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Reading 1 BAR 5:1-9

Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery;
put on the splendor of glory from God forever:
wrapped in the cloak of justice from God,
bear on your head the mitre
that displays the glory of the eternal name.
For God will show all the earth your splendor:
you will be named by God forever
the peace of justice, the glory of God’s worship.Up, Jerusalem! stand upon the heights;
look to the east and see your children
gathered from the east and the west
at the word of the Holy One,
rejoicing that they are remembered by God.
Led away on foot by their enemies they left you:
but God will bring them back to you
borne aloft in glory as on royal thrones.
For God has commanded
that every lofty mountain be made low,
and that the age-old depths and gorges
be filled to level ground,
that Israel may advance secure in the glory of God.
The forests and every fragrant kind of tree
have overshadowed Israel at God’s command;
for God is leading Israel in joy
by the light of his glory,
with his mercy and justice for company..

Responsorial Psalm 126: 1-6

R. (3) The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those who sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

Reading 2 PHIL 1:4-6.8-11

Brothers and sisters:
I pray always with joy in my every prayer for all of you,
because of your partnership for the gospel
from the first day until now.
I am confident of this,
that the one who began a good work in you
will continue to complete it
until the day of Christ Jesus.
God is my witness,
how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer:
that your love may increase ever more and more
in knowledge and every kind of perception,
to discern what is of value,
so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
filled with the fruit of righteousness
that comes through Jesus Christ
for the glory and praise of God.

Alleluia LK 3:4,6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths:
all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 3:1-6

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,
when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea,
and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee,
and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region
of Ituraea and Trachonitis,
and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene,
during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,
the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.
John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,
as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
Fulton Sheen On The Meaning Of Advent

Why must heaven be outside of time? Simply because none of us would want an endless existence on this earth. If it were possible for us to live four hundred years with some kind of vitamin, do you think that we would all swallow them? There would certainly come one moment in our existence when we would want to die. Have you ever been in any one place on this earth that you were absolutely sure would be one in which you would want to spend every day of your life? It is not very likely. The mere extension of time to most of us would probably be a curse instead of a blessing. Then, too, have you ever noticed that your happiest moments have come when eternity almost seems to get inside of your soul? All great inspirations are timeless, and that gives us some suggestion of heaven. Mozart was once asked when he received his inspirations for his great music. He said he saw them all at once in a great heat, a great warmth, a great light. Then there came the succession of notes. So it is in writing a speech. When I prepare a talk, or a telecast, or a book, there comes a moment when the end is seen at the beginning. One cannot write fast enough. There comes to everyone, whether he is good or bad, some dim intimations of immortality such as Wordsworth wrote about. There are, however, men who try to immunize themselves from these thoughts of eternity. They put on a kind of God-proof raincoat, so that the drops of his grace will not get through to them. They shut out eternity.

Heaven is in here 

Too often we think of heaven as being way out there. We draw all kinds of pictures about heaven. Most of them are quite unreal, and because we think of heaven, and even hell, as something that happens to us at the end of time, we keep on postponing it. As a matter of fact, heaven is not way out there; heaven is in here. Hell is not way down there; hell could be inside of a soul. There is no such thing as dying and then going to heaven, or dying and going to hell. You are in heaven already; you are in hell already. I have met people who are in hell. I am sure you have too. I have also seen people with heaven in them. If you ever want to see heaven in a child, look at that child on the day of his first communion. If you want to see how much love is related to heaven, just look at the bride and groom at the altar on the day of the nuptial Mass. Heaven is there; heaven is there because love is there. I have seen heaven in a missionary nun who was spending herself among the lepers.

(Painting: Paul Gauguin, “Christmas Night.” 1894)



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Reading 1 JER 33:14-16

The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will fulfill the promise
I made to the house of Israel and Judah.
In those days, in that time,
I will raise up for David a just shoot ;
he shall do what is right and just in the land.
In those days Judah shall be safe
and Jerusalem shall dwell secure;
this is what they shall call her:
“The LORD our justice.”

