Prayer changes things—in surprising ways!

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17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C: July 24, 2016
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Neither condoning nor condemning: encounter Christ’s mercy and be transformed

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5th Sunday of Lent, Year C: March 13, 2016
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La Cuaresma y la batalla por el corazón

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Miércoles de Ceniza: 22 Febrero 2012
Jl 2, 12-18; Sal 50; 2 Cor 5, 20–6, 2; Mt 6, 1-6.16-18

Todo lo que Dios creó es bueno. Todo lo que Dios creó es bueno, y así merece ser amado.

El problema, nos dice San Agustín (en Ciudad de Dios y otras obras), es que amamos algunas cosas demasiado; o de una manera equivocada. Cuando, en el orden de cuánto deberíamos amar a personas y cosas, se ponen desordenados. Algo más bajo desplaza a algo más alto. Lo que está dentro de nuestro corazón se desordena. (more…)

Lent and the battle for the heart

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Ash Wednesday: February 22, 2012
Joel 2:12-18; Ps 51; 2 Cor 5:20–6:2; Matt 6:1-6, 16-18

Everything that God created is good. Everything that God created is good, and so is worthy of being loved.

The problem, St. Augustine tells us (in City of God and elsewhere), is when we love some things too much; or in the wrong way. When, in the order of things and persons that we should love more and less than each other, they get out of order. Something lower displaces something higher. Things within our heart get out of order. (more…)

Mercy pours forth, in compassion and help

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Our Lady of Mercy: Sept. 24, 2011
Isa 61: 1-3, 10-11; Luke 1:46-55; Eph 2:4-10, 13; John 19:25-30, 32-34

For the Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma, Mich., on their feast day.

“And then there were two,” St. Augustine wrote. He was commenting upon the passage in the Gospel of John, chapter 8, when the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery to Jesus and made her stand in the middle. And they asked him whether she should be stoned, in accordance with the Law of Moses. And then, after he responded, they went away one by one, until he was left alone with the woman before him. “And so there were two left— relicti sunt duo, misera et misericordia—the miserable and the merciful.” (more…)

Nunca es demasiado tarde, aún a la hora undécima

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XXV Domingo Ordinario, Año A: 18 Septiembre 2011
Is 55, 6-9; Sal 144; Flp 1, 20-24.27; Mt 20, 1-16

Nuestro Señor es muy bueno, muy generoso, dice Jesucristo.

Como el propietario en su parábola, podría salir sólo muy de madrugada. Y es verdad que sale tan temprano y llama tan temprano—en la historia de un pueblo, en la vida de una persona. Llama tan temprano, en la niñez, en la juventud—y hay unos que lo oyen y lo siguen desde aquella edad hasta la hora de su muerte. Así como hubo algunos obreros en la parábola que estaban en la plaza de madrugada, y así empezó trabajar en su viña temprano.

Y eso podría haber sido el fin del cuento. Pero no fue. (more…)

The Lord keeps calling, and it’s never too late to answer

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25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A: Sept. 18, 2011
Isa 55:6-9; Ps 145; Phil 1:20-24, 27; Matt 20:1-16

“The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.”

I love the fact that it is at the 7 a.m. Mass that we are hearing this line in this parable from our Lord Jesus. For we too were up before dawn this morning; probably the sunrise occurred while you were driving here! And why is it that you went out at dawn to attend this 7 a.m. Mass? Probably because you have plans for your day; because you want to do certain activities at certain times and in a certain order. For many of you, you are especially thinking of just when you want to be on the golf course.

And so it is with the landowner in Christ’s story; and with the first laborers that he found. (more…)

If your brother sins against you

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23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A: Sept. 4, 2011
Ezek 33:7-9; Ps 95; Rom 13:8-10; Matt 18:15-20

Jesus said to his disciples, “If your brother sins against you, who are you to judge? It’s all relative. It obviously works for him. Be a tolerant person, and don’t say anything.”

No, wait, that’s not what he said! Hmm. Oh, here we go:

Jesus said to his disciples, “If your brother sins against you, don’t say anything to him, because that would be way too awkward. Instead, tell everyone else about his sin, so that they can agree with you about what a jerk he is and what an innocent victim you are!”

No, that can’t be right! (more…)

To redeem and to save what was lost

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22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A: August 28, 2011
Jer 20:7-9; Ps 63; Rom 12:1-2; Matt 16:21-27

As we celebrate this Holy Mass today, we all are awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Irene—which will bring strong rains and powerful winds, and will cause a lot of damage, especially along the coast. And we might think back three weeks ago, when we heard the Gospel reading about the disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee at night, when a powerful storm came up, with great winds and waves that tossed their boat around and threatened their lives; and Jesus came to them, walking on the water; and then he calmed the storm.

The disciples knew about storms—and not just the storms on that sea. They knew about the great storms that we constantly face in this earthly life: (more…)