Julie Lawler. "Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time" Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. September 4, 2022 Today’s gospel reading leads us to reflect on and examine our priorities. What is most important? It is hard to choose between God and other commitments, but God is inviting us to choose God above all else, possessions and relationships, so that we can have eternal life.
Fr. Euan Marley. "We Have Been This Way Before" Torch. April 5, 2022 In Exodus 14:19 we read, ‘Then the angel of God who went before the camp of Israel moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them.’ What is happening is that the Egyptian army is pursuing the Israelites into the desert, and God, who has been ahead of them – in appearance at any rate – moves behind them. This is to show that he is protecting the Israelites as they pass through the Red Sea. The journey of Israel has begun, and for most of the journey God is seen to be ahead of them, leading them to the promised land. I wonder if the people of Israel ever felt they had truly finished that journey.
Fr. Lawrence Obilor. "The Danger of Possessions" A Catholic Moment. October 10, 2021 What is our idol? What is our wealth? What is it that we cannot let go? What are the things possessing us such that we have become prisoners of them, and by consequence going against the first commandment that seeks for unconditional priority to God? Why do we walk away sad? Those who have attained detachment towards worldly possessions will never walk away sad. Even if part of what they have or even the whole of it be sacrificed for the sake of Christ.
Fr. Lawrence Obilor. "You too follow Me!" A Catholic Moment. January 24, 2021 God’s call to discipleship is as old as creation itself. In every age, in every nation, in every race and langauge God calls and chooses men and women to sow the seed of His kingdom. The process is always God’s own initiative. He comes to man and then the latter is expected to respond by emptying himself through repentance, conversion, and renewal of life. This is the theme of today’s readings. God first calls us to conversion, to reform, to repentance. It is all about a necessary process to becoming new people. Those who truly accept this call and its exigencies are constantly reformed by the Spirit who alone empowers them to follow the path to wherever God leads them. Our three readings today underline this process of absolute necessity of repentance and readiness to respond to God’s call.
John Bergsma. "The Sunday of the Word of God!" The Sacred Page. January 22, 2021 In September of 2019, Pope Francis released an apostolic letter motu proprio “Aperuit Illis” designating the third Sunday of Ordinary Time—the Sunday on which the semi-continuous reading of the Gospel of the year begins—as “The Sunday of the Word of God,” and suggested that local parishes adopt some ceremonies or practices—like the presentation of Bibles to each family or to recently confirmed, etc.—to foster devotion to the Word of God on this day. The whole motu proprio is well worth reading, as it is one of the finest brief statements of the Catholic theology of Scripture to come out of Rome in the modern era, perhaps in the history of the Church. From it’s style, it sounds like Pope Francis may have asked Pope Emeritus Benedict to help in composing it. I plan to use it in the future as a short “catechesis” on the theology of divine revelation for my various Scripture courses.
Fr. Robert Ombres. "Living Provisionally" Torch. January 18, 2021 The readings for Mass today may seem impressive, but also very distant from us. We can admire from a distance whilst remaining unchanged. Jonah, for all his reluctance, was a prophet, and at great cost to himself as his life became disrupted by God. Simon and Andrew, brothers who made a living by fishing, when Jesus told them to follow him in a very different way of life immediately left the tools of their trade and followed him. Soon after, Jesus saw James and John at their work. He called them and they left their father in the boat and followed him. These were costing separations from work and family towards an uncertain future. This is only chapter 1 of St Mark’s Gospel, and the rest of the Gospel (combined with the other gospels) will tell what that undisclosed future in following Jesus would bring.
Joseph LaCombe. "Let Jesus Lead the Way" A Catholic Moment. April 7, 2019 A few years ago, I was out in Palm Springs, California for a conference. I have been out there numerous times, and if you’re not familiar with the Palm Springs, it is in the Sonoran Desert in Southern California, nestled right next to the San Jacinto Mountains. It is truly a beautiful place, especially in the spring, and the mountains rise sharply out of the desert floor from an elevation of around 400’ up to almost 11,000 feet at the summit of Mount San Jacinto. They are a rugged chain, very rocky and the lower elevations covered in brush and cactus. But they are so beautiful.
