Lanie LeBlanc OP
Dennis Keller with Charlie
Brian Gleeson CP
Paul O'Reilly SJ
reflection can be here!)
Sun. 22 C
A look at our Gospel message suggests a radical view of
how each of us, especially anyone with wealth or means,
needs to act toward anyone who has less. The values
encouraged include a sense of equality, kindness, and
graciousness. It connects to the first reading from the book
of Sirach which outlines the importance of humility rather
The messages in these readings seem to apply to
everyone's everyday life. We have many opportunities to
share our blessings, talents, knowledge, etc. with others.
How do we do it? Are we the expert, the one in charge,
perhaps even the benefactor? Perhaps unintentionally,
something in our inner attitude might actually be quite
Now that my granddaughter is well into the teenage world,
we are learning new ways of communicating... and not just
through the latest slang or emojis. We are blessed with the
foundation of a positive relationship, but, wow, effective
communication is still a struggle. There is lots new to me,
but I imagine, for her, communicating with a caregiver who
is also an educator must be daunting!
The qualities in our readings plus those that grow along
side of them are the ones that help us and most
relationships the most. They seem to be the basis of genuine
caring for one another. I think that is the heart of the
very basic message in today's readings and what Jesus lived
by his life. Jesus as a role model reminds us that we are
all equally loved by the Father. None of us will gain
entrance into the Kingdom because we are thought of as
"distinguished", but rather because we are loved and treated
others as loved as well. Hmm!
Twenty Second Sunday of Ordered Time August
Sirach 3:17-18, 20, & 28-29; Responsorial Psalm 68;
Hebrews 12:18-19 7 22-24; Gospel Acclamation Matthew 11:29;
Luke 14:1 & 7-14
The operative word in this Sunday’s liturgy of the Word
is "humility." Back in seminary days, we students were
accustomed to laugh about "humility with a hook." What that
meant varied from one student to another. Mostly, however,
it meant saying or acting as though you were untalented,
undisciplined, un-attentive, and un-intelligent. Of course,
someone, feeling kindly, would immediately spout up, "of
course you are really good at all those things." Then of
course there was the wise guy who wouldn’t take the bait and
insist it was good he was so well aware of his failings. The
ultimate putdown and humiliating experience would be the
wise guy being wise. In truth, such self-depreciation was
often just trolling for a complement. It was a way of
growing one’s self-confidence. Makes me wonder, in the
gospel Jesus recommends we should take the lowest seat just
in order to be recognized and asked to move up to a more
prestigious spot. Ah, the mystery of God’s word!
Pride and arrogance never get high marks in the
Scriptures, Hebrew or Christian. Typically, the loudest of
those with pride and arrogance gets attention in our world.
The way of the world demands we promote ourselves or we’ll
be left in the dust. We’ll only achieve personal goals,
improve the quality of life for our families by tooting our
horns. If we don’t look out for ourselves, we’ll never have
recognition that is necessary to achieve a raise or the next
promotion. There is another term to add to pride and
arrogance that is dangerous to our spirit. That addition is
hubris. That’s when we embrace a system and allow the system
to rob our characters of truth and dignity. That is the
foundation for the child abuse that continues even now.
Those who achieve great power and wealth tend to forget
truth and morality. Some have begun to wonder if we’ve lost
any sense of morality in our dealings. Even so, we seem to
have a genetic pre-disposition toward knowing what is right.
There is a sense of knowing what is right and what is wrong
that is hard-wired into our spirit at birth. Then we
encounter the world and how people of the world live.
Instead of an openness to others, there arises within a
demanding sense of right that is more about my best
interests. In place of family, our first society, our
spirits turn inward as though we are the god that requires
worship. Our living takes on self-interest. Goodness is
measured by what is presumed to be good for me. Suddenly we
turn toward selfishness. Community is lost.
Of course, this is natural, many would say. It’s about
self-preservation, about making our way in the world where
it’s dog eat dog. The world of the spirit, the place where
awareness of a Creator, of a Revealer who teaches and heals
the broken, and of a Vitality that is energy for more than
just stuff – where the awareness of God and Trinity is
submerged below worship of myself. The truth of humanity’s
history is painted over with smallness and conflict arising
from taking whatever is in reach. The truth of reality that
we should know from what our ancestors experienced is that
without care and concern for others, we become violent and
small persons. There is no future, there is no hope. There
is no pathway to personal growth of who and what we are.
We were born with standards of right and wrong hardwired
into our psyche. The world teaches us that right and wrong
are merely society’s way of controlling our most depraved
instincts. It is how dictators control us to their wills.
