Lanie LeBlanc OP
Dennis Keller with Charlie
Brian Gleeson CP
Paul O'Reilly SJ
reflection can be here!)
Sun. 19 C 2022
I think that our Gospel story today, depending of course
on the length of the part that is read/heard, contains three
important and connected points:
1. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart
2. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not
expect, the Son of Man will come.
3. Much will be required of the person entrusted with
much, and still more will be demanded of the person
entrusted with more.
I think much insight can be gained from sitting with
these quotes over a couple of days. That is what I have done
for more days than usual ... and, consequently, why this
reflection will be submitted late!
I've always tried to attend to focusing on those main
themes of time management, planning, and accountability in
my professional life. That really seems so long ago now that
I have been retired and I refer to the former as "my
previous life". It really hit me when I first read the
readings though: what about my spiritual life, then or now,
regardless of the other important things that different
stages of life present!
For me, the spiritual life has to determine the other
aspects of my life. Well, at least that is my desire and
philosophy but I truly know that the emergencies of life
involve the triage of everyone's time, including my own. So
my personal question to myself, and to readers is how does
this very CORE part of me /someone need to change and
adjust, so it will sustain and help me/everyone thrive, no
I'll be sitting /standing/working/praying with those
thoughts repeatedly for a long while but will end here for
now... or I will never hit "send"!
Nineteenth Sunday of Ordered Time - August 7 2022
Wisdom 18:6-9; Responsorial Psalm 33; Hebrews
11:1-2 & 8-19; Gospel Acclamation Matthew 24:42 & 44; Luke
When I think about faith, I think about a belief in
something unseen, unsensed, and often unsensible. That
belief is the filter through which everything I do see,
sense, and understand is run. For those who have faith –
even if a just born faith or a much practiced one –
everything is colored and understood differently than those
without faith understand physical reality and relationships.
If we were to be asked if we have faith or not, most would
say yes without thinking about it. Some would take a little
time to scrutinize their thinking before answering. With
faith, the world and its relationships seem to have a
purpose. The purpose and meaning are often not evident
immediately. It seems there is a randomness and chaotic
aspect to how material reality and how relationships come
into being and how they play out. For the person with faith,
however, there comes a purpose and a reason for events and
relationships. It’s sort of like a growing tree: what occurs
is growth. In orchards and managed forests, humans prune and
shape the growth. The growth is present, but the shape it
takes comes from the hands of the caretaker. That’s a way of
thinking about faith. Things happen naturally or by human
intervention. Those events, those growths are shaped, not
left to randomness – to purposelessness. Faith is the
perception and awareness of the shaper of history, the
mitigating of relationships, the unifying of contrary and
conflicting efforts. The person of faith seeks and believes
there is a husbandman present who shapes and forms even
tragedy and hatred into growth leading to a higher truth,
Faith runs counter to what we know about human
experience. Amassing a sizeable fortune, achieving an
enviable social status, being recognized, and picked out of
crowds as a person of importance are the hot buttons all
naturally strive to achieve. These are the tangible things
we can sink our teeth into. These are the goals of much of
human life. But Faith? What does faith provide add to our
pursuit during our years? Faith, isn’t it about things
unseen? Isn’t it easily forgotten, pushed aside in favor of
what we are able touch, see, hear, taste, and/or smell? So,
this Sunday is about – faith. We’ll need to collect thoughts
to think about during this coming week.
The second reading, that letter to the Hebrews, is
difficult. It is written to the Jews and assumes the readers
participate in that cult and culture. Those of us lacking
that background struggle to understand. It insists faith is
the realization – the actualization – of what we hope for.
Faith makes real what hearts and minds are hard wired to
search for in life. What questions arise from this? What do
hearts long for, what do minds search for, what emotions and
passions do we cultivate and struggle to achieve? The quick
and unvarnished answer is a single word, SALVATION. Isn’t
this what religious writers, philosophers, and theologians
write about? Isn’t this the code word we rattle off so
easily? We’re all looking to be "saved," as if we’re like
fruit to be put up in a jar and shelved. Salvation, does it
mean that we are somehow preserved? But isn’t that what
happens when the fruit or vegetable reaches maturity and is
ready to fall to the ground? So, maybe the notion of
salvation in the sense of being saved is too negative, too
lacking in future? It speaks of status quo when a certain
quality is achieved. Yet even those whose lives are morally
perfect still live and experience new and challenging
opportunities. Maybe we’ve a child’s view of salvation. We
really need an adult perspective if the pursuit of salvation
is to have any impact on how we live. It’s time we put on
long pants and take our place in the real world that is
where faith makes a difference to each person and to the
community of persons. Let’s look at the word salvation.