Joseph LaCombe. "This Is Why He Came" A Catholic Moment. January 13, 2019 This is why He came. This is why Jesus was born a human, why He became one of us, and why He ultimately died for us. To fulfill these words from Isaiah.
Fr. Martin Ganeri. "Rabbuni!" Torch. October 24, 2018 This Sunday’s Gospel passage tells us of the physical healing of a blind man. The gift of sight. Yet it also sets out for us a journey of insight which the man undergoes as he comes into contact with Christ and which leads not just to his being healed of a bodily handicap, but to his becoming a full disciple of Christ, to his following Jesus ‘on the way,’ that ancient phrase for being a Christian. It is as a story of insight that what happens to the man born blind becomes a model for all of us as we seek to understand what it means for us to be ‘on the way’ to and with Christ.
Fr. Robert Ombres. "Captivated by Christ" Torch. January 17, 2018 Religion can be fascinating, and to be the follower of a religion has several attractions. There is an involvement with the supernatural, there are sacred books and a body of teachings to engage the mind, there are rituals and practices that create fellowship and have inspired art and music, there is guidance on right and wrong, and there are indications about life after death.
Fr. Peter Clarke. "Questionable Following of Jesus!" Torch. June 21, 2016 Jesus resolutely turned His face towards Jerusalem. With grim determination He journeyed towards His destiny which He knew would be far from congenial. This was in loving obedience to what His Heavenly Father required of Him…the horrific death by crucifixion. With unsurpassable divine love Jesus lay down His human life for the redemption of mankind.
Carolyn Trumble. "Third Sunday of Easter" Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. April 10, 2016 Fear and uncertainty have a way of paralyzing us. Violence creates a climate of fear that can eliminate the trust and security we need in life. Violence has a very strong grip on the city of São Paulo, Brazil. About 50,000 homicides per year occur in Brazil, four times as many homicides per year than the United States. The United Nations considers a situation where a country that has more than 25,000 violent deaths per year as living in civil war.
Joseph LaCombe. "Drop the Nets…" A Catholic Moment. February 6, 2016 15 years ago, I sat on the Northeast coast of the United States, on a pier in Maine. It was a beautiful August day on the North Atlantic, and as I was up in Maine for training, we took a long lunch and went to the outskirts of town, and just across the road from a small country store and deli was a small pier where lobster and crab fisherman were coming in, emptying their pots. We took our lunch out to the pier and ate, and watched these men work.
Fr. Bruno Clifton. "The Gaze of Love" Torch. October 6, 2015 Let us have a look at the dynamic of this conversation the rich man has with Jesus. The first thing Mark makes sure to tell us is that this encounter interrupts Jesus ‘setting out on the way’ (v17). It is not a teaching moment, but the man is concerned enough to find the Lord, kneel before him and ask him the question that troubles him, even when Jesus has other things to do. So, it is highly unlikely to be a challenge to his authority or an attempt to trick him.
Fr. Lawrence Lew. "Love, And Do What You Will" Torch. December 16, 2012 “What shall we do?” Various groups of people go to John the Baptist to ask him for moral instruction because they recognize his wisdom and moral authority. In every age people have gone to ask their religious preachers and sages for moral guidance: “What shall we do?” Many of the world’s religions offer responses to this fundamental question on how we should order our lives, how we can live well as human beings.
Fr. Benjamin Earl. "Total Giving" Torch. October 14, 2012 Most of us have at some point been presented with a task that seemed impossible to us. Perhaps it might be sorting out family difficulties: one child is ill, another breaks a leg, the spouse gets stuck in snowstorm, and to cap it all a long-lost Australian aunt turns up on the doorstep unannounced. You get the picture. At this time of year, perhaps the impossible task is a new course of studies; perhaps a new job, or a crisis at work.
