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.

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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.

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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.

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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”

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Bringing Truth from the Head to the Heart

Parable of the Unforgiving Servant, Claude Vignon, 1629, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tours

Fr. Smith’s Commentary on the Second Reading
Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Romans 14:7-8
September 13, 2020

Paul has given the Romans many important insights into the meaning of Christ and his church. We must however keep in mind that he is as much interested in giving the Romans an insight into himself. He wants their help in several enterprises and his reputation is justifiably complicated. He has proved that he is neither a lawless person nor one seeking to eliminate Judaism. Indeed, he has shown both those born Jews and those born Gentiles that he has their best interest at heart. The Christians of Rome at very least know that their view of the new life offered by Jesus has been immeasurably deepened. Yet, there may be some suspicion about how Paul will behave when he gets to Rome. Will he become involved in their daily church life and what will that mean? They have reason to be concerned.

Although the Acts of the Apostles will not be written for several decades the incidents that it relates will have been known. The Romans would probably have known that Paul and Peter had a major disagreement in Antioch and that the Church was very much disturbed indeed divided by it. This was so serious that it required a council of the leaders in Jerusalem to address it. We find a description of this in Acts 15 but more interestingly Paul’s version in Gal 2 especially 2:11-15. The matter remains unclear, but Peter seems to have been trying to create harmony and that his was disturbed by Paul.

The Roman church was hard to hide and had already experienced persecution. They did not want to expose themselves again to this kind of conflict. Paul today is telling them how he would approach their situation. Continue reading “24th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Bringing Truth from the Head to the Heart”