Monthly Archives: September, 2014

27th Sunday of Ordinary Time, cycle A

1ST READING – ISAIAH 5:1-7

Isaiah realized that God cares for us His people like a precious vine: He cultivates us, cares for us, prunes us, nurtures us, waters us and removes the stones from our hearts.  He expects us to grow, to bloom, to produce a good harvest.  Why is the Lord angry with His people?

Those darn Israelites never seem to get it right.  Can you relate?  Do you ever feel like you try so hard and yet can’t seem to get it together?  Sometimes children work hard on an assignment and end up crumpling it up because of their frustration.  We hear the frustration in God’s voice through Isaiah.  This harsh love language can be difficult because of the strong emotion.  But in the end, God stays with the Israelites through their trials.

Some thoughts from Harold Kushner in How Good Do We Have to Be?:  “…if we cannot love imperfect people, if we cannot forgive them for their exasperating faults, we will condemn ourselves to a life of loneliness, because imperfect people are the only kind we will ever find,” (p. 111).  “Being human can never mean being perfect, but it should always mean struggling to be as good as we can and never letting our failures be a reason for giving up the struggle,” (p. 174).

2ND READING – PHILIPPIANS 4: 6-9

Paul encouraged his Philippian brothers and sisters and urged tenacity in prayer.  Worry drains us of energy and hope.  Not that he was suggesting a Pollyannaish approach to life either.  Paul knew how hard life was.  There was a large military presence in the area, and the Gentile Christians also had a difficult time dealing with the Jewish Christians.  “What is the right thing to do?” was a constant question.  So Paul says pray, and will peace will be given.  Do you experience this in your prayer life?  Even if there is no answer, prayer reminds us of God’s constant presence, and there is solace in that.   Paul also says hold fast to Jesus’ teachings.  Hold on to what is true.  There is peace in that too.  Do you experience this?

THE GOSPEL – MATTHEW 21: 33-43

From Pheme Perkins’ Hearing the Parables of Jesus:

This parable is a striking image of escalating violence in a situation in which the social and legal structures were clearly too weak to deal with what could and did occur among people.  The people who suffer its consequences are very often not the ones who are responsible for the socio-economic causes of the violence.  The people who suffer from it are those who are close at hand and weak enough to appear vulnerable.  Humans may use violence and vengeance to deal with situations of injustice; God will not.  The tenants must turn around, stop their own illegal violence, and give the owner what he is owed.  One must simply continue to pursue the relationship that should exist between oneself and the other party, hoping that the other party will then step into the role defined by that relationship.  God continually appeals to the people to stand in the proper relationship with him, but he will never compel them to do so (p. 192-194).

This parable ends with an image of a cornerstone.  This picture is from Psalm 118:22:  “The stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner.”  Originally the psalmist meant this as a picture of the nation of Israel.  But Jesus is the foundation stone on which everything is built, and the corner stone which holds everything together.   It may be that people reject Christ, but they will yet find that the Christ whom they rejected is the most important person in the world, (Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series:  Mathew Vol 2, p. 264-5).  Jesus is all about seeking relationship and bringing goodness to fruition.  At what lengths will you go to to seek relationship with Jesus and bring good to fruition?

Exultation of What?

Father Bob’s homily a couple weeks ago…

bobblogobucco

Sorry this is so late.

The Feast of the Exultation of the Cross

Though he was in the form of God

Jesus did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at

Rather he emptied himself and took the form of a slave

Being born in the likeness of men.

He was known to be of human estate

And it was thus that he humbled himself

Obediently accepting death, even death on a cross.

We all have crosses.  They are burnished and beautiful works of art.   We proudly display them and wear them and admire them because they are the ultimate sign of God’s love, of his victory.  That is why we celebrate the Feast of the Exultation of the Cross.  Yet, we must admit that anyone who was dropped into any church from the century before Christ lived, they would certainly wonder why we were glorifying the cross…

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26th Sunday of Ordinary Time, cycle A

parable two sons

1st Reading; Ezekiel 18: 25-28

Ezekiel is among the first people of Israel that the Babylonians take captive in 597 B.C. He is well known for his insistence upon individual responsibility for sin. Children are not responsible for what the previous generation did. We are free to turn from wickedness to good at any time; we will then be judged by the new life that we have begun. (Sunday by Sunday, Sept. 25, 2005, vol. 14, #54; “Scripture in Depth” http://liturgy.slu.edu)

Ezekiel speaks of metanoia, from the Greek meaning a change of mind.  Even the term, “turning away” gives the feeling of a physical change of direction.  This is not only about our sinful ways.  Believing in God is life-changing.  It is “an interior transformation that comes about when God’s Spirit breaks into our lives with the Good News that God loves us unconditionally,” (Catholic Update on The Sacrament of Reconciliation, 1986).  What is our response to this unconditional love?