But old testament prophets and new testament prophets insist
freedom is God’s gift. As we constantly work to become
captives to untruth and selfishness, God continues to raise
up seers who shout at us to wake up to the dawning light
available to our spirits.
The world thinks of freedom as being able to do whatever
pleases us. The prophets tell us that freedom means we are
unbound to live without being controlled, freed from the
manipulation of the world that turns our spirits toward
selfishness. The gods of the world seek to control our
spirits and render us servants to their lies. So, we become
victims of sin, prevented from the freedom God strongly
fights to guide us toward fullness of our unique spirit. The
Cross we look to for strength is all about that. Jesus, the
Revealer, in pain, in rejection, in losing the last drop of
his blood, and robbed of the very last bit of air necessary
for life, that Revealer ascended the Cross to demonstrate,
to model for us that suffering is not the ultimate slave
master. It is a part of the world and its people looking for
wholeness. The paschal mystery is this – that suffering,
even death has no final say. After each episode of suffering
in life, there comes resurrection to those whose eyes of
faith are clear and perceptive. For through suffering we
learn about love. And love is not just some useless passion,
some empty emotion. Love that is true is the very life of
the Creator, the Revealer, and the Life Giver. That is the
eternal life promised by Jesus. That is how we come to grow.
The great chain that binds us is self-illusion. When and
if we live seeking honors, expending ourselves seeking the
esteem of others, while condemning self for perceived
weaknesses and inability to be gods in our smallest of
worlds, then we are in a fool’s race. The tendency to seek
divinity for self is an impossibility and dooms us to
ultimate and complete failure because of death.
Humility is a true and just estimate of oneself. The
truth of what we are, focusing on our positive and good
aspects, is the ultimate freedom. Humility is never
groveling and debasing oneself. The virtue of humility makes
us free of criticisms of others. It is a virtue – a strength
supporting our freedom to be the great possibility of our
created unique persons. We are like a seed, planted in
fertile soil of possibilities. We are empowered to choose
from a diverse, rich banquet of possibilities. If we present
ourselves to the world, to our family, to our community in a
phony and empty incarnation, we are bound to be ground up
into dust and fail to live the gift.
Who has listened well to the gospel? Jesus is invited to
dinner by a prominent Pharisee. Only a dinner, nothing more.
Yet Jesus immediately speaks of a "wedding banquet." That’s
worth some thinking.
Some authors have begun writing about the current
situation in the world of power, wealth, and influence. What
prophecy they are proclaiming is that right and wrong have
been overthrown. Rightness and wrongness have lost their
footing. In place of those standards have come winning and
losing. Winning is the ultimate good no matter its effects
on others and on the world in which we live. Losing is the
ultimate wrong. As a result, humanity loses the basis for
community. Violence is the effective result. Alienation of
son or daughter to moms and dads is common. Hatred and greed
are fed in momentary and passing victories or defeats. There
is a lack of foundation for relationships that are for
mutual growth and expansion of spirits, the souls of
persons. The very notion of the sacredness of each person is
lost. There are only those who play the game and those who
are collateral damage.
The message of the gospel and the first reading this
Sunday are about humility. Jesus teaches us that seeking the
esteem of others is a fool’s error even at a non-spiritual
level. Seeking the applause of the crowd is not how we grow
as persons. Accepting this idea as operative is a
significant daily battle and requires effort. The result of
this continuing battle is what freedom is for. That is the
freedom Paul writes when he calls it the "freedom of the
sons and daughters of God."
Study, if you will, the history of the Chosen People with
Pharoah, with Assyria, with Babylon, with the terrors of
Antiochus Epiphanies who sought to eliminate the history and
culture of the Jews. Look, seeking understanding of the
Cross and the empty tomb and the ascension and the
Assumption of Mary. Repeatedly, our spiritual history is
about growth of freedom for each person. Self-centeredness,
attempts to make ourselves God: those attempts are the tool
of evil, laying heavy chains on our limbs, and bending our
backs. The way to freedom resides within our spirits. The
victories w ie achieve with God’s helping hand is what is
known as salvation.
The reading from the Letter to the Hebrews this Sunday
helps us understand God’s constant hand in helping us. The
letter contrasts the Law of Sinai with the Law of Calvary.
The first part presents God at Sinai as sheer majesty, not
about love but about the mighty power of God. God is
unapproachable. The Hebrews are in absolute terror of God.
