These reflections are a result of more than 40 years of ministry as a Roman Catholic priest. Most of these years I spent in the Diocese of Charlotte which covers Western North Carolina. Now I am retired, and live in Medellín, Colombia where I continue to serve as a priest in the Archdiocese of Medellín.
Abraham, is the father of all of us, as it is written, I have made you father of many nations.
He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead
and calls into being what does not exist. He believed, hoping against hope,
that he would become the father of many nations,
according to what was said, Thus shall your descendants be. (Rom 4:13, 16-18)
The faith of Abraham is shared and revered by Jews, Christians and Moslems. Indeed, how numerous are the descendants of Abraham! Today’s picture is of our father, Abraham, with his many sons. Mary, the mother of Jesus and our mother too, is a descendant of Abraham.
"Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins?
Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God.
Even the hairs of your head have all been counted.
Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows." (Lk 12:1-7)
Indeed, we are worth more than many sparrows. So, God does notice us, God does watch over us—for we are precious in God’s sight. Saint Teresa of Jesus (or Saint Teresa of Ávila as she is also known) is the Doctor of Prayer:
Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing frighten you. All things are passing. God never changes. Patience gains all things. To the one who has God, nothing is lacking. Only God is enough.
For we consider that a person is justified by faith
apart from works of the law.
Does God belong to Jews alone?
Does he not belong to Gentiles, too?
Yes, also to Gentiles, for God is one
and will justify the circumcised on the basis of faith
and the uncircumcised through faith. (Rom 3:21-30)
Does God not belong to Gentiles too? What a rhetorical question! But right to the point. For if God does indeed belong to the Gentiles . . . then the world is no longer divided between “us and them.” God is for everyone. And that is pretty radical. Maybe that’s why Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father,” because who is not included in that “our?” The video is of the Our Father sung in Aramaic.
God will repay everyone according to his works. (Rom 2:1-11)
As Saint Paul reminds us, salvation comes to us by God’s grace freely given in Jesus Christ. And as the Psalmist says: “Only in God is my soul at rest; from him comes my salvation (Psalm 62).”
For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them. Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. (Rom 1:16-25)
The beauty of creation is not an obstacle to faith. Faith and science are not mutually exclusive, rather they go together. As today’s psalm proclaims: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day pours out the word to day, and night to night imparts knowledge” (Psalm 19).
Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an Apostle and set apart for the Gospel of God, to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Rom 1:1-7)
Paul’s Letter to the Romans is the masterpiece of all his letters. Today we begin the continuous reading of this letter. Paul and Peter were both martyred in Rome. And so, the Church of Rome claims the two greatest apostles, Peter and Paul, and its founders. Today is the feast of Pope Saint John XXIII, the successor of Saint Peter in the Church of Rome. He convened the Second Vatican Council.
As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him,
"Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Jesus answered him, “You know the commandments”
He replied and said to him, "Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth."
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, "You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."
At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. (Mk 10:17-30)
The secret of the saints is that they heard the gospel as being addressed to them. And then they acted on it. The question for us, is what do we hear? Is the Lord speaking to us? And if so, then what will we do about it so that we can follow him?