The Calling of Saint Matthew, by Caravaggio c. 1600
Eph 4:1-7, 11-13; Mt 9:9-13
Imagine Matthew’s experience as today’s Gospel reading tells it. Here is he, literally minding his business, which was collecting tolls, possibly the toll paid when people transported goods, most likely fish, from the area of Galilee (Capernaum was a border town). Suddenly this man Jesus drops by. If Matthew worked out of Capernaum, he must have heard about and probably met the mysterious man from Nazareth who preached like Jeremiah and healed like Elijah. He knew that he had asked Peter, Andrew, James and John to join him. And now, though he scarcely knew him, along comes this Jesus with the simple and bold invitation, “Come, follow me.” This is most amazing. As a tax collector for the hated Roman government, most people had as little as possible to do with him, his only friends being other tax collectors and the sort of people the Pharisees labeled “sinners,” so called not because they were nasty people but because their trade or lack of learning made it unlikely that they kept the Torah properly. And yet this charismatic man of God is asking him to join him. What’s to lose? There got to be something better in this life than toll collecting. And there is something profoundly attractive about this Jesus. So he simply gets up and follows him.
June 06, 2019 was a joyful day for the Sisters in Belize, as they celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of profession of Sr. Benedict Habet and Sr. Rosalyn Novelo. The festivity begun with a Holy Mass at St. Joseph’s Church, Belize City. Many Pallottine Sisters, family members, friends and parishioners joined to praise and thank God for our Sisters who lived 60 years of faithful service to the Church and the Congregation. After the Holy Mass all gathered to extend good wishes and join in a grand agape.
After my holidays in Rwanda, I went to Tanzania during the month of August 2019 for a short mission. It was for me a gift from God because I had the opportunity to be with novices in the International Novitiate which is the cradle of the Congregation. There are novices 22 novices from four countries Tanzania, Cameroon, Congo and Rwanda. During my stay with them and the Sisters who are preparing for final profession three from Rwanda and three from Tanzania as well as the three other young Sisters of Tanzania Province, we had the seminar about the General Statutes of the Union of the Catholic Apostolate.
▪ Obeying God is the key to Christian Life, said Pope Francis during his recent audience at St. Peter's Sq. To obey God means to listen and to act in His name. And this is the great Christian response. May these words of the Holy Father motivate us to listen God carefully, without delay or reservation, and remain faithful to Him in everything we do and everything say. As we strive to be of service to our brothers and sisters, let us ask the Holy Spirit for the interior strength of knowing that the Lord is always at our side.
1 Timothy 6:2-12; Luke 8:1-3
Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources. Luke 8:1-3
Enthusiastic or Sober?
Contrasting with the sober reading from Timothy, is the tone of enthusiasm, hope and achievement in today’s Gospel story. While the Gospel has more appeal, the other text also have its necessary place in church life. Sometimes we need to be sobered up from intense excitement.
"To what shall I compare the people of this generation?"
I love to watch Jesus in the midst of a messy conflict. He has encountered tremendous faith from a Roman centurian who trusts God's power. He brought the only son of a widow back to life. And then the disciples of John the Baptist bring him a question from John, who is now in jail: "Are you the one, or should we expect someone else?" Jesus tells them to go back and reassure John by reminding him, "the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them." After Jesus tells the crowd what an incredible person John was, Luke adds the following words:
Today’s gospel provides such a dramatic and beautiful picture of God’s love for us. There are many lessons to be found in this passage.
It is easy to imagine this woman - with hair probably to her waist or longer - weeping at Jesus’ feet in sorrow for her sins. She demonstrates such humility in her actions, to use her tears and her hair to wash the dusty, dirty feet of someone who has been walking in sandals on unpaved roads and paths, through the market places and in the fields. As a nurse I think of the contrast with how we health care providers can distance ourselves from our patients with gloves and gowns and masks. Not that I am recommending that we forego these protections for ourselves and others; it is reasonable and necessary to protect against exposure to infection. But, it might be well for us to imagine this gospel scene when ministering to a patient to remind us that God resides in that individual. Then we are humbled by His presence just as the woman in the gospel was and, despite our protective gear, there can be no distancing of our hearts and minds.
1 Timothy 3:1-13; Luke 7:11-17
As I read and reflected on Jesus’ raising the son of the widow of Nain, I was struck by what Jesus did and how he cared for the woman who had lost her son. First, there are two groups on the road; there is the group of relatives, friends, and mourners with the widow, and then there is the group with Jesus. One group is mourning with and for a woman who has lost her only son, and the other group, led by Jesus, has been proclaiming God’s love and presence in the world by preaching that God’s reign is near and healing the sick.
What attracts me about this passage from Luke is that it refers to the other spirituality. It is not the usual scenario of Jesus calling men and women to leave home and family to follow him. In this passage we find "house" mentioned twice. According to scripture scholars, house or home is mentioned in scripture more often than either temple or church.
In this passage the Centurion is credited by Jesus for his loyalty, concern and care of his slave "who is ill and close to death." The Centurion does not leave his dying servant, not even to go to Jesus to ask healing for his servant. Jesus is amazed at the faith of the Centurion who recognizes that his calling is to family, to his extended household, to his slave. The Centurion speaks to Jesus of his understanding of loyalty and dependability. He is a man responsible for his household.
Ex 32:7-11, 13-14; 1 Tm 1:12-17; Lk 15:1-32
The Lost Drachma by James Tissot
All three parables are different versions which stress the same central theme: God is willing to do just about anything to bring back someone who is lost! Also I chose the least familiar of the parables because it is one of the times that Jesus uses a feminine image for God. God is like the woman in this parable. So for just a few minutes will think of God as feminine, something we aren’t used to doing. In its simplest terms this is a story about a woman who lost a coin and because money was so hard to come by, she scours her home in attempt to find it, and when she does find it, she tells all her friends and asks them to party with her.