August 23, 2017
St. Rose Of Lima Peru
Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner
who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage,
he sent them into his vineyard.
Going out about nine o’clock,
he saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard,
and I will give you what is just.’
So they went off.
And he went out again around noon,
and around three o’clock, and did likewise.
Going out about five o’clock,
he found others standing around, and said to them,
‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’
They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’
He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’
When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman,
‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay,
beginning with the last and ending with the first.’
When those who had started about five o’clock came,
each received the usual daily wage.
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more,
but each of them also got the usual wage.
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying,
‘These last ones worked only one hour,
and you have made them equal to us,
who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’
He said to one of them in reply,
‘My friend, I am not cheating you.
Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
Take what is yours and go.
What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?
Are you envious because I am generous?’
Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
Bishop Robert Barron:
August 22, 2017
Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich
to enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Again I say to you,
it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said,
“Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men this is impossible,
but for God all things are possible.”
Then Peter said to him in reply,
“We have given up everything and followed you.
What will there be for us?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you
that you who have followed me, in the new age,
when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory,
will yourselves sit on twelve thrones,
judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters
or father or mother or children or lands
for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more,
and will inherit eternal life.
But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
Bishop Robert Barron: Friends, today we celebrate the Queenship of Mary. Mary, Queen Mary, was the definitive bearer of the divine presence, the Ark of the Covenant par excellence. When she visited her cousin Elizabeth, the infant John the Baptist leapt in his mother’s womb, doing his own version of David’s dance before the Ark.
The Queen Mother—like all of the monarchs of Israel—is a fighter. Israel frequently brought the Ark into battle with them. Most famously, the priests parade around the city of Jericho bearing the Ark, just before the walls came tumbling down.
The Queenship of Mary is not a sentimental feast. Whenever biblical people spoke of kings or queens, they were speaking of warriors. The question for us is, which side are we on? Those trained in the Jesuit spiritual tradition know of the “two standards” meditation, which compels us to make the simple choice: in which army do you serve?
We fight, of course, not with the puny weapons of the world, but with the weapons of the Spirit, by God we fight. So don’t just honor and acknowledge the Queenship of Mary; get in her army.
August 21, 2017
Memorial of Saint Pius X, Pope
A young man approached Jesus and said,
“Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”
He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good?
There is only One who is good.
If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
He asked him, “Which ones?”
And Jesus replied, “You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
honor your father and your mother;
and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
The young man said to him,
“All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?”
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go,
sell what you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad,
for he had many possessions.
Bishop Robert Barron: Friends, today’s Gospel is the story of the rich young man. The rich young man has a deep desire to share in everlasting life. He is hungry for the infinite good of the spirit. He knows what he wants, and he knows where to find it. Jesus is the infinite Good that the souls wants. He is God’s own self made flesh.
If you want to live in friendship with God, there are certain things that you must cut out of your life. Friendship with God means a life of love; therefore, those things that egregiously violate love have to be eliminated.
Jesus looks at him with love and says, “There is one thing more you must do. Go and sell what you have and give it to the poor; you will have treasure in heaven. After that come follow me.” God is nothing but love, straight through, and therefore the life of friendship with him, in the richest sense, is a life of total love, self-forgetting love.
But at this point, the young man tragically balks. The spiritual life, at the highest pitch, is about giving your life away, and this is why his many possessions are a problem.
August 19, 2017
Saturday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Children were brought to Jesus
that he might lay his hands on them and pray.
The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said,
“Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them;
for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
After he placed his hands on them, he went away.
Bishop Robert Barron: Friends, in our Gospel for today, Jesus proposes that the Kingdom of heaven belongs to those who are like children. Why? For starters, children don’t know how to dissemble, how to be one way and act another. They are what they are; they act in accordance with their deepest nature. “Kids say the darndest things,” because they don’t know how to hide the truth of their reactions.
In this, they are like stars or flowers or animals, things that are what they are, unambiguously, uncomplicatedly. They are in accord with God’s deepest intentions for them.
To say it another way, they haven’t yet learned how to look at themselves. Why can a child immerse himself so eagerly and thoroughly in what he is doing? Why can he find joy in the simplest thing, like pushing a train around a track or watching a video over and over, or kicking a ball around? Because he can lose himself; because he is not looking at himself, not conscious of other people’s reactions, expectations, and approval.
Friday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and tested him, saying,
“Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?”
He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning
the Creator made them male and female and said,
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?
So they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate.”
They said to him, “Then why did Moses command
that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss her?”
He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts
Moses allowed you to divorce your wives,
but from the beginning it was not so.