The Law of Calvary is about a new Jerusalem, a place
where God dwells with humanity. Even angels wait for God in
joyful, anticipatory assembly in that city. The people of
God are no mere nation, but are the first born of the house
of God; that is, they inherit the kingdom of God. In the Law
of Calvary, God is the judge of humanity, judging with
unspeakable joy the perfection of the just ones. And this
new Law of God’s making has as its director, this Jesus. He
sealed this new contract with the sprinkling of his own
blood. That blood shouting to all as more efficacious than
the blood of Abel that identifies each as brother or sister
to Jesus. The guarantee of the blood cannot be refuted or
denied. This contract is a contract not of law but of the
very life of God. And that life is absolutely the vitality
and energy of God (some would say the Spirit). And that
vitality and energy is simply put "the Love of God" for
May we discover how to live. May we come to understand
that suffering is our way of growth. May we take heart at
the Resurrection of our Revealer. May Mary’s assumption be a
lesson to us not so much of Mary’s holiness but of the
roadmap for us of what happens when we complete our growth
in this life. Humility is about making ready for growth.
Humility is the virtue that cleans away bondage and opens us
to understanding and growth as God’s darlings.
Keller with Charlie
OUR HOSPITALITY: 22ND SUNDAY C
Sirach 3:17-20, 28-29; Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24a;
Luke 14:1, 7-14
In Australian culture, one of the most insulting things
we can say to another is this: 'You're a loser!' It's just
as bad as saying: 'You're a no-hoper!' We often hear this
kind of insulting talk on talk-back radio. Such callers not
only show how out of touch their simple solutions are for
complex problems but also how rude and nasty they can be to
fellow human beings.
Once upon a time on a Sunday morning, a family was
rushing from their car to the church. They had been slightly
delayed because torrential rain had caused flooding of the
local streets and slow driving on the main road. The mum in
the family was to be a Eucharistic minister and the dad was
scheduled to proclaim the First Reading. As they hurried to
the door from the parking lot, they passed a homeless man
selling a bi-weekly paper, the proceeds of which went to
help the homeless. When they saw him, the parents looked the
other way and urged their children to hurry up. When their
daughter dared to ask why they didn't buy the paper, the dad
replied: 'That's just a rip-off. If those people would just
get jobs, we wouldn't have to put up with them in front of
our church. They don't belong here, so we shouldn't
encourage them.' The dad who prided himself on being an
excellent reader, felt very proud of his effort that day
when people told him how well he read the words about the
need for humility, gentleness, and kindness.
In another parish, the organizers stopped serving tea,
coffee, and biscuits after Mass. Why? ‘Because,’ they
growled, 'the homeless kept coming here for them.'
Such attitudes are the very opposite of those of our
Leader, Jesus Christ. During his life on earth, his welcome,
hospitality, kindness, understanding, compassion, and
support, for people who were poor, powerless, broken,
rejected, struggling, and suffering was so obvious that he
was called 'the friend of outcasts'. His attitudes are
summed up in his advice to his followers in the gospel
today: 'When you have a party, invite the poor, the
crippled, the lame, the blind; that they cannot pay you back
means you are fortunate because repayment will be made to
you when the virtuous rise again.'
Fortunately, there are still people who take the teaching
of Jesus seriously. A former Governor-General, Sir William
Deane, a committed Catholic Christian, imitated the humanity
of Jesus, in his warmth, care, and affection for all kinds
of people. You may remember his trip to Switzerland to
grieve with the parents of the young people lost in a fast
river following an avalanche, and his handing out to their
parents sprigs of wattle to place in the stream as mementos
of their lost children. His whole attitude was summed up
when for his last official function, he invited a group of
homeless young people to have lunch with him.
What do people remember and treasure most of all about
the late Diana, Princess of Wales? Was it not her decision
to use her worldwide fame and glamour to help the homeless,
the sick, the maimed, and the suffering? And so again and
again we saw her cuddling babies with incurable diseases,
taking off her gloves to shake hands with patients dying of
Aids, greeting the mentally ill with a big bright smile, and
running an energetic campaign that took her halfway around
the world to rid the earth of land-mines.
A school girl tells how when she came back into class
after lunch her pencil case was missing. She told the
teacher. The teacher found out the child who stole it and
gave her a dressing-down in front of the whole class. She
was from a very poor family. The next day the mother of the
first girl went out and bought a new pencil case for the
child who had none.
