Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Is 55:6-9; Phil 1:20c-24, 27a; Mt 20:1-16a

09-24-2023Weekly ReflectionThe Faithful Disciple

GROW: Today’s readings should bring us great joy. They are a reminder that our Lord may have high standards, but he is also “generous in forgiving” and “near to all who call upon him.” In the Gospel, we hear the parable of the laborers in the vineyard. Some work all day while others arrive at the last hour. However, all are paid the same. Similarly, we can all receive God’s heavenly reward – whether we are faithful Catholics since birth or converts in our final hour. This parable may evoke mixed feelings for those who see themselves as the laborers who have toiled all day and wonder why their reward is not greater. But rather than making us jealous, this parable should make us rejoice: How wonderful that everyone has the opportunity for everlasting life with the Lord! And what great comfort to know that if we falter and lose our way, it is never too late to return to God.


Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Sir 27:30—28:7, Rom 14:7-9, Mt 18:21-35

09-17-2023Weekly ReflectionThe Faithful Disciple

GROW: Forgiveness. It seems like a relatively simple concept, doesn’t it? We ask our merciful Father for it every day when we pray the Our Father: “… forgive us our trespasses...” Then reality hits, as we remember the second part of that phrase: “ we forgive those who trespass against us …” As we forgive others. Oh, that long, hard road of forgiveness! Easier said than done. Sometimes those old sayings have some merit, don’t they? And when we look at today’s readings, there is nothing cryptic about them: forgive not seven times but seventy-seven times, let go of wrath and anger, forgive your brother and sister from your heart. Yes, forgiveness is a simple concept, but it’s not easy. Perhaps the answer is to re-read today’s Scriptures and ask the Holy Spirit to give us the strength to put in the hard work if there is someone in our lives to whom we need to offer our heartfelt forgiveness.


Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time - Ez 33:7-9, Rom 13:8-10, Mt 18:15-20

09-10-2023Weekly ReflectionThe Faithful Disciple

GROW: Years ago, I was asked to take in a hound dog and I was happy to do so, but it wasn’t until I brought the dog home that I discovered how adamantly opposed my husband was to the idea. When asked, he had never said “no,” but he thought I should just know he didn’t want the dog. Obviously, we needed to work on our communication skills! Proper communication and what it means to love in relationship are what come to mind when I hear the start of today’s Gospel. Jesus is instructing us on what to do when another angers, hurts, or offends us. Not surprisingly, it doesn’t include calling our sister or best friend to vent, or posting about it on social media, regardless of how vaguely we word the situation. Instead we are to go to that person directly and “tell him his fault between you and him alone.” If they listen, we have won them over. How many times have others hurt us but we never bother to tell them? How often do we simply assume the other person knows they have done us wrong? We owe it to one another to be honest and upfront – to give the other person a chance to apologize and us a chance to extend forgiveness. We also owe it to one another to be willing to receive them in charity, open-hearted, when they come to us to speak of our faults.


Take Up Your Cross

09-03-2023Weekly ReflectionThe Faithful Disciple

GROW: I am glad I was duped. Yep, the illusionist in the show we attended had me fooled into seeing something one way and it turns out it was completely false. The show was entertaining, and worth the time and expense we invested to enjoy it. And ... it may be the only circumstance where the word “duped” can be used in the same sentence as “glad.” That certainly wasn’t Jeremiah’s experience! His prayer reflects frustration and hurt, and even a little bit of disgust at how he has been treated because of the Lord: “I say to myself, I will not mention him, I will speak in his name no more.” But then, even in his discontent and disillusion, he holds on to the truth. For right after this rebellious admission, he confesses that the need to prophesy “becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it.” He knows he was never really duped – there was no lie from the Lord. And the fact is, he believes and trusts in the Lord enough to pray to him in the first place; even in his prayer of lament he is praising the Lord as God and redeemer. Jeremiah’s example is a good one for us: Never lose sight of the Lord as our God. Pray to him; give over our frustrations to him; and allow him to be the fire burning in our heart that we cannot quench.


Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time - Is 22:19-23; Rom 11:33-36; Mt 16:13-20

08-27-2023Weekly ReflectionThe Faithful Disciple

GROW: God is not looking for perfection when it comes to his leaders, he is looking for true and loving hearts. In the first reading, God is not impressed with the master of the palace as a father for the people of Jerusalem. Eliakim the servant has the heart God desires. God will give Eliakim whatever he needs to guide his people – the right clothes, authority, and a place of honor. And we learn in the Gospel that Peter has the heart of love Jesus knows is necessary to guide his followers after he is gone. There are more learned and powerful men, but they lack Peter’s faith. Jesus knows Peter is not perfect and he has much to learn, but Peter has the right foundation for the Church. We don’t need to be the smartest people or have money and influence to be God’s leaders. We need hearts of love and faith, and God will give us the tools we need to do the work.


Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Is 56:1, 6-7; Rom 11:13-15, 29-32; Mt 15:21-28

08-20-2023Weekly Reflection

GROW: The abundance of God’s love for us is what stood out for me in our readings today. If we consider the concept of abundance outside the Scriptures, it can be tricky. When we have it, does it imply we have too much when others have too little? If we are speaking of material things, then perhaps. But God’s infinite and merciful love for us resound in each of our readings today, and this is cause for joy. In Isaiah, the Lord announces that he will accept offerings from anyone who holds to his covenant, Jewish or not. Saint Paul stresses that God’s mercy is for all, and Jesus, after some back-and-forth with the Canaanite woman, heals the woman’s daughter because of her great faith. God never tires of desiring healing and wholeness for all his children, which is a great gift. Let this gift of grace from God be a catalyst for us to reach out in love to others so that we also can come to God’s “holy mountain and [be made] joyful in [his] house of prayer.”


19th Sunday of Ordinary Time: 1 Kgs 19:ga, 11-1ga Rom 9:1-5 Mt 14:22-33

08-13-2023Weekly ReflectionThe Faithful Disciple

GROW: Unlike with our other important relationships, God isn't exactly someone we can meet for coffee and look into his eyes while having conversation. Whether we talk to God in our mind or out loud, we recognize that even with good prayer life it can sometimes be difficult to cultivate and maintain relationship with God. Doubters and unbelievers are quick to remind us how impossible it is to believe what we cannot see or hear, but today's readings also remind us that God doesn't speak to us as another human being would. Maybe he doesn't speak with the booming voice of preacher or politician, and maybe he doesn't write direct messages for us in the sky or sand, but God does speak.


Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord - Dn 7:9-10, 13-14; 2 Pt 1:16-19; Mt 17:1-9

08-06-2023Weekly ReflectionThe Faithful Disciple

GROW: According to the dictionary definition, to be transfigured is to “transform into something more beautiful or elevated.” This is what we see happening in Matthew’s Gospel today: Jesus takes his closest disciples up the mountain and there he is transformed – he is transfigured – before them: “His face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.” He is also joined by Moses and Elijah as a sign that he is the fulfillment of God’s promises of old. Jesus completes the old covenant that God made with his people and brings us the new covenant of salvation. The Transfiguration parallels the Baptism of the Lord in that we once again hear God speaking from the heavens to say, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” But during the Transfiguration, God adds the words, “Listen to him.” That’s a command not just for his disciples there on the mountain but for us today as well.