29th Sunday of Ordinary Time – Answering God’s Call

Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 45:1, 4-6
October 18, 2020

This week, we continue reading the book of Isaiah, but we will move from Jerusalem around 700 BC to Babylon around 530 BC and the second person to use that name. Like his namesake, he believes in the sovereignty of the LORD, that the LORD works in history, and that Jews have a vocation to the world. He will however bring a distinct perspective and greater subtlety to his analysis and prophecy.

Continue reading “29th Sunday of Ordinary Time – Answering God’s Call”

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time – No Match for the Love and Faithfulness of God

The Lord is My Shepherd, Eastman Johnson, 1863, Smithsonian American Art Museum
(About this Image)

Fr. Smith’s Commentary on the First Reading
Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 25:6-10A
October 10, 2020

We once more read from “First” Isaiah today. Last week in the “Song of the Vineyard” (Isaiah 5), he joined the prophets of his time in revealing and condemning injustice; most directly for Isaiah, the inequality that divided the rich from the poor and weakened community. If that were all he did he would be remembered as a great prophet and leader. However, we find in Isaiah the first clear articulation of the vocation of the Jewish people. His understanding of this is so profound that it not only inspired his successors but should move us as well.

Continue reading “28th Sunday in Ordinary Time – No Match for the Love and Faithfulness of God”

Contribute to the Annual Catholic Appeal

One of the principal means of supporting the service and charitable activities of the Diocese is the Annual Catholic Appeal. This is more needed now with the effects of the pandemic but the pandemic itself has prevented many of the fund-raising activities from occurring. The Annual Catholic Appeal supports many important activities for the good of the church and the community.

Therefore, if you have not given, I ask you to please consider doing so. If you are in the church today, there are forms on the tables in the rear of the church. Please fill them out, drop the card in the collection box and take the pencil with you. You may also request a form from the rectory, and we will send it to you.

You can also give online at https://catholicfoundationbq.org/annual-catholic-appeal/. Instructions for filling it out are listed below. Continue reading “Contribute to the Annual Catholic Appeal”

27th Sunday of Ordinary Time – Fruitful by God’s Grace

Photo by James Lee on Unsplash

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 5:1-7
October 4, 2020

This week we read from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. Three prophets used the name Isaiah. We have been looking mostly at the two who spoke during and after the return of the Jews to Jerusalem in the 6th century BC. The Isaiah we will examine today tells us very clearly that he began his ministry in 742 BC within the southern kingdom of Judea. King Uzziah died the year he was called. This is significant. 

Uzziah had reigned for 40 years and had greatly increased the GDP of his kingdom. But he did so by favoring and elite and creating prosperity for some by taking the properties of those not connected to the powerful. This was compounded by his successors who made alliances with Assyria requiring the Judeans to pay vast sums in protection money which the rich managed to avoid further impoverishing the peasants. It is clear why in the very first chapter of Isaiah God says to the people:   Continue reading “27th Sunday of Ordinary Time – Fruitful by God’s Grace”

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Being Fashioned Anew

St. Matthew and the Angel, Rembrandt, c. 1661, Louvre

Fr. Smith’s Commentary on the First Reading
26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ezekiel 18:25-28
September 27, 2020

We return today to the time of the exile in Babylon. It is, in some ways, the most impressive story in the history of the Jewish People. As we have seen in so many readings during the year, the leaders of the Jews were deported to Babylon from 597 to 587 BC. After the Assyrians defeated the Babylonians in 537 BC, the Jews were invited to return to Jerusalem to become the Assyrian colonial administration. Last week we read from Isaiah who wrote at the beginning of this return, today we read from Ezekiel who was among the very first to go into exile in 597 BC. As with Isaiah, he has much to teach us that is relevant to our time.

Continue reading “26th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Being Fashioned Anew”

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Being God’s Presence Every Day

Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, Johann Christian Brandt, 1769, Akademie der bildenden Künste, Vienna

Fr. Smith’s Commentary on the First Reading
25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 55:6-9
September 20, 2020

Since Easter we have been examining the Second Readings for Sunday Mass: starting with the First Letter of Peter and then Paul’s Letter to the Romans. We return this week to the First Reading for Mass, which as usual, will be from the First Testament: today Isaiah 55:6-9. For a better understanding however we will need to begin with 55:1.

The church uses Isaiah many times during the year. Grasping Jesus’ mission is impossible without an appreciation of the message of Isaiah. It might be better to say messages because as we have seen so many times before there were three people who used the name Isaiah and although they shared much in common, we can discern differences in emphasis and indeed development. Today is certainly one of those times. Continue reading “25th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Being God’s Presence Every Day”

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – The Faces of Our Brothers and Sisters

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon Shows Pope Francis the Golden Rule mosaic at the UN on September 25, 2015 (UN Photo) (more about this image)

Fr. Smith’s Commentary on the 2nd Reading
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Romans 13:8–10

September 6, 2020

For the past few weeks, we have seen Paul as a poet and preacher. He has urged us to “offer our very bodies to God” (Rom. 12 1) and exclaimed “the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God” (Rom. 11:33). These are beautiful and profound statements, but we must remember that they are at the service of Paul’s main intent. He is showing the Roman Church how to live together and how to live in general. As we have seen the Church in Rome was mixed with some born Jews and others born gentiles. They all accepted the Lordship of Jesus but differed on what this meant. Paul has spoken eloquently to them about the meaning of Baptism and Life in the Spirit. This is the basis of harmony; a life well lived together. Yet what about the daily tasks of life? How does one live?

Paul grasped in his very being that accepting the new life Jesus offered was a new way of being human. His expression however has sometimes been, to be kind, imprecise and culturally tone-deaf. He told the Corinthians, a very mixed congregation, that “All things are lawful for me” (1 Cor. 6:12) Those born Jews understood this to mean that they were freed from dietary laws and could eat pork. Some gentile Christians, not understanding the Jewish background, thought they could marry near relations (1 Cor. 5:1-7) Paul needed to clarify this and spent a good deal of time doing this.

Continue reading “23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – The Faces of Our Brothers and Sisters”