Responsorial Psalm 25″4-5, 8-10. 14

R. (1b) To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior,
and for you I wait all the day.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
and teaches the humble his way.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
All the paths of the LORD are kindness and constancy
toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
The friendship of the LORD is with those who fear him,
and his covenant, for their instruction.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.

Reading 2  1 THES 3:12-4: 2

Brothers and sisters:
May the Lord make you increase and abound in love
for one another and for all,
just as we have for you,
so as to strengthen your hearts,
to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father
at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.Finally, brothers and sisters,
we earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that,
as you received from us
how you should conduct yourselves to please God
and as you are conducting yourselves
you do so even more.
For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

Alleluia PS 85:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Show us, Lord, your love;
and grant us your salvation.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 21:25-28, 34-36

Jesus said to his disciples:
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man


Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen reflection on the first week of Advent

God certainly did not create us this way. We are fallen. All the facts support this view. There is a voice inside our moral conscience that tells us that our immoral and unmoral acts are abnormal. They ought not to be there. There’s something wrong with us, something dislocated. God did not make us one way. Or rather, he did make us one way. And we have made ourselves, in virtue of our freedom, in other ways. He wrote the drama; we changed the plot. We are not jut animals that failed to evolve into humans. We are humans who have rebelled against the divine. If we are riddles to ourselves, we are not to put the blame on God or on evolution. But we are to put the blame on ourselves. We are not just a mass of corruption, but we bear within ourselves the image of God. We are very much like a man who has fallen into a well. We ought not to be there, and yet we cannot get out. We are sick; we need healing; we need deliverance; we need liberation, and we know very well that we cannot give this liberation and this freedom to ourselves. We are like a fish on top of the Empire State Building. Somehow or another we are outside of our environment. We cannot swim back into the stream. Someone has to put us back.



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The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the UniversE 

Reading 1 DN 7:13-14

As the visions during the night continued, I saw
one like a Son of man coming,
on the clouds of heaven;
when he reached the Ancient One
and was presented before him,
the one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship;
all peoples, nations, and languages serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that shall not be taken away,
his kingship shall not be destroyed.

Responsorial Psalm 93:1-2, 5

R. (1a) The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.
The LORD is king, in splendor robed;
robed is the LORD and girt about with strength.
R. The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.
And he has made the world firm,
not to be moved.
Your throne stands firm from of old;
from everlasting you are, O LORD.
R. The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.
Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed;
holiness befits your house,
O LORD, for length of days.
R. The LORD is king; he is robed in majesty.

Reading 2 RV 1:5-8

Jesus Christ is the faithful witness,
the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,
who has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father,
to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.
Behold, he is coming amid the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him.
All the peoples of the earth will lament him.
Yes. Amen.”I am the Alpha and the Omega, ” says the Lord God,
“the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty.”

Alleluia MK 11:9-10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel JN 18:33-37

Pilate said to Jesus,
“Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own
or have others told you about me?”
Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I?
Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me.
What have you done?”
Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world.
If my kingdom did belong to this world,
my attendants would be fighting
to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”
So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?”
Jesus answered, “You say I am a king.
For this I was born and for this I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.
POPE JOHN PAUL II on Immigration. SOCIAL JUSTICE THEME MARKS PAPAL VISIT (October 8 1995, Washington Post. Malcolm Gladwell, Lauire Goodstein)

Within minutes of setting foot on American soil last Wednesday, Pope John Paul II rebuked America’s wave of anti-immigrant sentiment, calling on the United States to “persevere in it own best tradition of openness.”

The next day in a sermon at Giants Stadium, he declared: “Is present-day America becoming less sensitive, less caring toward the poor, the weak, the strange, the needy? It must not!”

On his fourth pastoral visit to the United States, which will end Sunday in Baltimore, John Paul has spoken out again and again on the most politically unfashionable of themes: the moral responsibility of Americans toward the less fortunate.

