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.