'To love God and love your neighbor' – this is one of the most attractive of the sayings of Jesus. It is an encouragement to live fully, with what brings the greatest joy in life – true love of God and the neighbor. It is at the heart of good religion, and what attracts many to Jesus. Jesus' life was to propose good religion and to live by it.
We admire those who give energy in love and service. We are proud of people we know whose lives make a great and good difference to others. We know that our family and neighborhood, parish and school, workplace and leisure time have been enriched by the self-sacrificing love of many people, young and old. He gave all he got – we say that at the end of a match of a good player. May we give all we have in our lives, giving in love, knowing that all we give, is itself a gift from God, the giver of all good gifts. Christ affirms the truth of the prophets: to love God and neighbor.READ MORE
Rendering anything to Caesar gave him some degree of homage. This is one reason many pharisees objected to paying the census tax. Since it was such a sticky issue, they wanted to get Jesus trapped into taking a side on it. Despite Jesus' very straightforward answer, people still get sticky over it today.
Jesus answers his challengers with his own challenge. The pharisees were looking for an "either or" answer, Jesus made clear that a "both and" answer is required. "Render to God whatever belongs to God". The Roman coin bore Caesar's image and inscription. But, we human beings bear the image of God. We must, therefore render ourselves to Him. But how?READ MORE
The banquet is the symbol of the happiness and joy present in the kingdom of God. The first reading tells us of a promise; while the gospel tells us of its actualization. If the banquet has already begun with the coming of the Messiah, why do we still have so much hatred, so many wars and deaths all over the world? Yes, the feast has begun, but the kingdom is still awaiting its full attainment.
The second reading is connected with this theme. We are given the example of the community at Philippi where there is authentic love and where a completely new life has really begun; the help and the gifts sent to Paul are proof of this. The prophet Isaiah would say: this banquet is a type of the heavenly banquet and of the Eucharist by which one is nourished with the Body and Blood of Christ.READ MORE
The readings today are about the vineyard of the Lord. In the first reading we hear about the vineyard being planted with the "choicest vines", the best vines, but when it came time to harvest, to pick the crop of grapes, it yielded wild grapes, bad fruit. The Prophet Isaiah is pointing out to Israel that they are the wild grapes, the bad fruit. Israel has not been true to her calling to witness to the nations of the One true God.
In the gospel reading the owner of the vineyard leases his vineyard to tenants. When it is time for harvest, time for the owner to collect his produce, he sends his servants to collect, and the tenants, the workers in the vineyard, beat, kill, and stone the servants. This happened twice. Finally, he sent his son, and they killed him.READ MORE
Ezekiel’s prophesy in the first reading teaches us the possibility of pardon through repentance forone’s accumulated evils. God glories in forgiving those who turn back to him, and he ardently desires the salvation of all, but also the risk of losing all the good one has done by returning to doing evil. In the second reading, Paul writing to Philippians encouraged them to be united andshow their love for each other through humility and service. Christ, who is divine, became man inorder to suffer and die for our salvation. No act of humility on our part can ever rival the humiliation of Christ’s suffering and death on the Cross. Christ willingly took on the role of a servant and allowed himself to be crucified for our sake even though he was innocent of any sin. Then in the gospel of Matthew, the parable teaches us that promises can never take the place ofperformance, and fine words are never a substitute for fine deeds.READ MORE
The Gospel parable today gives us insight to who our God is and his desire for all of us to spend eternity with him. How might you have felt if you were the first to be picked that day by the landowner? In the beginning, you might have felt grateful that you were picked, because you would know that you and your family would have money to sustain your needs for that day. It was a very common practice to be paid each day that you worked, so that your family would have their needs met. At the end of the day, when getting paid along with everyone else; I know that I would have been growing in excitement thinking that I was going to be paid more then those who came in at the end of the day. Only to be let down because my wage would be the same as everyone else's. I probably would have been envious of those who came in at the end of the day too! If I would have been one of those who was picked at the end of the day, I would have been very grateful because I knew that I would have something to give to my family. Even if I was one of the first one's paid, seeing that I got a full day's wage, I would have been overjoyed.READ MORE
"Forgive your neighbors injustice, then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven" This quote from today's first reading sounds a lot like "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." Sirach goes on to say that the way we treat others, particularly those with whom we are angry, is what we can expect from the Lord. "Can anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the Lord?"
