Today’s first reading, taken from the Old Testament Book of the Prophet Isaiah, mentions a rather curious figure in salvation history: King Cyrus of Persia.
Virtues remind us of the ultimate final goal of our life, what is called in philosophy our ‘telos,’ our end — to become like God! Put everything else aside — all of our temporary desires and preoccupation, for what is important is our destiny.
At the very start of the epistle that we proclaim this Sunday, St. Paul tells us: “Have no anxiety at all…” Now this sounds great, but how many of us can follow this biblical injunction as it is expressed here?
Most of us who participate in Sunday Mass regularly know that we are imperfect, that we are sinners, that we are so often hypocritical. We do not attend Mass because we are perfect; we attend because we are imperfect. It is only God who can heal and perfect us. This is true of parishioners and preachers alike.
I don’t know about you, but I am tired of shallow conversations about the weather, about meals, about politics! The art of conversation — true conversation — seems to be absent from today’s world. Many people seem to prefer text messages or emails to talking on the phone or in person.
All forms of love require self-sacrifice, and our fallen human nature tends to make us close in on ourselves. We can start to think that avoiding love is the safer course in life. C.S. Lewis reminds us that this way of thinking leads only to damnation.
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Many parishes in the Diocese of Brooklyn and around the globe have noticed that attendance at Sunday Mass is significantly lower than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are pages in the Bible that keep me awake at night. This Sunday’s reading from the book of Jeremiah is one of those, but I know I am not alone in my deep discomfort about it when I compare the different ways the first verse has been translated.
If newspapers as we know them only date to the 17th Century, how did the earliest followers of Jesus find out what was going on? Had there been such thing as the Nazareth News, it wouldn’t have lasted because very few people of that era knew how to read. So how did the disciples stay on top of things? Simple: word of mouth has never gone out of style!
It takes more than a map or an app to figure out this Sunday’s Gospel reading, which tells us that Jesus “withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.” These were cities on the Mediterranean coast, quite a distance from Gennesaret (on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee), where Jesus and the disciples landed the boat after the eventful crossing about which we heard in last Sunday’s Gospel. It’s a long enough walk to make us wonder what Jesus was up to!