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Showing posts from August, 2013

THE VIRTUE OF THE STRONG

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22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C September 1, 2013
THE VIRTUE OF THE STRONG
Lisa Fullam makes a distinction between a pilgrim and a tourist. A tourist, she says, goes to places to see something new. A pilgrim, instead, goes some place to become someone new.
I have been a tourist myself countless times in my life. Having been there, done that, I now realize that getting some place and seeing new places alone by themselves do not necessarily make me a better person. Being a tourist makes me see new places, indeed, and I can make the necessary check marks of those places I have seen in my Michelin guide. But time eventually wears off the initial sense of novelty, and people are not really impressed by what one has seen, or where one has been, no matter how many times we tell friends and foes alike that we’ve “been there; done that.”
But friends and foes alike are impressed by what and who we have become, not because we have been to places, but because we have seen the light after we have…

STRIVE TO ENTER THROUGH THE NARROW GATE

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21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C August 25, 2013
STRIVE TO ENTER THROUGH THE NARROW GATE
The vision spoken of in the first reading is an event that was close to impossible during the Old Testament times. Jews would have nothing to do with gentiles. They were snobbis and definitely self-focused. If you want a 64 dollar word, here it is … they were ethnocentric. They looked at others not just with suspicion, but something stronger, more like disdain.
Be that as it may, the vision speaks about even gentiles and pagans brushing shoulders with the Jews to offer sacrifices to the Lord. It is therefore a heartwarming vision – something we all are looking forward to, something we all dream of, and long for in our lives, here and now.
Even as I write, Christians are suffering in Egypt. The “goyim” – that is, the non-believers, or more precisely those who believe in something else, make the lives of Christians a living hell. On the local scene, too, people are angry, people want justice done, a…

CALLED TO BE A FIREBRAND

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20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C August 18, 2013
You know the kind … they come into your life and that of others and they don’t leave without getting you affected in a good way. They leave you all fired up; all geared for action … You find yourself raring to do more; be more, and dream for more, aim higher and do better in every way.
They are called firebrands. They are also called visionaries. Some call them leaders. And these leaders are such because they are primarily servants. They do more than just talk. Talk is cheap, as they say. They talk the talk and walk their talk. And in the process, they show us the way to the higher, the greater, the nobler and the better.
Leaders like them are not wishy-washy. Neither are they mere romantic dreamers who cannot do more than pen pushing. Like St. Maximilian Kolbe, whose feast we celebrated just a few days ago, they are ready and willing to lay down their lives like Christ did, for their sheep.
Today’s readings are unsettling – even fright…

GIRD YOUR LOINS AND LIGHT YOUR LAMPS

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19th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C August 11, 2013
GIRD YOUR LOINS AND LIGHT YOUR LAMPS
When I was younger, I used to do a lot of climbs up mountains, both high or low. Fun climbs that lasted no more than a day didn’t take too much preparation. All one needed was a small rucksack, a day’s supply of personal water, some food to keep body and soul together for a day, and very light clothing.
But things can get a little more complex when you set your sights to places higher. You need to analogically gird your loins and trim your lamps. You need a stove, or what climbers or campers refer to as a “cook set,” a sleeping bag, a tent, and a pair of good sturdy shoes, and don’t forget a set of clothes that would allow you to do what in our jargon, we also call, “layering,” as needed or as dictated by the fickle elements.
But anyone who has climbed anything higher than his rooftop knows that beyond all these accouterments, equipment, or high tech gadgets, there is need above all of something that…

ABAJO, ARRIBA, A DENTRO!

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18th Sunday Year C August 4, 2013
ABAJO, ARRIBA, A DENTRO!
Hispanics use this all the time when celebrating (and eating and drinking) wih friends. They sound to me exactly like what the three readings today speak about.
The first reading, from Qoheleth, tells us what it means to be focused solely on the things of this world, on things and activities below – a bajo – here on this mortal earth. And what wisdom does he offer us? He says it’s all vanity. “Vanity of vanities!”
But just like friends toasting one another before a drink, we need to raise things to a higher level. Like Paul did. He counsels us to “seek what is above, not what is on earth.” He advises us to set our sights on the higher realities of life, not merely on things that are below. Arriba! This is what he tells us to do.
But there is more … In the Gospel passage from Luke, we are confronted with two brothers who apparently are wrangling about material goods. “Tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” He probably …