Reading 1  IS 53: 1011

The LORD was pleased
to crush him in infirmity.

If he gives his life as an offering for sin,
he shall see his descendants in a long life,
and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him.

Because of his affliction
he shall see the light in fullness
of days;
through his suffering, my servant shall justify many,
and their guilt he shall bear.

Responsorial Psalm 33:4-5,18-19, 20,22

R. (22) Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
who have put our hope in you.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

Reading 2  HEB 4:14-16

Brothers and sisters:
Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens,
Jesus, the Son of God,
let us hold fast to our confession.
For we do not have a high priest
who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but one who has similarly been tested in every way,
yet without sin.
So let us confidently approach the throne of grace
to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

Alleluia MK 10:45

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Son of Man came to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 10:35-45

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him,
“Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”
He replied, “What do you wish me to do for you?”
They answered him, “Grant that in your glory
we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.”
Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the cup that I drink
or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”
They said to him, “We can.”
Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink, you will drink,
and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized;
but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John.
Jesus summoned them and said to them,
“You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles
lord it over them,
and their great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.
For the Son of Man did not come to be served
but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”


The apostles simply didn’t get it. No matter how many times Jesus told them that the kingdom he was restoring was not the old military and nationalist kingdom that the people wanted, but a kingdom in which humans reflected God’s forgiving love, they never got the point. What other kind of kingdom was there besides one like David and Solomon ran? OK, Jesus was David or Solomon or maybe even someone better. What kind of jobs would they have in the new nobility of this new kingdom? They had made a lot of sacrifices for Jesus, what were they going to have in return. In the immortal words of city politics, they asked, “Where’s ours?” Jesus told them what it would be, but they still didn’t understand.
Once upon a time, a widow in her early 70s began thinking about moving from the big family home to a smaller, more manageable residence. One day when youngest daughter was visiting and began playing the piano, the mom told her that when she did move, this daughter could have the piano. Now when the other children heard this, they began to worry among themselves about how their mother would split up the family treasures. Several of them thought they should have been consulted about the piano. After all, they had children who would like to have a piano. Eventually, the widow got wind of her children’s concerns and decided to f ace the issue head on. She called them together and told them, in a gentle way, that her things were hers to decide how she wanted them distributed. What she did with these things had nothing to do with her love for each of them and she was disappointed that they felt that was the case. She had promised the piano to their youngest sister because she was the one who had been most dedicated to practice and seemed to love music. She hoped they knew that she loved each of them and that they would not consider who got what of her things as the sing of her love. After they left, the widow sadly wondered what more she had to do to help her children know of her love for them
*painting Dean Cornwell




twenty-eigth sunday in ORDINARY time

Reading 1 wis 7:7-11

I prayed, and prudence was given me;
I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.
I preferred her to scepter and throne,
and deemed riches nothing in comparison with her,
nor did I liken any priceless gem to her;
because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand,
and before her, silver is to be accounted mire.
Beyond health and comeliness I loved her,
and I chose to have her rather than the light,
because the splendor of her never yields to sleep.
Yet all good things together came to me in her company,
and countless riches at her hands.

Responsorial Psalm 90:12-17

R. (14) Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
Make us glad, for the days when you afflicted us,
for the years when we saw evil.
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Let your work be seen by your servants
and your glory by their children;
and may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours;
prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands!
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!

Reading 2 heb 4:12-13

Brothers and sisters:
Indeed the word of God is living and effective,
sharper than any two-edged sword,
penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow,
and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
No creature is concealed from him,
but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him
to whom we must render an account.

Alleluia mt 5:3

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel mk 1: 17-30

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother.”

He replied and said to him,
“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
At that statement his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
“How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
“Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
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.”
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
“Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For human beings it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.”
Peter began to say to him,
“We have given up everything and followed you.”
Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you,
there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters
or mother or father or children or lands
for my sake and for the sake of the gospel
who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age:
houses and brothers and sisters
and mothers and children and lands,
with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.”



