Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

A Scandalous Teaching – Gospel in Preparation for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

A Scandalous Teaching – Gospel in Preparation for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

While it may strain our ability to understand, it ultimately points us to the promise of the greatest gift ever given to those who would receive it–the very life of God himself–as well the profound humility of the one through whom that promise is fulfilled: that in Christ God would humble himself to death so that He might give his flesh and blood for the life of the world.

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Walking in the Light- Second Reading in Preparation for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Walking in the Light- Second Reading in Preparation for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The key to knowing the way to life, to being able to flourish in life, is found in the last few words of the paragraph above: “and try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord”. It is the same idea we find in today’s passage: “do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

How are we to know what the will of the Lord is?

We must know the Lord first. Jesus himself said, “I am the light of the world,” so to know Him, know what is pleasing to Him, to understand what His will is and to embrace it, is to “walk in the light.”

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The Way to Life – First Reading in Preparation for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Way to Life – First Reading in Preparation for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

That is, wisdom comes from knowing, understanding, and embracing the ways of God and God himself. Do not let the phrase, “the fear of the Lord” divert you. As Peter Kreeft says, “This ‘fear of the Lord’ that is the beginning of wisdom is not, of course, a crude, cruel, or craven thing. It is high, and holy, and happy. It is the awe of adoration, the wonder of worship.”(You Can Understand the Bible, p. 96) It is the reverence that compels us to kneel, listen, embrace, and obey. Surely this is what Jesus meant when he quoted Deuteronomy 8:3: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” This is the way that leads to life.

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An Enduring Love, an Irrevocable Call – Second Reading for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

An Enduring Love, an Irrevocable Call – Second Reading for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

I love how Paul’s extraordinary heart and mind pour through these words. You can almost see a little twinkle in his eye as he writes “life from the dead”, for is that not the very hope on which Christianity is founded: that death is no longer the final enemy and has been ultimately defeated through Christ’s own sacrificial death and resurrection? “Death, where is thy sting? Grave where is thy victory?” he writes elsewhere tauntingly.

Death, in the end, is no match for the redeeming power and love our Lord.

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God’s Expectations for the Church – First Reading of the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

God’s Expectations for the Church – First Reading of the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Such an expectation does not require perfection, but sincerity, endeavor, and repentance for failure. Where those are present, we are invited to approach boldly. The old Anglican and Methodist invitation to the altar is a beautiful expression of both God’s invitation and expectation: “Ye that do truly and earnestly repent of your sin, are in love and charity with your neighbor, and intend to lead a new life following the commandments of God and walking from henceforth in his holy ways, draw near with faith and take this holy sacrament to your comfort and make your humble confession to Almighty God”.

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