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The Church is Catholic

A reflection on the 3rd Sunday, Advent C. The readings are Zephanaiah 3:14-18a; Isaiah 12:2-3, 4, 5-6; Philippians 4:4-7 and Luke 3:10-18. But my reflection today is the third in a series on the Four Marks of the Church from my parish.

4 Marks of the Church part 3: The Church is Catholic

Today is the third Sunday of Advent, a day when we rejoice because Christ is coming soon. That’s why we lighten up our purple a bit and we call today, “Gaudete Sunday” or rejoice Sunday.

For the last couple of weeks, also we have been learning about the 4 Marks of the Church, as professed in the Creed: One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.

How many of you had actually heard of the 4 Marks of the Church before now? I have to be honest; I had never heard of the 4 Marks of the Church until about 10 years ago. I thought the four Marks were four guys: Mark the evangelist, Mark the apostle, Mark the disciple of Peter and, I don’t know, Mark the little brother of Jude…

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Cristo viene pronto

Reflección para el primer domingo de Adviento, Ciclo C.
Las lecturas son Jeremias 33:14-16; Salmo 25; Tesalonicenses 3:12-4:2 y Lucas 21:25-28, 34-36.

Dentro de un mes estaremos todos gritando “feliz año nuevo” y celebrando la llegada del 2019, pero la Iglesia, celebra el año nuevo hoy. Hoy es el primer domingo de Adviento, cuando comienza el nuevo año litúrgico. Y al igual que con el año nuevo que viene con todas clases de predicciones culturales, económicas, políticas y sociales, nuestro adviento también comienza con algunas predicciones y algunas advertencias.

El profeta Jeremías, de quien escuchamos en la primera lectura, se pasó toda su vida diciéndole al pueblo de Israel que la cosa se iba a poner bien fea si no cambiaban sus caminos – si no regresaban a los caminos del Señor. Nadie quería escuchar ese mensaje – no muy distinto al mensaje de varios políticos populistas de nuestros días que solo quieren meterle miedo a la gente – todo lo malo que va a suceder si aceptamos a esos refugiados, o si firmamos ese tratado o lo que sea. Aunque parece que hoy en día la gente si se come esos mensajes.
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Jumping off the plane without a parachute

A reflection for the 32th Sunday, Ordinary Time, B. The readings are 1 Kings 17:10-16; Psalm 146; Hebrews 9:24-28 and Mark 12:28-44.


I don’t know about this widow in today’s Gospel. I don’t think she’s very responsible and I don’t think that she’s really making much of a sacrifice that’s an example for me.

See, if she really has nothing and has begged for these coins – which we understand to be worth a few cents – then, shouldn’t she be going to get a coffee and a donut or something? Especially if she is – like I’ve seen her depicted in many works of art – a young widow and a mother of a young child. If she had two bucks that someone gave her to buy food or milk for her baby, she shouldn’t put in the Temple offering. She should go buy milk. If she had $10, maybe she can put $5 in the basket and then go get some milk and food for her or her baby. But apparently she didn’t have $10, but a few cents… which leads me to conclude that she is actually not an example for me. If you have nothing, it’s not much of a sacrifice to give it all away.   It makes no difference to her whether she has 50 cents or nothing.

If you have $100,000 and you have to give it all away, that’s a sacrifice. When you have nothing much, it’s not a sacrifice to give it all away. Read more…

The not-so-dangerous question….

Image from Sweet Publishing/

A reflection for the 29th Sunday, Ordinary Time, Year B. The readings are Isaiah 53:10-11; Psalm 33; Hebrews 4:14-16 and Mark 10:35-45.

Last week I asked myself the most dangerous question. Our pastor preached about this and recommended that we ask ourselves this question during the week: “God, what do you want me to do?” On Wednesday I asked myself another question; maybe the second most dangerous question: Is it sin to smoke marijuana?* which is what I think James and John must’ve been smoking when they asked, not the most dangerous question, but the dumbest question! What were they thinking and how old are they? The last time my kids asked me to say yes to whatever they were going to ask me was like in grade two!

That’s why I love the Gospel of Mark. Why does he write these things? Why does he continually make the disciples look like complete clowns? Seriously! Literally, the sentence before James and John approach Jesus to ask him if they could sit at his left and right in Heaven, Jesus has been telling them how the Son of Man will be betrayed, arrested and condemned. He will be mocked and spat on, flogged and killed (Mark 10:32-34). Two seconds later, they ask their question. If you wanted to attract people to Christianity, why would you portray the disciples like that? Probably because it really happened. And this whole “suffering and death; drink the cup that I am going to drink” business? How is that going to attract people to Christianity?

Mark writes it because it’s true. It’s true because it actually happened and it’s true because it’s Truth: If we follow Jesus Christ, that will lead us to the Cross; we will probably suffer.

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