Pastor’s Desk

Gospel Reflection Nov 17:

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time Weekend of November 16/17, 2019

In today’s Gospel, Jesus suggests that his disciples must be prepared to suffer ridicule, persecution and perhaps even death if they are to follow him. Sometimes we may wonder if enduring ridicule and scorn are what we really signed up for when we received the sacraments of initiation. Would we not rather sneak through life as painlessly as possible? Good stewards take their faith seriously and find comfort in the closing words of today’s Gospel: “You will be hated by all because of my name but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” Let us make it part of our daily prayer routine to ask the Holy Spirit for the courage to act in Jesus’ name no matter the consequences.

ICSC November e-bulletin

Gospel Reflection: November 10, 2019

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time Weekend of November 9/10, 2019:

In today’s second reading we hear Saint Paul urging the members of the community at Thessalonica to direct their hearts to God’s love through Christ. He wants them to be laser-focused on Christ, and nothing else. He desires that they be strengthened by the Lord and shielded from what is not Christ-like. Good stewards cultivate a “laser-sharp” focus on Christ; not on things that could give them false or superficial images or ideals. Let’s think about our own daily focus: Do we direct out hearts toward Christ or are there other “gods” that claim our attention? Our career? Material possessions? Favorite sports team? Political leanings? Does our daily life point to Christ so that those who are younger and less mature in their faith learn from our example?

ICSC – November E-Bulletin

Gospel Reflection: November 3rd, 2019

Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

In Jesus’ day, tax collectors were not popular people. They were collaborators with the Romans and were despised by many Jewish people. The tax system allowed them to charge more than what was required so that they could make a profit for themselves. Thus, they were considered sinners by their countrymen. Observers in the crowd that day grumble because Jesus dines with a sinner. Throughout Scripture, Jesus’ choice of dinner companions set him apart from other observant Jews of his time. In first century Jewish culture, to dine together was to show a bond of fellowship and peace among those at the table. Observant Jews did not generally dine with foreigners and sinners. Yet, Jesus chooses to honor the tax collector, Zacchaeus, by staying at his house.

Even before Jesus comes to his home, Zacchaeus shows himself to be someone in search of salvation. Zacchaeus, described as short in stature, climbs a tree in order to see Jesus. We know from Luke’s description that Zacchaeus was no ordinary tax collector; he was, in fact, the chief tax collector and a person of some wealth. In his search for salvation, he humbled himself by making a spectacle of himself by climbing a tree.

Jesus recognizes the faith of this tax collector exhibited in his search for salvation and calls him down from the tree. In the hospitality he extends to Jesus and in his conversion of heart, Zacchaeus is raised up by Jesus as a model of salvation. – Loyola Press

 

Gospel Reflection Thirtieth Sunday In Ordinary Time

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time Weekend of October 26/27, 2019

There is an interesting twist we find in today’s gospel when we hear Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector praying in the temple. The Pharisee is “praying to himself.” It doesn’t mean he was praying silently. It seems to mean something a lot more troubling, that he is praying to himself; that God is not his prayer’s intended audience. The words of the Pharisee are very much centered on himself: he makes claims about his character. He highlights his own admirable activities. Good stewards of their prayer lives know that a prayer of praise and thanksgiving should focus on the goodness of God. Do your prayers of thanksgiving always stay focused on God’s unfathomable, immeasurable goodness and generosity?

ICSC – October E-Bulletin

Gospel Reflection: October 20, 2019

If we want to know what Jesus’ parable is about in today’s Gospel, it seems that we don’t need to work too hard because Saint Luke tell us right at the beginning: “Jesus told his disciples a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.” This parable has often been used to bring comfort to us about our prayer life. But could there be a more challenging message for those who take stewardship seriously? Widows were the poorest and most vulnerable of people in Jesus’ time. Oppressive legal and economic structures were the norm. Jesus embraced with great compassion the poor and the marginalized. Could it be that we are also encouraged to pray persistently for the poor, the weak and the vulnerable as we hear their cry for justice? And that we must not lose heart that we can effect change in their lives?

