Wednesday, September 28, 2011

John 1:47-51 John's High Christology

Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him,
"Here is a true child of Israel.
There is no duplicity in him."
Nathanael said to him, "How do you know me?"
Jesus answered and said to him,
"Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree."
Nathanael answered him,
"Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel."
Jesus answered and said to him,
"Do you believe
because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree?
You will see greater things than this."
And he said to him, "Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will see heaven opened
and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."

In this passage we see John's High Christological style.  Jesus is able to see Nathananel not with his eyes but with some type of supernatural power. Here Jesus' connection to God is highlighted and here we see the image of ascending and descending an allusion to Jacob's ladder where the individual grows closer to God through their suffering and humility.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Luke 9:57-62 The Kingdom of God Cannot Wait

As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding
on their journey, someone said to him,
"I will follow you wherever you go."
Jesus answered him,
"Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head."
And to another he said, "Follow me."
But he replied, "Lord, let me go first and bury my father."
But he answered him, "Let the dead bury their dead.
But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God."
And another said, "I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home."
Jesus answered him, "No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God."

Here we are reminded that the call to user the Kingdom of God cannot wait. We must respond fully. We cannot be held back by family, culture, work, school, or any corporal attachments. Here Jesus reminds us that we must respond fully with our hearts. We cannot be divided and our decision must be made fully without looking back. Our God deserves our full undivided attention. May God give us the grace to answer His call like Mary, the Apostles, and all the Saints.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Luke 9:51-56 Called to be respectful when spreading the Gospel

When the days for Jesus to be taken up were fulfilled,
he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,
and he sent messengers ahead of him.
On the way they entered a Samaritan village
to prepare for his reception there,
but they would not welcome him
because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
"Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven
to consume them?"
Jesus turned and rebuked them,
and they journeyed to another village.

In this passage we are reminded that although we may wish to spread the good news to all the world, not everyone is willing to listen. It is not our place to scold them or wish bad things upon them for the Lord will provide to them what they need and when they need it. We are called to spread the gospel but also be respectful when people do not accept our message. For it is not us but Christ who makes the gospel known to the world.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Luke 9:46-50 Actions speak more about us than our ambitions

An argument arose among the disciples
about which of them was the greatest.
Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child
and placed it by his side and said to them,
"Whoever receives this child in my name receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
For the one who is least among all of you
is the one who is the greatest."

Then John said in reply,
"Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name
and we tried to prevent him
because he does not follow in our company."
Jesus said to him,
"Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you."

In this passage we are reminded that following Jesus does not mean growing in pride. Being a follower of Jesus does not mean we are any better than others who also serve the Lord in their own way. This text also reminds us that our actions speak more about us than our ambitions. Although we naturally wish to sit at the right hand of our Lord, we are reminded that it is only in serving others and being meek will we every enter the Kingdom of Heaven. So let us not fight over which Christian group possess the truth for all of our serve Christ and in this service we are all brothers and sisters. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Luke 9:7-9 Who is Jesus?

Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening,
and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying,
"John has been raised from the dead;
others were saying, "Elijah has appeared;
still others, "One of the ancient prophets has arisen."
But Herod said, "John I beheaded.
Who then is this about whom I hear such things?"
And he kept trying to see him.

Here it appears there is some confusion as to who is Jesus. Herod is quoted as saying if he is Elijah, John the Baptist, or one of the ancient prophets. This is very similar to the question who is John the Baptist in the Gospel of John. It appears that Jesus was possibly seen as a prophet by the people of his time. 

Matthew 9:9-13 Called to be like St. Matthew

As Jesus passed by,
he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, "Follow me."
And he got up and followed him.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners came
and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,
"Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
He heard this and said,
"Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words,
I desire mercy, not sacrifice.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."

In this passage we see the call of Matthew. Matthew was a tax collector, someone who was despised by the people of Israel because they were perceived to be a sell out and a cheat. Tax collectors did not get an income from the Roman Empire so they needed to inflate the taxes so they could make a living. Here Matthew's response to the word of God is simply pure obedience. We are all called to be like Matthew. We are called to respond instantly to God's call no matter our background or past. 

Luke 8:19-21 Jesus' Family?

The mother of Jesus and his brothers came to him
but were unable to join him because of the crowd.
He was told, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside
and they wish to see you."
He said to them in reply, "My mother and my brothers
are those who hear the word of God and act on it."

