Ah…..November

For the Northern Hemisphere, the Church’s liturgical year seems to often be in sync with nature – even though we struggle culturally to live that rhythm in the way the Church envisions. The readings we hear proclaimed these past several weeks; the feasts of All Saints and All Souls; the shorter days and longer nights; our secular celebration of Remembrance Day; barren trees; snow – during November, the focus of the Church and the world seems to be ...

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It’s the End of the World As We Know It (and I feel fine)

Resurrection.  How often have I uttered this word without considering seriously how this might be manifested? Am I going to be happily driving to work one day singing along to Selena Gomez when suddenly all those who have died before me begin to climb out of giant, fiery cracks in the earth, entirely presided over by a Judgmental Jesus attired in the fashion of first century Palestine?  Perhaps one day God will have grown weary of our larking and hijinks and chastise us, “Now come on ...

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Trust and Acceptance, Hospitality and Love

In all three readings today, I find a common theme to be trust and acceptance, hospitality and love. The first reading from the Book of Wisdom speaks to us of God loving all things he created. In the second reading, we hear of Saint Paul pleading to the Thessalonians to remain faithful to God until Jesus comes again. And finally we hear of Jesus choosing to stay with Zacchaeus in his home.

As I read the first reading my first thought was: “God don’t make no junk”. ...

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Anointing the Sick

You will not get very far into any of the four gospels before you inevitably bump in a story of Jesus showing concern for the sick. When Jesus personally wasn’t anointing and healing the sick, he was delegating his apostles to do so in God’s name. In the course of time, the focus of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick shifted from healing to the forgiveness of sins. And the time for receiving the sacrament was delayed to the deathbed when forgiveness of sins ...

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And Justice For All?

Every time I hear this week’s gospel I smile because it reminds me of someone in my life who is very dear to me. The passage reminds me of this person because when I hear it, the phrase that comes to mind is: “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”. To say this person who I am referring to is persistent is like saying it can get a little chilly here in January (lol). But when we ...

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Keep the Faith Going!

This week’s gospel reflects the importance of faith in our lives. It is a lesson about faith and reminds us that faith is sometimes found in unlikely places. Jesus commends the man, a Samaritan, for his faith, which has been his salvation.

The gospel made me think about the concept of faith. I had a very positive example of strong faith~ “living proof”~ in my mother. Her faith sustained her through many trials, early widowhood, health issues, the obstacles that ...

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God Does Not Need My Vote

“Oh Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen? … Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise.” Whether it is news about environmental degradation, or about the undermining of the democratic process, news about migrants dying as they try to reach a place of safety or news about the violence in Yemen or Syria or Hong Kong, news about increases in gun violence in Toronto or about the recent spate of suicides ...

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What is ordinary after Pentecost?

There are two version of the giving of the Holy Spirit to the Church. In one, (Acts 2:1-12) a roar of wind is heard outside the room and tongues of fire appear on the heads of the apostles. After, they go outside and preach to people of many nations and languages. In another version, (Jn 20:22-23) the Risen Christ appears to the apostles and breathes on them saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you shall forgive, ...

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When Life Gives You Lemons….

Today’s gospel includes an odd parable that had me confused for years. Why does Jesus seem to praise a scoundrel whose biggest concern is saving his own skin? Perhaps a bit of background about the culture of Jesus’ time may help to explain this parable.

It was common in Jesus’ day for landowners to lease out smaller plots of land to tenant farmers who were often too poor to own the land themselves. If the landowner owned several tracts of land, he might hire a ...

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A Parable, a Painting and a Book

Two Dutch people spring to mind whenever I hear the parable of the Prodigal Son – painter Rembrandt and priest Henri Nouwen.

In 1986, Fr. Henri Nouwen spent several hours gazing at Rembrandt’s painting The Return of the Prodigal Son at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia. One of Rembrandt’s last paintings, it was painted, Nouwen says, “after a life of suffering.” First captivated by the painting when he spotted a replica of it on a poster in ...

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