In one suburb a rather wealthy woman lives in a big house
on a hill. Not many people know about this, but at night she
drives around in a van and gives out sandwiches and hot
chocolate to people spending the night in doorways, tram and
bus shelters, and on park benches. In one parish, the priest
took out three rows of pews near the front so that
wheel-chair restricted persons would not have to park by the
doors like unwelcome guests. Another parish welcomes
mentally retarded adults from a local facility to Sunday
Mass. They make a bit of noise. Some parishioners are not
happy about this, but the Parish Council says that the warm
welcome tells them that God too welcomes them and loves
In our district, area, or suburb, is there someone we are
aware of, who regularly gets left out? Could we consider
inviting them home for our next barbecue, or having them
along to our next picnic, or at least going out of our way
to talk with them? Is there someone else who used to be with
us at Mass on Sunday, but for whatever reason has dropped
out? What about inviting that person to join us once again?
Has a new family moved into our town, district, or area
lately? What about going out of our way to meet them and
help them settle in? Perhaps with a cake or a casserole!
Welcome, warmth, and hospitality! They were big things
with Jesus. And consistently so! What about us, who have
promised to follow him and live like him? Our Holy
Communion, i.e., our sharing of the food God gives us, the
food in which Jesus is really present, is not meant to stop
at the altar, but to send us from our community to be Jesus
Christ to others, bringing them the nourishment of his
welcome, and the warmth and care of his hospitality, to
anyone and everyone who needs them, and right there and
Gleeson CP" <email@example.com>
Year C: 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time
"Come up higher, friend."
I saw just that happen once – a long time ago in Northern
Ireland. A rich man - a pub landlord – funny how pub
landlords in Ireland are always rich men – can’t imagine
why. Anyway, this rich man held his daughter’s wedding feast
at the biggest hotel in Northern Ireland, in a town a few
miles outside Belfast. But this was in the time of the
Troubles. And on the day of the wedding, there was a lot of
trouble in the city, with fighting and shooting and bombs
and road blocks, so many of the invited guests were too
frightened to come. And so there we were - only about ten or
fifteen people in an enormous hall set with dinner for two
hundred and fifty. The bride was crying; the groom was
silent; nobody was talking; everyone was tense. The
atmosphere was horrible!
At the back of the hall stood the father of the bride – a
big stout powerful man in his early fifties. And I have
never seen a man look so angry! His whole face was purple;
the veins were popping out on his forehead; his whole face
was working – as they say in football - like a bulldog
chewing a wasp. Just once I have seen the like. Sir Alex
Ferguson, in his last year as manager of Manchester United,
at Old Trafford, losing at home to Liverpool.
And then, just as I was watching, something inside him
just suddenly snapped. He could stand the strain no longer.
For a moment, I thought he had had a stroke. Then I saw a
look of decision come into his face. He had had enough. He
wasn’t going to take this any longer. He was going to do
He went very slowly and very quietly to the manager of
the hotel, grasped him warmly by the throat. (Well, remember
he was a pub landlord and in moments of stress we all go
back to the methods that have served us well over the
years.) And he said very quietly but with emphasis, in a
whisper which carried the length of the hall: "Bring all
your staff, all your cooks and waiters, porters and
chambermaids, barmaids and entertainers. Let them bring all
their families because we are still going to have a party.
This is still My. Daughter’s. WEDDING!"
The manager was a wise man. He just nodded.
So they all came, pulling on their good clothes as they
came. And they filled up the empty spaces. And they were
delighted. Normally they spent all their time serving other
people. Never before had they had a party in their own
hotel. And we ate. And we drank. And then we ate some more.
And drank some more. And gradually the party started to warm
up. The hotel band happened to have come along. So they
pulled out their musical instruments and we had some music.
And peoples started to dance. And the party was just
beginning to really swing, when...
Well, you know what’s going to happen next, don’t you?
All the people who had been delayed on the road finally
arrived in a bunch. And there was total confusion. And it
was packed. It was heaving. It was massive. It was
Eventually, in the early hours of the morning, as we all
tottered our various ways unsteadily home, we all agreed
that it had been the best wedding we had ever been at!
The lesson of that moment – the lesson of this Gospel –
is that God does not have favourites. Anyone and everyone,
black or white, slave or free, rich or poor alike, is
welcome to the wedding feast of his Son.
And when we celebrate, we do not celebrate for ourselves
alone. We celebrate with the entire Body of Christ – the
Church. In our Eucharist today we are united with Christ and
with one another. And beyond this place we are united with
more than a billion people all over the world. And beyond
this time we are united with the billions of people who have
gone before us marked with the Sign of Faith. And into the
Future we are united with the billions of people who will
follow in our own footsteps of Faith.
Let us stand and profess our Faith in God who invites us
O'Reilly SJ <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Volume 2 is for you. Your thoughts, reflections,
and insights on the next Sundays readings can influence the
preaching you hear. Send them to
email@example.com. Deadline is
Wednesday Noon. Include your Name, and Email Address.
-- Fr. John Boll, OP