It is useful to reflect on this Sunday that even the richest kings in the time of Jesus enjoyed a standard of living, not to say the health care, which the poorest people in our society would engage in violent revolt if it was forced upon them. Moreover even our poorest are wealthy compared to some of the really poor people in the world, such as those who live in the favelas of Latin America or the shanty towns of Africa. We would be mistaken if we tried to derive economic policy from today’s Gospel. We would also be mistaken to think that Christians can accept acute inequality even within our relatively affluent society. One of the issues in this election is the enormous gap between the salaries of CEOs and the salaries of ordinary workers, a gap which even European businessmen find appalling.

Story: Once upon a time a married couple went off on a long vacation to Europe. Since their kids were away in college, there was no need to have someone take care of the house. So they told their cleaning person she didn’t have to come to the house until they returned. She looked so sad that they said she could come in one day every other week instead of two days every week. They were shocked that she wasn’t as grateful as they thought she should be. They came home after having a wonderful time on their trip and found the house in perfect order of course. The cleaning person told them that she had found another job while they were gone at which she could work every day. They were furious at her for her disloyalty and refused to pay her for the days she had worked while they were away. We don’t know you were here those days, they said. You could have cleaned the house up the day before we returned. That’s what we get for being generous to you. The trouble with you people is that you have no sense of loyalty.





Reading 1 GN 2:18-24

The LORD God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone.
I will make a suitable partner for him.”
So the LORD God formed out of the ground
various wild animals and various birds of the air,
and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them;
whatever the man called each of them would be its name.
The man gave names to all the cattle,
all the birds of the air, and all wild animals;
but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man.So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man,
and while he was asleep,
he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.
The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib
that he had taken from the man.
When he brought her to the man, the man said:
“This one, at last, is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
this one shall be called ‘woman, ‘
for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.”
That is why a man leaves his father and mother
and clings to his wife,
and the two of them become one flesh.

Responsorial Psalm 128:1-6

R. (cf. 5) May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
Blessed are you who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.
R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
your children like olive plants
around your table.
R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.
May you see your children’s children.
Peace be upon Israel!
R. May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.

Reading 2 HEB 2:9-11

Brothers and sisters:
He “for a little while” was made “lower than the angels, ”
that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.For it was fitting that he,
for whom and through whom all things exist,
in bringing many children to glory,
should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering.
He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated
all have one origin.
Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them “brothers.”

Alleluia 1 JN 4:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If we love one another, God remains in us
and his love is brought to perfection in us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 10:2-16

The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked,
“Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?”
They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?”
They replied,
“Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce
and dismiss her.”
But Jesus told them,
“Because of the hardness of your hearts
he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
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,
no human being must separate.”
In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.
He said to them,
“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another,
she commits adultery.”And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them,
but the disciples rebuked them.
When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them,
“Let the children come to me;
do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to
such as these.
Amen, I say to you,
whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child
will not enter it.”
Then he embraced them and blessed them,
placing his hands on them.


While this remains a hotly disputed passage of St. Mark’s Gospel and while we must remain wary of imposing our concepts on the meanings of words from Jesus’s time, there is no question that he intends here to revise the Law of Moses. Men could only commit adultery against the husband of the woman with whom they had sex. They could never commit adultery against their wives. Jesus firmly equalizes the law. Extra marital sex is a sin against your spouse, whether you be a man or a woman. It was an idea that was shocking at that time. Jesus believed against the ethics of his time in the equality of genders, as described in the creation story. One can reasonably assume that Jesus would not be happy with the high divorce rates today and would us to do all we can to lower those rates.
Once upon a time there was a man who made a lot of money in a tech firm – enough to retire on when he was only thirty five. He didn’t intend to sit around for the rest of his life doing nothing. He planned to return to school to complete his degree work, to enjoy the arts, to play basketball every week, to help out in a poor parish, and to spend more time with his wife and kids. Well, he had just retired and was, as he said “unwinding” when his wife’s mother became quite sick. His wife had to fly all the way across the country to take care of her mother and suggested he hire a nanny or a housekeeper to take care of things. She had played both roles by staying home when her four kids were still under seven years old. No problem our hero replied, I’ll take care of them. I’ve always wanted to spend more time with them. It’ll be easy compared to the high powered corporate offices where I’ve been for the last fifteen years. His wife hesitated, are you sure, she asked. Of course, he said, no problem, a piece of cake. She sighed, as only a woman could sigh when she knows she’s hearing nonsense, and went off to her mother’s bedside. She called home twice every day. Both father and kids said everything was fine. The kids seemed to be enjoying themselves. Dad kept saying a “piece of cake.” Well, her mother recovered in two weeks and she flew home. She found two nannies and two housekeepers and a house that was in chaos, which is about what she suspected. Naturally. Poor Daddy was a basket case, barely able to speak two coherent sentences. I’ll take the corporate board room any day, he managed to murmur.

