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June 23, 2017 - Training Ourselves to See Love

Solemnity of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Scripture Readings

On one vacation, and went to mass at a parish that happens to be run by the Disciples of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. This is a Spanish order that focuses on the utter love God has for us, which we focus on in today's feast. Mass was great - but it was also, well, ordinary. And that's a good thing.


June 22, 2017 - A Different Gospel?

Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Have you ever been taught a lesson, only to have someone else come by a year or ten or twenty later and tell you the first lesson was incomplete or wrong?  As human knowledge advances, this happens to us all.  Sometimes, we later discover that the first lesson was actually the correct one, and that another motive was behind the dis-information we were fed.  Something like that is happening with the Corinthians.  Was Paul’s gospel incomplete? Was heresy being preached to them by false preachers trying to make a living by charging for the ‘word of God?’ 

A central question behind today’s readings is, ‘How do God and humanity talk to one another?’  Paul makes the point that God addresses us in a spirit of humility.  So, God’s messengers don’t need an eloquent speech, and they don’t need to be paid to unlock the message.  Like Paul, God’s messengers come in love.  They demand nothing, and instead offer a free gift. 

The same question is in today’s Gospel, as Jesus tells us how to talk to God.  Our speech does not need to be fancy or eloquent.  We don’t have to worry about saying the right things.  We just need to remember who God is (our Father), look forward to God’s coming (thy Kingdom, thy will), and what we need (daily bread, forgiveness, help with forgiving others and avoiding more evil). It’s simple.  It’s real.  It is not formal.  Praying as a community needs to be formal so that we can all participate, but praying as individuals to God is very simple. 

In the same way, God speaks to us very simply. Our Father wants us to understand.  He talks to us as parents communicate with young children; at their level.  He leaves out the parts that we cannot yet understand.  This is a sharp contrast to all the ‘other gospels’ of the world that are competing for our time and attention. 

Will the gospel of politics save us?  Of course not; it is complicated, full of anger (these days), and a lot of money seems to be involved.  Will a newer car or a better house or more money or nicer clothes save us?  The pleasure of all these things fades, and getting each of them is complicated and love-less.  Will revenge against our enemies save us?  No, forgiveness alone will free our hearts.

Today, let’s approach God as simply as we can.  Our father is very close and already knows what we need.  Let’s allow the Spirit of Love us shape us this day, to form us according to the pure gospel of Jesus.  Amen.

-Chris Nieport

June 21, 2017 - Godlike Generosity

Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious

Scripture Reading

God loves a cheerful giver.  It is a common expression that comes from today’s first reading.  What does it mean to be cheerful giver?  For that matter, what does it even mean to be a giver?  In trying to answer this question, I reflected on the different ways I give of myself.  After naming a few things, the categories of time, talent, and treasure floated to the surface of my mind.  From stewardship, I turned to the question of cheerful giving.


June 20, 2017 - Living as the Child of the God Who Showers Sun and Rain on Us All

Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

The text from Matthew for today acknowledges something that human beings do all the time. We make sense of ourselves and others by creating pairs of opposing terms (or binary oppositions), with one part of the pair good and the other part bad. In today’s text, the binaries include “neighbors” and “enemies,” “the evil” and “the good,” “the righteous and the unrighteous.” Then we assign categories of people to these binaries. One ethnicity is “neighbor,” while another is the “enemy.” One religion is “righteous,” while another is “unrighteous.” One political affiliation is “good,” while another is “evil.” In this way, we create order. We know who our friends and foes are.


June 19, 2017 - Living in Acceptance of Contradtiction

Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

If I call myself a Christian and really take it to heart, I should feel I am living in a foreign land. If I truly live out the precepts of Jesus, I should live a life shunned by many people. As well, if I call myself a Christian and am liked by everyone I meet, there is probably something wrong. Most days, my life is a mixture of trying to live the Gospel and trying to fit in. The back and forth, push and pull, and tension of living with contradiction is, and always will be part of being Christian.