly the world in which we live.
The young man saw something new. It was not very pleasant for him.Before faith the "no problem" situation was much more comfortable....perhaps we will be called to see things which we might just as soon not see. It is in seeing with the eyes of faith, no matter how difficult, that we are led to the truth of God.

TUESDAY OF THE THIRTY-THIRD WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 19:1-10)) Zacchaeus was a strong man. He must have taken an awful lot of abuse "you are a sinner what right do you have to be with the master".Some people probably thought he was very presumptuous, some might of even thought that he was bragging when he told of how much he gave away. Zacchaeus stood his ground. He saw Jesus and the opinions of people were not about to take him away from the Lord.
He knew the Lord liked him, he knew the Lord had called him, he knew that he was going to share the table with the Lord. These gave him the strength to continue. This is something the disciple, just as Zacchaeus did, always has to remember. Otherwise we may start listening to wrong voices.
There are people who do not want us to walk with the Lord. Most of the time they do not express it exactly that way, a lot more subtle. The meaning is the same. We climb the tree, we see the Lord and hear his call. Then all of sudden the world starts closing in on us. We find that our life of faith is at times a battle...a battle with the world and what it wants to do to us.
The thing which these forces want to take away is the conviction that the Lord has truly called us and wants us to be with Him. With all the talk about "affirmation" there are so many currents in the world which want to deny real affirmation and to affirm us in a way that is comfortable to them. Zaccheaus made people uncomfortable because he did not fit into the mold which they wanted him to climb into. Jesus made people uncomfortable because he affirmed people in strange and marvelous ways. Zaccheaus had the courage to walk with the way Jesus said He was.

WEDNESDAY OF THE THRITY-THIRD WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 19:11-28) The nobleman goes, leaves his property to others, is rejected, comes back and demands an accounting....sound familiar. It does to me. In this simple story about stewardship we also have the place of the Church in the world . We are in the "waiting " period and that means we are being asked to remember who we are waiting for. The story of today is often times left as a moral story of responsibility. This of course is good. But the stewardship has to be kept in the broad scope of not only personal but personal inside the history of the Church.
We are reminded that our acts are ecclesial acts.The stewardship we exercise over our talents is not to be looked at outside of our relationship to the Body.
In a real sense my actions determine what the Church is...not essentially but certainly the way it is in the world.
If I perform acts of justice than the Church is just, to the extent that I do not do what I am supposed to do, to that extent the Church is not what it is supposed to be.
The talents which we reminded of I think are twofold. On the one side I have the personal talents with which God has blessed me...on the other side these personal gifts have the communal sense of being inside of and for the Church. All gifts all talents are for the community.
Thinking along these lines I often recall my favorite composer, Beethoven. Can you imagine Beethoven having finished his 9thSympony and putting it in the top drawer of his desk. Of course not. How much joy is in the world because he did not do that. His talent has touched the lives of so many people.
We write our own symphonies by using what God has given us.

THURSDAY OF THE THIRTY-THIRD WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 19:41-44) I hesitate to write words about this scene. There is a fear that anything I put down on paper will take the power from the scene of Jesus weeping over Jerusalem.
Human words might destroy what Our Lord wants to say…a shared dream denied.
Jerusalem turns its back on the dream of God for it...this is what makes Jesus sad. Not rejection, but rather that they have chosen the lesser path.
The view of Jerusalem from the traditional sight of this scene is is panoramic. One could from this spot half way up the Mt.Olives stretch out his arms and embrace the entire city. From this spot, half way between the Garden of Gethseme and the Church of the Ascension, He must have seen the people going into the Temple, he saw other people going about the ordinary things of life. He must have seen the children playing in the streets. How sad that the dream was not heard.

FRIDAY OF THE THIRTY-THIRD WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 19:45-48)"they were hanging on his words" intensity comes out of these words...a silence...a sense of being these are what the word of the Lord gives us. To "hang on" what a wonderful expression to describe the way we should receive the word of God.
We read scripture everyday. As I re-read the words "hanging on" I had to look at the way the words of scripture, which are truly His words, pass through my mind and heart. They are read and instead of being hung onto, all too often are forgotten very shortly after being read. They are the light which brighten my path. They are the food upon which I should live. They are the "rain" which is sent from heaven to moisten my heart. So often they are forgotten. The faith that Jesus is speaking to me is forgotten.
The words I read are expressions of the Lord giving himself to me. They are the life sharing words of His life coming into me. Often they pass like a summer cloud or if at first received so often my heart changes like an autumn sky.
Many conversations take place within us. So many voices...our own, the world's...inside the noise of our hearts to pick out the word which the Lord has given us.
How to do this? One point which may help is that when we read scripture to get ourselves into a frame of mind in which we are not "reading" but "listening"...the Lord is standing in front of us speaking. As we listen we must be patient because what He says on a particular day may not be part of our lives. Not every word He speaks is relevant at every time. They are always true but may not hit us. When I am happy ,for example, reading the passages about "taking up ones cross" although I accept it does not really enter my life. In this sense, I have to always be patient because the Word which He speaks will at sometime be part of my life.