Salvation is often dumbed down to mean escaping the
tragedy of an eternal juridical sentence in the fires of
Gehenna. Do you know the image of Gehenna? It was a garbage
dump outside Jerusalem, a place made notorious by the pagan
sacrifice of firstborn males in the furnace of Moloch.
Salvation reduced to escaping eternal damnation lacks
motivation for righteous as it is based on fear of pain and
forever-suffering. Unless threat is immanent, we tend to
ignore it. But, even so, who can operate, live life based on
fear? Well maybe we should look at thoughts about heaven.
What is there about heaven that motivates us to a high moral
standard? Some think heaven is sitting around perpetually
staring at the infinite majesty of the Trinity. Pretty
boring after a century or so – unless there is no sequence
of time just a perpetual present. What is the delight in
that, where is the change and progress of events that makes
human life interesting? The gospels present heaven as a
great banquet. How long can we be at a banquet before we’re
overstuffed and tipsy? Others believe heaven is existing in
the presence of God AND friends, relatives, co-workers, and
citizens. Since this is outside competition and conflict,
all would need have settled disputes before arrival or both
parties to a dispute could both ejected. The pursuit of
heaven must be more than avoidance of hell and its blazing
fires. That fear is a good started but in the long run,
which is human life, it lacks staying power.
There is a problem with looking at heaven and hell as the
end of living. It is too future. Focusing down the road will
cause us to fall into the ruts and potholes in day-to-day
living. Some think to wait till the very last moment and
making sure a priest is around to anoint and send us on our
way with the Apostolic Blessing – and, if we’re able, to
receive the Eucharist in the form of viaticum – that is food
for the journey. Heaven and hell, however, is already now in
our present time as well as at the final curtain. How we are
able to deal with the glories and the tragedies and the
everyday boring stuff of life colors our living – we
discover heaven now or hell now. And faith is the difference
as it finds value in daily salvation.
I learned at a retreat this past weekend that the word
salvation is from a Hebrew word which is translated as a
verb meaning "to make spacious." Our Latin rendering of the
word has a root that can lead us to think it means "to heal,
to cure, to make whole." But it is the making spacious that
is more to the point of salvation. Salvation is what happens
within us when we are freed from what ties us down. Simply
put, it is a release from what enslaves us. In the history
of the Hebrews, God over and over and over yet again causes
liberation for his chosen ones. One tragedy after another –
they continually get caught in idolatry; they act as in the
way of the world, denying the rights and dignity/worth of
others. Inevitably idolatry and violating the welfare of
others and robbing the common good of all leads to being
conquered and enslaved. In religious thinking, the
conquering by foreign nations is only the realization of
what the chosen ones have already done to themselves. Think
of the Egyptian captivity, the Assyrian conquest, the Syrian
threat, the Babylonian captivity. Don’t overlook the
enslavement of the Jews by Antiochus Epiphanies. For the
sake of unity and loyalty in his empire, he insisted the
Hebrew culture, cult, and Mosaic Law be replaced with Greek
culture and worship and philosophy. Yet, from the beginning
– actually beginning with Abraham – there was a belief in
One God. And that One God was truthful, present, and wise.
The Mosaic Law was the way the people would live a free and
productive life, focused on the common good of the nation
and aware of those in need and supportive of the widow, the
orphan, and the alien in their midst. Harmony would ensue
giving space and encouragement to each person to grow in
skills, productivity: security was achieved, and each could
reach fullness of age, graced with wisdom, dignity, and
peace. This is no ordinary peace but one in which everyone
had access to what they needed to flourish. That is named
Shalom and is a condition our hearts and minds cry out for
even now. From this we understand heaven isn’t something in
the sky far away and a long time from now. Heaven and hell
exist here and now. Good things and bad things happen. How
we deal with them puts us in one of the two places. Take a
look around and it’s evident this is so.
The judgment that precedes our final placement is a
summation of our life. That is the treasure that is stored
up for us either in heaven or hell. And it all begins now.
Even the most difficult life is a foundation for growth in
wisdom, dignity, and relationship with the source of all
life, the Trinity. The difference between heaven and hell in
time and space is faith.
There is a big jump, however, before we get to the place
where we grow in spirit, in wisdom, in dignity, and
relationship with God we need nourish the faith that has
been gifted us. We must realize the way of the world is not
in our best interests. The way of the world cannot satisfy
our thirst for wisdom, dignity, peace, and fullness. The way
of the world is to keep us in a state of anxiety and in
constant struggle to get the more always just out of reach.
