Challenge

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.

2nd Sunday of Easter

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Readings: Acts 2:42-47; Peter 1:3-9; John 20:1931

Originally delivered on April 26, 1987

In this week’s Gospel, the Risen Jesus appears to the disciples, but Thomas was not present and only believed when Jesus appeared to Thomas and showed him His wounds.  Just like us, Thomas had his doubts.  And yet, the words that Thomas proclaimed to Jesus were powerful, “My Lord and my God.”  In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we hear that the apostles provided for one another based on their individual needs.  Indeed, we must be there for our brothers and sisters. When we search for the Risen Christ, do we find those in need or are we only aligning ourselves the oppressors?  We are, in fact, called to be the sign of the Risen Christ in our deeds.  Through all of these trials, like Thomas, we will have our doubts, but we must persist because Jesus will be with us.

Passion Sunday

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Originally delivered on April 4, 1993

Readings: Isaiah 50: 4-7; Philippians 2:6-11; Matthew 26:14-27, 66

How can we ever understand the people’s choice of releasing Barabbas over Jesus?  Fr. Healy challenges us to see similar situations in our lives where we, the people, choose Barrabas. Indeed, when we live in a society that maximizes a right or benefit for a few at the expense of the many, we are living in a time when the people still choose Barabbus.  Indeed, the Passion is still with us today.  We are encouraged to recognize, acknowledge, and repent for our collective sins, when we chose Barabbus, even in our complicity. Jesus, the Son of god, is in the most desperate person among us.  The choice is ours how we will respond.