Ruth 1:1, 3-6, 14-16, 22, Matthew 22:34-40
The beautiful words that end the gospel reading today – Love God with your whole heart, and your neighbor as yourself – pack a real punch for me. Jesus says that the whole law and the prophets (shorthand: the entire Hebrew Bible) is contained in these two texts that he culls from the bible. Love of God and love of neighbor is the whole thing. Now that’s saying a lot!
Today, the Church celebrates the Memorial of the Queenship of Mary. In the Western world, titles of royalty are mostly remnants of a social order that is more and more a thing of the past. They are indications of ancestry and ceremonial function, and have little to do with actual governance. Often, it seems that European royal families get most of their real power through their money and social status, and not much because of their actual role in government. They are often admired and loved to the extent that they seem to have the best of what the world has to offer.
Belize is an independent and sovereign country located on the north eastern coast of Central America. It is bordered on the northwest by Mexico, on the east by the Caribbean Sea, and on the south and west by Guatemala. The rolling blue waters of the Caribbean, wash over and refines the tiny pearls of glittering sands on the seashore of the nation of Belize.
From June 29 to 22 July, 2019 Sr. Josephina D’Souza, Vicar General, held an official Visitation to the communities in different districts of the Country. She visited the familiar and not too familiar grounds which she walked thirty years ago while she was in formation to be a Pallottine Missionary Sister.
Our St. Mary's Pallottine Community, Huntington, as well as all of our USA communities, had been preparing for Sr. Izabela Swierad, Superior General’s visit for weeks. The lovely prayer composed by Sr. Francesca Lowis was prayed daily by the Community, until her arrival. We were expecting Sr. Izabela to arrive on Sunday, July 14th. However she surprised us by coming one day earlier. Sr. Mary Grace Barile, our Provincial Superior accompanied her from Buckhannon. Our small Community (Srs. Mary Terence Wall, Elisabeth Heptner, Angela Madera, and Joanne Obrochta) greeted her at our supper meal. It was a great joy to see her again.
Jgs 9:6-15; Mt 20:1-16a
Laborers in the field, 11th c., Byzantine
Today's gospel tells of the landowner who hired laborers for his vineyard. In the early morning, the landowner agrees to hire people to work all day for the daily wage. Throughout the day, he continues to hire more people, even in the final hours of the workday. When the sun has set and they all line up to be paid, the ones who have only toiled briefly in the fields are paid for a whole day' wage. The ones who have been there since early morning are paid the exact same amount. "Unfair!" the exhausted all-day workers grumble."We spent the whole day in the hot sun and you have given these latecomers the same money!"
“It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of heaven.” There has probably been more effort expended in various sermons to explain away this uncomfortable saying of Jesus than for all the rest of his sayings combined. Pastors do not want their wealthy parishioners to be too uncomfortable. They depend upon them, after all, to sustain the parish enterprise. This was just a figure of speech, wasn’t it? So it’s OK to be rich.
"The young man went away sad, for he had many possessions"
Do we worship the Lord? Do we turn to God only to ask him for things, to thank him, or do we also turn to him to worship him? What does it mean, then, to worship God? It means learning to be with him, it means that we stop trying to dialogue with him, and it means sensing that his presence is the most true, the most good, the most important thing of all. All of us, in our own lives, consciously and perhaps sometimes unconsciously, have a very clear order of priority concerning the things we consider important. Worshiping the Lord means giving him the place that he must have; worshiping the Lord means stating, believing – not only by our words – that he alone truly guides our lives; worshiping the Lord means that we are convinced before him that he is the only God, the God of our lives, the God of our history.
Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10; Hebrews 12:1-4; Luke 12:49-57
I have come to bring division to the earth
This Sunday’s Gospel reading contains some of the most provocative words ever spoken by Jesus: "Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law."
I received great grace from God to be a participant of the 5-month formation program for Formators organized by UISG (International Union Superiors General) in Rome. I was thrilled thinking that I would have the opportunity to be in the city of our Founder but also about the course. I didn’t regret any minutes of it.
Josh 24:14-29; Mt 19:13-15
The first reading reaffirms that our faith and our choices in our faith are in fact choices. We choose our religion and our actions. In Joshua, the tribes of Israel have to make a choice -- do they worship the Lord, or do they worship the gods of their fathers or the gods of this new land. Joshua says they can make their own choices, but that he chooses to worship the Lord. They choose the Lord as well, knowing that if they revert to their old ways they may not get a second chance. They realize that this choice is important and not a whim. They choose the Lord, reiterate that decision, and pledge to it. They acknowledge that the Lord has saved them and has seen them through hardships, and they will not forsake Him now that they are in relative safety. But technically they could. This is a choice and they have the free will to do that. They choose the Lord and they choose this life.