Not once since he landed at Newark International Airport has the pope delved into the issues that preoccupied him on previous visits, such as the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings on contraception, the ordination of women or the celibacy of priests. And, while he has forcefully condemned abortion several times in the past four days, he has dealt with it in detail just once.

Catholic scholars say that the particular emphasis the pope has given to ideas that have been central to Catholic teachings on social justice for hundreds of years reflect his own evolving understanding and concern about the United States. But the particular political resonance his words have had, the scholars argue, may say less about the pontiff than about the recent changes in American political culture, which have made once-commonplace ideas seem downright radical.

“What I find striking is that this is a man normally categorized as a conservative,” said the Rev. Thomas Reese, a senior fellow at Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University in Washington. “And yet he is saying things to the American people that no liberal Democrat would have the guts to say, namely that we should be welcoming to immigrants and that we should care for the poor both in this country and around the world.”

“Before he was concerned with matters of sexual teaching,” said Andrew Greeley, a Catholic priest and sociologist in Chicago. “Now he’s talking about social justice. Whatever you do to these, the least of my brothers and sisters, you do to me.’ ”

When he first came here as pope in 1979 he was proclaimed “John Paul Superstar” on the cover of Time magazine. This time, he took to the same stage on Central Park’s Great Lawn where the biggest names in rock music give concerts every summer and, with a 1,000-foot, gold-carpeted cross laid out on the grass in front of him, presided over Mass for more than 100,000.

But in 1979, Pope John Paul II was a younger man. In one of his days in New York that year, he appeared at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, took part in a youth rally at Madison Square Garden and a ticker tape parade down Broadway, gave a speech at Manhattan’s Battery Park and then delivered a farewell address at Shea Stadium in Queens. The day before that at the United Nations, he waded out into the crowd after his speech, shaking hands and greeting hundreds of people.

In 1979, as well, he was just beginning his papacy, and in traveling to the United States and around the world he was still very much concerned with bringing the Catholic flock back into line with what he considered unchallengeable church teachings. In one city after another that year, he laid out the traditional church positions on birth control, abortion, divorce, homosexuality, premarital sex and the ordination of women.

But the pope is now 75. After several operations, including one on his hip, he seemed at times during his stay in New York tired and frail, making his way down the stairway at the airport, for example, with an almost painful deliberateness. He sat to read his homily during the Giants Stadium Mass and on none of his days here did he make more than two, widely spaced public appearances. Many Catholic scholars also found this older pope to be a gentler pope, less the stern father than a supportive grandfather. If on that first trip he worried out loud about the country’s “exhausting and joyless . . . frenzy of consumerism,” during his Mass on Friday — at Aqueduct Race Track — he looked about him and pronounced New York “the zenith of modern civilization and progress.”

“The pope is here to encourage,” said George Weigel, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington. “The new catechism has been an enormous success and in that sense he knows there is now a reference point for authentic Catholic teaching. He can now move into a more pastoral, exhorting mode.”

That exhortation has taken the form of a broad call to Americans to fulfill what the pope called their “heavy responsibilities” as a “model of a democratic society at an advanced stage of development.” In his speech before the United Nations, for example, he urged Americans not to turn their back on the rest of the world.

“In our public debate, there clearly has been a decline in the significance given to foreign policy, and he’s trying to bring home the point that the kind of roles the U.S. could play both in a place like the U.N. as well as in its own policy are absolutely critical,” said the Rev. J. Bryan Hehir, a professor at Harvard Divinity School. “There is a certain signal in the pope going before the U.N. twice in his career, endorsing it fully, when {the U.S.} is the largest debtor to the United Nations.”

His remarks about immigration were even more pointed. The Catholic Church in the United States blossomed during the last great wave of immigration at the turn of the century, and now the country’s 60 million Catholics are expected to grow by at least 15 million by 2010, with two thirds of that increase coming from Asian and Hispanic immigrants.

