No complacency: Strive!

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21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C: Aug. 21, 2016
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Prayer changes things—in surprising ways!

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17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C: July 24, 2016
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La semilla crece: su Reino, en su ritmo

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XI Domingo Ordinario, Año B: 17 Junio 2012
Ez 17, 22-24; Sal 91; 2 Cor 5, 6-10; Mc 4, 26-34

“¿Con qué compararemos el Reino de Dios?” pregunta nuestro Señor Jesucristo. Y nos cuenta dos parábolas en nuestra lectura del Evangelio, ambos comparando el Reino de Dios con el crecimiento de semillas.

En la segunda parábola, el foco es cuán grande es el crecimiento de la semilla—grande y quizá sorprendente. La semilla de mostaza es muy pequeña en el principio—sólo 1 o 2 milímetros—pero crece hasta un arbusto que puede ser de casi 3 metros en altura. Y así es el Reino de Dio, nos dice nuestro Señor: aunque empiece pequeñito e insignificante—en el mundo, o en una vida individual—crecerá hasta hacerse muy grande. (more…)

The seed grows: his Kingdom, in his time

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11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B: June 17, 2012
Ezek 17:22-24; Ps 92; 2 Cor 5:6-10; Mark 4:26-34

“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God?” our Lord Jesus asks. And we hear two parables from him in our Gospel reading today, both comparing the Kingdom of God to the growth of seeds.

In the second parable, the lesson is the great and perhaps surprising growth of that seed. The mustard seed starts very small—about 1/20 of an inch, or 1 or 2 mm in size—but it grows into a bush that can be 9 feet tall, depending on the variety. And so it is with the Kingdom of God, Jesus tells us: no matter how tiny and insignificant its beginnings might seem—in the world, or in an individual person’s life—it will grow to be very large indeed. (more…)

Jesus’ marching orders in our lifelong battle against sin

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B: Sept. 27, 2009
Num 11:25-29; Ps 19:8, 10, 12-14; James 5:1-6; Mark 9:38-48

Back when I was in 7th grade, I was a strange 7th-grader. That fall, it was a presidential election year—1984. And I was very, very interested in the presidential campaign. I talked and read about it all the time, and I made signs and flyers; and I even cut out photos and cartoons from the newspaper and my dad’s Time magazine and taped them all over the inside of my locker door at school. My classmates, of course, had no interest in politics, and they thought I was pretty weird. Some even took to calling me “Reagan-Bush” as a nickname.

So my parents took notice and told me that, the day after the election, I had to take all the Reagan-Bush pictures out of my locker. They were so mean! That was so unfair! I liked the pictures; they were cool! (more…)

Published in: on September 27, 2009 at 7:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Article: If it causes you to sin, cut it off!

My article appears in the Sept 24, 2009, print edition of the Catholic Standard, the weekly newspaper of the Archdiocese of Washington– though not on its web site. It is one of a series in which different priests reflect on the Scripture readings for the upcoming Sunday. (link to readings) In this version, I use my original headline and text, without the edits found in the printed version.

Do you find yourself confessing the same sins again and again?

If you have been baptized into Christ, then you have undertaken serious combat against sin in your own life. And it doesn’t take long to discover that it will be a protracted struggle against a strong, entrenched enemy.

For two millennia, Christian spiritual writers have mapped out our lifelong journey of spiritual growth in three broad stages. (more…)

Published in: on September 24, 2009 at 7:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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How can we give and serve like Christ?

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B: Sept. 19-20, 2009
Wis 2:12, 17-20; Ps 54:3-6, 8; James 3:16–4:3; Mark 9:30-37

One day this week I was talking to the 7th and 8th grades here in our school, as I covered a couple of their religion classes. I was telling them some of my own story—about where I started as a child, and how I got from there to becoming a Catholic priest, here at St. Mary’s. I told them how, when I was about 8, a missionary to Africa came to speak at my family’s church; and how I was inspired by her, and wanted to do something like what she did. Moving on, I then said: “Now, when I was 11, do you think I wanted to be a missionary?” One of the 8th-graders spontaneously responded, “Why would anyone want to be a missionary?” So I turned that question back to the class: “Why would anyone want to be a missionary?” They didn’t have very good answers; it just didn’t make any sense to them that someone, especially someone young, would aspire to this. I thought, aha, we’re going to talk about this again as the year progresses.

Oh, and the answer to my question was No: (more…)

Published in: on September 20, 2009 at 7:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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