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Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time



Readings:
1st Reading: 1 Kings 17:10­16

Resp.: Psalm 146:7, 8­9, 9­10
2nd Reading: Hebrews 9:24­28
Gospel: Mark 12:38­44

The theme of today's readings is generosity. The widow in Zarephath and the poor widow in the Gospel gave to the point of detriment to themselves. Last week we were told to love God with our all, and today two examples are given to us.

In order to act as these two women did, we need to trust God as much as we can, and ultimately, completely. He has numbered the hairs of our heads, he clothes the lilies of the field and not one sparrow dies without His knowing. So why don't we trust? Well, we have been jaded by world and local events, our own weakness and much more. We are often blinded by our passions that as St Alphonsus Liguori tells us, make us despise Christ. But we can pray for the strength we need to increase in trust, daily. A saint is not the one who never falls, but who gets up again through the grace of God.

God knows us exactly, which is how Jesus knew that the poor widow gave the most she could. He takes notice of everything in our lives, so we need to take notice of Him, especially His life on earth, meditating on His passion.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD

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Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time



Readings:
1st Reading: Deuteronomy 6:2­6

Resp.: Psalm 18:2­3, 3­4, 47, 51
2nd Reading: Hebrews 7:23­28
Gospel: Mark 12:28b­34

Today's readings are very easy to understand. We know what we are being told but how do we do it? People tell us to be nice, to be good, or to love. What exactly is meant by this? Does being nice mean that I should be agreeable to everything?

Love is a word that is easily misunderstood. We can love a sports team, pickles, sleeping late and people. We don't mean exactly the same thing with each category. Love is not a feeling but a decision that needs to be reaffirmed. Love is sacrificial in nature because the good of the other is put to the fore. In other words God is love and imitating Jesus is how to love. St Paul says that we can do great things but if those things are done without love, they are worthless.

Loving the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength sums up what our lives should be (about). We just have to ask for the grace to try and try again. This also goes for loving our neighbor as ourselves. The one person we tend to forget to love is ourselves. Sometimes this can be done out of a false humility. Loving ourselves does not mean pampering ourselves or to "watch out for number one." Being a balanced person is not easy, but it is possible through grace.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD

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Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time



Readings:
1st Reading: Jeremiah 31:7­9

Resp.: Psalm 126:1­2, 2­3, 4­5, 6
2nd Reading: Hebrews 5:1­6
Gospel: Mark 10:46­52

As St Teresa said, God places desires in us that He wishes to fulfill. Bartimaeus was asking Jesus to have mercy on him. Many in the crowd rebuked him but he kept on. Finally Jesus took notice of him and called him over. The crowd changed and encouraged Bartimaeus. This is why we need to be careful of what is popular. What is popular usually is not from God.

The desire that Bartimaeus had was fulfilled by God. Jesus came to earth to undo the works of the devil. Anything that is truly good for us God approves. But there are some good things we want but God does not want us to have or do. How do we know the difference?

Prayer. Conversation with God. Seeking advice from those learned about the ways of God. God is always faithful and brings good out of whatever happens to those who love Him.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD
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Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time



Readings:
1st Reading: Numbers 11:25-29
Resp.: Psalm 19:8, 10, 12-13, 14 (9a)
2nd Reading: James 5:1-6
Gospel: Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48 


This Sunday's readings remind us that we live for the next world, not for this one. What does it matter if we don't have things in our lives the way we would prefer? If we suffer these losses for the sake of God's Kingdom, that is, which also to help us go to Heaven, so much the better. We need God's grace to accept this.

This world is what not what God originally wanted us to have. But because Adam and Eve sinned, despite having greater strength to avoid sin then we have, we all have to suffer death. Jesus uses hyperbole to stress the fact that we should avoid sin to the point of losing our eyes or feet, etc. God knows that we are weak sinful creatures who despite our best efforts fail from time to time.

We are either with God or against Him. We glean this from what Moses said in the first reading regarding those prophesying who were outside the gathering and from what Jesus said in today's Gospel. No one can do a mighty work in Jesus's Name and at the same time speak ill of Him. We have to choose sides. May we choose God and consistently reaffirm that choice.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD
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Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time



Readings: 
1st Reading: Wisdom 2:12, 17-20
Resp.: Psalm 54: 3-4, 5, 6-8(6b)
2nd Reading: James 3:16-4:3
Gospel: Mark 9:30-37

The reading from St James tells us a lot about what has been happening during the life of the world. So many times we ask for what we think we need but actually don't need those things. He says "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." So we should always pray for God's Will to be done in our lives and in the lives of others. It is that simple.

It is these passions left unchecked, then and now, which led Jesus to the Cross. St. Alphonsus Liguori says in the Stations of the Cross attributed to him that our passions make us despise Christ. To despise means to regard as worthless or distasteful. This is what our passions do to us which is what we have inherited from Adam and Eve. It is called concupiscence. Without the Sacraments and prayer and all things Catholic, we will succumb to what is evil and base.

It is the passions that caused the disciples to argue about who is the greatest among them. Jesus showed them a child. Not that he wants us to be childish but childlike. We must serve everyone and this is not easy. If it were, everyone would be doing it. 

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD
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