2nd Reading: Philippians 2: 1-11

William Barclay makes this important point: Paul is never just interested in intellectual speculation and/or theological guess work. To Paul theology and action are always bound together. Any system of thought must necessarily become a way of life. The purpose of these thoughts on Jesus’ humanity and divinity was to persuade the Philippians to live a life in which disunity, discord, and arrogance had no place. Jesus did not desire to dominate people, but to serve them. So we as followers must have the same desire. And, in the end, the humble service that Christ lived won for him greater glory, even if the glory was not the goal. Jesus gains our hearts not by blasting us with power, but by showing us an irresistible, faithful love. His life of self-giving service won for him a new title: Lord. It was a word that meant master or owner. It was used as a title for the Roman Emperors and for the pagan gods. It was also used in the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures for Yahweh. So Jesus becomes the one master and God that we are to worship, revere, and imitate – the only safe, life-giving Lord. (William Barclay, The Letters to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians, 37-39)

Why should the Creator take on the cause of a disobedient creation? Why didn’t the Potter just start over? God’s justice is always about God’s love. Love, in the end, does not seek fairness. It seeks expression; it seeks the good of the other; it yearns for life-sharing presence. The Incarnation and the cross of Christ are the ultimate message to us from this God of love. (“Exploring the Sunday Readings”, Sept. 2008)

Humility was a big part of what St. Teresa of Avila wrote about in her Interior Castle.  She says, “As I see it, we shall never succeed in knowing ourselves unless we seek to know God:  let us think of His greatness and then come back to our own baseness; by looking at His purity we shall see our foulness; by meditating upon His humility, we shall see how far we are from being humble,” (p. 38).  She goes on to say, “If, then, you sometimes fall, do not lose heart, or cease striving to make progress, for even out of you fall God will bring good,” (p. 51).  Hope follows love!

The Gospel: Matthew 21: 28 – 32

Parables can shock us as they can lay bare the truth with great simplicity. We cannot really argue with a parable; we must either accept it or reject it. It is a challenge, but it is also an invitation. Mary Birmingham says that “Living in the reign of God demands that I acknowledge my sinfulness, my reluctance to serve God, and forge ahead anyway.” (M. Birmingham, W&W, Yr.A, 525, 527)

In Jesus’ culture the son who answered yes to his father even though he did not go to work would have been considered the honorable son. His reply was respectful; it was what the father wanted to hear. Obedience was important, but the honorable appearance was more important. Notice: Jesus did not ask which son behaved honorably. He asked: “Which of the two did the will of the father?” Jesus’ own honor is being questioned by the chief priests and elders. But Jesus rubs salt into their wounds with this very counter-cultural parable and its challenge. They recognize this challenge: 1) Jesus is making them family with harlots and tax collectors (sons of the same Father) and 2) the chief priests and elders are the ones who may behave honorably, but they are not the ones who are always seeking to do the will of their Father. They care more about appearing to be honorable than about truly being about the good that God wants.(John Pilch, “Historical Cultural Context,” http://liturgy.slu.edu)

Sometimes we can love humanity with great conviction, but find it extraordinarily difficult to love people in particular. For most of us, God is not the problem. The problem is those humans that God created, especially the creeps who don’t seem to deserve to take up our time and patience. When people draw near, they bring trouble. Yet, as Paul was emphasizing in his passage, it is our very relationships to each other that embody our relationship to God. Paul says we will only find joy and peace when we die to ourselves: an unwelcome prospect. Too often we want love, but not its cost. Love is more than logic and practical advice. It is a risk of the ego, an emptying of the self, a desire to serve rather than be served. This is at the heart of the Good News: first, God loved us with utter graciousness; second, we are called to love others with this graciousness. We jabber of love, but the living of it is a great shaking down of our pretense. Love in dreams can be easy; the reality of it can be a dreadful assault . . . (“The Word Embodied”, http://liturgy.slu.edu)

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, cycle A

1st Reading: Isaiah 55: 6-9

This chapter starts the writings of 3rd Isaiah, a prophet who wishes to encourage his people as they come back from the Exile and face the rebuilding of their country and their faith.  This chapter started with that beautiful image of all being invited to come to the water – come to the feast where there will be rich food and plenty – come without paying and without cost! In light of this vision and the gospel story this reading really says it all: God’s ways are not our ways – alleluia!   What do you think of this reading?  When might God be found?