When the forgiven man went to demand payment from his debtor, he heard from him the very same words and actions that he had so recently offered to the king. But the forgiven man did not recognize his own voice in the debtor. He did not see his plight in the debtor's plight. What he did not or would not see brought him to condemn himself with his own words and actions. He only made an inescapable demand on himself when he spoke to the debtor.READ MORE
Today’s Readings are all about relationship. God expects all of us, every human being, to have the same relationship with each other and with God, as God has with us. And God has only one expectation concerning relationships, that they are relationships of love. Love as God sees love as an action, not as humanity sees love, defined as an intense feeling of deep affection, fondness, tenderness, warmth, intimacy,and other fuzzy feelings. These are simply feelings not love. It is the action of love that generates all the fuzzy feelings; an action that calls us to give of ourselves. Then through this self-giving we generate an array of warm fuzzy feelings for those to whom we give and for ourselves.READ MORE
One of the important and more meaningful parts of Catholic doctrine that is often neglected or not so well developed in some Christian denominations is the incredible value of suffering. Many Christians believe that Jesus suffered and died for us so that we will not have to suffer at all. This is only partially true. When we go through the gospel, we see that Jesus never shies away from reminding his disciples the challenge of following him, and this includes suffering. He declared in the gospel: "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me."READ MORE
Dear Parish family,
What is your commitment to Jesus Christ? Let me be clear, I'm not asking what your commitment used to be when you were younger, or what you would like it to be someday in the future, or what you wish it was like if only circumstances were different. The question really is what does my commitment to Jesus Christ look like today, this week, this month, and this year?
Up to this point in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus has been challenging his disciples regularly with hard lessons, dispelling their false ideas with his truth, pointing out weaknesses they didn't know they had, and calling them to mature discipleship. Now Jesus brings them to Caesarea Philippi and asks them for a commitment. "Who do you say that I am?"READ MORE
Today’s gospel presents us with the story of a Canaanite woman who seeks Jesus’ help for herdaughter who is under demonic influence. Jesus’ response and the woman’s faith challenge us onhow to respond when we seek God’s assistance in moment of need, trial and difficulty.READ MORE
Jesus is Lord of all the winds and waves, of all nature. To believe in Jesus Christ is to believe in the Son of God, as God.
Whether control over nature, the healing of sickness, the raising of the daughter of Jairus from death, the multiplication of loaves of bread to feed 5000 people, or Jesus himself rising from the dead, we see His great signs and wonders. How slow are we to faith! We are afraid of so many things. Yet to trust in God is to know that his only Son will help us to walk out on the water as we face the storms of life.READ MORE
Mary’s love for Jesus was surpassed by none other. She had a special love for her Son, who is God, that made a claim on her entire being, body and soul. It is no wonder then, that upon her death Mary was taken body and soul into heaven so that she in her totality could dwell forever with her Son. Our celebration gives us the opportunity to ponder what heaven may be like and help us to long, even more fervently, for the fulfillment and joy that only God can eternally provide.READ MORE
Jesus speaks of himself as the 'son of man.' He used the generic expression that simply means 'man.' He used this expression to avoid misunderstandings that other titles say; king or messiah, might have caused.
He used the term also to refer to the vision in the book of Daniel in the first reading: 'son of man' refers to the one, who brings salvation to the world, which is a clear prophecy of the coming Messiah (Mt.20:28; Jn.3:13; 18:36).READ MORE
“The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’” From the beginning, the Eucharist has been a source of controversy. Some people have always found the teaching difficult to accept. But as Catholics, the Blessed Sacrament is at the heart of our worship and our spirituality; we go to Mass to share in the holy sacrifice of Jesus’ body and blood, and we receive spiritual nourishment from partaking of this heavenly food. As Jesus himself tells us in today’s Gospel, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.”READ MORE