The Catholic Church in the United States is a devoted ally of the newcomer, providing extensive support services to refugees of all faiths and lobbying against restrictive measures. In California last fall, for example, Archbishop Roger Mahony of Los Angeles and much of the Catholic clergy spoke out from the pulpit against Proposition 187, the statewide ballot measure eventually adopted that would deny welfare, medical care and schooling to illegal aliens. And in Washington currently, the United States Catholic Conference is working to defeat Republican bills that would limit the number of legal immigrants permitted into the country in the future and cut access to social services for those already here.

With anti-immigration sentiment on the rise, the pope weighed in emphatically again and again by invoking the nation’s calling as a “hospitable society, a welcoming culture.” At Giants Stadium, he reminded his audience of the Statue of Liberty, just a few miles away in New York harbor, which “stands as an enduring witness to the American tradition of welcoming the stranger, and which tells us something important about the kind of nation America has aspired to be.”

“The pope is, of course, not a politician,” said John Swenson, executive director of migration and refugee services for the United States Catholic Conference. “But it is not at all unusual for the church in the midst of political debates to remind people of their moral obligations.”

Exactly how political the pope intended to be, however, is a matter of some controversy among Catholic scholars, particularly when it came to his comments about the responsibility of Americans to the poor. When, for instance, he said at Newark that the United States must “meet the needs of your own poor and disadvantaged” and the next day called for Americans to reject “radical individualism” in favor of a “community-based society with great openness and sensitivity to the needs of . . . neighbors,” was he making a not-so-subtle reference to the wide-ranging plans in Congress to cut welfare and health care for the poor?

Conservative Catholics, like Weigel, read this as simply a general reminder to Americans that “these issues have moral content.”

“The pope does not come here to propose either himself or the church as an expert in social welfare policy,” Weigel said. “It is very important to realize that his welcome call to compassion for the poor, for solidarity for the poor, is linked in his social doctrine to empowerment of the poor, breaking them out of the cycle of dependency. This is a pope who has been very critical of the welfare state. . . . It is simply not the case — and the Holy Father understands this very directly — that compassion for the poor equals the Department of Housing and Urban Development.”

But for many other Catholics, the fact that the pope chose this trip, at a time when officials are undertaking a dramatic overhaul of the country’s social welfare system, to talk about the responsibility of Catholics toward the poor is no coincidence.

“He’s talking about the government. He’s talking about the collectivity, about how we express ourselves in government,” said Mario M. Cuomo, a liberal Democrat and former governor of New York. “Conservatives say that when he’s talking about charity, he means private charity. . . . But you don’t go to the United Nations, you talk about private charity. . . . He knew exactly what he was saying. He was talking about the new laws restricting immigration. He was talking about the new laws about welfare mothers.”

Art. “What is Truth?”©2018  Alfred Eaker

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Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 dn 12:1-3

In those days, I Daniel,
heard this word of the Lord:
“At that time there shall arise
Michael, the great prince,
guardian of your people;
it shall be a time unsurpassed in distress
since nations began until that time.
At that time your people shall escape,
everyone who is found written in the book.

“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake;
some shall live forever,
others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace.

“But the wise shall shine brightly
like the splendor of the firmament,
and those who lead the many to justice
shall be like the stars forever.”

Responsorial Psalm 16:5,8-11

R. (1) You are my inheritance, O Lord!
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord!
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence;
because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord!
You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord!

Reading 2 heb 10:11-14,18

Brothers and sisters:
Every priest stands daily at his ministry,
offering frequently those same sacrifices
that can never take away sins.
But this one offered one sacrifice for sins,
and took his seat forever at the right hand of God;
now he waits until his enemies are made his footstool.
For by one offering
he has made perfect forever those who are being consecrated.

Where there is forgiveness of these,
there is no longer offering for sin.

Alleluia lk 21:36

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength to stand before the Son of Man.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel mk 13:24-32

Jesus said to his disciples:
“In those days after that tribulation
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from the sky,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

“And then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’
with great power and glory,
and then he will send out the angels
and gather his elect from the four winds,
from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.