2nd Reading: Philippians 1:20c – 24, 27a

Remember when Paul talks about Christ being magnified in his body that he also referred to the church as Christ’s body. Paul is such a powerful example of how the grace of God can transform us and renew us, even in the midst of the most difficult situations.

This was probably written by Paul when he was in prison in Ephesus maybe about 52-55 A.D. In this ‘holding tank’ of a place, death was a real possibility. In this case, we know Paul later went free to travel to Rome where eventually he was again imprisoned and killed. So his words are powerful and real, even if at this point he did not face death. Besides this situation, this letter to the Philippians is probably a compilation from two or three short letters written by Paul to the community at Philippi over perhaps many months:

Letter A – 4:10-23: This is Paul’s thank you for the ‘care-package’ he received

while in prison by a messenger named Epaphroditus.

Letter B – 1:1-3:1; 4:4-7: This is news about Paul’s welfare and prospects in

prison. It includes Epaphroditus’ recovery from illness while with Paul,

along with Paul’s desire to send Timothy to Philippi and a warning about

the possible arrival of false teachers.

Letter C – 3:2-4:3, 8-9: This is an attack on the false teachers after their arrival

at Philippi.

Today’s letter comes from Letter B as Paul faces the possibility of martyrdom. He is in a state of tension, and yet is living the peace that surpasses understanding (4:7) that he talks about in the letter. Paul knows now that “to live is Christ” – it is not about some mystical union, but about trusting that in all his labors and sufferings and work, Christ is at work. That is all that is important. Just like in the gospel, Paul shows us that we are not to be concerned about ‘rewards’ or our ‘pay.’ Rewards are not denied, but they are not the purpose of toiling for Christ and his kingdom. They always come as a surprise. Paul is a profound example of someone who takes the gospel parable to heart – and lives it.  (Reginald Fuller, “Scripture in Depth,” http://liturgy.slu.edu. )

Aren’t we always “caught between the two”?  Sometimes we are having to make a decision.  Sometimes we know we are not living the way we are meant to live.  How do Paul’s words ring true in your life?

The Gospel: Matthew 20: 1-16a

This parable (unique to Matthew) follows Jesus’ discussion of the unequal ‘right’ of males to divorce a woman, Jesus’ blessing of the children, and then the story of the rich young man ending ch. 19 with “But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.” Now Matthew opens this chapter with another illustration of the surprising and unsurpassing goodness of God and His kingdom. This chapter will go on to give us another prediction of Jesus’ suffering and death along with James’ and John’s request for places of honor in the kingdom. It will end with the healing of two blind men.

Given the surrounding stories and its own powerful message, what do you make of this parable?  How does it comfort you? How does it challenge you?  Can you sense the kindness in the owner’s face?  Do you feel the gloom of the ones who had had no work and were hired late?  Can you feel their amazement and joy?

This parable was probably quite a challenge to Matthew’s community, also. This Christian community was no doubt struggling to understand the place of Gentiles in their community – and God’s kingdom. This was a highly Jewish group of people who were being stretched to accept and welcome ‘the late-comers’, the Gentiles. The ‘same wage’ is extended to all. Of course, it is not about wages at all, but about salvation. No one can get ‘more salvation’ than another. Can there really be ‘higher places’ in heaven, if it is really heaven? All who work in God’s vineyard, God’s kingdom, get the same wage: fullness of life with God for all eternity – incredible generosity = truly Good News! (“Working with the Word”, http://liturgy.slu.edu. )

In Jesus’ culture, workers had to be invited to work; they could not apply or go looking for work. That was seen as dishonorable since you might be taking what belongs to someone else. To have a ‘patron’ was a particularly great blessing. A patron is someone who freely chooses to treat other people (always of a lower class) ‘as if’ they were family members. This is how God acts in this parable.(John Pilch, “Historical Cultural Context”, http://liturgy.slu.edu. )