SUNDAY READING 30 SEPTEMBER, 2018 with Fr. Andrew Greeley homily


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tweny-sixth week in ORDINARY time

Reading 1 NM 11:25-29

The LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to Moses.
Taking some of the spirit that was on Moses,
the LORD bestowed it on the seventy elders;
and as the spirit came to rest on them, they prophesied.

Now two men, one named Eldad and the other Medad,
were not in the gathering but had been left in the camp.
They too had been on the list, but had not gone out to the tent;
yet the spirit came to rest on them also,
and they prophesied in the camp.
So, when a young man quickly told Moses,
“Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp, ”
Joshua, son of Nun, who from his youth had been Moses’ aide, said,
“Moses, my lord, stop them.”
But Moses answered him,
“Are you jealous for my sake?
Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets!
Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!”

Responsorial Psalm 19:8, 10, 12-14

R. (9a) The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
the decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
the ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
Though your servant is careful of them,
very diligent in keeping them,
yet who can detect failings?
Cleanse me from my unknown faults!
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
From wanton sin especially, restrain your servant;
let it not rule over me.
Then shall I be blameless and innocent
of serious sin.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

Reading 2 JAS 5:1-6

Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries.
Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten,
your gold and silver have corroded,
and that corrosion will be a testimony against you;
it will devour your flesh like a fire.
You have stored up treasure for the last days.
Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers
who harvested your fields are crying aloud;
and the cries of the harvesters
have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure;
you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter.
You have condemned;
you have murdered the righteous one;
he offers you no resistance.

Alleluia JN 17:17

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your word, O Lord, is truth;
consecrate us in the truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

At that time, John said to Jesus,
“Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name,
and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.”
Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him.
There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name
who can at the same time speak ill of me.
For whoever is not against us is for us.
Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink
because you belong to Christ,
amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,
it would be better for him if a great millstone
were put around his neck
and he were thrown into the sea.
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life maimed
than with two hands to go into Gehenna,
into the unquenchable fire.
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off.
It is better for you to enter into life crippled
than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.
Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye
than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,
where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'”



Even Jesus’ closest followers did not get it. They expect a political messiah. Jesus was clearly a messiah. Therefore his goals had to be political. They were his followers, so when he reestablished the kingdom of David or the Machabees, they would be men with enormous power. Nothing Jesus would say could change their opinions, not even his stories about the great love of the father in heaven for everyone. Who would be first? Peter? James? John? Jesus must have known that in the centuries to come similar arguments would beset it. Many of the apostles successors didn’t get it either.


Once there was a great high school volley ball team. The young women just destroyed all their opponents. The news papers wrote great stories about how good they were and now they always played as a team and how their were no rivalries among them. The kids took it very seriously. We’re great they kept saying, but we’re great as a team. HOWEVER, each one began to think they were the best and that the others were hangers on. Then they stopped talking to one another. Still they kept winning and the media kept saying what a great TEAM they were. Well they were until the championship game. Then each young woman thought that all the others were hot dogging and they became very angry. Their opponent destroyed them. Each one was still convinced she’d make all state. Who did? You know the answer – None of them



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Reading 1 wis 2{12, 17-20

The wicked say:
Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us;
he sets himself against our doings,
reproaches us for transgressions of the law
and charges us with violations of our training.
Let us see whether his words be true;
let us find out what will happen to him.
For if the just one be the son of God, God will defend him
and deliver him from the hand of his foes.
With revilement and torture let us put the just one to the test
that we may have proof of his gentleness
and try his patience.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death;
for according to his own words, God will take care of him.