In this passage there are many opinions on the extended family of Jesus. Some scholars have noted that here "brothers" is referring to Jesus cousins since the term brothers can be used to refer to one's extended family. Others note that it is likely referring to Jesus' actual siblings, meaning Mary likely had children after Jesus.  Either way, what is important is that Jesus extends the concept of family beyond the biological to the entire people of God. Those who have faith are part of this family. More precisely, those who have faith and use it to user in the Kingdom of God is part of his holy family.

Matthew 21:28-32 Religiousness does not equal Faith

Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people:
"What is your opinion?
A man had two sons.
He came to the first and said,
'Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.'
He said in reply, 'I will not, '
but afterwards changed his mind and went.
The man came to the other son and gave the same order.
He said in reply, 'Yes, sir, 'but did not go.
Which of the two did his father's will?"
They answered, "The first."
Jesus said to them, "Amen, I say to you,
tax collectors and prostitutes
are entering the kingdom of God before you.
When John came to you in the way of righteousness,
you did not believe him;
but tax collectors and prostitutes did.
Yet even when you saw that,
you did not later change your minds and believe him."

In this passage we are reminded that our religiousness does not equal faith. If we belong to an ecclesiastical community and participate in it every day, it does not bring us any closer to salvation if we do not have faith. Faith should be seen as a verb, something that is active. So often we volunteer at our church and slowly forget why we are doing it. We go to church out of routine, habit, or social pressure. This is why Jesus is so hard on the religious. He reminds us that faith is something that is active, done daily, and requires constant attention. If we don't have faith, how can we make the kingdom of God a reality? 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Luke 8:16-18 Our Talents are a Gift from God

Jesus said to the crowd:
"No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel
or sets it under a bed;
rather, he places it on a lampstand
so that those who enter may see the light.
For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible,
and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.
Take care, then, how you hear.
To anyone who has, more will be given,
and from the one who has not,
even what he seems to have will be taken away."

This parable reminds us that we are called to share our love for God with the world. Our talents are a gift from God. They flow from the Holy Spirit and are ways in which we can share God's love for the world. Yet, so often we forget this point and either squander our talents or fail to used them to their fullest. There is no point in being a gifted musician when no one hears our music. So spread the good news however you can with the talents God has bestowed on you.

Matthew 20:1-16 Grace is Freely Given

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
"The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner
who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage,
he sent them into his vineyard.
Going out about nine o'clock,
the landowner saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard,
and I will give you what is just.'
So they went off.
And he went out again around noon,
and around three o'clock, and did likewise.
Going out about five o'clock,
the landowner found others standing around, and said to them,
'Why do you stand here idle all day?'
They answered, 'Because no one has hired us.'
He said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard.'
When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman,
'Summon the laborers and give them their pay,
beginning with the last and ending with the first.'
When those who had started about five o'clock came,
each received the usual daily wage.
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more,
but each of them also got the usual wage.
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying,
'These last ones worked only one hour,
and you have made them equal to us,
who bore the day's burden and the heat.'
He said to one of them in reply,
'My friend, I am not cheating you.
Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
Take what is yours and go.
What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?
Are you envious because I am generous?'
Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last."

This parable reminds us that the Kingdom of God is about grace. Grace is something that is freely given. We do not earn grace and it is up to God to distribute it as God wishes. In this parable, we are reminded that although we often work hard for God's grace, love, and forgiveness, God is free to forgive, love, and aid with all people regardless of their faith, devotion, and theological background. We so often want God to follow our understanding of fairness. Yet here we are reminded that God's love is far more inclusive than we often want. God's love for us is profound and God's grace knows no end. 

Luke 8:4-15 The Words of Chirst are heard with the heart

When a large crowd gathered, with people from one town after another
journeying to Jesus, he spoke in a parable.
"A sower went out to sow his seed.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path and was trampled,
and the birds of the sky ate it up.
Some seed fell on rocky ground, and when it grew,
it withered for lack of moisture.
Some seed fell among thorns,
and the thorns grew with it and choked it.
And some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew,
it produced fruit a hundredfold."
After saying this, he called out,
"Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear."

