today's other readings are Psalm 95 and Mt. 16: 13-23 It was a very hard time for the Israelites. Wandering in the Sinai wilderness, not knowing exactly when or how they would end up in the Promised Land. As it turned out, it would take 40 years. At times in those 40 years they had to deal with enemies, as well as the other realities such as hunger and thirst, thirst being highlighted in our reading today. One may ask, why the punishment for Moses and Aaron in today's reading? The answer lies in what they said to the Israelites. Shall we bring water for you out of this rock? Of course it was not them who brought out the water. It was God. But they took the credit, and thus they get the punishment. In the end, all the good we do in our lives of faith, is not our work, but it is the work of God. To God goes the glory, always.
today's other readings are Numbers 12, 13 and Psalm 106 Considering the cultural and historical reality that the Canaanite woman faced 2000 years ago, one must greatly admire her persistence and faith. First, as a woman, one was never allowed to speak to a man that you did not know. Strike one. Secondly, she is a Gentile. Strike two. And then Jesus and His disciples dismiss her. Strike three. But she's not out. For she persists and shows great wisdom in the face of all the hurdles placed before her. And her request is granted. A basic lesson can be had for all of us. How many times do we give up when faced with obstacles and hurdles in our path? It could be bureucratic obstaces, social and cultural obstacles, or even faith obstacles. But this woman knew what she wanted, knew what she need, and knew that her cause was right and just. And iher wish was granted.
today's other readings are Exodus 16; Psalm 78 ; Ephesians 4: 17, 20-24 and John 6: 24-35 Whenever I read the start of today’s gospel, all I can think of is, “Poor Jesus”. People are after Him. After last week’s miracle of the loaves and fishes, He has become a celebrity. If Twitter had existed back then, His account would have exploded. He shouldn’t have been surprised, though. He was a tremendous teacher, with much wisdom to offer, and then there were all His miracles. But people aren’t chasing Him for His wisdom. All they were concerned about was getting fed again. In their eyes, Jesus was the archetype of Uber Eats or Doordash, and even better, when He fed them, it was free. In their conversation with Him we see that the people had a good memory. They remembered how God had fed their ancestors in the desert as we heard in our 1st reading – with quails in the evening, and manna in the morning. It was God who fed them, for free. Now they think Jesus is going to do the same for them, again and again and again. But Jesus tells them “You’re only interested in more bread – but the food I’ve got for you will never perish – don’t be concerned about food that will perish.” So, they were out of luck. Jesus would not be a pushover. There will be no more miracles and no more free bread for now. For He is only interested in taking them to a new level of understanding and faith. They would have to come to grips with that it would be Jesus Himself who would be the bread for their lives. And after all that he had already done for them, you’d think it would have been enough. But no. Why? Because it is human to always want more. Which is what St. Paul rails against in our 2nd reading, as he basically says, “Don’t be like the pagans -set aside your old life and old ways of thinking. As people of faith, put on Christ – so be like Him, live like Him”. But the people in our gospel were hungry. And they couldn’t get beyond their empty stomachs. What are you hungry for? Food, like maybe the Popeye’s Chicken sandwich? Or are you hungry for something far more substantial – like the bread of life we will be offered in about 20 minutes from now, in Holy Communion? Think about it – Jesus tells us that the bread He offers – Himself – will sustain us eternally. And when the crowd asks Jesus, “Sir, give us this bread always”, He would. And He still does, in every mass. Jesus gives us all that He has, all that He is. The Bread of Life is offered to us – but do you realize, in return, much is expected of us. What is expected? That we should be what St. Paul said in our 2nd reading – people of righteousness and holiness, people who have clothed ourselves with Christ, people whose actions in our day to day lives reflect what we say and what we believe. In our 1130 Sunday mass we finish with “The mass never ends, it must be lived”. It’s true. For what we have celebrated and received has to be lived out there for the rest of the week. Again, in every mass Jesus offers Himself to us – the Bread of Life. This is a gift – a gift to be savoured and treasured and then lived out and shared, by what we say and do in the coming week until we come together again. Are you ready to be once again nourished with the Bread of Life in a few moments? Good! And are you willing to live out? Even better.