Responsorial Psalm 54″3-6, 8

R. (6b) The Lord upholds my life.
O God, by your name save me,
and by your might defend my cause.
O God, hear my prayer;
hearken to the words of my mouth.
R. The Lord upholds my life.
For the haughty men have risen up against me,
the ruthless seek my life;
they set not God before their eyes.
R. The Lord upholds my life.
Behold, God is my helper;
the Lord sustains my life.
Freely will I offer you sacrifice;
I will praise your name, O LORD, for its goodness.
R. The Lord upholds my life.

Reading 2 jas 3:16-4:3

Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist,
there is disorder and every foul practice.
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure,
then peaceable, gentle, compliant,
full of mercy and good fruits,
without inconstancy or insincerity.
And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace
for those who cultivate peace.Where do the wars
and where do the conflicts among you come from?
Is it not from your passions
that make war within your members?
You covet but do not possess.
You kill and envy but you cannot obtain;
you fight and wage war.
You do not possess because you do not ask.
You ask but do not receive,
because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

Alleluia thes 2″14

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God has called us through the Gospel
to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel mk 9:30-37

Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee,
but he did not wish anyone to know about it.
He was teaching his disciples and telling them,
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men
and they will kill him,
and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.”
But they did not understand the saying,
and they were afraid to question him.They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house,
he began to ask them,
“What were you arguing about on the way?”
But they remained silent.
They had been discussing among themselves on the way
who was the greatest.
Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them,
“If anyone wishes to be first,
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
Taking a child, he placed it in their midst,
and putting his arms around it, he said to them,
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me.”

andrew greeley homily on today’s Gospel (2009)

Jesus now enters Galilee, but secretly. His time has not yet come. He does not want to risk himself until that time. So he discretely evades his enemies. Yet despite his obvious caution and his continued warnings to his followers about what will happen, they discuss not his warnings or the implication of these warnings for them but their own dignity and power in the kingdom that Jesus will found. Jesus rebukes them and warns them that unless they obtain the simplicity of the child they will not earn power in his kingdom. It is a warning that not all those who have held power in the Church through its long history have heeded.
Once upon a time a CEO of a large and important corporation promoted two of his brightest young executives for rapid promotion because they were so creative and so intelligent and so hard working. Everyone knew, including the executives whom he had passed over, that one or the other of these men would be the next CEO. One was named president of the company and the other the Vice CEO. They had been close friends for twenty years and their combined talents and dedication had been responsible for the rapid growth of the firm. However, once it became clear to both of them that only one could win the prize, they began to try to undercut one another. Their friendship ended. Their wives stopped speaking to one another (though they had been friends too). The other executives enjoyed the rivalry and plotted how they could undercut both of them. Now the big problem was that the two stopped cooperating with one another and that cooperation had been the key to firms success. Sales fell off, a little bit and then a lot. Wall Street, as you can imagine, didn’t like that at all. Two months before the CEO was to retire, the board of directors intervened and fired him. Then they brought in a new CEO from another company. Everyone said that if the two crown princes had only cooperated a little more, they both would have won. Two children, an analyst said, could have run that company, it was so successful But these adults couldn’t.
(art, William Blake, Christ blessing the children, 1799)

SUNDAY READINGS 16 SEPT, 2018 with Fr. Andrew Greeley homily



Reading 1 is 50:5-9

The Lord GOD opens my ear that I may hear;
and I have not rebelled,
have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
my face I did not shield
from buffets and spitting.The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.
He is near who upholds my right;
if anyone wishes to oppose me,
let us appear together.
Who disputes my right?
Let that man confront me.
See, the Lord GOD is my help;
who will prove me wrong?