Then his disciples asked him
what the meaning of this parable might be.
He answered,
"Knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God
has been granted to you;
but to the rest, they are made known through parables
so that they may look but not see, and hear but not understand.

"This is the meaning of the parable.
The seed is the word of God.
Those on the path are the ones who have heard,
but the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts
that they may not believe and be saved.
Those on rocky ground are the ones who, when they hear,
receive the word with joy, but they have no root;
they believe only for a time and fall away in time of temptation.
As for the seed that fell among thorns,
they are the ones who have heard, but as they go along,
they are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life,
and they fail to produce mature fruit.
But as for the seed that fell on rich soil,
they are the ones who, when they have heard the word,
embrace it with a generous and good heart,
and bear fruit through perseverance."

This parable reminds us that although the message of the gospel is clear, even those who have heard it do not necessarily live it. So often we hear the words of Christ but fail to actually internalize it. The gospel often challenges us and forces us away from our selfish desires. When we hear it but fail to act we are like the seed that is sown on the rocky ground. Meditation, prayer, discernment, these are the fertilizers we can use to help grow in faith and hear the gospel with open hearts. The word of Christ is not something that is heard with ears but with the heart.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Matthew 15:21-28 Jesus Learns from the Canaanite Woman

21 Jesus left that place and went to the area of Tyre and Sidon.22 A Canaanite woman from that area came to Jesus and cried out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter has a demon, and she is suffering very much." 23 But Jesus did not answer the woman. So his followers came to Jesus and begged him, "Tell the woman to go away. She is following us and shouting."
 24 Jesus answered, "God sent me only to the lost sheep, the people of Israel."
 25 Then the woman came to Jesus again and bowed before him and said, "Lord, help me!"
 26 Jesus answered, "It is not right to take the children's bread and give it to the dogs."
 27 The woman said, "Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."
 28 Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! I will do what you asked." And at that moment the woman's daughter was healed.

In this passage, many scholars believe Jesus has learned something. Here Jesus appears to dismiss the woman, claiming he is here to serve the people of Israel, but her rebuke gets his attention and he heals here. This tells us that Jesus is able to learn and did not know everything from the beginning. Here her challenge drives him to invite all people and extend his ministry to all people. This is likely a real event because of its detail, its inconsistency with the rest of his gospel message, and its shocking counter cultural message. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Luke 7:1-10 Jesus is the Word of God

When Jesus had finished all his words to the people,
he entered Capernaum.
A centurion there had a slave who was ill and about to die,
and he was valuable to him.
When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him,
asking him to come and save the life of his slave.
They approached Jesus and strongly urged him to come, saying,
"He deserves to have you do this for him,
for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us."
And Jesus went with them,
but when he was only a short distance from the house,
the centurion sent friends to tell him,
"Lord, do not trouble yourself,
for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof.
Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you;
but say the word and let my servant be healed.
For I too am a person subject to authority,
with soldiers subject to me.
And I say to one, Go, and he goes;
and to another, Come here, and he comes;
and to my slave, Do this, and he does it."
When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him
and, turning, said to the crowd following him,
"I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith."
When the messengers returned to the house,
they found the slave in good health.

In this passage, we see Jesus is being exalted as the Word of God. Similar to how God creates not with hands but with words, Jesus' word here heals the slave. Jesus is the incarnation of the Word of God. We also see in this passage a slight against the Jewish people. Here it is not the Jewish people who demonstrate faith in Jesus but a roman. These were people who were occupying the country and enslaving the Jewish people. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Matthew 18:21-35 Love comes only after forgiveness

Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
"Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive?
As many as seven times?"
Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the accounting,
a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
Since he had no way of paying it back,
his master ordered him to be sold,
along with his wife, his children, and all his property,
in payment of the debt.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.'
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan.
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants
who owed him a much smaller amount.
He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,
'Pay back what you owe.'
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,
'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'
But he refused.
Instead, he had the fellow servant put in prison
until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,
they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master
and reported the whole affair.
His master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant!
I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?'
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt.
So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart."

