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Everyone, Come.

A reflection for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, year A. The readings are Isaiah  55:1-3; Psalm 145; Romans 8:35, 37-39 and Matthew 14:13:21.

Once again we hear that Gospel that is so familiar to all of us: the feeding of the multitudes or the feeding of the 5000; the multiplication of the loaves and the fish. I can’t help but think of this cartoon above that shows what that would have been like today: Jesus offers bread and fish and someone asks,”is it gluten-free?” Another asks if it has any nuts. Another person yells that they are lactose intolerant. “Is the bread baked locally?” A fourth person asks if the fish has been tested for mercury. Someone else says they can’t eat it ’cause they’re vegan….

Of course, if it happened today, today – it wouldn’t happen because you can’t have outdoor gatherings of more than 100 people: “Jesus feeds the a-hundred.” Doesn’t have the same ring.

It’s funny because it’s true. But I am not saying that these things are bad. Maybe some are whims, but mostly, these are good reasons: We want to be safe; we want to be healthy. This comes out of the fact that we are created in the image of God. That’s why we want life. We want abundant life. We want to have eternal life. Our desire to be healthy, to be fit, to stay young – we eat well and go to the gym – these are all a pull towards the divine. It’s a pull towards God. It’s because we want to live forever.

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Baptised into Death

A reflection for the 13th Sunday, Ordinary Time, Year A. The readings are 2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16a, Psalm 89; Romans 6:3-4, 8-11 and Matthew 10:37-42.

I can imagine doing an interview with St. Paul and asking him why we get baptised. What happens at baptism? Paul looks at me and say, “We are baptised into the death of Christ.” He pauses for effect, looks at me straight in the eyes and then asks me, “Does that scandalize you?” I would be like, “Uh… no…“ (‘cause it would scandalize me a bit) He would smile and say, “You thought I would say that we are baptised into new life with Christ, right?”

Yes.

Then he would explain: “We are buried with Christ in Baptism, so that we can be united with him in a death, so that then we can be united with him in resurrection.” And he would be right. That’s what baptism is. We can’t be united into new life with Christ if we are not first buried with him in death.

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We Become What We Consume

A reflection for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), Year A. The readings are Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14b-16a; Psalm: 147; 2 Corinthians 10:16-17 and John 6:51-58.

A few years ago I read a reflection by Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI – and I shared it with you – that talked about how we don’t have to understand the Eucharist. We just have to do it. He then quotes British theologian, Fr. Ronald Knox, who says that Christians in general have not been very good at following the teachings of Jesus: We don’t turn the other cheek; we don’t love our enemies; we haven’t stopped committing adultery; we don’t feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and those in prison; we haven’t gone to the ends of the earth to proclaim the Good News and to make disciples of all nations; we haven’t recognised God in the poor, the marginalized, the oppressed and the refugees. These are all things that are easy to understand, but we don’t do them.

But the one thing we have done as Catholics is the thing that is impossible to fully understand: We have kept the Eucharist. The last thing Jesus asked us to do before he died was to keep the Eucharist, and this we have done even when it makes absolutely no sense and we don’t fully understand.

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Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled

A reflection for the 5th Sunday, Easter, Year A. The readings are Acts 6:1-7; Psalm 33; 1 Peter 2:4-9; and John 14:1-12.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me…”

Isn’t that exactly what we need to hear today? “Do not let your hearts be troubled”? But we do let our hearts be troubled, don’t we? Is it because we don’t have faith? Maybe. It’s hard to have faith when you have not had many experiences of God’s Grace. The disciples themselves had hearts that were troubled. So I guess we’re in good company.

And this is a time of darkness. It’s hard to see the light. It’s hard to not let our hearts be troubled.

There are those who would say that God doesn’t exist. If there was a God there wouldn’t be pandemics. But I say that that’s why I know God exists. If there wasn’t a God, this pandemic would be 1000 times worse!

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