Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time


“If I tell the wicked man that he shall surely die, and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked man from his way, he [the wicked man] shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death.” —Ezekiel 33:8

“You can depend on this as worthy of full acceptance: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tm 1:15). Therefore, as followers of Jesus, we must be very concerned about sin. First, we must remove the plank of sin from our eyes so that we will see clearly to remove the specks of sin from the eyes of our brothers and sisters (Mt 7:5). Then we should correct and warn the person who is sinning (Ez 33:8), “but keep it between the two of” us (Mt 18:15). If privately correcting a person who sins against us is not well received (Mt 18:16), we should bring other Christians into this “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:18). Moreover, “anyone who sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly, should petition God, and thus life will be given to the sinner” (1 Jn 5:16). “Remember this: the person who brings a sinner back from his way will save his soul from death and cancel a multitude of sins” (Jas 5:20). Finally, we must rejoice with the Lord, the saints, and the angels “over one repentant sinner” (Lk 15:7, 10). 

Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Jesus said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan!  You are an obstacle to me.  You are thinking not as God does but as human beings do.  Those who want to come after me must deny themselves, take up their crosses and follow me.’”

In his 18 years as a TV meteorologist, Chris Gloninger at Des Moines’ KCCI has gotten his share of angry calls and e-mails from viewers:  Why did it rain on my daughter’s wedding?  How could you miss a storm that dropped eight inches of snow on our town?  Can’t you make it cool off?  It goes with the job.

But of late, the messages have reached a new and terrifying level of rage.  Gloninger has been assaulted with violent messages and death threats because of his coverage of climate change and the environmental crisis.  The e-mails and phone calls accuse Gloninger of perpetuating the “hoax” of climate change and promoting the “liberal conspiracy theory” buy reporting on weather extremes – like the 100-year-floods and droughts that have become near-annual events in Iowa.  “I saw it as my responsibility to our audience to connect the dots between climate change and extreme weather events in the region,” Gloninger says.  “Iowa is a state, after all, where livelihoods are at the mercy of Mother Nature.  Agriculture-related industries accounted for nearly 11 percent of the state’s total economy in 2021.  And in 2022, 64 percent of its electric grid was powered by wind; turbines are a source of income for farmers.”

Journalists are expected to grow thick skin,” Gloninger acknowledges, “but with each new e-mail, it became more difficult to recover.  Something had to change, but one thing was certain:  I would not be deterred from addressing an issue I saw as an existential global crisis.”

The most chilling e-mail to Gloninger read: “What’s your home address?  We conservative Iowans would like to give you an Iowan welcome you will never forget.

Station management took the threat seriously, putting Chris and his wife Cathy up in a hotel.  Police apprehended the writer of the harassing e-mails, but the stress had become too much – Gloninger resigned from the job he loved at KCCI this summer.  But he’s not abandoning his commitment to raise awareness about climate change.  He is now senior scientist in climate and risk communication at the Woods Hole Group, an environmental consulting firm.  In his new role he develops educational programs in climate and science literacy and works with communities to respond and adapt to climate change.

Station management took the threat seriously, putting Chris and his wife Cathy up in a hotel.  Police apprehended the writer of the harassing e-mails, but the stress had become too much – Gloninger resigned from the job he loved at KCCI this summer.  But he’s not abandoning his commitment to raise awareness about climate change.  He is now senior scientist in climate and risk communication at the Woods Hole Group, an environmental consulting firm.  In his new role he develops educational programs in climate and science literacy and works with communities to respond and adapt to climate change.

                Gloninger says, “While thoughts about the impact of climate change, as well as the sometimes toxic discussions about it, might seem paralyzing, we should not lose hope.”              

                                           (Boston Globe Magazine, July 9, 2023)

Looks like we can add meteorologists to the list of people – educators, health care workers, scientists, librarians and store employees – targeted by some for daring to do their jobs.  At times, we’re all Peter in today’s Gospel:  we diminish or deny whatever challenges our perspective, whatever forces us out of our comfort zones, whatever requires us to change our ways of thinking and doing things – and it seems our rejection of what we do not want to be true is becoming more and more strident and divisive.  No, Jesus warns us, following him often demands accepting realities we refuse to accept, walking roads we seek to avoid, rejecting people we want nothing to do with.  To take up our crosses in the spirit of Jesus begins by accepting the reality of our failings and abandoning our self-centered view of the world in order to transform our lives into the life and love of God.

Anybody praying for good weather for Labor Day?

  Fr. Glenn



































Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

All the gospels, and the synoptic gospels (Mark, Matthew and Luke) in particular, witness to the growth in faith of the disciples of Jesus. In the synoptic gospels a point of climax is reached when Jesus asks his disciples the question: ‘Who do you say I am?’ It is a question which all Christians must answer.

Peter speaks up and declares his belief, perhaps also shared by the others, that Jesus is the promised Messiah. What is special in Matthew’s story of Peter’s profession of faith is the commissioning of Peter which follows. Faith leads to a mission.

The words of Jesus to Peter ‘You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church’ have been understood as the basis for the special role of the bishop of Rome, the successor of Peter, in relation to the whole church. In their varying ways each of the gospels testifies to the leadership role of Peter. The words of Jesus to Peter in Matthew’s gospel are words of assurance, for it is Christ who will build the Church and Christ who endows Peter with authority.

The reading ends with Jesus instructing the disciples to tell nobody he was the Christ. The title of ‘Christ’ or ‘Messiah’ was understood in various ways, and Jesus had reservations that he might be misunderstood as a worldly leader. The true role of the Messiah will be taken up again in next Sunday’s gospel reading.


