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October 15, 2017 - Am I Wearing the Right Clothes?

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

How many of you are familiar with the Baltimore Catechism? It is very different than the Catechism of the Catholic Church we have today. Published in 1891, it has about 300 pages and the entire Catechism is written in question answer format. I think it is still the clearest and direct explanation of the Catholic faith. For example, the first question is, “Who made the world?” The answer, “God made the world.” The sixth question  asks “Why did God make you?” The answer is, “God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven.” Did to hear that? God made us to be happy! This may sound contrary to the lessons we draw from today’s gospel parable of the man thrown out from the wedding feast for coming without a wedding garment. In fact, when understood correctly, even this parable is about happiness.

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October 8, 2017 - The Mystery of the Cross: A Reflection on Violence

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

This is the third week in a row that the gospel reading is about a vineyard. Two weeks back we heard the parable of the workers hired to work in a vineyard during different times of the day and being paid equally by its owner. Last week we heard the story of the landowner who asked his two sons to work in the vineyard and them responding differently. Both these parable had a common message - that God was accessible to the first and last alike, and yet, that it was the ones who were last that were walking in the kingdom of God first. This was not because God was somehow unjust, but because some of those who were first refused God’s offer of unconditional and redeeming love for all people. 

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October 1, 2017 - Have in You the Same Attitude that is also in Jesus Christ

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

I am not going to talk about the state of public discourse in our country. People are up to their noses with it. To get respite, many people have chosen to withdraw from public discourse. Others have completely abandoned social media and news channels. I am not going to talk about it either, because I don’t want you to feel oppressed in church as well. My personal challenge has been to discern my Christian code of conduct in these times. As a Catholic priest, pastor, and a public figure, how do I navigate through the divisiveness and the hate without also compromising the cause of justice and righteousness? How do I become a healer and reconciler? These are questions that affect my eternity.

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September 24, 2017 - Where Justice and Mercy Meet

Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

How often have you cried out and said, “Its not fair!” I probably say this at least once day. Sometimes I am right and sometimes I am not. When we experience an injustice, we seek justice from the justice system. It is the right thing to do. It is right to seek justice not only on a social level, but we Catholics also believe that justice is a divine quality. We know God to be just. There is a problem, however. When we have done something wrong and we come before God, we don’t seek justice, but rather, mercy. Here, then, is the dichotomy - we know God to be just but we expect to be treated with mercy. If God treated us sinners in the same way that our justice system treats offenders, what would the confessional look like? In the Christian tradition, God is known to be both just and merciful? Where do justice and mercy meet? The purpose of the parable of the generous vineyard owner in today’s gospel reading is meant to address precisely this question. Just to recall, in the parable, a vineyard owner invites laborers to work in his vinegar at various time during the day, but pays them all the same wages, which causes the ones who came first to the field to grumble. 

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September 17, 2016 - Forgiveness: What Goes Around, Comes Around

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Besides “Love one another, as I have loved you,” no other teaching of Jesus is more definitive of Christianity than his teaching on forgiveness. There are no ‘ifs’ and 'buts' attached to Jesus command to forgive. This makes the teaching of forgiveness challenging for the holiest of Christians. It is simple, it is straight, and it is uncompromising. Jesus’ parable of the unforgiving servant in today’s gospel reading ends with this saying, “So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.” As far as Christian spirituality is concerned, the unconditional demand for forgiveness is where the rubber hits the road. 

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