"People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him." John the Baptist commanded quite a crowd. What was the attraction? Was it his unusual appearance-clothed in camel's hair? Perhaps it was his bizarre eating habits-feeding on locusts and wild honey. Or maybe people were captivated by the Baptist's remarkable humility in the face of such huge popularity-"I am not worthy."READ MORE
Each year, this season of Advent comes around. We bless one candle each week in Advent. Let us ask God to bless our family on this First Sunday of Advent:READ MORE
"Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me." Today we celebrate the feast of an unusual kind of king. Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, does not run his kingdom in the standard fashion. Instead of insisting upon the pomp and circumstance that usually surrounds earthly royalty, Jesus has a different focus. He thinks not of himself, but of those he loves. And in today's Gospel, his interest is especially focused on the poor and suffering in our midst.READ MORE
"But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master's money." This servant was scared. He didn't want to take any risks and just wanted to play everything safe. As he confesses to his master, "Out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground." And the master was not pleased. The other servants who invested the money he gave them were richly rewarded for their efforts to produce more. But this servant was punished for letting his fear rule the day. What factors are keeping us from making a return on God's investment in us?READ MORE
"But the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps." The foolish versus the wise. Today's parable sets these two groups in stark contrast to one another. Two crowds of young women wait for a wedding feast. One group comes prepared for the unexpected, the other just assumes everything will go according to schedule. But it doesn't! The Bridegroom is late, and the foolish virgins are left out in the dark--literally--while the wise ones enjoy the feast inside.
The lesson here is not just about having foresight and gathering the corresponding equipment. It's about being ready for the second coming of Christ. Jesus himself is the "Bridegroom." Traditionally we refer to the Church as the "Bride of Christ" and we, as the people of God who constitute the Church, are even now awaiting the real feast, the culmination of time when Jesus returns. But are we standing among the wise or the foolish as we wait?READ MORE
"For they preach but they do not practice." The scribes and Pharisees may be the ones Jesus was speaking about in today's Gospel, but we must be careful not to dismiss his words when it comes to our own actions. Jesus offered a difficult challenge to those honor-seekers that we must also heed when he said, "The greatest among you must be your servant." This is not the way the world usually works. Generally speaking, the idea of being a servant is considered inferior to being someone who has risen to high levels of leadership or status. But Jesus wants people in positions of authority to selflessly serve those over whom they have influence. And he insists that the leaders who establish laws, rules, and guidelines do not excuse themselves from following their own directives! "Practice what you preach," as the saying goes.READ MORE