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June 28, 2017 - Gifts Given

Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr

Scripture Readings

Birds of a feather flock together.  Creatures that are alike tend to gather together to participate in similar behaviors.  For instance, geese fly together when they are migrating or wolves run in packs when hunting.  Although the reason for the wolves gathering together is for their survival, not everyone would see their hunting as a good and holy practice.


June 27, 2017 - A Radical Rule to Live By

Tuesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

It is said that familiarity breeds contempt. When a person knows someone very well, they can become so aware of their faults that they become scornful of them.


June 26, 2017 - Is it Just A Fairy Tale?

Monday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

I do not watch a lot of movies, but I love when I can find God even in the stories on the screen.  Recently, I was able to view the current adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast.”  It was both visually beautiful with wonderful settings and costumes and had lovely music and singing.  When I was preparing to write this reflection, it struck me that much of this movie revolves around people making judgments of other people who are different from them: the townspeople judge Belle as “odd”, the Beast judges Belle as a common peasant, and Belle and most of the other people judge the Beast- as just that- a ferocious, dangerous beast.  All of this judgment creates tension and even leads to violence.  Jesus in today’s  gospel reading recognizes the hazards of judging others, and He invites His disciples to step back and look inward to tend to our own faults first before even considering the faults of others. After careful reflection, He invites us to step forward with mercy and compassion when encountering others.


June 25, 2017 - Heroes or Villians

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Historically, you and I know how the action of one person can cause either immense harm or bring about immense good. Hitler single handedly could have prevented War War ll. He did the opposite. Over sixty million people died in that war. On the contrary, there are also people who single handedly brought much good in the world. St. Francis of Assisi, for example, single handedly reformed the Church. For more modern examples, I think of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela. Their actions were redeeming actions. Perhaps in our families too there are people who either cause destruction or bring peace.

Paul is making a similar argument in today's second reading from the letter to the Romans, when he says, "Through one man sin entered the world, and through sin death, and thus death came to all men, in as much all sinned." Then he continues, "For if by the transgression of one many died, how much did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ overflow for the many." To put it simply, one man caused sin and destruction whereas another man, Jesus Christ brought redemption.

1.     The Story of Salvation. Paul's purpose in writing the letter to the Romans was twofold. First, he wanted to convince his readers that salvation comes from faith in Jesus Christ. Second, he wanted to demonstrate how individual salvation can be accomplished - not by Law, but by faith. To convince his readers he must demonstrate what Christ gifted to the world - free grace! This grace is freely given to the world because of God's plan of salvation. And that is Paul main point - that even if one man caused sin, death, and destruction, God did not give up on us. From Abraham to the last person, God has offered humanity the possibility of salvation. This possibility is made available to us through the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus Christ. That is why he says earlier in the very same chapter, "But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us." As a practical implication, I am suggesting today, that apart from trying to grasp the immensity of God's saving work for us, that we stand in awe before the God who simply refuses to give us up for destruction. Sin caused destruction, but love brought redemption. One man brought death but one man brought the possibility of redemption. Without Jesus humanity would be a hopeless species. Thank you God. Just thank you for giving us Jesus!

2.     Acknowledging the Father. Today's gospel reading seems to be a collection of saying that perhaps Jesus did not necessarily say in the same order that Matthew has recorded them. However, if we read the sections before and after today's gospel, we understand that the context is persecution. Hence, the saying, "Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father." How do we understand this conditional statement? Does this mean that there is a limit to God's love that Paul just expressed in the letter to the Romans? That is not Matthew's point. His point is that a disciple should not be afraid of those who kill the body but rather those who kill the soul, because God has already saved us. Even the hairs of our head is counted. On the cross Jesus did not deny us. To deny the Father is to deny salvation. To deny the Father is to deny the very love that saves humanity. The practical implications of this point is simply this - that we can either deny the father or acknowledge the Father by our thoughts, words, and actions. When our actions are non-redeeming actions, then we deny the Father. On the other hand, when our actions are redeeming actions, then we acknowledge the Father. The more we acknowledge the Father, the more Jesus is able to redeem us!

3.     Heroes or Villains? Let me return to the very beginning of my homily for my third point. We are aware of the consequences of the actions of people who have done much harm in the world and those who actions have been redeeming actions. The cross of Jesus Christ is at the same time a testimony the the destruction that human beings can cause and the redeeming love of Christ. It would be a good thing today to examine our own consciences. What actions of ours cause harm? Gossip, destructive rhetoric, lies, bearing false witness, hatreds? These things do no good to us, to others, and to the world. We must repent of these thing. However, we will also find within us truth, kindness, charity, goodness, peace, and compassion. These actions give the world hope. Each day, we have the choice to be like the one man who brought sin into the world or like the one man Jesus who redeemed the world. Our task is to make sure that we are becoming more and more like Jesus.

The Eucharist we are about to celebrate is a continuation of Christ's redeeming action in the world. As we participate in the redeeming action of Christ, may our lives to become like his. Amen.

- Fr. Satish Joseph

June 24, 2017 - The Desert

Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

Scripture Readings

Before reading today’s scripture I found myself presuming what was going to be the focus of my reflection.  Those untold stories will remain just that because my attention was hijacked by a phrase that appears at the end of the Gospel.  The last sentence reads, “The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel.”