“Learn a lesson from the fig tree.
When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves,
20you know that summer is near.
In the same way, when you see these things happening,
know that he is near, at the gates.
Amen, I say to you,
this generation will not pass away
until all these things have taken place.
Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will not pass away.

“But of that day or hour, no one knows,
neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”



Today we begin our annual tour through Apocalyptic literature. Both Daniel and Mark describe the end times, the final reckoning time when the Lord God and His Son Jesus will triumph over sin and death. The apocalyptic writings are charged with poetry, metaphor, fantasy. We must not make the mistake some of the fundamentalists do and interpret these passages literally. However, we must not make the opposite mistake of dismissing them as “nothing but” poetry. Metaphor tells us truth more fully and more adequately than does plain prose. The truth is Heaven and Earth may indeed pass away, but not before the Final Resolution in which good triumphs over evil an life over death. We don’t know when or how that will happen. Those issues really don’t matter. What does matter is that Jesus and his true followers will finally win.


Once upon a time a TV commentator (on PBS) delivered a pessimistic editorial on a Friday evening broadcast (taped earlier in the day). The world was in grim shape, he told the camera. Global warming was worse than anyone had thought it was. The population of the world would double again in the next twenty year. It was likely that an asteroid would hit earth before the end of the next century. Rage was increasing the third world countries against our wealth. The races were polarizing in America. The crime had turned up again. Our schools were total failures and would not, could not get any better. There was a drug and alcohol epidemic in white suburban high schools. Divorce rates were increasing. Abortions were at an all time high. A wave of bad news was sweeping the earth and thee was nothing anyone could do about it. When the taping was over, he got into his Mercedes and drove rapidly into the country to escape the Friday night traffic rush. At his house on the shore of the lake, he relaxed in the sauna, sipping from a large glass of Barolo wine, swam in the pool, wrapped himself in a robe, and sat on the deck as the sun set. He poured himself a second glass of wine and, as the sky turned red and then purple that life was very good indeed.

SUNDAY READINGS 11 NOVEMBER, 2018 with Fr. Andrew Greeley homily



Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 1 KGS 17:10-16

In those days, Elijah the prophet went to Zarephath.
As he arrived at the entrance of the city,
a widow was gathering sticks there; he called out to her,
“Please bring me a small cupful of water to drink.”
She left to get it, and he called out after her,
“Please bring along a bit of bread.”
She answered, “As the LORD, your God, lives,
I have nothing baked; there is only a handful of flour in my jar
and a little oil in my jug.
Just now I was collecting a couple of sticks,
to go in and prepare something for myself and my son;
when we have eaten it, we shall die.”
Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid.
Go and do as you propose.
But first make me a little cake and bring it to me.
Then you can prepare something for yourself and your son.
For the LORD, the God of Israel, says,
‘The jar of flour shall not go empty,
nor the jug of oil run dry,
until the day when the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'”
She left and did as Elijah had said.
She was able to eat for a year, and he and her son as well;
the jar of flour did not go empty,
nor the jug of oil run dry,
as the LORD had foretold through Elijah.

Responsorial Psalm 146: 7-10

R. (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
The LORD 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 he sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 HEB 9:24-28

Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands,
a copy of the true one, but heaven itself,
that he might now appear before God on our behalf.
Not that he might offer himself repeatedly,
as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary
with blood that is not his own;
if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly
from the foundation of the world.
But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages
to take away sin by his sacrifice.
Just as it is appointed that human beings die once,
and after this the judgment, so also Christ,
offered once to take away the sins of many,
will appear a second time, not to take away sin
but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.

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 12:38-44

In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds,
“Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes
and accept greetings in the marketplaces,
seats of honor in synagogues,
and places of honor at banquets.
They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext
recite lengthy prayers.
They will receive a very severe condemnation.”He sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
“Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury.
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood.”