Fr. Simon Gaine. "Facing the Challenge" Torch. September 5, 2010 Jesus has had his disagreements with learned scribes and Pharisees along the way to Jerusalem, while the unlearned crowds are still enthusiastically behind him. He speaks to them not to destroy their zeal, but to temper it with something more characteristic of his opponents. The crowds did not know what this road to Jerusalem meant for Jesus, nor did they know what following after him really means. Jesus wants to inform their zeal with a dose of learned realism, warning them that anyone who does not bear the cross and follow after him cannot be his disciple.
Fr. Richard Ounsworth. "More Than Loud Hosannas" Torch. March 28, 2010 It’s often said that St Luke’s Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles are two volumes of a single work. Almost certainly they are written by the same author, and they obviously overlap. We might even go further and notice how the Gospel mostly consists of Jesus’s journey to Jerusalem – at least, that journey provides the backbone, as it were, of the Gospel, and then Acts portrays the outward journey, in a sort of symmetry.
Fr. Isidore Clarke. "Travelling Light" Torch. October 11, 2009 When I was much younger and more active I used to enjoy camping. I would carry all I needed in a rucksack. Sometimes I would walk several miles and on other occasions I would cycle much further. I soon learnt the need to travel as light as possible, taking only the basic necessities. A heavy load would have exhausted me. There was a certain freedom in this simple, uncluttered life-style. I think my experience of hiking and cycling to campsites sheds some light on today’s Gospel. The rich man was a good Jew, observing the Law.
Fr. John O'Connor. "Sheep Who Don't Follow the Herd" Torch. April 29, 2007 Sheep are often ridiculed for their lack of intelligence. This common perception was behind the cartoon I saw on a t-shirt recently, where two sheep are chatting, and one says to the other: ‘Sure, I follow the herd—not out of brainless obedience, mind you, but out of a deep and abiding respect for the concept of community.’
Fr. Duncan Campbell. "Believing is Seeing" Torch. October 29, 2006 The Gospel is about a beggar who was blind being instantly healed. It was enough to lift him out of such total destitution as we can hardly imagine today. We can be thankful that we live in such a different world. Society’s natural response today is to provide medical care for the sick and invalids, and support for the destitute. Stories of healing like this may have introduced such concern.
Fr. Duncan Campbell. "Answering the Call" Torch. January 22, 2006 The Gospel was written to help explain how there began a 'Christ' movement -- what has come to be the Church. It began with the son of a village odd-job man, or carpenter, walking past hard-working fishermen, calling on them to follow him. He would have been known to them. They may have heard rumours of his visit to the wonderful preacher John, and having some sort of second-birth experience in a public washing-ceremony ('baptism') that John performed. This may explain, partly, why they answered his call.
Fr. Duncan Campbell. "Fishing" Torch. February 8, 2004 Jesus drew the crowds. He was an inspired speaker. He could make things exciting and possible. The people couldn’t read, so he summarised everything for them.
Fr. Fabian Radcliffe. "Repent! Again!" Torch. January 26, 2003 Only a few weeks ago we were in Advent, and we heard the message: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand. So we prepared ourselves for the coming of Christ and celebrated it at Christmas. But now, suddenly, we find ourselves listening to the same message all over again. Look at today's Gospel: The time has come and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent and believe the good news' Look at the other two readings as well: Jonah preaching God's judgement on the Ninevites unless they repent, and St Paul reminding us urgently that 'our time is growing short' and we must change our way of living.