SATURDAY OF THE THIRTY-THIRD WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 20:27-40) Jesus is always asking us to look beyond. Today's Gospel is another example of this....the Sadducees were on one level and Jesus said: No, there is more to the story than this.
This Gospel passage asks us to make sure we are not looking at life through the one-dimensional outlook of the Sadducees. They looked at the things of this world as though they were the complete story, the end of the book. Jesus is saying that the final chapter has not been written yet. To look at life as chapters filling out the story which God wants to and is writing. We have to wait . We have the assurance of the Lord that it will end happily. The things which go to make life up are not the "end of the story".

Friday, November 6, 2009


First of all I am sorry that there was no posting last week. I was out of town. It is better to get the posting out early than not at all. This accounts for the Friday posting.

The health reform bill is coming to a vote this weekend, as you all know. There are certain aspects of the bill which really are not very acceptable. Personally helping to fund something which I find morally objectionable, abortion, is an assualt on my freedom of conscience. The Bishops have written a insert for parish bulletins that you can find

the health reform legislation is one of the most important pieces of legislation in years. It will become part of our culture for years. We have to make sure it is right.

Two weeks ago I placed a web site for friends of the poor. I have received word that the web was down. Here goes again

MONDAY OF THE THRITY SECOND WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 17:1-6) A group of people are having coffee...their conversation is about the ordinary things of life. All of a sudden the name of a person comes up. One of the people in the group mentions something not very pleasing about the person…like a match put to oil, the fire of gossiping about the person begins. The person who originally mentioned the name may feel sorry, as most of us do, for talking about the person....does the person feel sorry for leading others down the path of gossip?
We are time and time again called upon to remember that our actions effect other people either for the good or bad. We have in our hands the rather terrifying power to help people do good or to lead them in directions which are not too good. We used to use expressions such as "good example" and "bad example"...these are still valid.
We can help people to be who they are supposed to be or we can deny who they are.
Getting back to the example...some of the people in the group will eventually feel sorry that they took someone "over the coals'"...they will realize that not only were they unjust and just plain "not nice" but they did not live up to the expectations which they had of themselves. They will, of course, have to take responsibility for their actions but on the other hand if the person who made the original "not very nice" remark had kept silent the occasion for self denial would not have been there.
We all have a responsibility not only for my own actions but what those actions will do to other people. If we are faithful to who we are than, to quote Shakespeare, "it must follow as night the day" that those with whom we come into contact will see a light to be faithful to who they are.

TUESDAY OF THE THIRTY-SECOND WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 17:7-10) Wouldn't it have be nice if I had been born in the 12th Cent. rather than the 20th? The relationship between the Lord of the manor and the servant was so clear cut, so was an exchange of lives. The servant was expected to serve unconditionally; not to ask for rewards just to do what was expected. The lord of the manor in return for this service promised to take care of, to protect the servant. This was the mutual promise. They entered into a covenant of mutual trust and respect. The lives of the servant and master were so interwined that interdependence took place.
The harshness of the master's words must be tempered in the light of this special relationship that we of the 20th cent. have a difficult time seeing.
We must live the Gospel today, it has to be interpreted in the light of the signs of the times but it also must remain true to the words of the Master. The sacred compact inside of which we live our lives with God is one of complete mutuality...He is our God we are His people. There is a bond of love which exists that goes beyond merely human interpretation. The Lord is constantly giving himself as the master of the manor. We are asked to return that love as the loving servants.
What are the works expected of us? We can be busy about many things doing many things, many projects bringing many people to the Lord, all of these are good. The one "work" which we are never completely finished with is growing in faith. We are the faithful servants not by "doing" but by “being" who the Lord wants us to be...with this work we are never finished.

WEDNESDAY OF THE THIRTY-SECOND WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 17:11-19) A beautiful lesson on some very basic principles of prayer. One of the most frustrating things is to want to thank someone but to be unsure as to whom to thank. I have received throughout the course of the yeas gifts with just "from a friend" written on the card. In my heart I thanked who ever it was but it would have been nice to have a face attached to the thanks. There was a blank that I would have liked to have filled.
So many people when they are first called to the faith have a sense of having that blank filled in. They look at their lives and realize that they should be thankful to someone beyond, but were never quite able to figure out who it was. Faith comes. God becomes alive in their lives. They know to whom to give thanks...this is a great joy. A joy that we who have been born with the faith take for granted. We have to keep constantly reminding ourselves that the package of life signed "from a friend" is God . He is the friend. No longer unknown, no longer faceless, but alive in our lives.
Faith is that great gift which takes care of the very human need of being able to say thank you.
It is the gift which permits us to run to the Lord with our arms outstretched, rejoicing in the all the good things He has given us. It is the gift which gives us the hope to look at the future and thank Him not only for yesterday but also for tomorrow.
Faith is the gift which gives us rather weak broken people the power not only to think about God but also to speak and listen to Him. We call this prayer.

