Second Sunday of Ordinary Time – Using Our Spirit-Given Gifts

The Marriage at Cana, Maerten de Vos,
c. 1596, O.-L. Vrouwekathedraal
(About this Image)

Fr. Smith’s Commentary on the Second Reading
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
1 Corinthians 12:4–11
January 16, 2022

TV Westerns of the 50s and 60s were a wonderful introduction to sociology. Wagon Train, Have Gun Will Travel, and countless others showed how towns and the social structures that maintained them developed. They mostly unconsciously revealed the importance of class and caste. Despite the almost official American ideology of rugged individualism, we saw how people worked together to build towns along rivers, between mountains, and eventually along train routes. Although most people farmed crops or herded animals, others were drawn to support roles of merchandising and transportation. There was almost always at least one church, school, and saloon in any town and perhaps to appeal to a wider audience, the contributions of white ethics were shown from the beginning. Black, Brown, and Asian people were added in the later sixties. Some programs were very honest about racial tensions but almost all about the conflicts between the very small elite and the workers and farmers. The realities both positive and negative of the power structures were clearly seen.

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Hearing the Spirit’s Renewal Today

Baptism of Christ, Paolo Caliari (Veronese),
c. 1580, Palazzo Pitti (Florence)
(About this Image)


Fr. Smith’s Commentary on the Second Reading
Baptism of the Lord
Titus 2:11–14, 3:4–7
January 9, 2022

The first section of today’s second reading from the Letter of Paul to Titus was read two weeks ago at the Christmas masses. (Titus 2:11–14) As we noted then, the Letter to Titus was most likely written for a disciple of St. Paul, Titus the leader of the Church in Crete, by a successor of St. Paul. It was a pastoral letter which meant that it addressed practical issues in the church at the time. It was written in Paul’s name, although everyone knew he was dead, to show that his successors understood that they were applying Paul’s teachings in an authentic manner and should be obeyed. This reflects our situation today in an uncanny manner.

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Epiphany – Joining Together To Be His Presence in the World

Virgin and Child mosaic, 9th century, Hagia Sophia
(About this Image)

Fr. Smith’s Commentary on the Second Reading
Feast of the Epiphany
Letter to the Ephesians 3:2–6
January 2, 2022

The second reading for the feast of the Epiphany is from the “Letter to the Ephesians.” (Ep 3:2-3a, 5-6). We examined this letter last summer in these commentaries. Those who read them will see that many passages from the letter would be very appropriate for the feast of the Epiphany but this one is particularly well suited.

We must remember a few things to start. Most scholars would agree that it was written by a disciple of St. Paul after his death. As we have many times noted, this would not be deceitful as his readers would have known that Paul was dead. As we saw last week with the reading of the letter to Titus, this allowed the author and indeed the leaders who followed Paul to show that they were in continuity with him. Who would follow the original apostles as leaders was a real problem and Ephesians is one of the clearest statements on how and why the Catholic Church developed. Continue reading “Epiphany – Joining Together To Be His Presence in the World”

3rd Sunday of Advent – Homily (Fr. Smith)

Stories of conversion have always held a strange fascination for me. I am a cradle Catholic and although looking back on my life I can see times of change and growth and alas more than a few times of spiritual retreat there is no single moment when I knew I had crossed a line from unbelief to belief. One of my favorite stories is of C.S. Lewis the great Christian author to wrote everything from the Narnia Series for children to Mere Christianity for basically everyone.

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3rd Sunday of Advent – The Joy of God’s Presence

Juan Diego and His Tilma Showing Our Lady of Guadeloupe
Lawrence OP | Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Fr. Smith’s Commentary on the Second Reading
Third Sunday of Advent
St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians 4:4–7
December 12, 2021

Today is Gaudete Sunday. This means rejoice and is reflected in the prayers and readings of the day. To name just a few. The opening prayer encourages us to await the Lord’s birth:

to attain the joys of so great a salvation
and to celebrate them always
with solemn worship and glad rejoicing.

The first line of the first reading in today’s Mass from Zephaniah reads:

Shout for Joy, O daughter Zion;
Sing joyfully O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!

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1st Sunday of Advent – Bringing the Kingdom to Fulfillment

Fr. Smith’s Commentary of the Second Reading
1 Thessalonians 3:12–4:2
First Sunday of Advent
November 27, 2021

Today we celebrate the first Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the Church Year. The most obvious change is that the priest will be wearing purple vestments. A more subtle difference is how the readings for Mass will be chosen. In Ordinary Time, when the liturgical color is green, the Gospel for the year is read somewhat continuously and the first reading is chosen from the Old Testament to complement it. The second reading most often taken from St. Paul is read also semi-contiguously for a few weeks at a time. We have recently examined Romans, 1st Peter, and Hebrews among other writings. In Advent all the readings are chosen to develop the theme of the season. We might better say variations on a theme. Advent means “coming” and we are certainly aware that Christmas is coming. Yet there is another coming that is commemorated as well.

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Christ the King – Following His Way

Cristo Rey (Christ the King), 1953, Cali, Colombia
(About this Image)

So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?”
Jesus answered, “You say I am a king.
For this I was born and for this I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
(John 18:37)

Fr. Smith’s Commentary on the First Reading
Solemnity of Christ the King
Daniel 7:13–14
November 21, 2021

Like last week, we will be using a commentary written several years ago. The historical background still represents contemporary scholarship and has remained unchanged, but I have developed the conclusions somewhat differently.

When I was a young priest, there were still older ones who spoke about “Representative Men”. It was an Edwardian expression for a someone with superior skills who we would want to represent us. This is where we begin with the title: “Son of Man”. Although it is somewhat vague on purpose and will be developed by Jesus in a rather surprising way, we must remember that it has a specific place in the Book of Daniel.

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