P1000888Gospel Reflections

Our parish sends a weekly Gospel Reflection written by our clergy.

To sign up, either stop in the parish office to let them know you’d like to sign up, or click here and make sure you check the “Gospel Reflections” box.

Scroll below to read our most recent Gospel Reflections.

Gospel Reflection Nov 19 – Deacon Chris

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Sunday, November 19

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 25: 14-30

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“A man going on a journey
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one–
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master’s money.

After a long time
the master of those servants came back
and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents came forward
bringing the additional five.
He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,
‘Master, you gave me two talents.
See, I have made two more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said,
‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person,
harvesting where you did not plant
and gathering where you did not scatter;
so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.
Here it is back.’
His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!
So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant
and gather where I did not scatter?
Should you not then have put my money in the bank
so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?
Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.
For to everyone who has,
more will be given and he will grow rich;
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.'”


If it we look at this parable in the larger context, we see the themes of good and bad servants, final division, reward and punishment, and the return of the master after delay. This parable focuses on the time we have here on earth. We do not know when the Lord will return. Our lives could end at any time or Christ could return for the final judgment at any moment. Matthew explains in this gospel what he means by being watchful or ready during this “in between time”.

We hope and desire that heaven will be our final resting place with the Lord. Consequently, our actions must be faithful to God’s instructions. This means we are to use all the abilities that God has entrusted to us in order to fill our time here on earth with deeds of love. Additionally, this parable specifically highlights the qualities of courage and fidelity. Being industrious and courageous with the gifts God has given us, allows us to give back to Him. Fidelity in small things leads to a much greater reward and intimate friendship with the Lord. Our faithful and whole-hearted commitment to the Lord through our actions will not go unseen.

Conversely, inactivity is condemned in this parable. It is clear that the demanding nature of the master and a fear of failure are unacceptable reasons for refusing to make an effort. Each of us can fail to meet Christ’s moral demands when we sin or through a lack of insight. Or, as in the case here, sheer inactivity and laziness are unfaithfulness to the Master. This parable emphasizes the essential aspect of the interaction between God’s free gift and our response. The disciple who “gives himself” fully to the gift God has given him will receive even a great reward. We are called to action within our spiritual lives or else we risk losing what we have. Let us ask God for the grace and strength to be courageous with the gifts he has given us, so that we may be good and faithful servants and enter into the joy of His kingdom when He comes to meet us again.

Deacon Chris Tuttle

Gospel Reflection Nov 12 – Father Morris

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Sunday, November 12

Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 25: 1 – 13

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins
who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps,
brought no oil with them,
but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.
Since the bridegroom was long delayed,
they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight, there was a cry,
‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.
The foolish ones said to the wise,
‘Give us some of your oil,
for our lamps are going out.’
But the wise ones replied,
‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you.
Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’
While they went off to buy it,
the bridegroom came
and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him.
Then the door was locked.
Afterwards the other virgins came and said,
‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’
But he said in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’
Therefore, stay awake,
for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

The founder of Scouting, retired British Army officer Robert Baden-Powell, was once asked to elaborate on the famous Scout motto: “Be Prepared.” His questioner asked, “Prepared for what, exactly?” According to Scouting legend, the old campaigner quipped, “Why, for any old thing!”

We all know people like the foolish virgins in the parable (perhaps some of us are even married to them!) They aren’t prepared for anything, it seems. They have no extra jacket, their cell phone battery hasn’t been charged, and the gas tank routinely hovers below E. They are always ready to roll their eyes at “the prepared” for their precautions and safety margins. Strangely enough, they are also the ones who are more than ready to ask “the prepared” for help when they encounter troubles! It is only the most saintly of Christians who doesn’t luxuriate in schadenfreude and self-satisfaction in such moments. It feels so good to gloat when our foresight is proven correct!

It would have been “very Christian of them” if the wise virgins had given the foolish virgins some of their oil. But if the “wise virgins” were truly wise, earlier in the day they should have been able to recognize the “foolish virgins” for what they were: fools! So why did such “wise” people allow such “fools” to start out unprepared, and suffer an easily preventable catastrophe?

When we rejoice over the ill-fortune of others, especially as a result of their sins, we should stop a moment. Before we are tempted to pat ourselves on the back for our holiness, for our avoidance of temptation and our lack of vices, perhaps we should ask ourselves an uncomfortable question: If I see a fool in his folly and leave him in it; if I then rejoice over his misfortune from that uncorrected folly… how “wise” am I? How “holy” am I?