today's readings are Exodus 40; Psalm 84; John 11: 17-27 or Lk. 10: 38-42 St. Martha may be one of the most underrated women of the New Testament. For today's masses the presider has the choice of 2 gospels that feature Martha, and both involve conversations between Martha and Jesus. Martha's sister Mary is also in both gospels, but in neither case does she have a speaking part. In the first, she stays at home, and in the second, she takes the preferred role of simply being with Jesus. An item to note in both gospels is the boldness of Martha to be willing to speak to Jesus. In both cases, she does something outside the cultural norm, a woman initiating a conversation with a man who is not her relative. Besiddes doing that, in both cases she displays a willingness to speak her mind to Jesus. In Luke's story, she asks Jesus to tell her sister to give her a hand. In John's story, her initial statement to Jesus is half disappointment, half reprimand for the fact Jesus purposefully showed up too late to save her brother. Of course, the conversation then turns into a profound declaration from Jesus and an equally profound statement of faith from Martha. Maybe we can take a bit of time today to consider our own relationship with Jesus in light of Martha's with Jesus. Do we feel confident enough to express our feelings to Him, even if they are feelings of disappointment and frustration, like Martha did?
today's readings are Exodus 34: 29-35 and Psalm 99 Jesus uses a short series of parables in chapter 13 of Matthew's gospel to ehighlight the nature of the Kingdom of heaven, and we hear 2 of them today. A few things to note: 1) these parables are short and quite succint; 2) there is a sense of urgency in them, describing actions to be taken by the searcher; 3) the action requires selling all in order to obtain entrance into the kingdom. This of course implies a giving up of one's life for the kingdom, as hard as that may be. Above are the points given - question is, are they taken?
today's readings are Sirach 44; Psalm 132 and Mt. 13: 16-17 Today the Universal church celebrates the maternal grandparents of Jesus, Anne and Joachim. While not mentioned by name in the 4 gospels, the early church had a strong tradition of honouring them, and they spoken in the ancient Protoevangelium of James. As we honour their memories and the role they played both in the upbringing of their daughter Mary and most likely their grandson, Jesus, perhaps we can reflect on the role of our own grandparents, and for some of us, our role as grandparents. It is my hope and prayer that our memories of our grandparents are good ones, and I am blessed with such good memories and sotires of all 4 of them, and today I thank almighty God for them, just as today we thank almightly God for the gift of the lives of Anne and Joachim. P.S. the photo above is the front entrance of the famous Church of St. Anne, located in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.
today's other readings are Psalm 19 and Mt. 13: 18-23 The 10 commandments that God outlines to Moses, Aaron and the people of Israel area prescription for both good personal living, and as well as good living as a community. Three of them are "dos" and 7 are "don'ts". In them the people are reminded that their fundamental relationship is with God and with their neighbour. Following these commandments will allow them to live safely and well. We all encounter many rules in our civil society. Fortunately the overwhelming majority of them are beneficial to the health and safety of all. But the 10 commandments are laws that can be aprt of every socieity, every community. hence, they are to be followed and carried out.
today's first reading is Exodus 14:21 - 15: 1, 20-21 and the canticle is from Exodus 15 I am blessed with my brother, Rob. He is a good man, a great father and husband, and someone I am quite proud of and admire. Of course, I love him, but just as importantly, I like him. I enjoy spending time with him. I know that not everyone can say that about their siblings. I have heard plenty of stories of siblings who are estranged and in some cases, literally have not seen each other for years. Jesus today asks a rhetorical question, "Who is my mothers and who are my brothers?" Then we hear His profound answer. Jesus had no children, and hence, none of us can claim to be His direct descendants. But we are related to Him. After all, it was His Father in heaven who helped to make us. And hence He becomes our brother. The thought of which should make us feel good. But the question remains for each one of us to answer, "Since that is the case, what kind of sibling am I to Him?"
