Second Sunday of Lent (Year C) March 4 (Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18; Phil 3:17-4:1; Lk 9:28b-36)

The people of the ancient world took their covenants, contracts and promises very seriously. No need for dense legal language, for the agreement was sealed in blood, carcasses and curses. At the end of this account of God’s covenant with Abraham, he is promised land — very specific land, where other people are already dwelling — and he is promised this land in perpetuity. 

God will not forget those who are faithful

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Many are accustomed to think of the New Testament as being theologically disengaged from the Old Testament, but nothing could be further from the truth.

We all share the same limitations

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Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C), Feb. 18 (1 Samuel 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-25; Psalm 103; 1 Corinthians 15:45-50; Luke 6:27-38)

Most of us love to see the movie villain get his or her comeuppance. There is a palpable sense of glee and satisfaction in the audience, sometimes even erupting into applause. Be honest: how many of us have fantasized about having our own enemy — whoever it might be — right where we want them? I think that is probably a common experience.

The God of life has final say

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Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Feb. 11 (Jeremiah 17:5-8; Psalm 1; 1 Corinthians 15:12, 16-20; Luke 6:17, 20-26)

Is trust in other people such a bad thing? Couldn’t our world use a bit more trust and less suspicion and cynicism? At first glance, the passage from Jeremiah seems to defy common sense. But if we read carefully, it is clear that trust is not the real issue. It is this: what is the source of your inspiration, power and strength?

Love and grace reach out to wherever there is need

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Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Jan. 28 (Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19; Psalm 71; 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13; Luke 4:21-30)

Where do visionaries, reformers and prophets get their courage and perseverance? Their diaries and writings often reveal that they are quite ordinary people, with all the fears and weaknesses that are part of humanity. Many of them struggle with self-doubt, loneliness and fear. And yet they go on — they stand up for justice and compassion despite the opposition of the world and often their own co-religionists.

Healing is always possible

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When Dave waved hello I thought, as usual, what a strong, friendly face he has. Today, those good looks were obscured by haggard gray gauntness, somewhat incongruous under the curly hair and jaunty boyish cap. He asked me how I was, flicked his cigarette, and nodded: "I'm OK. I'm back on drugs, but it's all good."

Orienting ourselves to God

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Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Feb. 4 (Isaiah 6:1-2, 3-8; Psalm 138; 1 Corinthian 15:1-11; Luke 5:1-11)

The readings from Isaiah and Luke illustrate the ambiguous attitude many people have towards the sacred and the holy. On the one hand, we claim that we yearn for God's presence, and we complain that God seems so distant. But on the other hand, we are petrified at the thought of an encounter with the divine or holy.

Jesus heals, liberates, gives hope and courage

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Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C), Jan. 21 (Nehemiah 8:1-4, 5-6, 8-10; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 12:12-30; Luke 1:1; 4:14-21)

The Israelites were unaware how far they had strayed from the path of God. Although the prophets hammered at them unceasingly that their exile in Babylon was due to sin, their actual transgressions had perhaps remained unclear in their minds. But they are ignorant no longer, for the public recitation of the law has hit them hard.

God's miracles are too often misunderstood

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2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) — Jan. 14 (Isaiah 62:1-5; Psalm 96; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; John 2:1-12)

Physical injuries can be easier to overcome than shame and disgrace, for the latter can cut deeply into the heart and soul. The people of Israel considered themselves disgraced before the nations: they had been abandoned or punished by their God and reduced to slavery.

Sacrifice will warm God's heart

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Fourth Sunday of Advent (Year C), Dec. 24 (Micah 5:2-5; Psalm 80; Hebrews 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-45)

We should not be dazzled or deceived by appearances, glamour or power. Great things and great people come from humble beginnings. This passage from Micah spoke to the people of the eighth century BC, who had suffered destruction and deportation.

The coming of the Lord will mean a new order

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Second Sunday of Advent (Year C) Dec. 10 (Baruch 5:1-9; Psalm 126; Philippians 1:3-6, 8-11; Luke 3:1-6)

It is always a struggle to remember the past, for there are so many ways of remembering. We can remember with bitterness, anger, fear or even shame. This was probably the situation of the exiles in Babylon for whom this prophecy was given. The horror of the destruction of Jerusalem and the deportation to Babylon was still a vivid memory. And then there was the sense of helplessness and degradation that results from being captives.