Today’s liturgy features two widows, one who makes her small contribution to the temple treasury, the other makes some bread for Elijah from the remnant of flour in he jar. Do we not know both women well? Have we not encountered them often – elderly women who have very little but are generous with what they have in the care of others? Does not their goodness bring a catch to our throat? They were once young and happy with a husband and children. Now they are alone and living off small pensions. Yet their generosity and love brings beauty to their wrinkled faces and stooped shoulders. We may notice them but rarely. God notices them all the time. They are among his most favorite people.


Once upon a time there was a candidate traveling franticly around his constituency at the end of a long and difficult campaign. He was under constant, as he saw it, unfair attack from his opponent who was an unscrupulous man and from hostile media who reported false stories about him and his family every day. Although he had a long and distinguished history of public service, the poles said the race was too close to hall. Discouraged, battered, worn out, he had lost his usual flair for the campaign and went through the motions as if they were drudgery. One day after what was supposed to be a passionate speech but actually was just one more dud, as he was walking away from the platform, surrounded by his staff and a handful of well-wishers, he heard an old voice crying out his name. He glanced to the edge of the crowd. An old woman in a wheel chair was shouting at him. Don’t pay any attention to her, said his managers. He was tired of old women in wheel chairs. Still he broke through the crowd and walked over to her. Tears pouring down her cheeks, she babbled incoherently about a husband who had died in the War and held out a five dollar bill for his campaign. Tears pouring down his cheeks, he embraced her, took the crumpled bill, and pledged that he would win the race, just for her if for no one else.

image: Widow’s mite, 6th century icon. Artist unknown



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Reading 1 DT 6:2-6

Moses spoke to the people, saying:
“Fear the LORD, your God,
and keep, throughout the days of your lives,
all his statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you,
and thus have long life.
Hear then, Israel, and be careful to observe them,
that you may grow and prosper the more,
in keeping with the promise of the LORD, the God of your fathers,
to give you a land flowing with milk and honey.”Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone!
Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God,
with all your heart,
and with all your soul,
and with all your strength.
Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today.”

Responsorial Psalm 18:2-4, 47, 51

R. (2) I love you, Lord, my strength.
I love you, O LORD, my strength,
O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.
R. I love you, Lord, my strength.
My God, my rock of refuge,
my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold!
Praised be the LORD, I exclaim,
and I am safe from my enemies.
R. I love you, Lord, my strength.
The LORD lives! And blessed be my rock!
Extolled be God my savior.
You who gave great victories to your king
and showed kindness to your anointed.
R. I love you, Lord, my strength.

Reading 2 HEB 7:23-28

Brothers and sisters:
The levitical priests were many
because they were prevented by death from remaining in office,
but Jesus, because he remains forever,
has a priesthood that does not pass away.
Therefore, he is always able to save those who approach God through him,
since he lives forever to make intercession for them.It was fitting that we should have such a high priest:
holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners,
higher than the heavens.
He has no need, as did the high priests,
to offer sacrifice day after day,
first for his own sins and then for those of the people;
he did that once for all when he offered himself.
For the law appoints men subject to weakness to be high priests,
but the word of the oath, which was taken after the law,
appoints a son,
who has been made perfect forever.

Alleluia JN 14:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord;
and my father will love him and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 12: 28-34

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.

The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
‘He is One and there is no other than he.’
And ‘to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself’
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him,
“You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.