Father Morris

Gospel Reflection Nov 5 – Deacon Paul

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Sunday, November 5

Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 23: 1 – 12

Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,
“The scribes and the Pharisees
have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,
but do not follow their example.
For they preach but they do not practice.
They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry
and lay them on people’s shoulders,
but they will not lift a finger to move them.
All their works are performed to be seen.
They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.
They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,
greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’
As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’
You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
Call no one on earth your father;
you have but one Father in heaven.
Do not be called ‘Master’;
you have but one master, the Christ.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

You have probably heard the old adage: Do as I say, not as I do. Perhaps you have lived it from time-to-time, be it as a parent instructing a child, as a manager to an employee, as a coach to an athlete, or maybe as a Christian to an unbeliever. One of the worst things I think a person can be referred to or labeled is a hypocrite.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus addressed the crowds and His disciples by saying that the scribes and the Pharisees “preach BUT they do not practice.” Jesus took hypocrisy very seriously and He charged them with religious hypocrisy.

Likewise, we need to ask ourselves, are we a Christian, a follower of Christ and have a personal relationship with Him, or are we a Christian by name only? Do we live a life of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, or are we like the Pharisees whose ‘works were performed to be seen,’ and ‘loved places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues?’

The faith of Jesus that was manifest – not in serving Himself, or looking after His own self-preservation or happiness – but the faith of Jesus that was manifest on the cross, just a few days after Jesus said these words in Matthew 23. He didn’t just criticize the faith of the scribes and Pharisees with words; He showed them, and us, what real love, humility and service looks like.

Let us strive then, not to be hypocrites of our faith, but instead be people who “practice” what we preach. The faith of Jesus is about finding ways to serve, and searching for ways to be a servant – to live as a servant. Let us follow the teachings of Jesus, for ‘whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.’

Deacon Paul Zemanek

Gospel Reflection Oct 29 – Deacon Don

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Sunday, October 29

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 22: 34 – 40

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees,
they gathered together, and one of them,
a scholar of the law tested him by asking,
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him,
“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

One of the principles that our country was built on was the “Rule of Law.” Many countries today proudly follow those same idealistic principles. Today, our country has more than one million laws when counting all federal, state, and local laws that govern us. Why all the laws? The laws are to give us a sense of protection. Sadly, as noble as most of those laws are, it might take another million laws to truly make us feel safe and secure.

An overwhelming number of the current laws do serve the common good and form a better society. Unfortunately, an increasing number of new laws do not serve society. If we simply lived by the virtues of the Gospel today, we would not have need for most of the current laws. Society would behave in a manner serving the intent and spirit of the common good. Society continues toward secularism. As a result, society diminishes the need for God and the Gospels as a source of guidance for governing. We find more and more of our current laws are founded on current populism and feelings rather than on principles. We are led by what is popular or expedient rather than what is consistent with loving God and our neighbor.

It seems that the current trend in creating laws in this way will not secure a future safe and secure society. Regardless of the number or types of laws we consider, as long as we are not guided by our Gospel today, we will continue to form laws upon laws without progress toward a better society. Until we do return to principles guided by the Gospels, we will continue to churn through the motions of layers of law writing. These laws will be based on some prior failure of society and further try to conform a society around where it wants to go rather than where God wants us to go.

Perhaps we should become more active and vocal regarding laws that are not inspired by today’s Gospel. Our prayerful and informed vote is one way to do that.

Deacon Don Poirier

Gospel Reflection Oct 22 – Deacon Frank

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Sunday, October 22

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 22: 15 – 21

The Pharisees went off
and plotted how they might entrap Jesus in speech.
They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians, saying,
“Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man
and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.
And you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion,
for you do not regard a person’s status.
Tell us, then, what is your opinion:
Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?”
Knowing their malice, Jesus said,
“Why are you testing me, you hypocrites?
Show me the coin that pays the census tax.”
Then they handed him the Roman coin.
He said to them, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?”
They replied, “Caesar’s.”
At that he said to them,
“Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar
and to God what belongs to God.”

There were some scientists and biologists who thought they had found the secret to life. They decided to tell God that he was no longer needed. They said they could create life also. God said, “well, I created life from a handful of dirt.” They said we could too. Then they picked up a handful of dirt and started to show God what they could do. God said to them, “…wait just a minute, before you get started, create your own dirt.”