This passage reminds us of the importance of forgiveness. So often when we get into a fight with another person or we believe another person has wronged us, we allow the hate to consume us and fester within us. Here Jesus reminds us that hate really is a poison that we take. Only through the act of forgiveness do we allow ourselves the relief of giving up the hate. Like the Zen Buddhist parable goes: "A knife can only stick in one's back, if there is a back for the knife to stick. If there is no back, where can the knife go?" So when Jesus says to Peter you should forgive "seventy-seven times" Jesus is saying one should forgive forever, or an infinite amount of times. Let us look to our heavenly father who always forgives us as an example to live by.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Luke 6:39-42 One cannot smell their own pee

Jesus told his disciples a parable:
"Can a blind person guide a blind person?
Will not both fall into a pit?
No disciple is superior to the teacher;
but when fully trained,
every disciple will be like his teacher.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?
How can you say to your brother,
"Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,"
when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye?
You hypocrite!  Remove the wooden beam from your eye first;
then you will see clearly
to remove the splinter in your brother's eye."

In today's reading, Jesus reminds us that before we judge others, we must look carefully at our own actions. Jesus reminds us that it is unhealthy to constantly point out faults in others. It hurts communities and shifts the emphasis of responsibility from ourselves to others. Jesus' parable of the Log in the eye is very similar to a zen parable where the zen master says: "one cannot smell their own pee". Here both parables remind us that we are accountable for our own actions. When we judge others harshly while failing to take into account our own actions and behaviors we become hypocrites. We must always ask God for the grace to see clearly, act lovingly, and be with us when we make mistakes. We must never forget we are sinners and it is our sin that separates us from God.

Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23 Jesus comes from the line of King David

The Book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ,
the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham became the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers.
Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah,
whose mother was Tamar.
Perez became the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab.
Amminadab became the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz,
whose mother was Rahab.
Boaz became the father of Obed,
whose mother was Ruth.
Obed became the father of Jesse,
Jesse the father of David the king.

David became the father of Solomon,
whose mother had been the wife of Uriah.
Solomon became the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asaph.
Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Joram,
Joram the father of Uzziah.
Uzziah became the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah.
Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amos,
Amos the father of Josiah.
Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers
at the time of the Babylonian exile.

After the Babylonian exile,
Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
Zerubbabel the father of Abiud.
Abiud became the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
Azor the father of Zadok.
Zadok became the father of Achim,
Achim the father of Eliud,
Eliud the father of Eleazar.
Eleazar became the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
"Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins."
All this took place to fulfill
what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,
which means "God is with us."

In this reading, we see the genealogy (a list of a family tree) of Jesus as followed through Joseph's house. Matthew, unlike Luke who focuses on Mary's family line, is writing to a Jewish Christian audience. They would be familiar with stories of King David and the promise to David that the Messiah would come from his line. Here Matthew includes Abraham, the father of Israel, King David, from whose house will come the messiah, and Joseph (who interestingly enough is noted as the husband of Mary and not Jesus' father). Here we also see an explanation as to why Joseph did not divorce Mary or leave her knowing Jesus is not his direct son. This vision he has reminds us that we too like Joseph should trust in God. We should look to Joseph and serve God with an unyielding faith.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Luke 6:20-26 Our suffering is with the Prophets

Raising his eyes toward his disciples Jesus said:

"Blessed are you who are poor,
for the Kingdom of God is yours.
Blessed are you who are now hungry,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who are now weeping,
for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you,
and when they 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!
Behold, your reward will be great in heaven.
For their ancestors treated the prophets
in the same way.

But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
But woe to you who are filled now,
for you will be hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will grieve and weep.
Woe to you when all speak well of you,
for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way."

In this passage we see Jesus proclaiming the beatitudes. Here Jesus celebrates those who suffer and relates their suffering to the prophets. This reminds us that the cross is not easy. That spreading the gospel and proclaiming what is good and just comes with hardship. In this world doing what is right often comes with hardship. So many times people give up but Christ reminds us that by joining the prophets, we are ushering in God's will and making the Kingdom of God a reality. Hence, truly those who suffer to proclaim the gospel will gain eternal life. Those who cling to their life will lose if for that is the path to selfishness.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Luke 6:12-19 The Calling of the Twelve

Jesus departed to the mountain to pray,
and he spent the night in prayer to God.
When day came, he called his disciples to himself,
and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles:
Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew,
James, John, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus,
Simon who was called a Zealot,
and Judas the son of James,
and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground.
A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people
from all Judea and Jerusalem
and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon
came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases;
and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured.
Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him
because power came forth from him and healed them all.

