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Reflection for Oct 28, 2007

The Lord Hears the Cry of the Poor"

Sunday Mass Readings

There are many reasons why people pray to God. There are those who pray to God because, they have no other means of support but the Lord. As the first reading (Sir 35:12-14, 16-18) suggests, “The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds.” Through their prayer such people express their dependence on God. Others, like the Pharisee in today’s gospel reading (Lk 18:9-14), pray because they can show-off. They pray because they think its their prayer that saves them while it is actually God who saves us. They pray to justify themselves.

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Reflection for Oct 27, 2007

Lord, this is the People that Longs to See Your Face"

Today's Mass Readings

St. Paul begins the eighth chapter of his Letter to the Romans with an exclamation that God has done what humans were unable to do. In Christ Jesus the law of sin and death has been conquered by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. Though Jesus was crucified in the manner of a common Roman criminal by the express sinfulness of human beings, this was not the end of the story. We know that he was raised, conquering death so that we may have life in the Spirit of God. We now live in that life according to the Spirit; the Kingdom of God has been inaugurated, but we will not know it in its fullness until Christ comes again. We are still a pilgrim Church, still “the people that longs to see [God’s] face” in the words of today’s Psalm.

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Reflection for Oct 26, 2007

Who will Deliver Me from this Mortal Body?"


Today's Mass Readings

Today’s first reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans is one of the most moving discussions of a Christian’s battle with sin. Although original sin has been removed through Baptism, concupiscence remains, which inclines us to sin. Although concupiscence in itself is not sin, we must fight against this inclination to sin. This can be very difficult. St. Paul explains the difficulty by contrasting his desire to do good and his flesh which leads him to sin. He describes this “war” within himself. He feels that he is enslaved to sin. At the end he cries out, “Who will deliver me from this mortal body?” And his answer is Jesus: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

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Reflection for Oct 25, 2007

I Have Come to Set the Earth on Fire"

Today's Sunday Mass Reading

Today’s Gospel reading from the Gospel of Luke is a difficult one for many of us to read. Jesus says that He has “come to set the earth on fire.” Fire is often used in the Bible to describe the presence of God. Theologians sometimes joke that if the saints in heaven were to step into hell they would freeze to death. Certainly the Bible sometimes describes hell with the imagery of fire, but far more often God is described as fiery. The angels closest to God are called seraphim, flaming ones.

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Reflection for Oct 24, 2007

You Also Must be Prepared"

Today's Mass Readings

There is a popular saying, attributed to St. Ignatius of Loyola, which advises Catholics to “Pray as though everything depended on God, and work as though everything depended on you.” Indeed, we even find this quote cited in the section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church which discusses the only prayer Jesus ever taught us: the Our Father (CCC, 2834). The saying is a powerful reminder that although we are saved by God’s free gift of grace through Jesus Christ, we are nevertheless responsible for cooperating with God and preparing for our salvation “with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12). Hence St. Paul tells us to “pray always” (Eph. 6:18), while St. James reminds us equally that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26).

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