Just as the modern day “know it all” scientists and biologists try to out -smart God, so we see this type of attitude in thisweekend’s gospel. The enemies of Jesus thought they really had Jesus in trouble this time. As you will hear in the gospel, the “know it all” Pharisees and Herodians will try to out-smart Jesus by asking him if they should pay taxes. Jesus’ answer to their question is well known, “…repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” Jesus avoids getting caught in their trap.

When we hear Jesus tell the Pharisees (as well as all of us), he shows us that God does not come knocking on our doors when we do not give him what we owe him like the tax collector. However, nothing is more important than our relationship with God. Some day we will leave behind all the things that we think are so important, and the only thing we will have left is the love for God and for others that we have demonstrated in our daily lives.

We may get in trouble with the law if we do not give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, but we have the most to lose if we do not give back to God the things that are God’s. Our eternal happiness!

Deacon Frank Iannarino

Gospel Reflection Oct 15 – Sr. Teresa

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Sunday, October 15

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 22: 1 – 14

Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and elders of the people
in parables, saying,
“The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who gave a wedding feast for his son.
He dispatched his servants
to summon the invited guests to the feast,
but they refused to come.
A second time he sent other servants, saying,
‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet,
my calves and fattened cattle are killed,
and everything is ready; come to the feast.”‘
Some ignored the invitation and went away,
one to his farm, another to his business.
The rest laid hold of his servants,
mistreated them, and killed them.
The king was enraged and sent his troops,
destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.
Then he said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready,
but those who were invited were not worthy to come.
Go out, therefore, into the main roads
and invite to the feast whomever you find.’
The servants went out into the streets
and gathered all they found, bad and good alike,
and the hall was filled with guests.
But when the king came in to meet the guests,
he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment.
The king said to him, ‘My friend, how is it
that you came in here without a wedding garment?’
But he was reduced to silence.
Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet,
and cast him into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’
Many are invited, but few are chosen.”

Do you know why St. Peter is bald? The story says: When Jesus walked with, ate with, and taught the disciples, Peter would frequently get a very confused look on his face, scratch his head and say, “What?” Legend has it, that because Peter did this so often, it caused his baldness!

Today we have a “What?” and “Scratch your head” kind of Gospel passage.
“The kingdom of heaven is like…” Then Jesus speaks about a king (don’t equate this king with God. I think he could use a few anger management sessions!) Sometimes, you have to go beyond the outside words of a parable and peek underneath to find the nugget of truth presented to us. Underneath all the outside words of this passage, is an invitation to come to the feast and put on a wedding garment. Each and every one of us is invited to the banquet. We all are invited to come and share in the life of God.

In the first reading from the Prophet Isaiah, we heard what it will be like on the Holy Mountain of the Lord. It will be for all peoples, all nations, and for the whole earth. It is a global invitation. “Go out into the streets and invite people to the wedding feast.” Everyone is invited to share in the life of God: regardless of what religion we embrace, or nationality, or political persuasion, or economic standing, or gender or age, or sexual persuasion – everyone is invited to share in God’s life.

What about the wedding garment? It is a metaphor of how we will be recognized as people who have accepted the invitation. Putting on the wedding garment is an essential and non-negotiable piece of accepting the invitation. How will others know if you have accepted the invitation? What will they notice? They will know us by the wedding garment.

When you (and I) accept the invitation and put on the wedding garment then the poor are fed, the naked are clothed, the homeless find shelter, the Earth is cared for, the prisoner and the sick are visited and the dead are buried. We will be known as accepters of the invitation, when justice is pursued, forgiveness is accepted and given, and everyone is recognized as being brother and sister to each other. When we reject or decline the invitation to share in God’s life, then injustice, poverty, self-interest, extreme notions of patriotism and religious elitism abound.

If you watched any of the horrific and heroic events of the Las Vegas shooting, you most undoubtedly were moved. As the stories unfolded, we saw the invitation accepted and the invitation rejected. We saw the best and the worst of humanity.

So, what is it going to be for you? Will you accept the invitation AND wear the wedding garment so that others will recognize you? You might want to spend time with the picture. What do you notice? What feelings or thoughts does it evoke in you?

Sister Teresa Tuite, OP