"'My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad.'" Today's Gospel reading is Jesus' parable about a "rich man," whose name we do not know, and a "poor man," named Lazarus. The story shows both men after death, the rich man in torment, and Lazarus enjoying the comfort that he was deprived of during his earthly life.READ MORE
"And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently." It's important to pay attention to the details of the parable Jesus tells in today's Gospel. At first glance, it might seem as if Jesus is encouraging us to be dishonest. But in fact, it's just the opposite. The steward in this tale was reported to his master "for squandering his property." In other words, the steward was not being responsible with what he was in charge of. And the master was ready to fire him on account of it. But then, the steward had a change of heart. (This isn't so hard to comprehend--sometimes it takes a real threat for us to realize we need to change our ways, doesn't it?) So the steward went to the people from whom he had previously collected money to "make friends" with them. How? By reducing their debts.READ MORE
"Anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple." It's a modern misconception to think of Jesus as the ultimate nice guy who only said things that everybody loved to hear. Of course Jesus is the perfect model of charity and compassion, but he also gave some very challenging teachings. Today's Gospel is a case in point. Not many people are thrilled by Christ's lesson today that insists God must be first in our lives. Few are those who love to hear this instruction to renounce our beloved things as well as our beloved relationships. But Jesus does not mince words. We are to "hate" our "father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters," and even our own life.READ MORE
"When you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you." Today Jesus instructs us to be generous enough to serve others without expecting repayment. At least, without expecting to be repaid in THIS life. It's interesting that the Gospel concludes with Jesus' promise that if we follow this teaching, we "will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous." In other words, God will "repay" our generosity on earth by welcoming us into heaven. Really, what better investment could there possibly be?READ MORE
"Behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last." For Jesus' original audience, this reference was meant for those Jews who presumed their salvation while judging others as being unworthy of entering the kingdom of God. Jesus was always quick to teach that believing in him was what mattered, not membership in a certain class or a particular religious circle. Therefore, some of the (last) Gentiles who professed faith in Jesus were ready to enter the kingdom before some of the (first) Jews who rejected the Messiah.READ MORE
"From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three." What a sad image Jesus paints in today's Gospel. Causing family strife--fathers against sons and mothers against daughters--is not the effect we like to imagine Jesus having on people. But as he says today, "Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division." The fact is, and always has been, that not everyone chooses to follow Christ. This causes conflict.READ MORE
The disciples ask Jesus, "Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples." What follows in Jesus' response is the very familiar Lord's Prayer. It reminds us that God desires private time with us,
alone, in our rooms and approaching him with an honesty that is found only in the most intimate of friends.
Everyday Discipleship- Recognize God in Your Ordinary Moments
My father would always say to me when I was growing up, "Whatever is mine is yours." He was always very generous toward me and, if I am being truthful, probably spoiled me. We were not a rich family by any measure, but I never really wanted for anything. If I asked, I would receive.
"Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing." Martha was caught up in a whirlwind of her own making. She stressed herself out with all the tasks and chores she thought she had to do to host Jesus, but Jesus wasn't the one who expected all of that. He just wanted Martha's presence, her company and friendship. His only expectation was that Martha would prepare for him her heart, but she was fixated on preparing her home instead.READ MORE
"He replied to him, 'You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.'" In today's Gospel a scholar questions Jesus about how to gain eternal life. In case anyone ever wonders whether heaven is within reach, one only needs to refer to this Gospel. Jesus provides a clear answer that gives us a clear plan of action: We are to love God with all that we are, and also to love our neighbors. Really, it's that simple.
The scholar, however, complicated things to make himself look better. Instead of accepting the simplicity of Jesus' instruction, he wanted to split hairs, asking, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied with the story of the Good Samaritan -and the lesson that our neighbors are not just those we know or love. Rather, our neighbor is the person that needs our help, the person whom we would rather ignore, the per-son whom God puts in our path. In short, everyone is our neighbor and we are called to treat everyone with mercy. This is part of how we gain eternal life.READ MORE
One of the questions parents and teachers often ask children is, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" For younger children the answer can change from week to week. Children may say at one time, "A basketball player," and at another, "An airplane pilot," and at another, "A zookeeper." The answer could depend on whatever story or television show caught their fancy that week. But as children mature, they start considering seriously the answer to that question. As they enter college they begin directing their lives toward what will be a particular profession in life.READ MORE
We all have our disappointments in life. They can range from the inconsequential (the store is out of the brand of laundry soap that I have a coupon for) to the significant (a diagnosis of cancer or another serious illness). And we all deal with disappointments in different ways. Young children are very good at "catastrophizing" a disappointment. Mom's refusal to get that wanted candy bar in the grocery checkout line can lead to a tantrum. But as any mother knows, not giving in to a child's tantrum is teaching a lesson on how to deal with the inevitable disappointments that are part of each person's life.READ MORE
Self-discovery is part of every person's life. To a greater or lesser extent, individuals learn about themselves as they go through various stages of maturing. Adolescence is an early period of self-understanding, when teenagers begin individualizing themselves, sometimes rebelling against parental values, sometimes integrating them into their own lives. College years and young adulthood are another period when men and women begin to uncover more about their own place in the world. A traumatic experience in middle age-job loss, divorce, serious illness-may also provoke a time of self reflection, during which a person may question what the meaning of his or her own life is.READ MORE
In the very difficult economic times of the last few years, many families found themselves relying on resources that they had never had to utilize in the past. Some households used their retirement savings or tried to sell their homes after a job loss. Others found themselves grateful for unemployment compensation even if it didn't pay all their bills. Some adult children found it necessary to move back in with their parents, while some families found help from a local food pantry or meal program maybe one to which in better times they actually made donations.READ MORE