Scripture Reflection by Father Matt

Our Lord Jesus Promises Us a Destination; Not a Smooth Ride

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ Jesus, As I write this, we are in heavy turbulence in flight on our way to Israel with a group of 24 pilgrims. The Holy Land offers much food for thought, but this brief interruption reminds me of a principle of the Christian life that we can tend to forget. Our Lord Jesus promises us a destination, not a smooth ride. Psalm 18 calls God: "My strength, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer." This implies that we will be faced with a test of our strength, a storm which requires a point of solid anchorage, an assault from which we need shelter, and peril from which we need to be delivered. We cannot be passive victims of life; we are meant to cry out to God. W

Jesus, the Author of Life

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ Jesus, The Pharisees mock Jesus in today’s Gospel passage by saying “[Y]ou are not concerned with anyone's opinion, for you do not regard a person's status.” They are mocking Jesus’ disregard for the opinion of the world, yet their statement is completely backwards. Jesus is concerned with opinions, but the opinion of God the Father outranks all the rest. Jesus does regard each person’s status, but Jesus regards every human person as a creature in relationship to Himself their Creator. Jesus has priorities and perspective. Jesus respects the earthly authority of the Emperor in Rome, the civil authority at the time. But Jesus knows that this earthly au

Preparing to Receive the Banquet Feast of Heaven

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, Our reading this Sunday from the Prophet Isaiah is pure poetry. It beautifully connects Eucharistic imagery with the forgiveness of sins, the destruction of death and the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven on the mountain of God. This is a great passage to meditate upon as we prepare to celebrate Holy Mass. We prepare ourselves to receive Jesus in the Eucharist by penitential acts (fasting one hour before Communion), acknowledging our need for the forgiveness of our sins (Lord, have mercy). We enter into the choir of angels in the Gloria, rejoicing that we are privileged to take part in the banquet feast of heaven. We are the unworthy poor of the

God, the Master of the Vineyard

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, In both our first reading from Isaiah and our Gospel we see God presenting His Kingdom as a vineyard. This is a beautiful and rich analogy! A vineyard is a fertile setting for growth. Fruitfulness is its purpose. We are called by Christ to be coworkers in this vineyard, tending it and adding our efforts toward this fruitfulness. It is not a wild, untended place, but a well-ordered world with a master and a purpose. God, the master of the vineyard, sets the plan for how the land will be used, and God has a desired outcome for the land. We are not free to impose our own wills on the vineyard, but we are expected to work with God toward His goal. We

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