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24th Sunday in Ordinary Time- Deacon Ron Allen

The book of Sirach, part of Israel’s Wisdom literature, observes ordinary circumstances of life, and addresses the question: How do I live wisely? To answer, Sirach reflects on our shared humanity and on the covenant relationship with God In the passage today, he considers anger, vengeance, and forgiveness, and God’s response to them. “Forgive your neighbor’s injustice; then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven.” — these words from the Book of Sirach remind us that forgiveness is a deep and necessary part of our spiritual beliefs and values, handed down to us from our Jewish ancestors in faith. Jesus echoes this teaching when He gives us the “Our Father,” which tells us to pray, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” When unchecked, anger can lead to vengeance, exacting “an eye for an eye.” Sirach may have been thinking of the biblical teaching against vengeance: “Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your own people” from the book of Leviticus. Through Moses, God declared that only he can effect retribution “Vengeance is mine” it says in Deuteronomy. Regarding Sirach’s insights on vengeance and forgiveness, he exhorts people to let go of anger, and any desire for retaliation, to always be ready to reconcile. Secondly, he emphasizes each person’s need for forgiveness. Certainly we hope for human forgiveness, but Sirach focuses on Divine forgiveness. The Lord will heal those who forgive their neighbors. At the end of our lives, we want to be free of anger, hatred, and revenge. Martin Luther King, Jr. used to say, “Hatred is too great a burden to bear.” At the end of our lives, we want to rely on the mercy [...]

By | 2017-09-22T09:13:14+00:00 September 22nd, 2017|Homilies|0 Comments

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Deacon Ron Allen   Not for lack of trying, Jesus has not had a moment’s rest since hearing of John the Baptist’s death. When he went out to mourn, crowds pursued him. Abandoning his needs to meet theirs, Jesus taught, healed and fed them. Seeking solitude a second time, Jesus sends his disciples ahead by boat. Interrupted by a storm, Jesus walks to them on the water and calms their anxieties. When the group returns to shore, more people have gathered seeking healing. Throughout all the action, the disciples are consistently missing the point, lacking in faith, while the Pharisees find every opportunity to challenge Jesus’ teaching and practice. Hoping that distance will provide him with enough anonymity to rest Jesus makes a third attempt to find peace and respite, leading his disciples out of Galilee to the region of Tyre and Sidon. He has withdrawn into pagan territory, on the border of the Jewish territory and the Gentile lands. This was a place of tension and prejudice; Many problems existed between the Jews and the Gentiles of this region: ethnic tensions, religious misunderstandings, conflicting economic interests, and fights over land. It was an area considered unclean by Jesus’ opponents. The Jewish historian, Josephus, called the people of this region, Israel’s “bitterest enemies”. It is not surprising that Jesus would encounter Gentiles in that region; it is surprising, however, that a Canaanite woman there would approach Jesus so directly, to heal her daughter. It is obvious that she has heard of Jesus – she has heard of this Jewish miracle worker who has healed many, who fed thousands, stilled a storm and walked on water. Surely, he can help. If not him, who. The Jews [...]

By | 2017-08-24T16:12:15+00:00 August 24th, 2017|Homilies|Comments Off on 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

17th Sunday in OT

Deacon Ron Allen Reading I – 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12             Reading II - Romans 8:28-30   Psalm 119 Gospel - Matthew   13:44-52 Today we hear Solomon, the boy-king, pleasing God by asking for what God possesses: wisdom - and an understanding heart. The parables that Jesus speaks of in today’s gospel present inanimate objects as images of the Kingdom of Heaven: a treasure, fine pearls, and a net cast into the sea. Each highlights a different dimension of the mysterious Kingdom of Heaven. In the first two parables, the hidden treasure and a fine pearl are objects of great value. In both cases, someone finds the precious item, and then sells all they have to buy it. With these common elements we can easily see that the Kingdom is of immense worth. The differences in the two parables bring to light less obvious insights. The person who found the treasure wasn’t looking for it, but found an unexpected windfall, whereas the merchant was actually out looking for fine pearls. The kingdom breaks into the world whether people are oblivious of God’s hidden grace, or are actively seeking it. In the parable of the hidden treasure, when the man discovers the treasure, he hides it again, and then sells all he has and buys the field. Jesus is telling us that the Kingdom of God is that treasure. It is not earned. The Lord freely gives it. In the parable of the merchant, we see that the merchant was smart enough to see that he should sell anything to get the great pearl. The pearl, in biblical times, was the most precious ‘thing’ on earth. Jesus was telling his hearers, and us, that we - like [...]

By | 2017-08-03T14:31:45+00:00 August 3rd, 2017|Homilies|Comments Off on 17th Sunday in OT
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