Responsorial Psalm 116:1-9

R. (9) I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
R. Alleluia.
I love the LORD because he has heard
my voice in supplication,
because he has inclined his ear to me
the day I called.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
R. Alleluia.
The cords of death encompassed me;
the snares of the netherworld seized upon me;
I fell into distress and sorrow,
and I called upon the name of the LORD,
“O LORD, save my life!”
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
R. Alleluia.
Gracious is the LORD and just;
yes, our God is merciful.
The LORD keeps the little ones;
I was brought low, and he saved me.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
R. Alleluia.
For he has freed my soul from death,
my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
I shall walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 jas 2:14-18

What good is it, my brothers and sisters,
if someone says he has faith but does not have works?
Can that faith save him?
If a brother or sister has nothing to wear
and has no food for the day,
and one of you says to them,
“Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well, ”
but you do not give them the necessities of the body,
what good is it?
So also faith of itself,
if it does not have works, is dead.Indeed someone might say,
“You have faith and I have works.”
Demonstrate your faith to me without works,
and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.

Alleluia gal 6:14

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord
through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel mk 8:27-35

Jesus and his disciples set out
for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.
Along the way he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that I am?”
They said in reply,
“John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others one of the prophets.”
And he asked them,
“But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said to him in reply,
“You are the Christ.”
Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.He began to teach them
that the Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed, and rise after three days.
He spoke this openly.
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples,
rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake
and that of the gospel will save it.”

fr. Andrew Greeley homily on today’s Gospel reading, 2012

Jesus is still on the run, so to speak, on the fringes of Palestine. As Mark’s story builds towards the final act in Jerusalem, he depicts Jesus warning that there will be no escapes from a tragic end. Obviously this warning was selected from the tradition to warn Mark’s audience that tragedy is part of the human condition and that faith in Jesus required that one face it with courage and honesty. We can do so because, as Isaiah tells us, God will hold our hand, as we walk finally into the valley of death. Jesus, who knows what death is like, will walk with us.
Once upon a time there was a very bright young man who was the greatest speller in his school. He won all the spelling bees even when he was in sixth grade. Then he went into the bees with other schools, and finally in the whole city. He kept on winning, easily. He was really good. Alas he knew he was good and bragged about it to everyone who would listen. His classmates were proud of him, but they didn’t like his boasting. He’s really good said one of his friend. But I wish he’d lose because he used to be a nice boy and now he’s a pill. Shut up all the others said quickly, though they had been thinking the same thing. Well, finally came the big state championship. If he won that he would go on to the nationals – and probably to the Olympics only they don’t have spelling bees do they? So he went to the match with the teacher who had helped him all through the year. At the very end, only the boy and a very nasty and ill tempered girl remained. He was asked to spell prestidigitation. He said the word and then confidently began to spell. Then you know what? He blanked out. Completely. He had no idea how to spell the word. So he missed the third “i”. The nasty little girl, who was also much too pretty, got it right of course. Our hero was very mad. He blamed his teacher and wouldn’t talk to his classmates. He even blamed God. It wasn’t fair, he kept saying over and over and over. I deserved to win. After awhile he got over it.

painting: El Greco,  St. Peter

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Reading 1 IS 35:4-7

Thus says the LORD:
Say to those whose hearts are frightened:
Be strong, fear not!
Here is your God,
he comes with vindication;
with divine recompense
he comes to save you.
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,
the ears of the deaf be cleared;
then will the lame leap like a stag,
then the tongue of the mute will sing.
Streams will burst forth in the desert,
and rivers in the steppe.
The burning sands will become pools,
and the thirsty ground, springs of water.

Responsorial Psalm 146:6-10

R. (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
The God of Jacob keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
The LORD gives sight to the blind;
the LORD raises up those who were bowed down.
The LORD loves the just;
the LORD protects strangers.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
The fatherless and the widow the LORD sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 JAS 2:1-5

My brothers and sisters, show no partiality
as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.
For if a man with gold rings and fine clothes
comes into your assembly,
and a poor person in shabby clothes also comes in,
and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes
and say, “Sit here, please, ”
while you say to the poor one, “Stand there, ” or “Sit at my feet, ”
have you not made distinctions among yourselves
and become judges with evil designs?Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters.
Did not God choose those who are poor in the world
to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom
that he promised to those who love him?