today's other readings are Exodus 14: 5-18 and Exodus 15 What do you expect from Jesus? If He was right in front of you right now, what would be the first thing you might ask of Him? Based on His reaction to the request asked of Him by the scribes and Pharisees, one might say, "Whatever you do, don't ask for a sign (like a miracle) from Him!" However, we need to consider this - who is it that is asking Him - the scribes and Pharisees. In almost every case, when they approach Him, they are trying to trap Him. And Jesus can see right through them and their motives. Hence the strong reaction. from Him, with his references to the sign of Jonah and the Queen of the South (the Queen of Sheba). There are many instances in which people approach Him and ask for a miracle based on good motives - such as the request asked of Jesus by the Roman centurion (Mt. 8: 5-9) to heal his servant. And the request is granted. So when we approach Jesus with our own prayer requests, maybe we need to ask, are we just looking at Him as the Divine Magician who will pull the proverbial "rabbit out of the hat" for us? Or are we approaching Him with faith and trust and a request that truly will bring about good? And most importantly, what is the basis of our motivation to do so?
Their boat set out for a deserted place along the Sea of Galilee. But the word got out and lots of people “hastened” there, that is, they eagerly ran on foot, and arrived there faster than Jesus and the apostles could. Why did those people run? They ran because they anticipated good things. They ran because they believed their desires would be fulfilled. In a word, they ran because Jesus and the apostles had given them “HOPE”. What can we hope for as Christians? Can we hope that if we stay close to Christ and to His church that we will go to heaven someday? Yes. But is that all there is? No. Our hope in Christ is not only for the time beginning once we have died. Moments ago, we heard Psalm 23, a psalm commonly heard at funerals. The Lord is my shepherd; and we responded "THERE IS NOTHING I SHALL WANT". Though we tend to associate it with the Holy dead, the blessings this psalm speaks for the living as well. For example, in the Gospel, Jesus leads the apostles to a place beside restful waters to refresh their souls. He teaches the vast crowds that come many things, guiding them in right paths, and giving them courage. He has the people lay upon the green grass and, breaking bread, He spreads a meal before them. We can confidently HOPE that Jesus will do these things for us. Jesus wants to give you PEACE. But what is peace? It means, in part, being liberated from worthless worry, having no anxiety at all. Jesus wants to teach you WISDOM and give you the courage you need to live it. Jesus Christ, teaching through our Church and its scriptures, proclaims to your truths that the world does not know and hence is not going to teach you. Jesus not only tells you how to live well but EMPOWERS you to do it too through the Holy Spirit alive within you. Jesus wants to give you the bread you need. In a few moments, you will be receiving the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. And in addition to that, Jesus does not only provide for you on this one day at church. He provides for us all week long in the world out there. In the Our Father, we pray “Give us this day our daily bread”, and this is not just food, but whatever it is we need. Christ is rich and wants to give you good things. If we are frugal and generous, he will provide us with whatever we need. There is a lot of hopelessness about our times and the way things are headed, but we Christians should live with HOPE about our lives and about the world we live in. Now bad things are going to happen, but with Christ, a more Glorious Resurrection always follows the CROSS. With this truth in mind, we should be a people of HOPE. Our world is broken, but man is more broken by sin. Christ is real and active with power in the world out there, but HE tends to work from the inside-out. That is to say, the kind of change that He is interested in usually begins within souls, like ours. Christ first changes Christians, and then through us, He transforms the world. He wants to give us trusting peace inside, so we can live with freedom. He wants to give us contentment inside, as the antidote for our over-consumption. But first and foremost, of all, He wants to give you “PRAYER” inside. If you only hear one thing I have said in today's reflection, this is the final and most important thing: A Christian must pray, every single day. Daily prayer is the means to our conversion. Daily prayer is the first step to transforming our world. Daily prayer is the key to realizing our HOPES, for this life and the next. Christ has good things he wants to give you. SO RUN TO HIM, WITH EAGER HOPE. GOD BLESS YOU ALL