What if someone you hated and regarded as an enemy or undesirable were blessed and healed by God? Would you be pleased or appalled? The two healings in these readings teach us that God’s compassionate mercy is not narrow or limited and is intended for all humanity.
How do we keep our faith and sanity in the midst of violence, corruption and chaos? This is a question both old and new, and Habakkuk’s struggle with it speaks as much to us today as it did to his original audience.
Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C), Sept. 30 (Amos 6:1, 4-7; Psalm 146; 1 Timothy 6:11-16; Luke 16:19-31)
The scene of decadence painted by the prophet Amos resembles an old Hollywood Bible movie. It is interesting that most prophetic tirades focus on economic injustice and ill-treatment of the poor and vulnerable. While that is certainly a major part of this denunciation, its main concern is the way the wealthy and political elite of the Northern Kingdom of Israel are living.
Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C), Sept. 23 (Amos 8:4-7; Psalm 113; 1 Timothy 2:1-7; Luke 16:1-13)
Greed and corruption are certainly nothing new, for they have been around as long as humans. The callous injustice shown the poor and defenceless in the reading from Amos is not exceptional in that regard. What is very different, however, is that a firm link has been established between worship of God and care of the poor, marginalized and vulnerable.
Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C), Sept. 16 (Exodus 32:7-12, 13-14; Psalm 51; 1 Timothy 1:12-17; Luke 15:1-32)
The golden calf is a powerful religious and cultural symbol for idolatry and infidelity to God. Years ago a commentator described a particular luxury car as a “golden calf on wheels.” We might wonder why the Israelites chose to follow this dark path after God had done so much for them in such a dramatic fashion.
Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Sept. 9 (Wisdom 9:13-18; Psalm 90; Philemon 9-10, 12-17; Luke 14:25-33)
At first glance, the book of Wisdom does not seem very encouraging. Human reasoning is useless, it insists, and human plans are bound to fail.
Twelve-step programs have freed countless people from addictions and restored them to health and sanity. The first three steps are the hardest, and they are the downfall of not a few. The sufferer must admit that his or her life is out of control and that they are not God after all.
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Aug. 26 (Isaiah 66:18-21; Psalm 117; Hebrews 12:5-7, 11-13; Luke 13:22-30)
New experiences — even difficult and painful ones — provide the opportunity for transformation and a change in spiritual awareness. The Israelites endured the destruction of their city and 50 years of painful and humiliating exile in Babylon. But that experience left a deep mark on their understanding of God.
20th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year C) Aug. 19 (Jeremiah 38:1-2, 4-6, 8-10; Psalm 40; Hebrews 12:1-4; Luke 12:49-53)
Jeremiah is not the first or the only prophet to get into trouble by voicing contrary views during a crisis or time of war. Usually the party line is the only voice desired or permitted. But Jeremiah has the dubious honour of proclaiming the word of God — not his own — and it is not something that those in power want to hear.