THURSDAY OF THE THIRTY-SECOND WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 17:20-25) History is such a fascinating study. Histories of families can be absolutely entertaining. One of the fondest memories I have of my childhood is listening to my grandfather tell about the "old days" in the family. He would tell about his father and how hard they had it when they first came to America. He would tell of how he met my grandmother...all the happenings, both happy and sad, that took place. I would sit there with my mouth wide open . Of course I was to young to realize it then, but my grandfather in telling me these stories was telling me who I am.
We all have histories. The natural history of date of birth, all the paths which we have walked throughout the course of the years...the people with whom we have shared life...we all have the unfinished mosaic of our lives before us waiting to be filled out. We also in this "natural" history have a God history. My father would tell me how he met my mother, of their courtship etc....I look back on life and try to see those moments when I met God. Those special moments when a new direction was given to life. I look back and see the stones which have gone to make the mosaic of my life and looking at them I see the hand of God.
Why did I do this and not that? The decision which seems so "common sense" now was not made and because of that life is different. A decision was made which seemed to be against common sense and joy was the result. History is full of these "accidents" and so they are with our history( translate=story with God)...He comes into our lives like the summer lightening...unexpectedly. So unexpected that we often do not know who it is and mistake Him for someone else. Something happens that starts us thinking in a way we have never thought before. The sun comes out after a cloudy time in life. A joy takes us by surprise...all part of our history with God.
Just as my grandfather would tell about the "old days" just as my father would tell of the days of his youth God is constantly telling us of the story He has with us.

FRIDAY OF THE THIRTY SECOND WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke17:26-37) The story is told that on the eve of the beginning of the World War in 1939 the League of Nations was discussing which language should be used in some section of France. They missed the important things, the things they should have been talking about.
We can be busy in many ways...all to some degree important, all capable of being justified in our use of time. Most times the course of daily life will determine what we have to do, reflection on what is important is not necessary. The demands of the day determine this. This often times is the problem. The language which the members of the League of Nations was attempting to determine was in a sense something which had to be decided...but was it balanced off against the really necessary things of life.
A high school s student was faced with a dilemma. His friend needed help. It was something which could not wait. At the same time he had a lot of homework to do. He could not help his friend and do his homework, one of these would have to be sacrificed. Two important options faced him. He chose to help his friend. The next day at school he told his teacher what he had done. He got the usual sermon about helping people is good but homework is more important. Fortunately the boy could see that if this was taken to its ultimate the only time we would help people is when it is convenient for us.
Quite obviously we are not faced with these decisions twenty-four hours a day would indeed become burdensome. There are times when we have to make difficult decisions and say: this is important. More importantly we have to have some silence in our lives so that the Voice may break through the noise of life and say: do this.

SATURDAY OF THE THIRTY-SECOND WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 18:1-8) Patience is necessary in life. Without it life can become a very uncomfortable thing both for us and for those around us. Waiting is just part of life. It seems as though God's watch and the human watch are completely out of touch with each other. We say: now. God answers: yes, now. He always answers “now” it is just that His “now” and ours are not the same. For us tomorrow is tomorrow; it is future. For God tomorrow does not exist it is “now”. This is the time frame we are asked to enter for the exercise of patience: the eternal “now” of God. Perhaps it is a simplification but isn't patience a function of looking at a watch or calendar. If we look at God's calendar and his watch perhaps waiting would be if not a joyful at least a positive time.
A friend of mine suffered for many years with a crippling case of arthritis. His life was for 25yrs. a life of pain with no hope of it getting better just worse. I saw the progression of this disease. At the beginning the pain limited what he could do but he was quite able to do many things. Slowly it progressed...walking became a task. Each step meant pain...his hands became immovable...getting in and out of bed was just another painful experience to look forward to. Yet in all this he gave the impression of patience. He was waiting and he knew what he was waiting for would come and all he had to do was to look at his life as the journey. The pain did not take away his did not take away his concern for other he was patient he grew in these things. Life could have closed his heart but instead he chose the path "least traveled"....
To be patient, I discovered in living with my friend, is not just some sort of passive waiting...but a time of growth and of be patient is to enter into the great mystery of the "time of God".....