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Pray in His Name

A reflection for the 29th Sunday, Ordinary Time, Year C. The readings are Exodus 17:8-13, Psalm 12, 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2 and Luke 18:1-8.

I was at St. Michael’s hospital in Toronto last week with Maria, a Mexican woman whose husband is on life support. He is a migrant worker that’s been coming to Canada every year, for 8 months of the year, for about 20 years. About a month ago, he had a bad fall, hit his head and has been in the hospital since. When I heard about the accident, I prayed. I prayed that he would be healed. I prayed that the doctors would find a way to fix him. I prayed that God’s will would be done. Surely God wills that a wife and three daughters do not lose their husband and father. I went to see him last Tuesday. He is in ICU hooked up to tubes and monitors, unresponsive. That day I held his hand and prayed more. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if he miraculously woke up, if he would start speaking, would sit up? What a witness would that be to the doctors and nurses! How would that give Glory to God! I prayed for complete and permanent healing for him.

It’s so hard. I may be a deacon, but this is new for me. I’ve never been in the hospital with someone who’s dying. I’ve never been in the hospital with someone who’s on life support. (I’m not the deacon that goes to the hospital and does funerals; I’m much happier doing all the baptisms and marriages.) I know that many of you have been there. But I haven’t. And he’s not even related to me. I’ve never met him before – and still, it’s so hard; I hate it.
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Single-minded Focus

A reflection for the 25th Sunday, Ordinary Time, Year C. The readings are Amos 8:4-7, Psalm 11, 1 Timothy 2:1-8 and Luke 16:1-13.

Recently, I bumped into someone I know who, without even saying, “Hi, how are you” said to me: “I have an idea for a show.” People do say this to me occasionally since they know I work for Salt + Light TV – everyone has a show idea. He then said, “You know how priests and bishops never speak about damnation….” I began thinking, “not sure how good that show would be….” It is an important topic although I know why people don’t like to talk about it; no one likes to be told that they’re going to he’ll. But I also thought, “good for you. This is important to you and you know people don’t want to talk about it and you’re out there telling people about it.” I don’t have to agree with what you’re saying or how you’re saying it, but good for you. (I also wanted to tell him that just last week, my pastor, Fr. Boniface preached about exactly that!)

I thought of him when I read today’s Gospel.
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Don’t be afraid to follow Jesus

A reflection for the 20th Sunday, Ordinary Time, Year C. The readings are Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10; Psalm 40; Hebrews 12:1-4 and Luke 12:49-53.

I’m sure that many of you are sports fans. How many of you would walk down the street wearing a Toronto Jays jersey? You’d be proud to walk down the street sporting your favourite team’s logo. And during the Olympics we are not afraid to wear our national colours. But how many of you would wear a shirt that says, “I’m Catholic”, “I love Jesus” or “I love Pope Francis”?

I was just a World Youth Day in Poland. WYD is a gathering started by St. John Paul II to bring young adults from around the world so that they can meet with the Pope, learn from the bishops and celebrate their faith. Perhaps, however, what WYD really does is that is makes young people feel like they’re not alone. It’s easy to wear the “I am Catholic” T-shirt when there are 300,000 other people wearing the same shirt. At WYD everyone is wearing Catholic swag. It’s easy. Catholics are the majority. If you don’t like it, too bad. We outnumber you. But when you come back home, it’s not so easy to do. We’re too afraid of being labelled as intolerant, narrow-minded and old-fashioned.
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Who is your neighbour?


Vincent van Gogh – The Good Samaritan after Eugène Delacroix 1890.

A reflection for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C. The readings are Deuteronomy 30:10-14; Psalm 69; Colossians 1:15-20 and Luke 10:25-37.

If this story were to take place today, it would be very similar. A lawyer would ask Jesus, “What do I have to do to go to heaven? What law do I have to follow?” And Jesus would say, “You tell me. You know the law. What do you think? The lawyer answers very well, “love God and love neighbour.” He knows his stuff because those two commandments are not together in the bible. The first, “love God with all your heart, with all your mind and with all your soul,” is from Deuteronomy 6:5, and the other one, “love your neighbour as yourself” is from Leviticus 19:18 – but he puts them together: love God and love neighbour. Good. You’re set to go. But for lawyers the meaning of words is important. It’s important to be clear with what we mean. Today a lawyer would ask, “What does the word love mean? What does it mean ‘to love’?” for example. The lawyer in the story asks, “What does the word neighbour mean? You don’t actually mean my nosy next-door neighbour, do you?” Who is my neighbour? Maybe he wants to know ‘who is not my neighbour?’ Maybe he wants to know what is the least he can do and still go to heaven. So Jesus tells this story that we all know so well.
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