Friday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Whenever we hear two groups being compared in the Gospels by Jesus, we know that He is inviting us to make a discernment for our own lives.  We could be tempted to use the comparison to judge or condemn others, but if we interpret it in that way we only condemn ourselves.  Ten virgins waiting for Christ.  Ten who have consecrated themselves, who have renounced the life of indulgence in the pleasures of the flesh.  Jesus is telling us that even among those who have pledged fidelity and taken measures to conform their lives to the coming Kingdom, half are wise and half are foolish.  Wisdom for the Christian, as we saw in the first reading from St. Paul, is the Cross: precisely the opposite of what the world considers intelligent.  Foolishness has to do, according to the Gospel, with not having any oil for the lamp.  How can a lamp burn brightly without any oil?  Where did the wise virgins get their oil? read more

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sketch by Brie Schulze

The mission of the disciples is spoken of by Jesus in terms that, while they could certainly be taken literally, require a symbolic interpretation.  The disciples are to go simply on their mission, not taking anything luxurious or extravagant, not bearing in their hearts any preoccupation for the mundane or worldly.  They shouldn’t “wear two coats at the same time,” which St. Augustine understands to mean leading a double life.  The temptation to put on airs, to cover ourselves on the outside with the right words and actions – while inside we are wearing a different coat – is a temptation to lack trust.  Looking like a saint is not the same as being a saint.  There are the saints who will be canonized as examples for the faithful of what God’s grace can do in the hearts and lives of those who cling to Him in faith, hope, and love.  There are also the saints whose lives look like a mess, will never be canonized, but trusted fully in God’s power working through their weakness and will live with Him forever in Heaven.  Refusing duplicity means that my life will become Good News because of the Grace of God – because it will never become so because of me.  Humbly accepting weakness and seeking to respond to God’s mercy – because it is Love – will transform us in ways we could never accomplish on our own.  May we long for the simplicity that allows us to become saints the way God wants, and not according to our own ideals or aspirations.  May the Word of God become our companion and guide on the paths we must tread with Him alone. read more