It is important also to notice that the owner calls the ‘complaining worker’ at the end a friend, even though the worker never even addressed the owner with a customary title of respect. Discipleship is serious business; we need God’s insight and grace. Justice is only possible through love.  This parable is a clear call to conversion for all of us. There is only one God, and we are not it!   There is a place for us in God’s kingdom, but it is not on God’s throne!  Our conversion is about seeing anew, considering a new world view. God is kind and faithful, but also surprising.  We must stay alert and in relationship with our loving Lord if we do not want to miss what God is doing. Prayer and Scripture are ways for us to do just that.  (Word and Worship Workbook for Year A, 516-519)

The Power of Where Two or Three are Gathered

Father Bob’s Sunday homily last week…

bobblogobucco

Wow a lot of Sundays in Ordinary Time have passed since I last blogged. To account for them, one was Deacon Tom preaching, one was vacation and one was my cousin’s wedding. This homily is a little parish specific but I did not want to stay out of practice too long!
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.” What a thrilling promise Jesus makes. Sure it would have been convenient to know about this before Saratoga closed and we could have agreed about a horse, but it is still thrilling! The idea that I and at least one other believer can pray together to build the kingdom of God, and it will be granted. That is indeed, the only way the…

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The Exaltation of the Holy Cross, cycle A

cross

The cross is a symbol of our salvation.  Each time we look upon and venerate the cross; each time we cross ourselves in the name of the Father, Son and Spirit, we profess our willingness to take Jesus seriously, to live the radical Gospel fully, and to die for our beliefs, our values and commitment to God, to Jesus and one another (Sanchez, PD, NCR for 8/29-9/11).

1st Reading – Numbers 21:4b-9

What logic is behind this reading and command? Why should a victim have to look at that which can kill them? The reason becomes a bit clearer if we look at the meaning of the snakebites which is the same thing as looking at the nature of sin, since the people had revolted against God and Moses. They were not even grateful any longer for the free bread that came to them from heaven. God sent the snakebites to punish them – not vindictively but as a ‘reality-check’ –considering how their sin and ingratitude had distanced them from God, the source of life – discovering later in their pain that they were suffering, lonely and God-forsaken. The only answer is to open the door again, and so they do that. They own up to their sin and ask for God’s help once again. Moses is told to make a serpent out of bronze, and so he does. This serpent has no sting; they can look on it without fear and without death. They can face their wrong-doing knowing that it has been taken up into the splendor of God’s on-going love which has brought them out of slavery to new life – a love that will continue to lead them if they but follow. (Fr. John Foley, S.J., “Spirituality of the Readings, http://liturgy.slu.edu.)

2nd Reading – Philippians 2: 6-11

This early Christian hymn that Paul is using should help us to appreciate how freely God gives his love to us and how completely this love is revealed in Christ Jesus, our Lord – the only one that is worthy and safe to be called Lord.

This is the Paschal Mystery:  that by emptying ourselves, we may rise to new life.  Ronald Rolheiser in the Holy Longing says, “Like all things temporal, our understanding of God and the church too must constantly die and be raised to new life.  Our intentions may be sincere and noble, but so too were Mary Magdala’s on Easter morning when she tried to ignore the new reality of Jesus so as to cling to what had previously been, “ (p. 162).  What needs to be emptied in you to bring about new life?

In the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, he talks a lot about this emptying as a way of detachment.  In making personal decisions, we should pray to get to the point where we could go either way in deciding (emptying ourselves).  That way, we are truly leaving it in God’s hands to make the decision, and thus doing God’s will.  He says, “One strives earnestly not to desire that money or anything else, except when one is motivated solely by the service of God our Lord; in such a way that the desire to be able to serve God our Lord better is what moves one to take or reject any object whatsoever,” (#155).

The Gospel – John 3: 13-17

God: all life begins with God; it is God who sent Jesus.

Loved the world: Here is the motive for all of God’s activity – God is love!

Gave his only Son: God gave in two senses – first, in the Incarnation  God’s Word, God’s Message became flesh in the world; second, this Son in whom God is perfectly present endured death, the ‘lifting up’ on the cross.

Believes: God asks us to respond to his love – believe in Jesus. This believing in John’s gospel is always an entering into a deep and abiding personal relationship with Jesus.

