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Showing posts from February, 2010

GOD’S GRACIOUS GENEROSITY

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2nd Sunday of Lent (C)February 28, 2010

Profligate generosity is more like it … the utter generosity of one who makes and fulfills promises to Abraham and His people – land in plenty and offspring in abundance: “Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can. Just so shall your descendants be.” Generosity upon gracious generosity … this is what the texts these first two Sundays of Lent seem to give us for reflection. Last Sunday, we saw the generosity of Christ, whose “fidelity on three counts” equal to the threefold temptations, was shown in his remaining steadfast. True to the spirit of Deuteronomy, his fidelity was equivalent to his being offered like the required “first fruits of the harvest” – understood as the best, and the most precious and valued.

In return, God, very clearly, will settle for nothing but the best – the best in return for our best, our “first fruits,” our utmost self-offering. Abraham definitely got more than he ever dreamed of. From being a wanderer, he was…

FIDELITY ON THREE COUNTS

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Catholic Homily / Sunday Reflections
1st Sunday of Lent (C)
February 21, 2010


We are back in the season of Lent, that time in the liturgical year when traditionally, we are expected to cut back on a whole lot of things, to make a “retreat,” as it were, so as to foster the threefold attitude and practice of “prayer, fasting and almsgiving.” All three are not supposed to be engaged in for their own sakes, but for God’s. They are not, on that score, “negative” acts, but on the contrary “affirmative” ones that ought to lead us closer to God. In the long tradition of the Church, such “ascetic practices,” at bottom, really answer our deep need for God (prayer), for a healthy and balanced love of self (fasting), and our duty as Christians to love others (almsgiving).

Nowadays, the idea of giving up certain things is not a very hard concept to understand. Owing to the ongoing diet craze that go by various appellations (Atkins, South Beach, Diamonds, etc.), the idea of having to give up one’s crav…

TO CARE AND NOT TO CARE

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ASH WEDNESDAYFebruary 17, 2010
The moon waxes and wanes; the tides ebb and flow. The sun rises from the east and sets on the western horizon; the winds blow in and blow out and carries with it freshness and fecundity, even as it brings sand, surf, soil, and sultriness to all and sundry. There are always two sides to every coin, two aspects to every question, and two apparently (at least initially) contradictory positions to every thing under the heavens. Qoheleth of old sang of this with poetic precision and searing insight … popularized by Pete Seeger many moons and suns ago … “to everything turn, turn, turn; there is a seasonturn, turn, turn … and a time for every purpose under heaven … a time to be born, a time to die …”
I have it on the authority of developmental psychologists that maturity is basically the capacity to blend two seemingly opposing poles of one and the same continuum. One is either too generous or too pusillanimous; too hardworking or too lazy … Moralists consistentl…

KEEPING OUR SENSE OF BALANCE

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Catholic Homily/Sunday Reflection
6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
February 14, 2010


One of Maslow’s so-called “self-actualizing characteristics” that separate the men from the boys, the mature from the immature, has to do with a sense of interior stability that makes a person stand his ground, as it were, and resist the sway of external influences.

Said mature character trait enables a person to retain his “sense of inner truth,” his personal conviction, despite the powerful suggestions that come from the environment around him or her.Such a person, to use the famous Biblical phrase, at the risk of reducing its meaning somewhat, is one comparable to a “house built, not on sand, but on rock.” Without in any way being rigidly fanatic, the mature, flexible person knows his or her boundaries, or limits. Said limits are not like a cut and dried “demarcation line” like the Berlin wall of old, but a permeable area of flexibility and balance between two extreme poles, without rigidly staying in o…

CASTING A DIFFERENT NET

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Catholic Homily / Sunday Reflection
5th Sunday in Ordinary Time(C)February 7, 2010
People are attracted by uniqueness, not uniformity. Whilst an infinite variety of products galore are stacked up on supermarket shelves, each and every one of them tries its best to capture the attention of buyers and consumers with the promise of that one, single most crucial product distinction that seals its uniqueness, that makes it a stand-out in a sea of bland ordinariness and colorless genericism.
Uniqueness, not necessarily genuine usefulness, may well separate the most coveted from the mediocre and the ignored; the highly valued from what is ordinarily eschewed by discriminating users and consumers.
Uniqueness, that which clinches the most important “specific difference” between apparently similar items, may well serve as a good watchword to guide our reflection for today.
The world is awash in individuals who claim to speak for God, who style themselves followers of the Gospel. In fact, since the …