34th Ordinary Sunday (Note & Bulletin)

In the Responsorial Psalm today we hear “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”  It is a strange image that God would have us sit in peace with those things that have hurt us or seek to hurt us.  We would expect God to say, “I have prepared a table free of your enemies.”  But that is not what God is saying. 

Many years ago, when I was studying in Nebraska, I was speaking with a older Jesuit.  I must have been talking about my struggles, difficulties and dissatisfactions.  And I remember he quoted this line from Psalm 23 about sitting down with your enemies.  At the time I wanted to be “fixed,” to be free of those things that held me back or those things that were not pleasant in my life.  For example, though he had died ten years before, I still strucggled with the saddness of my father’s death.  The sadness did not allow me to smile and laugh as much as I wanted or to enjoy the beauty of life and of people.  It made me feel that my life and the world would always just be grey.  It made me feel that life was something to be endured rather than enjoyed.  So how could I sit in peace with something like this?

Our answer is in today’s 1st Reading from Prophet Ezekiel.  Though we have our struggles and difficulties that definitely weigh us down, we can always remember with our hearts and minds that we do not carry that weight alone.  For Ezekiel writes of God, “’I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down,’ says the Lord God.  ‘I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak.’” The goodness, beauty and loving of God is shown in these words.  God is not content—God is not okay—without the flourishing of the life he has given to us.  He labours eternally for our salvation, our experience of the resurrected life.  And as that resurrected life gradually takes root within us, over perhaps much time, we know no matter how long, that it will indeed fully blossom.  

Our experience of the resurrection grows from our experience of the Father’s faithful love. As the Psalmist writes “surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.“  Our life as Christians, striving to be disiciples of the Lord Jesus, is reflected in Matthew’s Gospel in which the shepherd separtes the sheep from the goats.  Our care for the hungry, the stranger, the inprisoned, the poor—our living of our faith in prayer and action—is like the breathing out of what we have breathed in.  In our hearts we receive the love of the Father and with our hands we seek to give his love to all.  And so, on this Solemnity of Christ the King we know that we can sit at table with our enemies because so too does God sit with us.  Because we are held in his love, so too, do we want to love.  

God Bless, and Take Care!

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Parish Picnic
2018 Aug 18 - 09:00
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2018 Sep 8 - 06:30