Not perish/eternal life: God’s plan is NOT for human destruction, condemnation, or punishment. God wishes us to trust his love so that this love can lead us to an eternal life where death is destroyed, wrong is righted, and peace/shalom is established forever. This is the Good News we exalt on today’s feast.

(“Working with the Word”, http://liturgy.slu.edu)

In Elizabeth Johnson’s Consider Jesus, she compares 2 theologians’ views on the cross.  Jurgen Moltmann, a German Reformed theologian, was a prisoner of war during WWII and wrote The Crucified God.  His view of salvation is that out of love, God freely chooses to be affected by what affects others, so that when people sin and suffer this influences the divine being.  He saw the cross as an event between God and God.  While Jesus suffers on the cross, both Father and Son are suffering, though in different ways.  Each suffers the loss of the other, yet they have never been so deeply united in one love.  In their common loving will to save the world, regardless of the cost, what is revealed is the Holy Spirit, who is the Love of the Father and Son.  At Jesus’ death his Spirit, God’s Love, is let loose on the world.  Only if all disaster is within God can God affect salvation.  (Think of all the current disasters today and how God may reveal Godself in them.)

Compare Moltmann with Edward Schillebeeckx, a Belgian Roman Catholic who is a Dominican and contributed greatly to Vatican II.  He says God wills life and not death, joy and not suffering, both for Jesus and for everyone else.  The cross reveals the tension between God and sinful humanity.  God, as pure positivity, enter into compassionate solidarity with Jesus on the cross, keeping faith with him, not abandoning him.  God is present in the mode of absence.  He keeps vigil until human freedom has played itself out and Jesus is destroyed.  Then God overcomes the evil of death through the act of resurrection, conquering and undoing the negativity wrought by human sinfulness.  We are saved not by the cross but despite it

Neither theologian is right or wrong…it is all just thinking aloud about knowing God.  Jesus is the Compassion of God.  Jesus is in solidarity with us, and we are all united with God in Jesus by being in compassionate solidarity with all those who suffer.

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, cycle A

Let us pray from Psalm 95…

If today we hear His voice, harden not your hearts.

Come, let us acclaim the rock of our salvation.

Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;

Let us joyfully sing psalms to him.

If today we hear His voice, harden not your hearts.

Come, let us bow down in worship,

Let us kneel before the Lord who made us.

For he is our God, and we are the people he shepherds,

The flock he guides.

If today we hear His voice, may we harden not our hearts.

1st Reading: Ezekiel 33: 7-9

Ezekiel understood his role as prophet to be that of watchman who discerns the moral pulse of the culture, and who also watches for and announces to the people any impending disasters.  (Birmingham, W&W Workbook for Year A, 499)  You can hear the weight of responsibility he feels this role, and it challenges us to speak out against what we see is wrong in the world too.  We all do this in our own way.  How have you had to do it in your life?

During the day, some people who lived in a fortified city worked outside the city gates.  So that they could go about their work without worry, a guard stood on the city wall scanning the horizon for any sign of an approaching enemy.  When the watchman spied hostile forces, he gave a signal to the townspeople in the fields.  It was their responsibility to leave their work to return to safety behind the city walls.  Both the watchman and the people had clear responsibilities, (Vawter&Hoppe, Ezekiel:  A New Heart, 148).  Do you have someone that watches over you?  Are you a watchman?

2nd Reading: Romans 13: 8-10

In this pericope, Paul gives us the “how” in handling this social responsibility:  with love. 

Indeed, Paul’s words from 1 Corinthian 13 are very close.  It also aligns well with Jesus’ preaching as we find it in the synoptic gospels, especially passages like Luke 10: 25+ — here Jesus lists love as the essence of the law and tells the story of the Good Samaritan. These words of Paul predate the gospels, of course. His experience of the Risen Lord taught him the same truth that we find later recorded by others in the gospels — a great testimony to the ‘unity’ of mind and heart that comes from knowing Jesus. (M. Birmingham, Word and Worship Workbook for Year A, 500)

The Gospel — Matthew 18: 15-20

Here we see Matthew applying Jesus’ wisdom and advice to his own community and its needs. He is trying to fashion his ‘church’ on the teaching of Jesus.  (Birmingham, 501)

