Geeky Catholic Sunday: Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel Reading: Luke 12:49-53

Highlight: "Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division."

Reflection: This gospel passage is a jarring contrast to the popular perception of Jesus and his mission. Especially when you look at non-Christian perceptions of Jesus. I can think of at least two different works of fiction written by atheists or agnostics that claimed the central message of Jesus was to "be nice to each other." I'm sorry, but they don't execute people for telling others to "be nice." So what is Jesus saying here? He's here to disrupt families? Is that because families are inherently a bad thing? We can't conclude that, because it would be contrary to the rest of revelation. So here's my take on it. Jesus calls us to enter into - and remain in - a covenant relationship with God. If our children, or parents, or siblings, or spouses choose to turn away from this invitation, then we…

Geeky Catholic Sunday: Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel Reading: Luke 12:32-48

Highlight: "Your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom."

Reflection: God loves us so much that he has prepared a kingdom for us. Heaven will be so much better than anything we can imagine, and certainly better than anything we could earn. The catch is that we can't settle for something less. If we are too greedy, too attached to a "kingdom" in this life, then we give up the infinitely greater kingdom waiting for us in the next life. If it helps, don't think of it as God saying, "Sorry, you messed up. As your consequence, I'm taking this reward away from you." Rather, God is making us an offer. He's telling us that there is something so much better than anything we see in this life. All we have to do is accept that offer. We have to accept God's promise instead of the false promises of the world.

Geeky Quote: "Look, Simba. Everything the light touches is our kingdom." - Mufasa, The Lion King


Geeky Catholic Sunday: Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel Reading: Luke 12:13-21

Highlight: "Though one may be rich, one's life does not consist of possessions."

Reflection: This is a message we've all probably heard a thousand times. But are we really living it? Are we really making our relationship with God our highest priority? The things of this world are not evil, but they are only good if they lead us to deeper relationship with Christ. If we ever decide to cut  prayer out of our life - or skip Mass on Sunday - for the sake of something material (like a TV show or a movie, or a football game, or a comic book), then that material thing is not leading us to God. When we die, will it matter that we read that comic book, or saw that movie, or watched that game?

Geeky Quote: Billy: "Oh goodness, look at my wrist. I gotta go." Penny: "But what about your clothes?" Billy: [checks contents of washer] "I don't love these." - Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Prayer: Lord, help me to let go…

Geeky Catholic Sunday: Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel Reading: Luke 11:1-13

Highlight: "What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish?"

Reflection: Is the message of this gospel reading that God will always give us what we ask for? Because if that's the measuring stick for prayer, I'd have lost my faith a long time ago. But that's not the message. The point of Jesus's question, "What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish?" is not that a snake is different than what the son asked for. It's that the snake is harmful to the son. When we pray, God gives us what we need, even when we think we need something else. After all, what father among you would hand his son a scorpion, even if he asks for a scorpion? So maybe, instead of asking God for things that we want, we should ask him to help us want the things we need - the things God wants for us.

Geeky Quote: "Okay, you ask for it!" - Short Round, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom


Geeky Catholic Sunday: Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel Reading: Luke 10:38-42

Highlight: "Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her."

Reflection: It might be hard to read this reading and not think that Jesus is missing something. "Jesus," we might say, "that's great that Mary is sitting at your feet and listening to you. But the laundry and the cooking will still need to be done. If we all just sat and listened, the world would fall apart." I don't think Jesus is missing something, though. Perhaps his message is just a little more nuanced. It's not that doing work is always wrong and prayerful stillness is always right. It's a matter of timing and priority. At the moment of this gospel story, Jesus was at Mary and Martha's house. So sitting and listening to him should have been the priority. He would have made sure that everything was taken care of. Martha thought that if she didn't take care of things, they wouldn't get done. We have to trust that whe…

Geeky Catholic Sunday: Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2019

Gospel Reading: Luke 10:25-37

Highlight: "When he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side."

Reflection: This reading might not be very challenging at first glance. After all, the priest and the Levite who ignored the injured man were probably two of the people who handed Jesus over to the Romans to be crucified. So of course they didn't act charitably. It's easy, then, to identify with the Good Samaritan. But what would I really do in a situation like this? What have I done in situations like this? The priest and Levite had convinced themselves they had good reasons to steer clear of the victim in the story. They didn't  want to become ritually unclean, because then they wouldn't be able to do their priestly duties. Surely God wouldn't want them to neglect their duties, right? Someone else will be along to help that poor, wounded man. Do I hide behind similar excuses? Is God calling me to be more charitable to the hurting people I encounter?

Geeky Quote: 

Geeky Catholic Sunday: Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2019

Gospel Reading: Luke 10:1-12, 17-20

Highlight: "If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you."

Reflection: This verse doesn't usually stick out to me when I read this Gospel passage, but it did today. It's about wishing peace for people, and really, to wish peace for someone is to love them. Jesus is advising us to love people, even if we don't think they will be receptive to that love. It's not as if we have some limited amount of "love" that we have to use sparingly, giving it to nice people but avoiding those who are unkind. Jesus doesn't tell us to wish peace for the peaceful, but wish pain for the aggressive. We should love and evangelize everyone we meet. And if they are not receptive to us, Jesus assures us that he will give us peace.

Geeky Quote: "Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they." - Yoda, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Prayer: God, please give pea…