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July 18, 2017 - Doing Good when God Seems Absent

Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

A lot is going wrong as we enter the Exodus text for today. To start, Pharaoh has issued a decree demanding that all male babies born of the Hebrews be drowned in the Nile. To live amidst the darkness of such a decree, especially if you are of that ethnicity or religious identity, must be hell on earth. Not only that, Pharaoh chose to use the Nile—perhaps the most powerful source and sign of life for all the people of that region—as the instrument of death. Hell, indeed.

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July 17, 2017 - "Lord, Give Us the Courage to Endure"

Monday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

A few days ago, a friend of mine was reading my print out of today's readings and said, "You see…this is a perfect example of why I do not understand Christianity! How can you believe in this?" Needless to say, my friend does not identify himself as a Christian. The passage from chapter 10 of Matthew's Gospel (Mt 10:34-11:1) can be easily misunderstood—even used to point out the 'defects' in the teachings of Jesus. The conversation that followed led me to relate a number personal testimonies (anonymity protected) I have heard in recent years. Yes, even now and in our own communities, belief in Jesus causes division. Yes, children and parents are set against one another and those we always saw as our enemies are now part of our own households. 

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July 16, 2017 - The Generous Sower

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

The use of parables to teach the lessons of life was one of the most brilliant strategies that Jesus used. Besides the fact that Jesus used imageries and analogies from the daily events to connect with his audience, parables by their nature are open ended. We can draw multiple meanings from parables. For that matter, a parable never runs out of meanings. The parable of the Sower and the Seed is one of the richest parables in the gospels. 

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July 15, 2017 - Your Worst Case Scenario

Memorial of Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Scripture Readings

Reflecting on today's readings, I found myself focusing on one common theme: fear.  If we had to be honest with ourselves, all of us are probably afraid of something.  Perhaps take a moment to reflect on what you're most afraid of.  Or, in the words of one of my favorite Catholic speakers, Ennie Hickman, what's your worst case scenario?  Since the time we were kids trying to determine if we should climb the tallest tree in the neighborhood or ask a certain girl or guy to the school dance, we begin our discernment by thinking to ourselves, "What's the worst thing that could happen?"  Maybe we fall from the tree and break our arm.  Maybe she says, "No."  Sometimes our fears are unfounded, but often we do have legitimate fears and concerns.  My worst case scenario is easy to pinpoint- losing my wife and son.  There's a legitimate fear that I have in my worst case scenario.  Initially, it can be somewhat crippling to think about, but there's also a great sense of freedom and peace in bringing my worst case scenario to God (and hopefully that's your experience as well).

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July 14, 2017 - Don't be afraid...

Memorial of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin

Scripture Readings

I can't count the number of times the following has happened to me: I'm afraid to go to a party because I don't know anyone, or I'm afraid to try something new, because it's scary, and so on.  When I was a kid, I would have given in to that fear - as indeed, my own daughters struggle with their fears.  The adult in me knows by now that most of the time facing my fears leads to great joy - new friends discovered, exciting new things happening.  

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