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Geeky Catholic Sunday: Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel Reading: Luke 17:11-19

Highlight: "Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine?"

Reflection: As a child, I always expected this gospel passage to end like one of Grimm's fairy tales or Aesop's fables. I thought that since the other nine lepers did not thank Jesus, their disease would return, and only the one grateful leper would be permanently cured. But that's not how God's mercy operates. Jesus knew that only one leper would return to thank him, but he still cured all ten. So really the emphasis of this story is not on the nine lepers, but on the one. What can we learn from him? One thing is that is important to recognize God's hand in the good things that happen in our lives. And once we recognize that, we should thank God. The more we adjust our attitudes to focus on gratitude for God's blessings, the more we will be able to conform our lives to God's plan. So think of some ways that God has blessed you, and thank him for t…

Geeky Catholic Sunday: Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2019

Gospel Reading: Luke 16:1-13

Highlight: "You cannot serve both God and mammon."

Reflection: The parable of the dishonest steward has never really made sense to me. I just can't figure out what the steward did that was so praiseworthy. His job was in danger because of his dishonesty, but he ends up saving himself through further dishonesty? What kind of message is Jesus trying to send? Here's the best I can figure out. The steward acted greedily and foolishly, but in the end, he showed mercy to people that owed his master, in the hope of receiving mercy after being dismissed. He prioritized relationships over wealth, after realizing that his dishonest wealth would be taken away from him. I think that what Jesus is saying is not that this steward was a paragon of virtue that we should emulate, but rather that even sinners sometimes recognize something that we don't. They realize the importance of mercy and friendship. The goods of this world are temporary. If we cher…

Geeky Catholic Sunday: Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2019

Gospel Reading: Luke 15:1-32

Highlight: "While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion."

Reflection: I, like many Christians, have read the parable of the prodigal son countless times. So the question is: Is there anything left to learn from this parable? I must admit, I really didn't think so when I started reading. I almost gave up on writing a reflection this week. But then the Holy Spirit prodded me, and I noticed something. The father in the story did not chase after his son. He didn't find him partying in some distant town, and convince him to come home. Rather, the emptiness and fruitlessness of the prodigal son's godless existence drove him back to his father. I wonder, then, if sometimes we take the wrong approach. Maybe I'm too focused on how to bring back certain people who are outside the Church, and not attentive enough to those who are on their way back and need someone to welcome them back. How …

Geeky Catholic Sunday: Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel Reading: Luke 14:25-33

Highlight: "Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion?"

Reflection: Jesus asks us to give everything to him. Every part of us. So if we are still holding onto possessions or relationships that don't lead us closer to Christ, then trying to be a disciple of Christ is futile. If we know that Jesus will ask everything of us, we had better be sure we have made everything available give.

Geeky Quote: "Will he finish what he begins?" - Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

Prayer: Lord Jesus, prepare me to give every part of myself to you. Amen.

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Geeky Catholic Sunday: Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel Reading: Luke 14:1, 7-14

Highlight: "For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

Reflection: To a lot of people, the life Christ calls us to might look bleak. He asks us to let go of our earthly possessions, put others first in everything, and embrace suffering. Meanwhile, what are we supposed to do with all these desires we have? Ignore them? Not quite. God gave us these desires. He doesn't intend for us to ignore them or suppress them, but rather to order them properly. He wants us to point those desires at the right goal - heaven. And that involves patience. Just look at how Jesus delivers the message in the gospel. First he talks about choosing the lowest place at the table, so that the host can later invite you up to a higher position. That reward follows the sacrifice pretty quickly, but the next example requires more patience. When you invite guests to a meal, don't invite those who can pay you back, because - and here's where Jesus …

Geeky Catholic Sunday: Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel Reading: Luke 13:22-30

Highlight: "Then he will say to you, 'I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers.'"

Reflection: This week presents another difficult gospel passage. Jesus is asked if only a few people will be saved, and his response seems to indicate that most people will not go to heaven. That contrasts sharply with the modern idea that most people are "good people" with good intentions, and that all "good people" will go to heaven. But that's not Christ's teaching. In fact, Jesus goes so far as to say that there are people who think they will be saved, who will be in for a rude awakening after their deaths. So if being "good" isn't enough, then how can we be saved? Jesus extends the gift of salvation to us through a covenant relationship, just as God did with his chosen people in the Old Testament. For those of us who have heard the gospel, that means we need to do what Jesus told us to …

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…