The way of God appears to be foolishness to anyone who lives
in the way of the world.
The way of the world is marketed to us with an insistence
difficult to resist and/or refute. How can we stand up
against its pressures and allure? Ah! That’s the story this
Sunday. It is faith that gets us past the siren songs of
power, wealth, influence, and pleasure. If we agree with
those ways of the world, we soon become enslaved to them.
Check out the concerns of your day! Check out the amount of
time allotted in your day for developing a relationship with
the Trinity, that source of Life. Check out the urge to
compete even unto financial and/or social death for the
goods the world holds out as rewards. Faith, says the Letter
to the Hebrews, is the realization of the hope that is most
central and fundamental to humans. Often our hopes are about
the new car, the bigger house, the richer food, the fat
accounts, and stock portfolio. What is more fundamental to
our wellbeing is a sense of self-worth, an awareness of
belonging to a community, starting with family, and
expanding as we mature. What we hope for is health, and our
daily bread – that bread not limited to food but includes
food for our hearts – what we love – and for our spirits.
That bread is the Wi-Fi connection with the kingdom of God,
that reign of God whose energy is based on the bondage of
love for others and community. If we hope for anything else,
we hope for the things available by the way of the world.
That way demands our spirits (souls) stealing freedom. Our
living becomes more expansive when we discover the Way of
Faith. Faith resides in the heart, coming as gift from the
Father. For with faith, obedience means listening with the
heart. The head is too calculating to listen, concerned as
it is with its own way. When listening with the heart, we
listen with appreciation, love, in harmony with the heart of
the Gift-giver. By listening to the Heart of God, we expand,
grow in freedom, and in that freedom, are able to grow as
persons, and strength to life of communities. We make real
what in faith we set our hands to – listening always to the
heart of the Trinity.
Keller with Charlie
LOOKING FOR JESUS TO TAKE US HOME: 19TH SUNDAY C
Wisdom 18:6-9; Hebrews 11:1-2, 18-19; Luke 12:32-48
'Be ready,' Jesus says, 'because I am coming at an hour
you do not expect.’
Linda, a mother, was putting her three tiny tots to bed.
Suddenly, Anna, who had just begun kindergarten, said
thoughtfully: 'Mommy, if the world came to an end right now
…' Linda gulped and said a quick prayer for guidance. 'Yes,
dear,' she said, 'go on.' Anna finished her question,
saying, 'Would I have to take my library book back, or would
it be okay to leave it at home?' Anna's innocent question
and Jesus' clear words invite me to ask: 'How ready am I at
this very moment to meet my Lord?'
Jesus calls on his followers to be on the job so to
speak, with their sleeves rolled up and ready for action, on
the day of his Second Coming. Just when that will be, nobody
knows. Meanwhile, for those of us who will have passed on
before the Second Coming, Jesus will also be coming for us
at our death. Just exactly when that will be, we have no
idea. We don't know what year, what month, what day, and
what hour any of us who are alive now are destined to pass
from this world into the next. It might be in 50 years’ time
or 10 years’. It might be next year or it might be tomorrow.
It could even be tonight. 'Who knows?' God knows, and God
No matter how strong and healthy we might be, life can be
as fragile and unpredictable as when a burglar breaks into a
house in the dead of night. Remember what happened to
Princess Diana, and many others. The all-important thing is
to hear and heed the sensible advice of Jesus: 'Be ready! Be
ready at all times and at any time! Be always ready to let
go and let God!'
For those servants of God who are ready, Jesus offers a
blessing: 'Happy those servants whom Jesus the master finds
awake when he comes. I tell you the truth. He will put on an
apron, sit them down at the table, and wait on them.' They
will find themselves at the table of the Lord, being waited
on by Jesus himself, no longer just servants, but friends.
Waited on, nourished, cared for, and loved, just as he does
at every Eucharist, but this time in a richer and fuller
How very important and necessary it is, then, that we
heed the teaching of Jesus on how he will be coming into our
lives at the end, by being on the lookout for how he comes
into our lives now. In ‘the signs of the times’, in the
people we meet, in the circumstances of every day, and in
the opportunities that come our way to do good for others!
Someone has said wisely and well. 'I will pass through this
world but once. Any good therefore that I can do to any
person, let me do it now, and not delay it, for I shall not
pass this way again.' Someone else has said just as wisely:
'As we live, so we die, and as we die, so we stay.'