Alleluia ,T 4:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel  MK 7:31-37

Again Jesus left the district of Tyre
and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee,
into the district of the Decapolis.
And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment
and begged him to lay his hand on him.
He took him off by himself away from the crowd.
He put his finger into the man’s ears
and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
“Ephphatha!”— that is, “Be opened!” —
And immediately the man’s ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed,
and he spoke plainly.
He ordered them not to tell anyone.
But the more he ordered them not to,
the more they proclaimed it.
They were exceedingly astonished and they said,
“He has done all things well.
He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”


Yesterday was the feast of Our Lady, the traditional day we celebrate her birth. I wonder how many Catholics are aware of that? More importantly, I sometimes wonder if we take the day for granted and, what is the spiritual price of taking it for granted; of losing our passion for Holy Mother.

Carl Jung once complimented the Church in that it defiantly retained a zealous love for sacred Mother. Protestantism, far more patristic-oritented, largely threw her out and rendered the image of a Holy Family without Mother as dysfunctional. Thomas Merton wrote that our own mothers, who can fall short, are secondary, and indeed should be made obsolete in our Spiritual journey when we draw to our first and true mother in Our Lady; Our relationship with her should be the essential precursor to our relationship with her Son. We don’t know the Son unless we know his Mother first. Christ wants this. It pleases Him.

Our Lady is what separates our Catholic faith from all others. She is the Mother who separates ethics from patristic-interpreted morality. They both do say “No” when necessary, but her “No” goes one-up in a tough love that does not accept the hypocrisy that often is swept under the rug. In all her various incarnations, her message has been consistent; you have to love a revolutionary love, and, contrary to what the bumper sticker theology of the happy happy joy joy feel good Stuart Smalley and narcissistic  I. ME , MINE mindset conveys, that means we have to live it -fiercely focused. Holy Mother does not subscribe to sophistic either/or, conservative/liberal labels or platitudes. She is YES. She is NO. Her YES means YES. Her NO means NO. YES, She is our complex Tahitian pearl; our diaphanous adagio. NO, she is not a demure little cabbage (quoting Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes). Holy Mother is the quintessence of trench theology. We thought Christ kicked over the tables? Holy Mother is a lioness protecting her young and anything that violates her gospel of unconditional love will be dealt with accordingly.

That is why we desperately need to invoke Her now; her above all others; her call to sanctity and spiritual chastity. We need to invoke her YES and No in face of continuing problems and crises within the Church. Holy mother is wide-eyed. She does not flinch in times of turmoil, struggle, hypocrisy, poverty of spirit, even when it is from within (especially when it’s from within) and it’s going to take our dependency on Her, manifested through a relentless tidal wave; a Sea of Rosaries for Our Lady; Star of the Sea to render us Holy Beautiful.

Painting: Blue Madonna and the Holy Innocents ©2018 Alfred Eaker

SUNDAY READINGS 1 SEPTEMBER, 2018 with homily by Fr. Andrew Greeley


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Reading 1 DT 4:1-2, 6-8

Moses said to the people:
“Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees
which I am teaching you to observe,
that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land
which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you.
In your observance of the commandments of the LORD, your God,
which I enjoin upon you,
you shall not add to what I command you nor subtract from it.
Observe them carefully,
for thus will you give evidence
of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations,
who will hear of all these statutes and say,
‘This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.’
For what great nation is there
that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us
whenever we call upon him?
Or what great nation has statutes and decrees
that are as just as this whole law
which I am setting before you today?”

Responsorial Psalm 15:2-5

R. (1a) The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
Whoever walks blamelessly and does justice;
who thinks the truth in his heart
and slanders not with his tongue.
R. The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
Who harms not his fellow man,
nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
by whom the reprobate is despised,
while he honors those who fear the LORD.
R. The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.
Who lends not his money at usury
and accepts no bribe against the innocent.
Whoever does these things
shall never be disturbed.
R. The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.

