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Serving those who serve us

Christ Healing a Leper, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, c. 1650 – c. 1655

A reflection for the 6th Sunday, Ordinary Time, B.
The readings are Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46, Psalm 32, Corinthians 10:31–11:1 and Mark 1:40-45.

One of the things that I like about the Gospel of Mark is that there are so many healings. Jesus heals a lot of people. Two weeks ago he expelled a demon from a man in the synagogue – so he heals our spiritual illness. Last week he healed Simon’s mother-in-law – so he heals our spiritual illness. Today he heals a leper.

So Jesus heals us spiritually and he heals us physically. And even though leprosy is a physical disease, the truth is that leprosy was a social disease, because lepers, and anyone with a skin condition or ailment (as we heard in today’s first reading), was treated as an outcast. That’s why Jesus tells him to go show himself to the priest. That’s how he could get re-integrated into the community.

So Jesus heals our spiritual illness; He heals our physical illness and He heals our social illness: He brings us back into the community.
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Go call someone

John the Baptist pointing at Christ on The Appearance of Christ Before the People by Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov, 1837–1857. Wikipedia. Public Domain.

A reflection for the 2nd Sunday, Ordinary Time, year B. The readings are Samuel 3:3b-10, 19; Psalm 40; 1 Corinthians 6:13c–15a, 17–20 and John 1:35-42.

Have you heard of the relic of St. Francis Xavier that’s touring Canada? For the whole month of January (2018), it will be traveling to most major Canadian cities. Most of the time relics are a piece of bone or hair. In this case it’s a bit weird ’cause it’s his arm. It’s particularly interesting because St. Francis Xavier is incorrupt – that means that his body has not decomposed, even though he died in 1552. The Church takes incorruption as a sign of holiness. Learn more about the tour at

The reason why I’m bringing him up is that when Francis was in university – he was Spanish, but went to the University of Paris – his roommate was another Spaniard, a guy named Ignatius: St. Ignatius!

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Five Practices for Having a Holy Family

A reflection for the Feast of the Holy Family, year B. The readings are Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14; Psalm 128, Col. 3:12-21 and Luke 2:22-40.

“Now master, you may let your servant go in peace.” Those are the beautiful words of Simeon from today’s Gospel reading. It’s a beautiful canticle, one of three in the Gospel of Luke that is prayed every day in the Liturgy of the Hours. This one is prayed during night prayer by all priests and people in consecrated life. But it’s a little strange that this is the Gospel reading for today, because today is not the feast of the Presentation of the Lord – that’s not until February 2nd! Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. In other years the Gospel for today is the finding of the child Jesus in the temple (Luke 2:41-52) or the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-23). But this year, it’s this one: the presentation of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:22-40). It must be that there are some family lessons that can be learned from this reading. In fact, I want to share with you some family lessons that I can see in this reading.
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Are you prepared?

A reflection for the 32nd Sunday, Ordinary Time, year A.
The readings are Wisdom 6:12-16, Psalm 63, Thessalonians 4:13-18 and Matthew 25:1-13.

When I was at York University, I didn’t live on campus but was part of the (very small)  Catholic community there because I didn’t have a parish. I lived about an hour’s bus ride away. One year I was going to help with music for the Good Friday Service. We prepared, picked the songs and practiced. What I failed to realize was that Friday was the first day of the month and in order to get to York, I needed a new monthly bus pass.  I walked to the bus and didn’t have the right bus pass and, of course, I had no cash to buy a token (this is way before paying-with-debit days). No problem, go to the bank. But it was a holiday and all the banks were closed. And, of course, when you are looking for a bank machine, you can’t find one. I am not exaggerating when I say that I walked about 10 blocks before I found a bank machine.  I got the cash, walked all the way (carrying my heavy guitar case!) back to the bus station, bought the pass and…. holiday bus schedule! There wasn’t a bus every 10 minutes; there was a bus every hour! Needless to say, I arrived at York after the Service had finished.

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