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A Sensual Feast

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

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Sometime invitations can be annoying. I blame Facebook. Someone creates an event for a movie night or a birthday party and hits a button to invite everyone on their friends list. So I end up inundated with a daily barrage of “invitations” to events that I have no interest in that don’t really effect me. These “invitations” end up filling my inbox like so much spam.

But other invitations are different. Wedding invitations are a good example. You feel honored to receive these. It would be considered crass to be invited to a wedding via Facebook or email. The dignity of the occasion requires something tangible.

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Have no Anxiety… say what?

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

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One of my favorite verses to share with college students is given in the second reading of this Sunday’s Mass. St. Paul is writing to the Philippians and tells them, “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God” (Phil 4:6).  It is similar to what Jesus tells us in Matthew’s gospel, when He says, “Do not be anxious about your life,” (Mt 6:25) and instructs us to trust God to take care of us.

We are experiencing an epidemic of anxiety today, not just among college students, but in society at large.

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Being Selfish vs. Selfless

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

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The path to holiness is almost always simple in theory but difficult in practice. For example, the whole law of God can be neatly summarized in two basic commands: love God and love your neighbor. This teaching is simple to say and easy to learn, but putting it into practice is the work of a lifetime. In my own study of the spiritual life, I am learning that the secret to becoming Christ-like is to not be selfish. Again, this is a very simple concept that is astoundingly difficult to put into practice.

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It’s Not Too Late to Get to Work

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

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“Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.” — G. K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong With the World.

Being a Christian takes work. That statement may come as a surprise to many. There is an aversion among many Christians, especially those formed in the Protestant tradition, to the word “work” when it comes to our faith. The founding principle of the Protestant Reformation, which began 500 years ago next month, is Sola Fide or “faith alone,” as opposed to the Catholic teaching that both faith and good works are necessary for our salvation. Martin Luther took St. Paul’s teaching in Romans 3:28 that we are justified by faith and not works of the law to mean that human work has no part to play in our salvation. He was less fond of St. James’ teaching in James 2:24 that we are justified by works and not by faith alone.

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The Cost of Forgiveness

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

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No doubt the most beloved of all Christian prayers is the Our Father, also know as the Lord’s Prayer. This comes as no surprise because it is the prayer given to us by Christ Himself. So it is understandably familiar to all of us. But there is a danger in allowing it to become too familiar to the point where we forget to actually think about it. If we really think about what we are asking God for in this prayer, it may give us pause — especially the part where we ask God to “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” In other words, we are asking God not to forgive us if we do not forgive others.

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