Challenge

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Originally delivered on November 15, 1987

Readings: Ezekial 34:11-12, 15-17; Corinthians 15:20-26, 28; Matthew 25: 31-46

We are reminded that the Scriptures are written in a cultural context and that we must look through this context and look for the deeper meaning.  In the first reading from Ezekial, we are challenged to reach out to the poor and give what we can.  In the Gospel, we are told that we should use our unique gifts to help serve God to advance the spirit and the purpose of the Gospel. We are urged to make those actions now, not to wait.

32nd Sunday IN Ordinary Time

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Originally delivered on November 8, 1987

Readings: Wisdom 6:12-16; Thessalonians 4:13-17 or 4:13-14; Matthew 25: 1-13

In today’s homily, Fr. Healy reminds us that Jesus teaches us to not put things off.  We are also reminded that the disciples believed that Jesus would come again within their lifetimes. We are implored not to lose the sense of urgency that Jesus is coming.  We must act and be the Christ to our sisters and brothers.

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Originally delivered on Oct 3, 1993

Readings: Isaiah 5:1-7; Philippians 4:6-9; Matthew 21:33-43

In this week’s Gospel, we hear another parable about a vineyard.  Today we hear about tenant farmers who brought forth beautiful grapes, but they thought it was their own doing and forgot about their responsibility to the vineyard owner. Fr. Healy reminds us that his theory is that the Gospel is meant to comfort and console as well as challenge us.  How do we tend the vineyard?  Do we sit on the sidelines and do nothing in the face of injustices in our world?  Let the same Jesus that comforts us, challenge us in this day’s reading to renew our effort to tend His vineyard.

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Originally delivered on September 27, 1987

Readings: Ezekial 18: 25-28; Philippians 2:1-11 or 2:1-5; Matthew 21:28-32

In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks to us again in a parable about a son who says he’ll do something for his father and doesn’t while another son who refuses, but eventually does what is asked. Fr. Healy suggests that we are likely more like the first son because while we say “yes” we haven’t really put that yes into action on behalf of our Father. We might look around who are saying yes to Jesus by the way that they are living their lives. Indeed, we might look to the experiences within our own country.  How do we reconcile our Constitution with the fact that we had slavery for so long, waited more than a century for women to get the right to vote, or still engage in capital punishment?  In our own personal lives, how do we go beyond our “yes” to doing the real work that we are called to do.  Saying yes to Jesus, means risking ourselves, our wealth, and perhaps even getting into a little bit of trouble.  We must get out into the field and empty ourselves for our brothers and sisters.

 

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Originally delivered on September 20, 1987

Readings: Isaiah 55: 6-9; Philippians 1:20-24, 27; Matthew 20: 1-16

In today’s Gospel, Jesus proclaims that “the last shall be first and the first shall be last.”  This may lead some of us to be envious of those that figuratively came late, but received the same as we did, despite our full day’s work. Perhaps it’s in our DNA to compete, but Jesus is challenging us to think differently with the parable in today’s Gospel. Indeed, Isaiah tells us in the first reading that “God’s thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways God’s ways.”  Are we willing to learn His ways or are we more interested in what’s fair?  Indeed, we are called to live in a manner consistent with Jesus’s teaching in this parable such as we celebrate others that join us, even at the last minute, and share our riches without thoughts of ourselves.

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Originally delivered on September 5, 1993

Readings: Ezekial 33: 7-9; Romans 13: 8-10; Matthew 18: 15-20

In today’s readings, we first hear Ezekial telling us that we must speak the truth.  Paul then tells us that we must love our neighbor as we love ourself.  Indeed, it must be our life’s work.  Finally, in the Gospel, Jesus tells us to talk to the person.  Sometimes we need others to help us, even the whole Church, if necessary, but understand that sometimes nothing will work, but still love them. We must know and believe that when we’ve done our best, we can leave it in God’s hands.  There are dramatic examples of people following these words and being prophets in our time. We too are called to be prophets.

 

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Originally delivered on September 6, 1987

Readings: Ezekial 33: 7-9; Romans 13: 8-10; Matthew 18: 15-20

Today we are reminded that we have the responsibility to change evil to good through our actions.  And in doing so, we are told in the second reading, that we must confront the evildoer in a loving manner.  Indeed, we are called to “love our neighbor as yourself.”  The implications of this is immediate and consequential for each and every one of us. We must wrestle with how we can be more effective witnesses within our own families, neighborhood, country, and the entire world.  We are called to stand up while knowing that we risk ourselves in some ways.