Reading 2 JAS 1:17-18, 21-22,27

Dearest brothers and sisters:
All good giving and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.
He willed to give us birth by the word of truth
that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you
and is able to save your souls.Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this:
to care for orphans and widows in their affliction
and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Alleluia JAS 1:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Father willed to give us birth by the word of truth
that we may be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel  MK 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem
gathered around Jesus,
they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals
with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands.
—For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews,
do not eat without carefully washing their hands,
keeping the tradition of the elders.
And on coming from the marketplace
they do not eat without purifying themselves.
And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed,
the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds. —
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him,
“Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders
but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”
He responded,
“Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written:
This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.

You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”He summoned the crowd again and said to them,
“Hear me, all of you, and understand.
Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person;
but the things that come out from within are what defile.”From within people, from their hearts,
come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder,
adultery, greed, malice, deceit,
licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.
All these evils come from within and they defile.”



Some of the powerful people down in Jerusalem were hearing rumors of Jesus’ success up in Galilee and hurried up there to investigate him. Jesus was not only preaching strange notions about the salvation of the gentiles, which he had read in the Prophet Isaiah but he was showing disrespect for the temple priesthood and for the law. So they decided to pick an argument with him not about Isaiah – how could one debate with the strange vision of that most mysterious of prophets – but to trip him up on the behavior of his followers. This would be the first of many such debates which Jesus always won, mostly because he knew God better than the scribes did but also because he was quicker than they were. However, he was probably doing it for the record, so that his followers would know that, while Jesus respected the law, he had no patience with legalisms.


Once upon a time a very, very conservative Catholic came to complain to his pastor. The new Pope has let us down, he protested. He’s a great disappointment. Ah, said the pastor who professed to be a liberal Catholic though in fact he was a closet moderate. I thought he was going to restore the church the way it used to be. He’s wearing his Prada slippers and his Santa Claus cap but he really isn’t doing what God wants. Ah, said the priest again. What does God want. Well said the man, he wants all those women off the altar. Women should be reading the scriptures or distributing Communion, or directing music, not even if they’re nuns. Indeed, said the pastor. And he should put the mass back into Latin, that’s God’s language. Why did we have to change it. Actually said the pastor, maybe it should go back into Aramaic. That was Jesus’ language. And he should make priests wear their roman collars all the time. Just like the apostles did, said the priest who was now beginning to enjoy himself. He knew that the man never listened to what he said, but only wanted to recite his list of complaints. I just want our old traditional Catholic Church back again. What’s tradition? The pastor asked. Well the way it was when I was growing up.

(3d model shroud of turin)



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twenty-first Sunday in ORDINARY time

Reading 1 jos 24:1-2, 15-18

Joshua gathered together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem,
summoning their elders, their leaders,
their judges, and their officers.
When they stood in ranks before God,
Joshua addressed all the people:
“If it does not please you to serve the LORD,
decide today whom you will serve,
the gods your fathers served beyond the River
or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are now dwelling.
As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

But the people answered,
“Far be it from us to forsake the LORD
for the service of other gods.
For it was the LORD, our God,
who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt,
out of a state of slavery.
He performed those great miracles before our very eyes
and protected us along our entire journey
and among the peoples through whom we passed.
Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.”

Responsorial Psalm 34:2-3, 16-21

R. (9a) Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
The LORD has eyes for the just,
and ears for their cry.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Many are the troubles of the just one,
but out of them all the LORD delivers him;
he watches over all his bones;
not one of them shall be broken.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Reading 2 eph 5:21-32

Brothers and sisters:
Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.
For the husband is head of his wife
just as Christ is head of the church,
he himself the savior of the body.
As the church is subordinate to Christ,
so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives,
even as Christ loved the church
and handed himself over for her to sanctify her,
cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,
that he might present to himself the church in splendor,
without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,
that she might be holy and without blemish.
So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his wife loves himself.
For no one hates his own flesh
but rather nourishes and cherishes it,
even as Christ does the church,
because we are members of his body.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.

This is a great mystery,
but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.

Alleluia jn 6:63, 68R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel jn 6:60-69

Many of Jesus’ disciples who were listening said,
“This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this,
he said to them, “Does this shock you?
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending
to where he was before?
It is the spirit that gives life,
while the flesh is of no avail.
The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe.”
Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe
and the one who would betray him.
And he said,
“For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me
unless it is granted him by my Father.”