ICSC October 20,2019 e-bulletin

Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

I have a number of friends who work as waiters and waitresses and serve in other positions in the restaurant business. I enjoy talking with them about their work and hearing the stories they tell about the sometimes insensitive behavior of restaurant patrons. It’s made me appreciate the hard work done by those who wait on tables. I’ve tried to remember that when I say thanks and leave tips.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus draws on the experience of those who provided service in his day. He speaks of servants who are just “doing their duty” for a master. They can’t expect some special treatment for doing what’s expected of them.

In his book The Word Alive, the late Scripture scholar Father Eugene Maly has a wonderful insight about this passage. Father Gene calls the parable “provocative.” We know that serving Jesus is something truly extraordinary— so how can it be mere duty? “The answer,” Father Gene says, “is faith. When one makes that total surrender to the Lord,” he says, “then all else follows ‘naturally.’ The extraordinary becomes ordinary. The unexpected becomes completely expected.” 

Through giving ourselves to the Lord we can find ourselves doing great things with the Spirit’s help. Look at your own life today and see if you agree!

Author; Fr. Greg Friedman, ofm

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time Weekend of September 28/29, 2019

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time Weekend of September 28/29, 2019. In today’s Gospel Jesus offers a warning about living selfishly in his parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. The Rich Man holds sumptuous feasts and dresses in fine clothes. But despite his affluence he does nothing to relieve the painful hunger and debilitating condition of his neighbor Lazarus. He neglects to love his neighbor as he loves himself and is sent to hell for his lifestyle and desire for self-gratification. The Rich Man represents those who spend their money on their own personal pleasures with no regard for sharing their material possessions with the poor and needy in their own neighborhood. Good stewards realize the practical implications of not only loving God, but loving their neighbor as they would love themselves. Who are the less fortunate in our neighborhood? Do we share a portion of our own blessings with them? ICSC September 2019 – ebulletin

 

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time – The Gospel reading today starts with a question: “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” Jesus offers only a simple reply: Strive to enter through the narrow gate. Many will try to enter and will not be able. Good stewards know there is only one, narrow gate. Not everything will fit. This narrow gate has no room for our accomplishments. No room for our money. No room for our possessions. No room for anything else but those who’ve been good stewards of the Gospel. We can’t custom build our own gates either. There is only one, narrow gate that happens to be open for a time, but for how long? What is our plan of action to get through that gate?

                                                ICSC August 2019 – ebulletin

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time – In today’s second reading, we hear the author of the letter to the Hebrews liken the daily life of the Christian steward to a race, a long-distance race perhaps, certainly not a sprint; requiring endurance and a single-minded focus on Jesus at the finish line. Good stewards are firmly committed to running the race, to live the Christian life to the fullest, to keep their eyes focused on Jesus. They don’t grow weary. They don’t lose heart. They know there is immense joy waiting for them at the finish line. Are you fully committed to living each day for Christ? Are you running the race, or are you simply jogging? Just walking? Sitting? Going backwards? Going nowhere? Some of us may want to reflect on what we can do to run the race with even more conviction. Others may want to reflect on how to simply enter the race and start running.                                                                   ICSC August 2019 – ebulletin

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – July 27/28, 2019

 A prominent theme in today’s Gospel parable is generosity. Late at night, a sleepy friend responds to his neighbor’s request for food for an unexpected guest. Jesus suggests that it would be unthinkable for a friend to deny a friend in need. A friend would most certainly give what is asked and more. Through this story, Jesus illustrates God’s generosity. Good stewards realize the extraordinary love and graciousness with which God showers us. We need never convince God to be generous. God is already that generous friend. His abundant love bathes us in goodness. This week, prayerfully reflect on God’s generosity to us. What should our response be to that generosity.      

ICSC July 2019 — eBulletin

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