The geese are flying. The leaves are changing. The nights are cooler. The days are growing shorter. Fall is here.

Mercy will put you on the path to God

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31st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Oct. 30 (Wisdom 11:23-12:2; Psalm 145; 2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2; Luke 19:1-10)

It is easy to feel insignificant while gazing up at a starry night or looking at photos of countless galaxies taken from the Hubble telescope. We could come away with the feeling that we don’t count for much.

Reaching God through true contemplation

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Contemplative prayer, as it is classically defined and popularly practised, is subject today to considerable skepticism in a number of circles. For example, the method of prayer, commonly called Centreing Prayer, popularized by persons like Thomas Keating, Basil Bennington, John Main and Laurence Freeman, is viewed with suspicion by many people who identify it with anything from “New Age” to Buddhism to “Self-Seeking” to atheism.

Leave judgment to God

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30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Oct. 23 (Sirach 35:15-17, 20-22; Psalm 34; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18; Luke 18:9-14)

The world is not always a fair place. So often justice eludes us, especially when greed, special interests and prejudice enter the picture. Human beings often make poor judges, swayed as they are by so many things. Even on a personal level, people frequently pass judgment on others.

The struggle to not make God our tribal deity

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I was blessed to grow up in a very sheltered and safe environment. My childhood was lived inside of a virtual cocoon.

Called to be painfully Christian

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On a rainy Saturday, I joined a unique gathering. In Grimsby Museum, an exhibition long in the making opened — “Sweat Equity: Grimsby Co-operative Homebuilders 1953-1956.” It documents and displays the story of 80 families who co-operatively financed and built their homes. Sixty years later, those houses still grace several lakeside blocks in this Ontario town in the Niagara Peninsula.

Through persistence, prayers will be heard

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29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Oct. 16 (Exodus 17:8-13; Psalm 121; 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2; Luke 18:1-8)

Good leadership is essential in all human endeavours, whether in war, business or politics. The qualities of a leader can make or break any battle or collective activity. During the battle with the Amalekites, Moses stood on a hill with his lieutenants where he could be easily seen by his troops. His raised arms gave them courage — in their own minds, he was imparting some sort of blessing or power. They felt reassured that God was with them. As long as his arms remained raised, the Israelites prevailed; when Moses’ arms drooped, they began to lose ground.

From paranoia to 'metanoia'

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Sometimes we’re a mystery to ourselves, or, perhaps more accurately, sometimes we don’t realize how much paranoia we carry within ourselves. A lot of things tend to ruin our day.

Gratitude unlocks gates to mercy

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28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Oct. 9 (2 Kings 5:14-17; Psalm 98; 2 Timothy 2:8-13; Luke 17:11-19)

It is often said that we imagine God in our own image and likeness. We think that God shares our likes and dislikes, hatreds and loves, opinions and way of looking at the world. God might even belong to our favourite political party or social class. Throughout the two biblical testaments, God repeatedly demonstrates that this is just not so. God shocks people by violating their opinions and prejudices, and by doing what is unexpected and distressing.

Feeding off of life’s sacred fire

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See the wise and wicked ones who feed upon life’s sacred fire

These are lines from Gordon Lightfoot’s song “Don Quixote,” and they highlight an important truth: both the wise and the wicked feed off the same energy. And it’s good energy, sacred energy, divine energy, irrespective of its use. The greedy and the violent feed off the same energy as do the wise and the saints. There’s one source of energy and, even though it can be irresponsibly, selfishly and horrifically misused, it remains always God’s energy.

The righteous person lives by faith

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27th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Oct. 2 (Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4; Psalm 95; 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14; Luke 17:5-10)

Habakkuk could have been written yesterday — in fact, it could have been written at almost any point in history. It describes events and situations that humans have always faced: violence, destruction, fear and injustice. We are not sure when the prophet Habakkuk lived and exercised his ministry. The best estimates are the very late seventh century B.C., possibly during the reign of Josiah the King.