I say to you, whoever divorces his wife
(unless the marriage is unlawful)
and marries another commits adultery.”
His disciples said to him,
“If that is the case of a man with his wife,
it is better not to marry.”
He answered, “Not all can accept this word,
but only those to whom that is granted.
Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so;
some, because they were made so by others;
some, because they have renounced marriage
for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.”
Bishop Robert Barron: Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus teaches about the sanctity and permanence of marriage. Now we begin to see why the love of a husband and wife is a sacrament of God’s love. The Father and the Son—while remaining distinct—give themselves utterly to each other, and this mutual giving is the Holy Spirit.
So when two people come together in love and form one flesh, they mimic the love between the Father and the Son. And when their love gives rise to a child, this mimics sacramentally the spiration of the Holy Spirit. Father, mother, and children are evocative of the divine Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
And this is why Jesus speaks so forcefully about marriage, and why his Church, at its best, has echoed him up and down the centuries. It is because marriage is such a sacred sign that the Church has sought so assiduously to protect it.
I know that the Church gets a bad rap for surrounding marriage and sexuality with so many rules. I realize that libertarians through the ages have fought against the supposed uptight moralism of the Church. But look: human beings always surround precious things with laws, restrictions, and prohibitions.
August 17, 2017
Thursday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
“Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive him?
As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the accounting,
a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
Since he had no way of paying it back,
his master ordered him to be sold,
along with his wife, his children, and all his property,
in payment of the debt.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan.
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants
who owed him a much smaller amount.
He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,
‘Pay back what you owe.’
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
But he refused.
Instead, he had the fellow servant put in prison
until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,
they were deeply disturbed,
and went to their master and reported the whole affair.
His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant!
I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?’
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt.
So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.”
When Jesus finished these words, he left Galilee
and went to the district of Judea across the Jordan.
Bishop Robert Barron:
Friends, I love the parable that Jesus tells in our Gospel for today. I love it because it is so strange and so puzzling. The protagonist is a real scoundrel has been caught red-handed lining his own pockets, taking advantage of the man who had hired him. So he acts. He calls in his master’s debtors and then cooks the books.
Jesus’ comment indicates that something in the way this man acts is a model for the way we ought to act to save our spiritual situation. What is it?
First of all, he has a very realistic appreciation of the danger he is in. Christians, the Gospels are filled with warnings about our sin and about the possibility of losing what God so wants to give us.
Secondly, once he has sized up his situation, he thinks and he acts. Do you remember the old Catholic Action principle: see, judge, and act? This is what he does. Now the strategy he chooses is immoral, and Jesus is not telling us to emulate that dimension of it. But I think he wants us to admire the canniness, the savvy, the energy that the man puts into his project.
August 16, 2017
Wednesday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to his disciples:
“If your brother sins against you,
go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.
If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.
If he does not listen,
take one or two others along with you,
so that every fact may be established
on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
If he refuses to listen to them, tell the Church.
If he refuses to listen even to the Church,
then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.
Amen, I say to you,
whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth
about anything for which they are to pray,
it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them.”
Bishop Robert Barron:
Friends, the Gospel for today addresses an issue of tremendous practical importance, namely, how we ought to engage in fraternal correction. Jesus says, with utter directness and simplicity, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.”
What a world of significance in that little recommendation! It holds off the sinful tendency of running to everyone but the person in question and complaining about him behind his back. This strategy is utterly unproductive and spiritually harmful, for it does nothing to help the person you are criticizing, and it puffs up your already inflated ego.
I know it is exceptionally difficult, but going to the person directly is both productive and spiritually uplifting. It has at least a fighting chance of accomplishing something, and it confirms you in love. But the right thing is, as usual, the hard thing. Notice please that the accuser is encouraged to tell the person in question alone—and no one else. Venting and gossiping are not helpful.
August 15, 2017
Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”
And Mary said:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.”
Mary remained with her about three months
and then returned to her home.
Bishop Robert Barron: Friends, today we celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In her great Magnificat, Mary is the new Isaiah and the new Jeremiah and the new Ezekiel, for she announces with greatest clarity and joy the coming of the Messiah.
What was only vaguely foreseen in those great prophetic figures is now in clear focus: “He has shown the strength of his arm; he has scattered the proud in their conceit; he has filled the hungry with good things and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel, for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever.” There is nothing stronger or more beautiful in any of the prophets.
Mary is the true Israel, she knows what to do and she does it with enthusiasm. No dawdling, back-pedaling, straying and complaining: she moves, she goes. And she goes upon the heights, which is exactly where God had always summoned Israel, so that it could be a light to the nations.