In his response to the scribe, Jesus acknowledges what every good Jew of his time believed. The first commandment demands that we love God with no holds barred, including as Jesus adds with our entire mind. And in addition to loving God, one must love one’s neighbor as oneself, a real challenge to people of every age. The scribe, obviously a wise man, agrees that these loves are worth more than burnt offerings and sacrifices. In other words, faith without deeds is not fulfilling the great commandment. On this Sunday preceding the general election in the United States, it would not be inappropriate to remind the congregation of the importance of their vote and the need to consider the needs of all citizens when they vote.
Story: Once upon a time not so very long ago, a new pastor was assigned to a parish that was quite divided over the issue of what it means to be a good Christian. One faction was very upset with the previous pastor who did not, in their opinion, give enough vocal support to every pronouncement that came from Rome and who spent way too much time encouraging parishioners to consider issues of social justice. In addition this group wanted at least one Mass a Sunday in Latin and wanted the pastor to preach about the evils of birth control and divorce, forbidding the sacraments, including Christian burial, to those known to be sinning in those matters. The other faction was also upset with the previous pastor because they thought he didn’t go far enough on issues of social justice and spent far too much time encouraging people to pray and meditate and to follow the example of Mary. Representatives of both factions were constantly coming to the rectory to register their complaints. After one knock down drag out session with representatives of both factions, the new pastor wearily wandered into the reception area of the rectory. The teenage girl who answered the phone looked at him sympathetically (because, of course, she had heard much of the shouting match he had just endured) and said, “You know Father, my grandpa always says, “Love God and love your neighbor. That’s what it’s all about.” The pastor smiled, thinking wouldn’t it be great to have her give the homily one Sunday!
(painting Ladislav Záborský “Christ”)




Reading 1 jer 31: 7-9

Thus says the LORD:
Shout with joy for Jacob,
exult at the head of the nations;
proclaim your praise and say:
The LORD has delivered his people,
the remnant of Israel.
Behold, I will bring them back
from the land of the north;
I will gather them from the ends of the world,
with the blind and the lame in their midst,
the mothers and those with child;
they shall return as an immense throng.
They departed in tears,
but I will console them and guide them;
I will lead them to brooks of water,
on a level road, so that none shall stumble.
For I am a father to Israel,
Ephraim is my first-born.

Responsorial Psalm 126:1-6

R. (3) The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those that sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

Reading 2 heb 5:1-6

Brothers and sisters:
Every high priest is taken from among men
and made their representative before God,
to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.
He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring,
for he himself is beset by weakness
and so, for this reason, must make sin offerings for himself
as well as for the people.
No one takes this honor upon himself
but only when called by God,
just as Aaron was.
In the same way,
it was not Christ who glorified himself in becoming high priest,
but rather the one who said to him:
You are my son:
this day I have begotten you;
just as he says in another place:
You are a priest forever
according to the order of Melchizedek.

Alleluia 2 tm 1:10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Our Savior Jesus Christ destroyed death
and brought life to light through the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel mk 10:46-52

As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd,
Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus,
sat by the roadside begging.
On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth,
he began to cry out and say,
“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”
And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent.
But he kept calling out all the more,
“Son of David, have pity on me.”
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called the blind man, saying to him,
“Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.”
He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.
Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?”
The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.”
Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.”
Immediately he received his sight
and followed him on the way.



Today’s Gospel is a classic example of Mark’s use of miracle stories. He uses them to make a catechetical point, not to overwhelm the reader with Jesus’s power. Mark does not deny the power, but emphasizes rather our desire to understand, to grasp, to find meaning. If you want really to see who you are and what you’re life is about, you must listen closely to Jesus, not seeking words which will serve your own agenda, but rather words which challenge you, make you think, force you to reflect
Once upon a time a very wealthy Yuppie and his girl friend went on a trip to Africa to hunt lions – with a camera because they were politically correct Yuppies They were shocked and disgusted by the poverty, the corruption, the hunger, and the sickness of the people in these countries. They told each other repeatedly how everything would be fine in Africa if the local people simply had a sense of initiative and responsibility and developed a work ethic something like the American one. As a matter of solemn principle they refused to give money to beggars. When they came home they told everyone that they would never go back – the lions were as lazy as the rest of the people in Africa. There was no point, they said in spending their tax dollars to help those who wouldn’t help themselves. Didn’t you have any sympathy with those poor people, another Yuppie asked them. How can you sympathize, they said, with those who aren’t ready to help themselves?!





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.