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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.

Monday, 01 November 2021 00:00

All Saints Day, November 1

“Amen.  Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving,
 honor, power, and might
 be to our God forever and ever.  Amen.” (Rev 7:2-4,9-14)

The festival of the heavenly Jerusalem invites us to remember and give thanks to God for all the holy men and women who have touched our lives and have gone before us.

 

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Sunday, 31 October 2021 00:00

XXXI ORDINARY SUNDAY

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
"Which is the first of all the commandments?" 
Jesus replied, "The first is this:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, 
with all your mind, and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these."  (Mk 12:28b-34)

The trick question about the greatest commandment is answered with Jesus linking love of God with love of neighbor, and saying they are the same thing. And we have been struggling with this teaching ever since.

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Saturday, 30 October 2021 00:00

Saturday of Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary

Brothers and sisters:
I ask, then, has God rejected his people? 
Of course not!
For I too am a child of Israel, a descendant of Abraham,
of the tribe of Benjamin.
God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew.
For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. (Rom 11:1-2a,11-12,25-29)

How hard it is for some folks to accept the clear teaching of Saint Paul about the Jewish people . . . and of the Second Vatican Council in NOSTRA AETATE (1965)

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Friday, 29 October 2021 00:00

Friday, Week XXX, Ordinary Time

Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 147)
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
 praise your God, O Zion.
 For he has strengthened the bars of your gates; 
he has blessed your children within you.R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem. He has granted peace in your borders; 
with the best of wheat he fills you. 
He sends forth his command to the earth;
 swiftly runs his word!
 R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

Peaceful borders. Finest wheat in abundance. Gates strengthened. God’s word freely given. Children blessed, precious in God’s eyes. And so our hearts are moved to praise: glorify the Lord with me, together let us bless God’s name!

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Thursday, 28 October 2021 00:00

Saints Simon & Jude, apostles, October 28

Jesus went up to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God.
When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles:
Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew,
Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot,
and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. (Lk 6:12-16)

Lots of folks have always felt sorry for Saint Jude (really Judas) for being stuck with the same name as the traitor, Judas. Perhaps that’s why he became the patron saint of hopeless causes. On top of that, they called Saint Simon “the Zealot”(really the Fanatic!). It’s great to know that despite our names, our race, our country of birth, the language we speak, or our family of origin, we are all called to be a “dwelling place of God in the Spirit,” and we are all sent out to proclaim the message of the Lord “through all the earth.”

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Wednesday, 27 October 2021 00:00

Wednesday, Week XXX, Ordinary Time

And people will come from the east and the west
and from the north and the south
and will recline at table in the Kingdom of God. (Lk 13:22-30).

Those who want a smaller, purer church are bound to be disappointed with Jesus who invites just anyone to sit at table in the Kingdom of God.

I’m not from here... I’m not from there
I have neither past nor future.
and being happy is the color of my identity.
No Soy de Aquí, ni soy de allá--Facundo Cabral, 1970.

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Tuesday, 26 October 2021 00:00

Tuesday, Week XXX, Ordinary Time

Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? To what can I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that a man took and planted in the garden. When it was fully grown, it became a large bush and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.” (Lk 13:18-21)

When we remember that Israel’s image of itself was as tall as the cedars of Lebanon (the Roman Empire had an even taller image of itself!), we begin to see how radical Jesus is—the Kingdom of God is against nationalism in all its forms. Today's photo is of the cedars of Lebanon (certainly larger than a bush!).

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