September 25, 2010


26th Sunday - C
Luke 16: 19-31

Condition of Faith in The One Who Rises from the Dead

It is quite clear from the parable that the rich man does not treat Lazarus cruelly. He could have ordered his servants to chase Lazarus away. He could have requested the authority to remove Lazarus. Worse, he could have sent his dogs to attack Lazarus. He does none of these.

On the contrary, he knows Lazarus' name, as evident in the request he makes to Abraham. [1]

His fault is his inactivity. He does nothing to help Lazarus. Jesus tells us "of the closed mind, heart and even eyes of the satiated man who does not even see the shocking poverty of Lazarus outside his very door." [2] He seems to be consumed with his "purple garments and fine linen" (the outfits of the royal and weathy [3] ) and his daily sumptous dinners.

And this lifestyle prevents him from listening to Moses and the prophets who repeatedly call Israel to care for the poor of the land (Ref. Exodus 22:21-22 [4], Amos 6: 1, 4-7 - today's first reading).

Jesus is clear in his explanation that if one fails to listen to Moses and the prophets and neglects the poor, one will not be able to have faith in the Risen One.

One cannot believe in the Risen Christ if one fails to see Him in the poor. It is the same Risen Christ who is present in the words of Scriptures, the Eucharist, and in the people around us, especially those who are poor and marginalized.

[1] Magnificat, September 2010; p. 354.
[2] Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of the Lord: Reflections on the Gospel Readings - Year C. Homebush, Australia: St. Paul Publications, 1991; p. 166.
[3] Luke Timothy Johnson, The Gospel of Luke. Sacra Pagina Series. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 251.
[4] Ibid., p. 253.

26th Sunday - C (September 26, 2010)

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September 18, 2010


25th Sunday - C
Luke 16: 1-13

Dishonest Wealth and True Wealth

For a couple weeks now we have been reading various passages from Luke with Jesus addressing the great crowds that travels with him or those who oppose him.

Today's gospel is a lesson from Jesus to "his disciples." [1] This means the lesson is for those who have been invited to follow Jesus and those who want to do so lovingly and faithfully.

It is to Jesus' followers a great treasure has been entrusted: the Kingdom of God. [2] This is the true wealth because it is God's gracious gift to us, and it lasts forever. This wealth is what Jesus refers to as "What is yours."

We are the stewards of this true wealth. How are we managing it?

In addition, we are also stewards of the "dishonest wealth" of this passing world. This dishonest wealth is passing, therefore it "belongs to another." Sooner or later, it will be taken away.

The dishonest wealth gives us both opportunities and challenges. As followers of Jesus, we can choose to use dishonest wealth to "make friends" for the Kingdom. Or we can allow ourselves to become "not trustworthy with dishonest wealth;" and as a result, not trustworthy "with true wealth."

[1] Luke Timothy Johnson, The Gospel of Luke. Sacra Pagina Series. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 247.
[2] Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of the Lord: Reflections on the Gospel Readings - Year C. Homebush, Australia: St. Paul Publications, 1991; p. 165.

25th Sunday - C (September 19, 2010)


September 11, 2010


24th Sunday - C
Luke 15: 1-32

The Lost and the Finder

The three parables that Jesus tells us in today's Gospel are quite well-known. Phrases like "the good shepherd," or "the prodigal son" are even found in secular circles.

So is the phrase "lost and found." It may not have its origin in these parables, but for sure we hear it enough. Consequently, we tend to pay more attention to the "lost and found" characters/objects in these parables - the lost sheep, the lost coin and, especially, the younger of the two sons.

The central character of the parables, however, is not the lost and found, but the finder.

The shepherd, in order to find the one lost sheep, "would leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it." He actively searches out for the lost one. When he finds it, with great joy, he invites his friends and neighbors to celebrate with him.

The woman, losing one coin, "would light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it." She, too, rejoice with her friends and neighbors when she finds the lost coin.

And the ultimate finder is the father. While his son "is still a long way off," the father catches sight of him. He has been looking out, searching for his wayward son to return. "Filled with compassion" he runs to his son, embraces him and kisses him. He then tells people, "Let us celebrate with a feast" because he has found his son. There, the focus is not on the lost son who is found, but the finder.

But the finder's search is not yet over.

The father goes out searching again a second time for the other son who feels alienated and refuses to enter the house. He even "pleads" with his son.

The Father is not to be found in a celebration as long as one of His children is still lost. [1] God is the Finder, still searching outside for His sons and daughters who are not yet in the fold.

[1] Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of the Lord: Reflections on the Gospel Readings - Year C. Homebush, Australia: St. Paul Publications, 1991; p. 163.

24th Sunday - C (September 12, 2010)


Good shepherd at St. Callistus Catacomb, Rome (

Lost Coin by Domenico Feti (

Prodigal Son by Murillo (

September 4, 2010


23rd Sunday - C
Luke 14: 25-33

The Cost of Following Jesus

This Gospel passage has an odd beginning, "Great crowds were traveling with Jesus." Even if a middle-school level essay were to begin in this way, any teacher would ask the writer to add the destination of the journey. The essay would be considered confusing and poorly written without poiting out where Jesus and the crowds are going.

Similarly, we can properly understand this Gospel passage only when we take into consideration the destination of the journey the crowds are traveling with Jesus. Since Luke 9:51, Jesus has been on his way to Jerusalem to fulfill the mission that God the Father sent him to do.

St. Luke describes the way Jesus began that journey in these words, "When the days for his being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem." And with that same attitude, Jesus has been on his way for the last five chapters.

Contrary to Jesus' determination, there are people who could not follow him because of their various concerns, including family ties and responsibilities (9: 59-62). These concerns and responsibilities, while legitimate, become obstacles for their following of Jesus.

Besides, in the Hebrew language and culture, "there is no word for loving someone slightly less." Due to that reason, "'to hate' is the opposite of 'to prefer.'" [1]

There, the challenge of following Jesus and the cost of the Kingdom of God. To have the Kingdom is to have won everything. To lose it is to have lost all things.

Therefore, nothing and nobody, including oneself, should become an obstacle on one's journey of following Jesus to the Kingdom of God.

[1] Francis J. Moloney, SDB. The Gospel of the Lord: Reflections on the Gospel Readings, Year C. Homebush, Australia: St. Paul Publications, 1991; p. 160.

23rd Sunday - C (September 5, 2010)

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