St. John Paul II. "VERITATIS SPLENDOR" Vatican. August 6, 1993 The dialogue of Jesus with the rich young man, related in the nineteenth chapter of Saint Matthew's Gospel, can serve as a useful guide for listening once more in a lively and direct way to his moral teaching:
Bishop Robert Barron. "The Fair-Weather Fans of Jesus" Word on Fire. September 4, 2022 Friends, there are a lot of people today who might be intrigued by Jesus. They find him interesting, remember him as a spiritual teacher, or have warm feelings about him. But in today’s Gospel, Jesus is saying to his fair-weather fans—those who are following him because he’s fascinating and charismatic—that being his disciple is not a walk in the park; it is something of supreme spiritual and moral importance.
Bishop Robert Barron. "Following Jesus Comes First" Word on Fire. June 26, 2022 Friends, I’m going to be blunt with you: today’s Gospel is really challenging. It cuts right to the heart of the ethical implications of the Gospel. There's something of a “be all, end all” quality about Jesus, something of an either/or. As he says, “Whoever is not with me is against me.” What follows from this is what I call the principle of detachment and clarification of motives. If Jesus is unambiguously the center of your life, then everything else has to find its place in relation to him. If the good things of the world become more important than following him, then something has gone off-kilter.
Bishop Robert Barron. "It's Time for a Radical Choice" Word on Fire. October 10, 2021 Friends, in our first reading today, Solomon finds that all the power and wealth of the world are nothing compared to the gift of wisdom—seeing life from the perspective of God. Although this gift seems to help one further amass wealth, in today’s Gospel, Christ teaches us that to use the gifts of the world properly we must give them away so we can follow him.
Bishop Robert Barron. "Time to Test Your Faith" Word on Fire. August 22, 2021 Friends, today’s Gospel concludes John’s reflection on the Eucharist. At the end of this remarkable chapter, we are faced with a question that defines the Christian faith: Will you follow Christ? May we always answer as Peter does.
Bishop Robert Barron. "Walking Truly and Completely with Him" Word on Fire. June 30, 2019 In the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus clarifies that all worldly goods find their value in relation to Him. If we believe Jesus is the only Son of God, we must place our grudges, personal desires, and even our most sacred worldly obligations aside in order to walk truly and completely with Him.
Fr. Stephen Thorne. "Pray and keep it moving" St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church. May 12, 2019
Richard Rohr. "Text and Commentary" Center for Action and Contemplation. May 5, 2019
Richard Rohr. "Don't Be Afraid of Yourself" Center for Action and Contemplation. February 10, 2019
Bishop Robert Barron. "A New Fixed Star" Word on Fire. December 2, 2018 This Sunday is New Year’s Day, in the liturgical sense of the term. With the first Sunday of Advent, we commence the liturgical year of 2019. And New Year’s day is always a good time for resolutions, taking stock, starting over again. I want to interpret our Gospel for this Sunday, which portrays Jesus is full apocalyptic mode, in that spirit.
Bishop Robert Barron. "The Good Shepherd" Word on Fire. April 17, 2016 One of the most enduring and endearing images of Jesus is that of the good shepherd who guides and lays down his life for his sheep. We cannot be indifferent in regard to him. We have to give our whole selves to him, without compromise or hesitation. Once we hear his voice, we have to drop everything and follow.
Richard Rohr. "Jesus' Non Dual Teaching Is Still Considered “Blasphemy”" Center for Action and Contemplation. April 17, 2016
Richard Rohr. "Your faith is what you wake up for in the morning" Center for Action and Contemplation. August 23, 2015
Bishop Robert Barron. "Fishers of Men" Word on Fire. April 14, 2013 Today’s reading from the Gospel of John offers a compelling meditation about the importance of Christ for the activities of the Church. Christians are meant to be fishers of men, but when we operate according to our own agendas and efforts we will catch nothing. We must act under the Lord’s direction. If we follow Christ we will do great good indeed.
Bishop Robert Barron. "He Is Risen!" Word on Fire. April 24, 2011 Our first reading for this Easter day is Peter’s great kerygmatic speech on Pentecost morning. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter addresses the Jerusalem crowd, telling them the impossibly good news that Jesus of Nazareth, a man who moved through their ordinary towns and villages, has been raised from the dead. The Easter faith of the Church is not an abstraction, not a vague claim about God’s fidelity or our hope for immortality. Rather, it is the startling assertion that God has brought this man Jesus back from the dead. May we bask in the glow of this still surprising revelation.