The Transfiguration of the Lord

Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone. There in their presence he was transfigured: his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared to them; they were talking with him. Then Peter spoke to Jesus. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘it is wonderful for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ He was still speaking when suddenly a bright cloud covered them with shadow, and from the cloud there came a voice which said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. Listen to him.’ When they heard this the disciples fell on their faces overcome with fear. But Jesus came up and touched them. ‘Stand up,’ he said ‘do not be afraid.’ And when they raised their eyes they saw no one but only Jesus.

As they came down from the mountain Jesus gave them this order, ‘Tell no one about the vision until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.’ 


Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Farmers periodically take samples of their ground and have them tested. If your spiritual ground was tested now, would you be:

  • an infertile footpath? (Mt 13:4)
  • infertile rocky ground? (Mt 13:5)
  • fertile but unfruitful ground overgrown with thorns? (Mt 13:7)
  • fertile, fruitful ground bearing a 30-fold harvest? (Mt 13:8)
  • fertile, fruitful ground bearing a 60-fold harvest? (Mt 13:8)
  • fertile, fruitful ground bearing a 100-fold harvest? (Mt 13:8)

When a farmer finds from testing that his soil is deficient, he does not ignore this information but takes measures to improve the condition of his ground. This should also be true spiritually. If you are an infertile footpath or rocky ground, repent and go to Confession as soon as possible. If you are fertile but unfruitful, ask the Holy Spirit to convict you of your thorny compromise with the ways of the world (Jn 16:8). If you want to increase from a 30-fold harvest to 60-fold or 100-fold, you need community life and daily Bible study.

In good ground, you can grow almost anything worth growing. In bad ground, you can hardly grow anything. The condition of the ground is critical. Recognize the condition of your ground and improve it.

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus is gentle and humble of heart (compare Zec 9:9). Jesus “humbled Himself, obediently accepting even death, death on a cross!” (Phil 2:8) Jesus humbled Himself and washed the feet of the apostles. Then He commanded: “What I just did was to give you an example: as I have done, so you must do” (Jn 13:15). Jesus promised: “Whoever humbles himself shall be exalted” (Mt 23:12).  

The Lord commands us to be humble in personal relationships. This is called “submission” (see Eph 5:21). We are to be humble in managing finances and possessions. This is called “stewardship.” The Lord commands us to be humble in obeying His Word through the teachings of the Church and her Bible. This humility in receiving teaching is called “docility.” In effect, the Lord wants our lives to be permeated with humility. The Lord promised: “I will leave as a remnant in your midst a people humble and lowly” (Zep 3:12). “Be humbled in the sight of the Lord” (Jas 4:10).


Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

These are the concluding words of the Missionary Discourse of Jesus, the second of his major speeches in the Gospel of Matthew. Jesus challenges the disciples, and us too, to put no other person before our faith in him. For Christians there are new family ties, which, though not undermining our love of those dear to us, give us a broader perspective and a considerable challenge.

The cross is mentioned for the first time in Matthew’s gospel, not the cross of Jesus, but the difficult burden that each one must bear in imitation of him. We are called to give our lives as Christ himself will give his life.

But the embrace of missionary discipleship offers us new joys. Those who offer a welcome to the disciples of Christ forge a relationship with Jesus, and with ‘the one who sent him’. Friendships are transformed and offer us a wider and everlasting scope. How we treat others in this life, particularly the ‘little ones’, will bring us close to Jesus and to the one who sent him.

The first reading tells us how the prophet Elisha, centuries before Christ, received generous hospitality from a woman of Shunem. Her kindness is rewarded in an extraordinary way.


Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

We continue reading the Missionary Discourse of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. Jesus encourages the apostles to speak out and foresees the persecution of the missionaries. He urges the disciples to remember the providential love of God. In words reminiscent of the Sermon on the Mount, he points to the Father’s care even for the well-being of sparrows.

At the same time he recognises that great courage is necessary to preach the gospel. It is not easy to shout the truth from the house-tops. It is not easy to declare oneself for Christ in the presence of those who ridicule and mock religion. The gospel reading invites us to ponder on the thousands of Christians who have spoken up for their faith at the risk of losing their lives, not only in distant centuries but also in our own day.

The first reading considers the words of Jeremiah who was persecuted for preaching the truth of God. He speaks of his distress, but also of his trust in the Lord who will protect him. The prophetic mission of Jeremiah and his fidelity amid suffering help us to understand the mission and suffering of Christ.

Our passage from the Letter to the Romans is of great significance. St Paul explains that while our first parents opened the gates for sin to enter into the world, the actions of Jesus Christ brought the free gift of life and salvation


Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Gospel of Matthew contains five major speeches of Jesus, designed by the evangelist, so it seems, to reflect and to outshine the five books of Moses. Jesus is the new Moses, who comes to bring the Law and the Prophets to fulfilment.

We hear today the beginning of the second speech, which is known as the Missionary Discourse. The opening words of our gospel passage tell us that the motivation of Jesus in his preaching is compassion for those who are lost. This must be our motivation too in offering the good news to others.

Jesus selects his twelve apostles. They are chosen from among those who have left everything to follow him. It may come as a surprise that with his first words to them Jesus apparently limits the mission of the apostles. The first priority of the mission must be the people of Israel, who are described as ‘the lost sheep’. Later the mission will be extended to all the nations. The message is the one that Jesus has preached from the outset: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ The message and the healings, which the disciples are to work in imitation of Jesus, are to be given freely.