As a result of this,
many of his disciples returned to their former way of life
and no longer accompanied him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe.”


This dramatic crisis in John’s account of the life of Jesus (and probably in the life of his own community) as it is reflected by and reflects the Joshua story in the first reading is about faith, as are the stories in the other August Gospels. It is easy to slip into the conviction that one “has” the faith until times of crisis and challenge come along – tragedy, suffering, and death. Then one realizes that faith requires hard work and practice even in times when there is no particular challenge.
Once upon a time there was a terrible tragedy. Only two years after marriage a young husband died suddenly of an aneurysm. His wife, who loved him very much, was devastated. She was also furious. Why would God do this to her? Why had not the Church warned her about the possibility of tragedy when they were married, so she would have been prepared? A priest tried as best he could to console her, but she would not listen. She was angry and she would not give up her anger. She stopped going to church, she stopped praying, she denounced the Church on every possible occasion. She had been a fine Catholic, strong in her faith, till her husband died. What good does faith do, she said. It didn’t keep my husband alive. So one night he came to her, perhaps in a dream, and said I’m ashamed of you, cut it out. So she did. Very slowly she drifted back to Church. The pain would never go away but slowly her anger did.
( drawing: Leonardo da Vinci , Study of Christ for the Last Supper. )



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twentieth sunday in ordinary time

Reading 1 prv 9:1-6

Wisdom has built her house,
she has set up her seven columns;
she has dressed her meat, mixed her wine,
yes, she has spread her table.
She has sent out her maidens; she calls
from the heights out over the city:
“Let whoever is simple turn in here;
To the one who lacks understanding, she says,
Come, eat of my food,
and drink of the wine I have mixed!
Forsake foolishness that you may live;
advance in the way of understanding.”

Responsorial Psalm 34:2-7 

R. (9a) Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Reading 2 eph 5:15-20

Brothers and sisters:
Watch carefully how you live,
not as foolish persons but as wise,
making the most of the opportunity,
because the days are evil.
Therefore, do not continue in ignorance,
but try to understand what is the will of the Lord.
And do not get drunk on wine, in which lies debauchery,
but be filled with the Spirit,
addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing and playing to the Lord in your hearts,
giving thanks always and for everything
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.

Alleluia jn 6:56

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
remains in me and I in him, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel jn 6:51-58

Jesus said to the crowds:
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give
is my flesh for the life of the world.”The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
“How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,
you do not have life within you.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day.
For my flesh is true food,
and my blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me
will have life because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

fr. andrew greeley homily on todays Gospel reading (2006)

One must not take this passage as a description of an actual dialogue between Jesus and some of those who followed him. Rather it doubtless refers to a difficulty in St. John’s community over the Eucharist and the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, a difficulty which has plagued the Church through it’s history, mostly because people have tried to reduce mystery to prose, to explain the inexplicable. The Eucharist demands faith at every time and place, but less faith in the how then in the fact of the presence of Jesus. As the first reading suggests faith opens up the fonts of wisdom and feeds us with it.
A young college student went to the Newman chaplain and said, I believe in God and in life after death and in resurrection and in the church, but I cannot accept that Jesus is really present, body and blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist. I’m sorry, but I just cant. The priest thought this was like swallowing the grizzly bear and straining at the gnat. Resurrection, he said, is a humungous miracle. Real Presence is kind of ordinary in comparison. I don’t believe I really eat Jesus, the young man said. It’s just bread that’s all. You don’t eat Jesus, the priest replied, knowing that he had one of those kids who somehow or the other had run into an old fashioned teacher, one that still thought it was a sacrilege for anyone but a priest to touch the sacred host. The poor kid was really worried about how the doctrine of the real presence exposed Jesus to desecration if even a tiny piece was somehow lost. The priest went through a lot of theological explanations which did not satisfy the young man. I just have to understand how he works it out, the lad pleaded. Have you figured out how God created the universe from nothing in the snap of a finger, the priest said. Of course not the young man replied. Then his voice faded off. Oh, I get it, he said softly. I’m not supposed to understand everything.
(painting : Leonardo da Vinci, Salvator Mundi, c.1500