What Are You Carving?

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Michelangelo, one of the greatest artists of all time, loved sculpting most of all.  He could look at a block of marble, see the potential, a vision for what that block of marble was hiding, and then carve away everything that was not that potential.  Each one of us is standing in front of a block of marble called, “The rest of your life.”  Do you have a vision for what you want that block of marble to look like at the end of your life?  God has a vision for each one of us, He sees so much potential, He tells us in the Gospel today that within each of us is a heart that can love God with everything we’ve got and love our neighbor as ourself.  What do you want to look like at the end of your life: a roughly carved block of untapped potential tromping around heaven, or a true masterpiece of God’s creation?  It’s already inside of you!  So what are you carving?

Never Silenced!

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

In the Gospel today, Jesus’ opponents want Him SILENCED!  They set a trap for Him in the form of both a political and religious kenundrum of the time: the census tax of Caesar.  Jesus skillfully beats them at their own game, refusing to be silenced.  Present day opponents of Christ and His Good News are seeking to silence the voice of Christ in this world by silencing us.  Whether it’s the pressure to keep Jesus and religion out of politics, a false understanding of “separation of church and state”, the temptation to understand faith as simply a personal matter, or the lie that it’s harmful to impose our beliefs on others, opponents of Jesus are trying to silence the voice of Christ.  Jesus wouldn’t be silenced by His opponents and we as His Body won’t be silenced either!  Proclaim your faith, O Christian, because the world needs your voice!

What Are You Wearing?

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The parable which Jesus gives about a king inviting guests to the wedding reception of his son is ultimately a parable about eternal life and heaven (which our 1st reading from Isaiah speaks of as “God’s holy mountain”).  The king in the parable is God, his son is Jesus, and the wedding banquet is eternal salvation.  Some have ignored the invitation (God’s original Chosen People, the Israelites), so the king has sent out his servants (the Apostles) to invite anyone and everyone, the bad and the good alike (the Church), to this wedding reception.  One man, however, is thrown out for not wearing his wedding garment.  While it may seem harsh, the wedding garment symbolizes the garment we were given at baptism when we were asked to put on Christ.  We may say “yes” to God’s original invitation, but Jesus makes it clear that one “yes” is not enough.  After that, we also have to say “yes” to putting on Christ each and every day, to wearing the wedding garment we’ve been given.  And as we learn at the end of the parable, busy-ness, laziness, forgetfulness, whatever made that man not wear his garment, is not a good enough excuse when the final day comes.  What are you wearing today?

Intoxicating the World

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

A vineyard is meant to produce grapes, which turn into wine, which lightens and cheers the hearts of all those willing to drink of it.  Isaiah says that God’s Chosen People, the Jews, were the vine, hand-selected by God, to produce amazing wine for this world – but they didn’t produce good fruit.  So God took the vineyard from them and gave it to other tenants: now we, as the Church of Christ, have been given this vineyard to tend, so that we can produce good fruit for the world.  It means first being intoxicated by our own relationship with God, and then intentionally sharing these “spirits” with others so that they can find deep meaning, purpose and happiness of heart in relationship with God.  Then they will also begin producing good fruit for others.  Our potential is amazing!  So how are you bearing fruit?

Obedience and Change

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

In this Sunday’s Gospel we have a story of change: one son says “no” to his dad’s request, then changes his mind and does it; the other says “yes” to his dad’s request, then changes his mind and doesn’t do it.  We all have the possibility to change, for better or for worse, every single day.  Every day is an opportunity to follow God’s voice again…or to choose to let that voice fade into the background.  A disciple is one who follows the voice of God each and every day; one who has an obedient and faithful heart – not just in word, but also in action; not just on Sunday, but on Monday through Friday as well.  Which son are you now?  Which son will you decide to be tomorrow?  Change is always possible!