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Aug 17, 2008: Difference is Divine - Fr. Satish

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today's Mass Readings

On the 15th of August 1947, India attained freedom from the British after almost two hundred years of colonial rule. Among the political, economic and cultural oppression by the British there was also the social stigma attached to being Indian. Even prominent Indians were treated with disdain. At many of social celebrations it was common to see a notice board that was placed at the entranceway that read, “Dogs and Indians not allowed.” It is sixty-one since India gained Independence. In my lifetime I did not experience the colonial British arrogance, but even today when I hear that old story of Indians being equated with dogs I feel my blood boil.

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July 10, 2008: Fear is the Devils F-Word - Fr. Satish

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today's Mass Readings

The gospel passage for today’s liturgy is very vivid. It tells us that the disciples cried out in fear thinking they were seeing a ghost. They, like any of us would be, were genuinely afraid. This is the scripture’s way of saying that fear is real. We have our ghosts too. Some of them may be imaginary like in the case of the disciples, others are real. For example, there is a person I know who is afraid of what will happen when General Motors closes its doors soon. I know a mother who son is a police officer and fears for his safety every day. I know parents whose children are still in Iraq and they fear for their sons and daughters. I know a seventy-one year old lady who is losing her sight. She fears for her future. I know a mother who is struggling with cancer and has only a few months to live. Her fear is for her little children. I know families who have just lost their job and their house. Should they be afraid for their future? A lady I know fears that her health may come between a job-interview she has. Fear is real.

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August 3, 2008: The Miracle of Human and Divine Cooperation

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today's Mass Readings

I have never starved in my life before and I am presuming that so is the case with most of us in this parish. May be a few examples will help us understand the reality of starvation. In an image I saw on BBC an entire family was eating the rotting flesh of a dead animal in Niger. Or take Amina, a twelve year old girl. She is so starved that she cannot eat food even if she wants to. She vomits as soon as anything goes in. Amina’s mother had this to say at the end of it all. She said, "As far as I'm concerned, God did not make us all equal - I mean, look at us. None of us has enough food." More than 862 million people in the world go hungry. In developing countries nearly 16 million children die every year from hunger related illnesses. In the United States, 11.7 million children live in households where people have to skip meals or eat less to make ends meet. That means that one in ten households in the U.S. are living with hunger or are at risk of hunger.

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July 27, 2008: Wisdom and The Kingdom of God - Fr. Satish

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today's Mass Readings

Rachel Smith, a young pharmacy student shared this personal testimony with me last week. She writes, “At every mass I try to focus on one thing that God is really trying to speak to me during the scripture readings and the homily. I call it my “one thing” and I try to allow God to remind me of my “one thing” during the week. At mass last Sunday, I felt like God’s “one thing” for me to learn is that opening my heart to receive “the Kingdom of God” is a choice. As Fr. Satish said in his homily, I can choose to let justice, love and mercy reign in my heart or not. I decided that my task would be to be open to the Kingdom at the pharmacy. And then it happened. I came across a serious problem that a customer was having. The man needed a medication that cost $3,000. He needed it soon so that his transplanted kidney would not reject his body. The problem was that his insurance plan wouldn’t let a retail pharmacy fill his prescription. My other colleagues had given up because it was a situation beyond their control. As I became aware of the situation, I didn’t know if I could help him at all but I felt so strongly that God was posing the question, “Will you show mercy? Will you receive the Kingdom today?” I resolved that I would try my best to help this man. After many, many phone calls I was able to set the man up with a mail-order-pharmacy that could help him, help his nurses realize the situation, and finally was able to transfer his prescription to a pharmacy that would emergency-deliver it to his home in time. What was so special about this experience for me was that I felt God was giving me a direct invitation to follow or not to follow the things that had been placed in my heart at mass. And I didn’t feel alone in doing what God was asking of me. Not only did God call me to be open to the Kingdom but God was also with me every step of the way. The feeling that I can have an impact on God’s kingdom was exhilarating. Even better, I felt like I was on God’s team. As more people needed help, I just felt “hungry” to serve someone, because I experienced such a reward in surprising people with kindness.”

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July 20, 2008: The Power of a Mustard Seed - Fr. Satish

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today's Mass Readgins

One of the most decisive events in the history of the world was the gradual emergence of the nation-state. What I mean by that is that the political system existing in the world today based on geographical territories is a rather modern phenomenon. Before nation states existed there were multi-ethnic empires ruled by an emperor or a king. On the other hand, what defines a nation-sate is not ethnic majority or religious affiliation but rather a definite geographical boundary. In a nation-state like the United States, the State becomes an instrument of national unity, in economic, social and cultural life. It is based on a Constitution that determines rights and obligations, discipline and punishment. Peace is often enforced by armed civil authorities. There are seldom second chances offered to those who fail. One of the main characteristic of the nation-state is nationalistic patriotism which almost assumes the level of religion. Thus, heroism is associated with the ultimate sacrifice – death – to defend the boundaries of the nation. Armies are fashioned to defend each nation. The world spends close to three trillion dollar all together to defend itself from each other. Take for example the war in Iraq. It only makes sense when one sees the war as a defense of the nation. More than four thousand people have died in the defense of this nation. But the price is considered necessary for the continuous defense of a nation. Those who give up their lives are honored as heroes. So much for the nation-state...

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