October 3, 2016Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C), Oct. 9, 2016
The story of 10 lepers being healed is found only in Luke’s Gospel and represents an event that takes place as Jesus and his apostles are travelling toward Jerusalem. Though short, the account is full of salvific meaning. Numerous scholars have pointed to the geographical difficulty in the description of Jesus “going through the region between Samaria and Galilee,” since no such geographical region exists, but Joseph Fitzmyer, S.J., must be correct when he says the...
September 26, 2016Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (C), Oct. 2, 2016
There are two parts to today’s Gospel reading from Luke, which readers sometimes struggle to connect. In one, the apostles ask for faith from Jesus (17:5-6); the other is a parable about a master and slaves that is found only in Luke’s Gospel. They are connected by more than just proximity, but understanding each of these passages on its own terms allows us to understand how the two parts fit together.
September 19, 2016Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C), Sept. 25, 2016
If you are not interested in caring for those in need, have no fear, God is on watch for them. Do not worry. The psalmist tells us that “the Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow.” Though God would prefer that we join in on the watch, even if we ignore the plight of those in need, or turn from the suffering, God will not turn away or forget them.
On the other hand, even if you have no particular concern...
September 12, 2016Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C), Sept. 18, 2016
The complexity of the parable of the dishonest manager, found in Luke’s Gospel alone, did not stop the church fathers from cutting to the heart of the matter. Jesus commended the dishonest manager for slashing the amount of money the debtors owed to his master and encouraged his listeners to also “make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth, so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.” The commendation of the...
August 29-September 6, 2016Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (C), Sept. 4, 2016
The Gospel of Luke has a central message: God’s mercy, in the person of Jesus Christ, has been offered to all without exception. God’s gracious gift, however, has one limitation, which is our willingness to respond to God’s mercy. And while God’s mercy evokes a “feel-good” response—endless GIFs of cuddly cats and infants taking their first steps—discipleship, the result of responding to God’s mercy, has a price. On the road to Jerusalem, Jesus asks his...
August 29-September 6, 2016Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C), Sept. 11, 2016
I hate sin. Not enough to stop doing it, try as I might, but I truly hate it. The older I get, the more I recognize sin as persistent foolishness, darkness and nothingness that pulls me away from God, whispers false promises in my ears about new pleasures, asks, “Why not?” or assures me, “You deserve it!” With the purported author of Psalm 51, King David, I can say with honesty that “I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.” And I know now,...
August 15-22, 2016Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time (C), Aug. 21, 2016
God is for us, on our side. This can sometimes be hard to believe as we struggle with our own daily battles or as we take in today’s new terrorist horror, failed coup, refugee exodus, unarmed black man shot dead or police executed by an unhinged civilian.
God is good; this is the truth at the heart of the cosmos. This can seem impossible, betrayed by the daily doses of violence and cruelty. Goodness seems soft and weak, while...
August 15-22, 2016Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time (C), Aug. 28, 2016
Honor, and who is honorable, differs not only across time but across cultures in our own time and among different classes even within our own culture. In certain subcultures, like academia or show business, a frivolous matter, like where one sits or when one speaks, can create honor. In some cultures a family’s honor is considered besmirched by behavior that would not create a whisper of dissent elsewhere. Just last month a young Pakistani Muslim woman was...
August 1-8, 2016Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C), Aug. 7, 2016
The Greek for “little flock” is mikron poimnion , and while both “little” and “flock” are important in this phrase, poimnion , “flock,” is evocative, since a poimēn is a shepherd. The “little flock” of Jesus’ disciples is like a flock of sheep who are shepherded by God. The image of the people of God as a flock of sheep does not begin with Jesus but is found in Zec 10:3 (“the Lord of hosts cares for his flock, the house of Judah”) and Jer 13:17 (“the Lord’s...
August 1-8, 2016Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C), Aug. 14, 2016
The prophet Jeremiah felt the scorn of those who sought comfort, not God’s truth, because he spoke of God’s irrevocable judgment on Jerusalem. The officials of the king decided instead to make Jeremiah’s death inevitable, and they threw him into the cistern intending for him to die there: “There was no water in the cistern, but only mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud.” Ultimately, Jeremiah was rescued from the cistern, but the episode points to the reality of...