Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) • We might find the king’s behavior a little disturbing. But we should be even more shocked by the response of the wedding guests. God’s invitation is met with apathy and opposition. We have each received an invitation to the banquet, but that doesn’t mean we have a guaranteed seat. Many are invited, but few are chosen.
The fall of 1917 brought a strange controversy to the newspapers of Portugal. Three small shepherd children in the little village of Fatima claimed that the Blessed Virgin Mary had been appearing to them monthly beginning on May 13 of that year. The supposed appearances had caused much scoffing and ridicule, especially among the communist and anti-Catholic press. But crowds of people had started gathering on the 13th of each month to witness the children praying, listen to their reports of visions, and ask for favors.
The lady had begged the children to pray the rosary and offer sacrifices for world peace. She warned that many souls go to hell because there is no one to sacrifice and pray for them. She also predicted a worse war (World War II) if the world would not repent. Finally, she promised the children there would be a special miracle so that all would believe. The miracle was expected on October 13th.Read More
Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) • We are surrounded by spirits both good and evil. Cooperate with the good ones and resist the bad. Our Lady comes to help us find the path to life and reject the path that leads to death. Use Holy Water at home, pray the Rosary every day, teach your children about God, and focus on what is good. “Go and fear nothing,” says Mary, “for I will help you.”Read More
This past summer I attended a youth trip where the organizers had decided to pray a prayer for spiritual protection every day. There exist real forces of evil. Our Catholic faith clearly teaches that there are spirits that are opposed to God’s work in the world and that try to keep us from doing God’s will. A prayer for spiritual protection asks for protection against these forces, in many cases by invoking the good spirits that serve God faithfully, which we call angels. The chief of these good spirit protectors is the Archangel Michael.
At first I dismissed this idea as unnecessary and excessive. Outside of exorcisms and some weird haunted houses, evil spirits just don’t seem all that active. I was afraid we could develop an unhealthy focus on the presence of evil. As the trip unfolded I started to notice things. There was a lack of certain kinds of drama that often happen on these trips. Things were moving more smoothly than expected. And the youth seemed to be experiencing God’s love in a positive way.
The work of the enemy is most destructive when it is most subtle. A clear presence of evil, as is the case in exorcisms or demonic oppression, is easier to recognize and resist. It is harder to resist the little things, like lies and discouragements, that subtly undermine God’s work in our lives. By asking for protection every day, we are turning away from the Enemy and towards the God who loves us.
We shouldn’t fear evil. All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish a single candle. But we need to make a conscious effort every day to turn away from the darkness and towards the light. My daily routine now includes a prayer for spiritual protection written by St. Patrick. When I first read this prayer it seems ridiculously excessive. I’m pretty convinced now that St. Patrick knew what he was talking about. The forces of evil assault us every day in all kinds of ways that are barely noticeable. It seems foolish not to wear a little armor.Read More
Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) • We may be saying “yes” to God, but are we really doing our Father’s will? Was there something more important than Jesus this Sunday? Do you follow God’s law when it comes to a significant other? Do we treat people who are different from us with dignity and respect? When our life is rooted and grounded in God’s love, healthy relationships will flourish.Read More
Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) • Does it really matter if you live 1 year or 51 or 101, as long as you get to heaven? God is not cheating us when he choses to be generous. The only loser is the one that doesn’t say “Yes” to God’s invitation. When you serve God you’ll always get better than you deserve.
Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) • Forgiveness is not a something we give on command, an erasing of the past, forgetting, or ‘leaving it to God.’ Forgiveness is the creative and transformative process of letting God’s love fill our wounds. Forgiveness allows us to recover our own dignity and the dignity of the offender. It heals us, opens us to new possibilities, and makes ugly things beautiful.
How many times do you want God to forgive you: as many as seven times?
That’s how many times you should forgive your brother.
Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) • A little tropical depression feeds off the warm, moist ocean air and turns into a destructive hurricane. This same deadly spiral happens when we get hurt, and start hurting others. We are all responsible for a healthy community. We have to step out of the storm of hurt and violence. Jesus is the eye of the storm.Read More
Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) • True bravery happens when we choose to sacrifice ourselves. Our God suffers and even dies for us. Who wants to suffer, sacrifice, and die? No one. But who wants to have a full life and use your gifts for the greatest possible good? Hopefully everyone. It turns out that the key that unlocks the door to a full life is shaped like a cross. It is only when we lay down our lives as a sacrifice that we discover abundant life.Read More
Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) • Jesus makes Peter the first Pope, with three parts to his job: he is a father, he holds the keys of authority, and he provides dependability. This is the role of Peter. What role does Jesus have for you?
No one will deny that America has a lot of struggles right now. Our biggest problem is we’ve all gotten good at pointing fingers. We all question each other and God. But God asks us, “And you, what are you doing?”Read More