Bishop Robert Barron. "The Task of the Church" Word on Fire. January 14, 2007 As we enter into ordinary time, we reflect with St. Paul on the ordinary task of the church: the discernment and exercise of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. How do we use the gifts of wisdom, knowledge, healing, and faith?
Bishop Robert Barron. "The Rich Young Man" Word on Fire. October 12, 2003 The Gospel story of the conversation between Jesus and the rich young man is one of John Paul II’s favorites and is featured in many of his writings. The Pope sees three great moral themes in this narrative: the objectivity of the good, the indispensiblity of the commandments, and finally, the call to radical self-gift. The rich young man accepts the first two but balks at the third–and this is his tragedy. How radically are we willing to live the moral life? Will we follow Jesus, or walk away sad?
Luke 6:12 "Follow Jesus in Prayer" If we are Christians, are we spending time in prayer as Jesus did?
Psalm 13:4 "Light. Sight. God. " Are we approaching each day by choosing God over earthly things?
Romans 7:21 "Tempted by Evil" Do we realize that even though sin holds us down, Jesus is the answer to lift us up?
Luke 12:37 "Servants of Christ" Are we truly ready to welcome Jesus when he appears to us in our daily lives?
Luke 12:8 "Confessing Jesus to be Divine" Do we understand that by acknowledging Jesus with our lives we enter into the heavenly space?
Luke 12:1 "Continue Following Jesus" If church leadership fail to follow Jesus, can we remain vigilant to God’s Word?
Luke 11:28 "Blessed by God’s Gift" How can we be blessed if we reject God’s gift of Jesus Christ?
Malachi 3:20 "Hearts Set on God" Is our fear of God driving our lives or are we succumbing to the will of the world?
Luke 6:46 "Jesus is Our Lord" Are we fulfilling God’s commandments or just pretending that we are?
Matthew 1:20 "Changing for God’s Plan" Are we able to change our life plans for God’s plan for us?
Colossians 2:8 "Follow God, Not Man" Can we tell if others are leading us to Jesus or themselves?
Luke 5:11 "Leaving Everything for Jesus" Are we truly giving up everything to follow Jesus?
John 1:46 "Invite Others to Jesus" Are we passionate in our love for Jesus so that others are attracted as well?
Matthew 23:3 "Attentive to God" Are we following God speaking to us through people or just a person who lacks God?
Joshua 24:15 "Choosing God Today" We may call ourselves Christians but do we really know what it means to be a disciple of Christ?
Deuteronomy 10:14 "God is Great" Can we appreciate how out of God's greatness God decided to create us, forgive us, and love us?
Psalm 81:13 "Choosing God" God gives us the choice to follow Jesus or our desires. Where does our heart lead us?
Psalm 19:9 "Seeing With God’s Word" Do we live in God's truth or is our view on life covered by the darkness of lies?
Matthew 12:15 "Jesus Walks Away" Are we following after Jesus or are we dwelling in the evils of the world?
Genesis 46:4 "God With Us Always" Can we overcome our fears and trust in God as God leads us in life?
Genesis 17:1 "God Almighty" Once we recognize God's greatness are we willing to follow God with Faith like Abraham?
Matthew 7:13 "The Narrow Gate" Are we willing to give up everything to follow Jesus?
Matthew 5:16 "Be the Light of God" Are we reflecting God to the people around us today?
Mark 10:52 "Liberty to Follow" After all the healing Jesus is doing on us, are we turning our attention to God?
John 21:22 "Don't Worry, Just Follow" Is our concern on loving Christ or being envious of others?
John 21:17 "Do We Love Jesus?" Do our actions and activity throughout our day reflect our love for Jesus?