September 23, 2017
“Go into my vineyard”
The owner of the vineyard offers the same invitation to five group of laborers.
It is the same invitation for those who are ready to work “at dawn.” It is the same invitation for those who are “standing idle in the market place” at 9 o’clock, those who were there at noon, and at 3 o’clock. And finally, with the same words, he invites those who have been “standing idle all day.”
All are invited to labor in the vineyard.
At what hour in my journey of life does God invite me? More importantly, it does not matter what type of laborer I am. What matter is that it is God who offers me the invitation, “Go into my vineyard.”
Image source: www.agnusday.org
September 16, 2017
Last Sunday, Jesus instructed us on reconciliation. This week, we continue with Chapter 18 of Matthew. And now, Jesus speaks of forgiveness.
There is no reconciliation without forgiveness.
And there is no forgiveness when I fail to recognize that the offender and I are both sinners, indebted to God. This might be one way of applying the parable of the unforgiving servant. The offender and I are both “fellow servants.” We are both indebted to God, and have both received God’s forgiveness.
Moreover, as St. Paul reminds us in today’s 2nd reading, not only has God forgiven us, by Jesus’ death, God has given us life.
When we forgive, we allow God’s mercy and generosity come to life in us.
September 9, 2017
Missing the Mark
The word Matthew uses in this passage for sin (18:15) is “originally from the world of archery and means “missing the mark.” 
Looking at it this way, sin is what makes me less than the person God calls me to be. And on the communal level, sins make us less than the people God calls us to be.
Self-examination and communal building must then be based on that question, “What makes me less than the person God calls me to be?” And “What makes us less than the people God calls us to be?”
And community life involves helping each other to become the people God calls us to be.
September 2, 2017
We probably don’t want to admit it, but we all conform to certain things, from trends, styles, fashions, to ways of thinking or acting.
St. Paul urges his community then, and us today, “Do not yourselves conform to this age.” On the contrary, we are to conform ourselves to Jesus Christ and his way of love.
In order to conform ourselves to Jesus Christ, we must carry the cross and follow him.
It is probably true that most of us will not have to die for Christ as martyrs. The question, as Matthew Kelly, the Catholic writer and speaker, asked, is whether we are living for Christ.
In the daily carrying of our cross and in small acts of loving we live for Christ, and in this way, conform to him.
August 26, 2017
Who Do You Say that I Am?
In the first question, Jesus asks the disciples for people’s opinion about him.
In the second question, Jesus asks the disciples for their own opinion about him.
In response, Peter, in the name of the group, professes that Jesus is “the Son of the living God.”
This is not the first time they acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God. The group did it once after Jesus calmed to storm (Matthew 14:33). They were then identified as “those who were in the boat.”
Now, Peter is the first person identified by name to profess this faith in Jesus. 
It is not enough knowing what people say about Jesus. It is not enough to know the faith of a group, even though it is essential to share the faith of the Church community. After all, each of us has received the gift of faith and its knowledge through the Church.
Yet, faith must be both communal and personal. It must be both my faith and our faith.
 John Petty. www.progressiveinvolvement.com
August 19, 2017
“Lord, Help Me”
While reading this passage, we are often shocked at Jesus’ seemingly insulting words to the woman.
Why could the woman not feel offended?
There are at least two details in this passage that can help us to understand her attitude. More importantly, we might better appreaciate the source of her courage.
First, Matthew tells just that Jesus himself goes to the region of Tyre and Sidon (top left corner on the map). This is the region of the gentiles. And the woman herself is from that area.
Second, Jesus speaks to the woman.
We have here a devout Jew, one the woman recognizes as the Promised Savior of the Jews and Lord, going to the region of the gentile of his own.
Moreover, he speaks to her. This would have rendered him unclean.
Other Jewish religious leaders would not have done that.
Jesus takes the initiative to reach out to the religious and ethnic outcasts of his time. In fact, he reaches out to people who for generations have been the Jews’ enemies.
This passage, therefore, is really about Jesus’ reaching out to the gentiles and outcasts. Jesus’ attitude gives the woman the courage to approach and appeal to him.
August 12, 2017
Prior to this passage, the disciples could not feed the crowd of over five thousand people. Jesus could.
Now, the disciples are in the boat by themselves, “being tossed about by the waves.” Jesus came, and “the wind died down.”
Jesus here identifies himself, “It is I.” What Jesus says in the Greek text can be translated into English as “I am.” It is the same expression God used at the burning bush when Moses asked for God’s name in Exodus 3:14.
In the Incarnation, Jesus, who is divine, is always with us.
I should not cry out for Him only when things are tough, when I am in need, or when I am “being tossed about by the waves” of life.