In this passage we see Jesus' selection of the Twelve Apostles.  The likely reason for selection exactly twelve is because of the symbolic connection to the twelve tribes of Israel. We see a continuity of God's grace through Jesus' followers. The term Apostle comes from the Greek Apostlos which means to send. So Jesus' disciples are being sent on a mission to spread the Gospel. In this reading we also see how Jesus' ministered to the people by talking with them, teaching them, and healing them. This is the role of his apostles, to bring the Gospel to the people and also tend to their needs.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Luke 6:6-11 The meaning of the Sabbath

On a certain sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught,
and there was a man there whose right hand was withered.
The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely
to see if he would cure on the sabbath
so that they might discover a reason to accuse him.
But he realized their intentions
and said to the man with the withered hand,
"Come up and stand before us."
And he rose and stood there.
Then Jesus said to them,
"I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath
rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?"
Looking around at them all, he then said to him,
"Stretch out your hand."
He did so and his hand was restored.
But they became enraged
and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.

In this passage, Jesus highlights the need to do good on the Sabbath rather than standing by and allowing evil to occur. Here he is challenging the legalistic understanding of the Sabbath. Although participation in the Sabbath connects all people to God's creative act, here he reminds us that if someone is in need, then we have an obligation to help them. The Sabbath should not be an excuse to allow others to suffer. The Sabbath celebrates God's love for the world and so although we should dedicate time to spend with God and our families, we must also care for our neighbours. We are called to do good on the Sabbath.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Matthew 18:15-20 We are called to keep our friends out of trouble

Jesus said to his disciples:
"If your brother sins against you,
go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.
If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.
If he does not listen,
take one or two others along with you,
so that 'every fact may be established
on the testimony of two or three witnesses.'
If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church.
If he refuses to listen even to the church,
then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.
Amen, I say to you,
whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Again, amen, I say to you,
if two of you agree on earth
about anything for which they are to pray,
it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them."

This passage reminds us that we are accountable to our friends. Here Jesus is reminding us that we have a duty to help our friends stay out of trouble. If we knowingly consent, we are just as guilty. This is important because we are also reminded in the gospel that we are all friends in the Kingdom of God. So this passage can be extended to include all humanity making us accountable for the sufferings of others. This passage is not about being boastful and lashing out at others to satisfy our pride, it is simply a reminder that we are obligated to ensure our fellow neighbour has support to break any vice that grips them.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Luke 6:1-5 The Sabbath was made for Man

While Jesus was going through a field of grain on a sabbath,
his disciples were picking the heads of grain,
rubbing them in their hands, and eating them.
Some Pharisees said,
"Why are you doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?"
Jesus said to them in reply,
"Have you not read what David did
when he and those who were with him were hungry?
How he went into the house of God, took the bread of offering,
which only the priests could lawfully eat,
ate of it, and shared it with his companions?"
Then he said to them, "The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath."

In this passage, Jesus is reminding us that the Sabbath was made for man, not man made for the Sabbath. This means that religious practices are meant to be life giving. In going to church, participating in the ecclesiastical community, and celebrating the sacraments, we gain something. We benefit from building community and celebrating together. If participating in these activities is exclusionary or hurtful, then one must immediately stop. Religious institutions are meant to bring us to God but what sometimes happens is the exact opposite. Here Jesus reminds us that God wants us to be happy and that religious practices should bring us to God.  

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Luke 5:1-5 We are called to be like St. Peter

While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God,
he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret.
He saw two boats there alongside the lake;
the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets.
Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon,
he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore.
Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon,
"Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch."
Simon said in reply,
"Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing,
but at your command I will lower the nets."
When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish
and their nets were tearing.
They signaled to their partners in the other boat
to come to help them.
They came and filled both boats
so that the boats were in danger of sinking.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said,
"Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man."
For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him
and all those with him,
and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
who were partners of Simon.
Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid;
from now on you will be catching men."
When they brought their boats to the shore,
they left everything and followed him.

In today's passage we see the call of Peter. Here Peter is told to catch men meaning he will call others to follow Christ. The fact that he "left everything and followed him" means that Peter was not held back by his job, status, family, or friends. Peter freely chooses to follow Christ. This is our call, to love one another and follow in the foot steps of Christ without anything holding us back. This is the true meaning of being an apostle (one who is sent).