If we are convinced of the truth of those sayings, we
will not only be people of faith. We will also be people of
hope, people who pray with conviction and commitment three
prayers we regularly recite at Mass: - 1. ‘Save us, Savior
of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection you have
set us free.' 2. ‘... we await the blessed hope and the
coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ', and 3. '...we look
forward to his second coming'. Living like that, and praying
like that will make those other words of Jesus come true for
us: 'There is no need to be afraid, little flock, for it has
pleased your Father to give you the kingdom.'
When Jesus Christ comes for us, then, how would we like
him to find us? We would surely want him to find us with our
work completed. Life for so many of us is filled with loose
ends. There are things undone and things half done, things
put off, and things not even started. May we be able to say
what Jesus said to his God and ours: 'Father, I have
finished the work you gave me to do' (Jn 17:4)!
We would surely want Jesus to find us at peace with our
fellow human beings. At peace and reconciled, with no anger
still burning in our hearts, and carrying no grudges! We
would also surely want Jesus to find us at peace with
ourselves, with confidence that we have nothing on our
conscience to trouble or hinder us now, that we have
experienced and celebrated God's mercy and forgiveness, and
that we have put right any wrong we have done.
So, when Jesus comes for us, if he finds us with our work
complete and at peace with ourselves, with our fellow human
beings, and with our God, we will surely feel safe and
secure as he takes us into his arms, and carries us home to
For this most necessary of all blessings, let us keep
praying to the Lord!
Gleeson CP" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Year C: 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time
"Get yourselves purses that do not wear out,
treasure that will not fail you, in heaven where no thief
can reach it and no moth destroy it. For where your treasure
is, there will your heart be also.."
You will have heard it said,
You may have heard the song,
You may even have seen the film:
"Diamonds are forever!"
That is why diamonds are a girl’s best friend.
That is why people like them – to put in engagement rings
and wedding rings and symbols of other things that they hope
will also last forever.
And that is why they are so expensive.
And that is why people take big risks to go and get them.
Some even fight and kill for them. I am told that the
biggest civil war in Africa – in the Congo –which killed
over three million people was maintained almost entirely by
the price of diamonds. They called them ‘blood diamonds’.
Well, most of what I know about diamonds I learned from a
man who used to mine diamonds. I’ll call him Rohan. Rohan
spent five years going up and down the Mazaruni river in
South America, looking for diamonds. He was a diver – they
get the best pay and they take the biggest risks. And he
took enormous risks diving in the river. He saw many friends
killed and seriously injured. He himself got malaria
twenty-six times, as well as bush yaws, typhoid, dysentery,
and all sorts of other diseases. But he did make good money.
And every so often, he had "plenty money" to into Mahdia,
the local mining town, and drink up and have a good time and
meet some nice girls. At least, he always thought it was a
good time and they always seemed like nice girls. But then
the money would finish and it would be time to go back up
Just occasionally, he would go back up to his home
village of Moruka where his brother has a farm. And one day,
after about four or five years of this, his brother asked
him very simply: "Rohan, why is it that you earn so much
money and you never have any; while I earn so little and I
always have a little?"
That question really troubled Rohan. And it took him a
very long time to find the answer. But, when he found it,
the answer was that his brother was working for his wife and
his family. That was why his little money had to last. Rohan
was working only to get money for himself. And that is why
his money never lasted longer than his most immediate
pleasures. And right then he made himself promise that from
now on he would only work for things that endure – for the
things in life that are ultimately important - for the food
that lasts. He had learned that Diamonds may be for a long
time, but only God is forever.
And just after Rohan told me that, he looked me very
straight in the eyes, pointed his finger hard at me and
asked me his own question: "Father, - you - do you work for
things that last, or do you only work for diamonds?"
It is a question I always try to ask myself as seriously
as I can, every few months, just to keep myself honest.
Because diamonds come in many forms – not just a comfortable
lifestyle in one of the rich countries of the world;
popularity with friends and colleagues; the approval of
patients and parishioners (well sometimes!), all the nice
things in life. But all of that means nothing – and less
than nothing - unless it means something in the eternity
that is God’s Kingdom.
Let us stand and profess our Faith in the God who gives
us the true treasures of life.
O'Reilly SJ <email@example.com>
Volume 2 is for you. Your thoughts, reflections,
and insights on the next Sundays readings can influence the
preaching you hear. Send them to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline is
Wednesday Noon. Include your Name, and Email Address.
-- Fr. John Boll, OP