Also remember, Matthew’s community was a highly Jewish/Christian group.  Eduard Schweizer asks us to notice these things in connection with this gospel: In Judaism, at least 10 males must be present for corporate worship. For the disciples of Jesus such rules are no longer needed: even 2 who pray together are heard.  Also, the authority of the community is the authority they gain through prayer. It is assumed, of course, that the community prays according to God’s will as Jesus taught his disciples to do in the Lord’s Prayer (See Mt. 6: 9-13.)  The promise of Jesus’ presence speaks with a strong ‘taste’ of resurrection faith. When we come together in Jesus’ name we come together under Jesus authority and teaching.  It is this presence of love that confers the presence and power of Christ on the community.  Prayer and love are central: “the presence of the God who is unknown has been replaced by the presence of the man who is known, who can be called by name, the presence of Jesus Christ himself. Jesus now takes the place of the Law, as described by this Jewish saying: “When two men sit together and words of the Law are between them, then the presence of God is dwelling among them.”    (The Good News According to Matthew, 374-375)

From John Kavanaugh, S.J., “The Word Embodied,” http://liturgy.slu.edu:

Community life is the great testing ground of faith. St. Teresa of Avila thought that relationships in community were often a greater indication of one’s relationship to God than any heights of mystical prayer. Too often, though, we let problems fester in stead of being confronted and healed. The misdeeds of friends and family are discussed with everyone but the accused. We would too often rather ignore than struggle with conversion. Encountering truth with another person can be daunting – but it can also be the beginning of new life.

William Barclay has these comments: He says that this passage is one of the most difficult passages in Matthew’s entire gospel. It just does not ‘ring true’: it does not sound like Jesus. In fact, it sounds much more like a ‘church committee.’ Certainly, in its present form Jesus could not have told his disciples to take things to the Church for it did not exist yet! Still, it seems equally certain that it does in some way go back to a ‘Jesus teaching.’ If we press behind the text itself, we can find perhaps advice from Jesus like this: If someone does something wrong and harmful, spare no effort to help the sinner to see what is wrong and try to correct it. We must talk lovingly and directly to the one who has wronged us or others. Direct, personal confrontation can be healing and it needs to be private, at least at the beginning. If this does not produce healing and reconciliation, then bring one or two wise, caring people with you. Their objective wisdom may help to bring about good. If that does not work, call on your Christian community with the hope that with prayer, love and fellowship the personal relationship may be righted.

But then we come to the most difficult part. We are told if the person will not repent we are to treat that one like a Gentile or tax-collector. But Jesus never set limits to forgiveness. In fact in the very next passage in Matthew’s gospel (18: 21-35) Peter is told that we must forgive the one who wrongs us as often as necessary: 7 x 70! And, when Jesus ‘deals with’ tax-collectors or Gentiles in the gospels he does so with sympathy, gentleness, and an appreciation of their good qualities. In fact, Matthew for whom this very gospel is named was a tax-collector. Jesus found no one hopeless; neither must we. Maybe Jesus is telling us that even if the stubborn sinner is like a tax-collector or a Gentile, we may still win him over in the end as He did.

Barclay has more insights concerning the ending of this passage that is on prayer. Surely, we can not take literally the idea that if we but have two people agree on something God will have to give it. Nothing but harm can result when we teach people to expect what does not happen. So what is meant?

1st – prayer must never be selfish. We are not to pray only for our own needs; we need to pray as a part of a fellowship open to what is needed around us.

2nd – when prayer is unselfish, God’s answers with what is best for real growth, real goodness.

Furthermore, Jesus is with us whenever faithful hearts meet. He is not a slave to numbers. No matter how few may gather, his loving and powerful presence is there. (The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, p. 187-192)

Kenneth Leech says, “Prayer needs always to be seen within this social context, for there is no such thing as private prayer.  The word private comes from the Latin privatio, which means robbery.  To the Christian, nothing is private, least of all prayer.  God is not private but personal and social, Being in relationship.”  Margaret Guenther adds, “After all, when in the Lord’s Prayer we address God as OUR Father, we are acknowledging that there are other children in the family.”  From The Tree of Life by Steven Chase.

Let us pray:

Lord,

We need you.

We need you to help us be watchful people.

Not to snuff out the sin in the world, not to be accusers-

But to be faithful to what You teach us.

We need each other to do this.  Help us to see that too.

When we are loving to one another, we spread Your love.

And You are in our midst.

Thank you Lord.  AMEN