The Natural Man


In today’s scripture from Corinthians, Paul teaches us that we have to focus our attention on the Spirit who animates our relationship with our Father. Paul contrasts those in the Spirit with an unbeliever, whom he refers to as the “natural man.”  Why should we choose to depend on the Spirit instead of ourselves?

Brothers and sisters:
The Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God.
Among men, who knows what pertains to the man
except his spirit that is within?
Similarly, no one knows what pertains to God except the Spirit of God.
We have not received the spirit of the world
but the Spirit who is from God,
so that we may understand the things freely given us by God.
And we speak about them not with words taught by human wisdom,
but with words taught by the Spirit,
describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms.

Now the natural man does not accept what pertains to the Spirit of God,
for to him it is foolishness, and he cannot understand it,
because it is judged spiritually.
The one who is spiritual, however, can judge everything
but is not subject to judgment by anyone.

For “who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to counsel him?”
But we have the mind of Christ.

If we depend on ourselves we can easily fall into the trap of measuring our actions by the standards of our culture when we should be listening to what the Spirit intends for us. When we listen first to the Spirit we can be confident that our decisions comport with the will of our Father.

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Know Your Place


Homily for 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, August 28, 2016

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Consider Your Own Calling


What is your calling?  It is what God wants you to do with your life so as to glorify his son Jesus Christ.  Each of us has a distinct calling suited to our individual gifts and talents. Perhaps you are a powerful speaker, or a talented musician.  More likely, though, is the possibility that you are a good listener, have a friendly face or are generous to those in need.  Whatever your calling, Jesus  needs you.

Consider your own calling, brothers and sisters.
Not many of you were wise by human standards,
not many were powerful,
not many were of noble birth.
Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise,
and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong,
and God chose the lowly and despised of the world,
those who count for nothing,
to reduce to nothing those who are something,
so that no human being might boast before God.
It is due to him that you are in Christ Jesus,
who became for us wisdom from God,
as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,
so that, as it is written,
Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.

If you are gifted you are called.  If you are called you are gifted.

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Preach the Gospel


Not all of us are called to do active ministerial service for the church, but all of us are called like Saint Paul to preach the gospel of Jesus.  In fact, preaching the gospel is our primary responsibility as Christians.

Brothers and sisters:
Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the Gospel,
and not with the wisdom of human eloquence,
so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
For it is written:

I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the learning of the learned I will set aside.

Where is the wise one?
Where is the scribe?
Where is the debater of this age?
Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish?
For since in the wisdom of God
the world did not come to know God through wisdom,
it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation
to save those who have faith.
For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
but we proclaim Christ crucified,
a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike,
Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom,
and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

The challenge for all of us is this:  Do we preach the good news?  Our witness can lead to a conversion of hearts.

Be brave and have the courage to share Jesus!

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Singing the Psalms


Did you know that the psalms were intended to be sung?  During the celebration of the Mass we sing both the psalm and the psalm responses.  In doing so, we honor the Lord’s special relationship with the people of Israel, and we also incorporate our own relationship with Jesus since he surely sang the psalms.

Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.

Generation after generation praises your works
and proclaims your might.
They speak of the splendor of your glorious majesty
and tell of your wondrous works.

They discourse of the power of your terrible deeds
and declare your greatness.
They publish the fame of your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your justice.

Singing the psalms ties together the Old and New Testaments.  So sing them!!!

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Mother Teresa’s Apostolic Darkness

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Glorify the Lord

grateful man

We sometimes spend a large part of our energies on making sure that we follow the rituals of our faith. We say grace before meals, we pray the rosary, we make the sign of the cross. All of these things can bring us closer to the Lord, but only if we are doing them with the right intention.

In today’s gospel passage from Matthew, Jesus makes a distinction between pious observance of ritual and pious submission to God.

Jesus said:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin,
and have neglected the weightier things of the law:
judgment and mercy and fidelity.
But these you should have done, without neglecting the others.
Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel!

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You cleanse the outside of cup and dish,
but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence.
Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup,
so that the outside also may be clean.” 

Everything that we do should glorify the Lord.

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