August 26, 2017

21st Sunday - A (August 27, 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.  [1] 

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.

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[1]  John Petty.

August 19, 2017

20th Sunday - A (August 20, 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

19th Sunday - A (August 13, 2017)


“I Am”

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.  

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August 5, 2017

Feast of Transfiguration of the Lord - A (August 6, 2017)


Beloved Child of God

When I take a selfie, or when I look into a mirror, what do I see?
Do I see myself as a child of God?

And what do people say when they are with me?

You may want to spend some time repeating and meditating on one of these two sentences from today’s Gospel. 

The first sentence, as you meditate with it, imagine that God is speaking to you and about you.  “This is my beloved son/daughter, with whom I am well pleased.”

The second sentence, as you meditate with it, imagine that people who meet you or spend time with you are saying, “It is good that we are here.”  They say that because they are with you, a child of God, just as Peter did when he was with Jesus. 

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